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Thread: Requiem (PG-13)

  1. #201
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    The pokeball which held Shiftry dropped from his hand and smacked into the floor with a meaty thunk.
    “a meaty thunk” lmao best description ever
    “The **** do you want?” Dorian hissed.

    “Your help.”
    Like Dorian’s really gonna be down for that.
    The power blinded her and invigorated her at the same time. It was elating, it was gratifying, it was sexual. It warmed her and penetrated her consciousness. The red veil morphed to scarlet and she began to run, drinking in the feeling of complete supremacy. Shelton was master of everything. Everyone owed her awe. As she ran, she felt a tightening in her chest as the flakes within her released adrenaline and mystical energy deep into her muscle tissue. She streaked through the forest like a lightning bolt; not bothering to even move around objects in her path, she simply ran through them. She screamed again as her body began to vibrate. This was everything, this was all.
    Wow, what a beautiful paragraph. That’s all I can say.
    “If you find your sister, leave in peace. I was truthful when I said I mean you no harm, but Ethan feels differently. I will not allow harm to befall you from him; in return I expect the same courtesy. Regardless of whom finds who first, project your thoughts as far as possible and I’ll be able to hear you.”
    Ohh, this is getting more complicated. Damn it all.

    “My kings!” Shelton shouted, hands clawing at her face. “I can’t feel you!”
    This can’t be happening, but it’s happening.
    “No ****? What, do you think I usually walk towards screaming Pokemon with handcuffs on and my head up my ***?” Garrett asked.
    Yes, I think exactly so.
    As a lifelong spelunker, that was one thing Ronnie had always tried to impress upon Dorian. When you’re somewhere new, know your way back out. Pick a stone, a tree, a body of water that’s distinctive. Dorian went through the motions of cataloguing different objects as he walked but he knew this was one lesson he was going to ignore. Apparently Shelton was somewhere out here, and he wasn’t leaving without her.
    Aw, what a good way to bring Ronnie back into this. His memory lives on!
    The Gardevoir giggled loudly in Dorian’s mind before speaking. “You believe you have the power to match me? I challenged Entei, youngling.”

    Alakazam took a final step forward and spread his arms outward. His eyes were glowing so harshly now that they created shadows at his feet. “You’ve yet to challenge me…”
    LOL AND HERE ALAKAZAM IS SO BADASS AND COOL AND I THINK HE NOW COULD BE A FAVORITE OF MINE.

    Ahem. I love you and missed you and your fic. Please come back to me and message me more often!

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


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


    | love and other nightmares |
    | limited time, limited abilities. kyurem says she can be cured in exchange for saving those who need saving. |
    | chapter 3 released 11/22/14 |


  2. #202
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    The reason for the whole doll interaction bit was because Banette's pokedex entry says that Banette's are the possessed form of dolls. So I thought it would be fun to treat the discarded toy sort of like an evolutionary stone for triggering her evolution. I hope that knowing what I intended makes it go over a little smoother now. I just thought it would be kinda neat
    Actually, I understood the why of the doll, mostly I just have something against Banette... that Mega evolution did wonders for their looks...

    ----
    “I mean you no harm,”
    Right, because THAT always works...

    unable to move at all. ****ing psychics! He calmed somewhat immediately though when he found that the Alakazam was not suppressing his ability to breathe, but rather it was only rendering his limbs immobile. Dorian could see out of the corner of his eyes that Garrett was likewise rooted to the ground.
    First off, the F Psychics bit feels like a thought lost in the paragraph. Also, "He calmed" doesn't quite feel as naturally here as "he calmed down". Also, because this is DOrian, who makes assumptions, jumps into overdrive, and continues to rev until the engine bows up, I'm not really sure that he would be the first one to take heart in the fact that this Alakazam is not trying to kill him.

    Shocked, she jumped to her feet.
    So Tantrum girl now has the Power of the Hulk... and we thought Machoke was hard on the furniture...

    Gonna be an interesting relationship between those two now with this kind of understanding

    ot only that but despite their lightness, they felt so solid and thick, so strong
    N Not fond of the "Not only that". Maybe along the lines of "They weighed nothing to her, though they felt solid and thick; they felt strong"

    it was sexual.
    ...what?

    Actually, I can follow the why, although going into more details is a bit more awkward than I want to get in a review, but this is Ethan she is wearing, and while I am sure that Shelton would revell in the power of a Godess in her own skin, (who wouldn't?) I don't quite see how Shelton would be getting turned on by the feats of a body of a person she actually genuinely hates.

    Dorian tried to find some kind of flaw in the Alakazam’s reasoning but was unable to summon anything coherent or logical.
    This is surprisng for Dorian???

    Anger swelled within Dorian quickly. “Look, I’m sure reading minds is second nature to you, but do me a favor and stay the **** out of my head unless I’m in front of you.”
    Seems like arreasonable request.

    Shelton suddenly stooped
    Stopped

    “Shiftry Shiftry shif, try, Shiftry!” he bellowed.

    “”You what?!” Dorian fired back. “I make the ****ing decisions! Not you! She’s my sister!”
    Like the conversation, it works here with no translation. That being said, the hell is wrong with Shiftry? What's crawled in its bark all of a sudden? A litte height, some white hair, and suddenly it thinks it knows all I want the Nuzleaf back...

    “I wouldn’t advise that,” the Alakazam said sternly. “There’s nothing you can plan that I won’t be prepared for.”

    The psychic type intruding on his thoughts was starting to get old extremely fast.

    “I would imagine it is.”

    “****ing enough!” Dorian spat. “I told you! Even if you can hear what I’m thinking, keep it to yourself!”
    “I wouldn’t advise that,” the Alakazam said sternly. “There’s nothing you can plan that I won’t be prepared for.”

    The psychic type intruding on his thoughts was starting to get old extremely fast.

    “I would imagine it is.”

    “****ing enough!” Dorian spat. “I told you! Even if you can hear what I’m thinking, keep it to yourself!”
    Somewhat

    [QUOTE] “You believe you have the power to match me? I chborderline on Alakazam being able to read the Author's commentary, but an Alakazam breaking the 4th wall is awesome.

    “You did nothing wrong,” it assured her. “As I told you before, the rage is a side effect of the flakes. You bent to their will, but as I also told you before, I’ll teach you how to do the opposite.”

    “Fl-flakes?” Shelton stammered.
    I like this Gardevoir, its sadistic and evil, but it still reads as a caring and motherly Pokemon like a Gardevoir should read.


    “You believe you have the power to match me? I challenged Entei, youngling.”
    That explains something...
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

  3. #203
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    Thanks for the reviews!

    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876
    “a meaty thunk” lmao best description ever
    Haha. Glad you liked it. I actually had a pretty long internal debate as to whether leave it in or not

    Wow, what a beautiful paragraph. That’s all I can say.
    Thanks pair! *high five*

    Yes, I think exactly so
    Hmm, the real Garrett probably wouldn't, but this one definitely would lol

    Aw, what a good way to bring Ronnie back into this. His memory lives on!
    Funny thing is, I never even planned that bit. It just kinda happened as I was writing. Literally just came from my fingertips and I only realized it after I finished the page and went back to look it over. I'm proud of that bit and i'm super stoked you picked up on it

    Thanks for the review and everything else! you're the best!

    Quote Originally Posted by Glover
    Actually, I understood the why of the doll, mostly I just have something against Banette... that Mega evolution did wonders for their looks...
    Ah okay cool. Yeah, whoever created their mega evolution needs a swift punch to the face

    First off, the F Psychics bit feels like a thought lost in the paragraph. Also, "He calmed" doesn't quite feel as naturally here as "he calmed down". Also, because this is DOrian, who makes assumptions, jumps into overdrive, and continues to rev until the engine bows up, I'm not really sure that he would be the first one to take heart in the fact that this Alakazam is not trying to kill him.
    Really good point there. I'm gonna go back and edit both those bits. The '****ing psychics' portion was my lame attempt at trying to address his frustration at the situation. I feel like it could have worked in a different context but not here

    Actually, I can follow the why, although going into more details is a bit more awkward than I want to get in a review, but this is Ethan she is wearing, and while I am sure that Shelton would revell in the power of a Godess in her own skin, (who wouldn't?) I don't quite see how Shelton would be getting turned on by the feats of a body of a person she actually genuinely hates.
    I gotcha. Basically, you're spot on in coming to that conclusion, however I think that this works. Mainly because when Shelton felt that, she was caught up in 'the rage'. She stopped being Shelton and fully embraced the output of the flakes. To me, it's no surprise that she embraced sexual arousal when it came to her new found power. Shelton has always been a person who reveres power, and when she was taken from her rational mind (even though she is in Ethan's body), all thoughts of hating Ethan floated away and she became what the flakes wanted her to be

    That being said, the hell is wrong with Shiftry? What's crawled in its bark all of a sudden? A litte height, some white hair, and suddenly it thinks it knows all I want the Nuzleaf back...
    I feel where you're coming from. That'll be more explained in the next two chapters

    I like this Gardevoir, its sadistic and evil, but it still reads as a caring and motherly Pokemon like a Gardevoir should read.
    I worked hard on that, I'm glad it turned out that way.

    Thanks for the review buddy, it feels so awesome to have you commenting again

    Thanks to both of you and so you guys and everyone else is aware, I'm writing the next chapter right now and so far its turning out great!

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

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


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

  4. #204
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post

    Thanks for the review buddy, it feels so awesome to have you commenting again

    Thanks to both of you and so you guys and everyone else is aware, I'm writing the next chapter right now and so far its turning out great!
    Its... well its good to be reviewing again. and by that I mean having you writing again. I was ttthhisss close to reaching out into the Missus' Facebook page and having her thump you one on me. Hopefully in less than 6 months, I shall have something for you to read. But I won;t make my last mistae, and I'm not turining loose of it until its got a middle (I'm only 31 pages in though, and we're nowhere near a middle) and an end... but stay tuned.
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

  5. #205
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    Feel free to reach out to her FB page anytime sir. And I'll PM you on what you sent me tonight

    Update for you and everyone else, the newest chapter is halfway done and should be out by Sunday night

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

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


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

  6. #206
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    I'm here from the Review Game! It's been quite some time since anybody's done anything with that thread, so while you asked for a review on your latest chapter in your last post, that was back when your latest chapter was twenty-four. I wasn't sure whether it would be appropriate to review twenty-four anyway or go for your actual most recent chapter... so I'll do all of twenty-four through twenty-eight to be safe. Should be fair, right?

    I'm going to do chapter-specific stuff first, then address some overarching grammar/punctuation sorts of things, and wrap up with more general thoughts.

    Chapter Twenty-Four

    She deposited the shard in Ronnie’s floor safe and withdrew the ruby for Golduck as well as six tangerine sized diamonds.
    It's a nice image, but there might not be six gem-quality diamonds of that size in the entire world (if it's anything like our own). The largest diamond ever found is about twice the size of the average tangerine... and when it was discovered, it was in turn twice as large as the biggest diamond ever found up to that point. So this is quite a bit more than an outrageous fortune.

    "Mam," the older officer said.
    That's "ma'am." It's a contraction of "madam."

    She hoped they’d learn eventually, especially since only two out of the seven they saw had Pokemon with them.
    If they're newbie trainers, how do any of them not have pokémon?

    Sighing, she had just about given up when woe and behold, the emerald field came into view.
    That's "lo" and behold.

    The three balls of captured flamethrower zoomed forward and hovered in front of Shelton, waiting. The Steelix, weary of the attack that knocked it out a few days ago, simply dropped its head lower and snarled at her.
    That's "wary." "Weary" means tired.

    I don't really get what was up with the whole fire bit of the training session. Why was spoink letting the flamethrowers go after each time the steelix obeyed? Is it supposed to be some sort of indication of the fact that Shelton trusts the steelix more as it follows her orders, so she's removing the threat of getting torched gradually over time?

    Overall taming Steelix seemed pretty easy. If you just want Shelton to be able to use it no strings attached in the future, it might have been better not to have set it up as being quite so vicious in the first place--I think it would take a lot more work than this to tame a wild pokémon that seriously didn't like humans; certainly it takes a lot more work to tame a wild animal that's merely indifferent to people.

    All in all, this chapter seemed a bit filler-ish. It's pretty much just wrapping up minor plot threads and hinting towards what's going to be happening in future chapters, but all in all there isn't a whole lot that actually does happen. Nothing wrong with a bit of that once in a while, especially if you're just coming down off an intense sequence--it's good to give the characters and readers a little space to breathe and recover. The events you have here are interesting enough, and there's some nice character interaction at the end, but this definitely feels like a transitional chapter rather than one that did a great deal to advance the story.

    Chapter Twenty-Five

    Doesn't Pidgeot wonder what's up with the ashes before Garrett tries talking to her and his other pokémon? Seems odd that she doesn't even ask about it. Unless she already knows? I haven't reaed the chapter in which Ledian dies, so I don't know.

    Garrett's never had a problem getting away from the police while flying before, so why does the group decide they need to drug the cops rather than just taking off and evading them the usual way?

    I have to admit that I still don't understand how the emolga got up so high in the thunderstorm (or so far out into the ocean? They're supposed to be at least 400 miles from Unova at that point, right?). How do you ride the electrical current of a storm, and how does that overcome the fact that you can only glide?

    Overall, though, the scene with the thunderstorm and the emolga was nice and tense, and you did a good job of escalating the danger the group was in over time, and also making their eventual rescue by Alakazam not seem like a cop-out. It was definitely the highlight of the chapter, along with the bit about Garrett and his team dealing with Ledian's death near the beginning of the chapter.

    Unfortunately, the stuff in the middle fell a bit flat. Generally speaking, scenes where your characters are bored and/or not doing anything are in turn boring to read, and a fair amount of the middle section here was simply the gang in the plane, staring out the windows and not even speaking to one another. There's literally nothing going on in that section aside from them traveling from point A to point B, and while the floating refueling stations are cool, I don't think they contribute enough to warrant their inclusion. It was a bit of a let-down after the beginning section, which gave a lot of nice characterization for Garrett and his team.

    One thing and another, this is really just another transition chapter; it's primarily about moving the characters across the map, and while the emolga definitely shook things up a bit at the end, there isn't much to say in terms plot.

    Chapter Twenty-Six

    Huh. I think I've actually seen the movie being referenced in this chapter.

    That said, I'm not clear on why they went to all the trouble of rerigging the plane as a raft. It's mentioned earlier that they rejected having the pokémon propel the plane with elemental attacks, but in the end the only difference is they're using wind-based moves rather than solarbeam or whatever they were considering earlier. They may not be able to capture a water type to swim them to shore, but they already *have* a powerful water-type (golduck), as well as other pokémon that are at least able to swim and could tow the plane (machoke)... or they could have simply had the flying-types do the towing in the first place, with or without the help of the swimmers.

    Again, this chapter was rather slow, with a lot of the characters simply sitting around being bored and irritable. A lot of the text was devoted to explaining why they couldn't do things, rather than them actually doing things. You continue to be strong on character interactions, and there are plenty of nice little moments scattered throughout the chapter, like the part where Dorian tries to keep Shelton warm, or when Shelton tricks the Unova soldiers and gets the drop on them. The chapter overall was a bit of a slog for me, though... again, a general rule of thumb is that watching characters sitting around being bored is, well, boring. It would be one thing if the characters were being reshaped by what they're going through, but they really aren't--this is an obstacle they can overcome without having to grow as people. That's fine, certainly; people don't have to be going through revelations every single chapter or anything, but if it's not advancing the characters I'd prefer that it be advancing the plot in a more meaningful way. This chapter gets everybody from point A to point B, but that's about it, which makes me wonder why it was necessary to have this all happening "on screen" rather than in summary format.

    Chapter Twenty-Seven

    The meeting with the criminals in Nacrene is interesting, but seems a little contrived. Having random guy happen to overhear them and decide to take them to the boss is a bit overly convenient. It would be better if there were some indication of what attracted him to the group in particular--why he was even hanging around them in the first place; it wouldn't be very lucrative for him to just grab anybody off the street who might be interested in some under-the-table dealings: he doesn't even know if they can pay for his boss' services, and if they can't, then it's a lot of time and hassle for everybody for him to drag them over to the boss' den only for them to all get shot. Alternatively, if there was something the boss wanted other than money--she needed some mules to smuggle something in, etc., some other service they could provide and which for some reason the boss didn't want to send one of her regular contacts to do, then it would make a bit more sense, since they would serve her purpose just fine whether or not they had any cash or other valuables. One thing and another, the whole affair doesn't seem right to me if I give it a good hard look. Far better if the group had actively been looking for someone to help them out and indicating that they had the wealth to back up their request, and the boss had gotten interested in them that way.

    Similarly, the illusion bit is definitely cool, but I'm not sure what purpose it would actually serve in practice--if unpleasant customers showed up, the illusion will disorient them a bit, but as Shelton beating up one of the henchmen proves, it's not about to stop anybody competent and determined to cause harm. Why not just shove people in the cage straight off and have done with it, rather than go through the song and dance of letting them believe there is no cage to begin with?

    She couldn’t breathe, she felt her heart stop in her chest, and felt her synapses pause midway through firing.
    Heh, well, cool idea, but going a bit far with the synapses cutting out mid-fire; that's not something you'd be able to feel (nor would you be able to experience anything in the time that followed), since your being able to feel anything at all depends on those signals reaching their destination.

    Its skirt of ruffled white flesh was billowing around her as she gazed down at Shelton with an expression of exuberant mirth.
    You're being inconsistent with your pronouns here. I think you probably want to change that first "Its" to "Her."

    Overall, things picked up a bit this chapter. The first part was still mostly about moving people around the map, and it was an odd episode at that, but the description of Banette's evolution was very nice, and the reappearance of Ethan means that we can expect things to start moving along again. It'll definitely be fun to see how both Shelton and Ethan react to being body-swapped and to learn a bit more about what the kings have in mind for their pawns. Once again, this chapter was more transitional or anything, but it does a nice job of setting up for the inevitable confrontation next chapter.

    Chapter Twenty-Eight

    The pokeball which held Shiftry dropped from his hand and smacked into the floor with a meaty thunk.
    Meaty...? A pokéball doesn't have a composition anything like meat, so I would expect it to make quite a different sound entirely upon being dropped.

    The only thing going through her mind was kill, laced with destroy, accentuated with obliterate.
    Ah, now that's a nice line.

    Dorian perpetually running into problems with Alakazam being able to read his mind is cute. It must have been hard to remember that Alakazam is privy to that information and have him respond accordingly, but you pull it off with flair and great comedic timing.

    Working with Ethan’s Alakazam was torture for him. He would almost literally rather be water boarded than associate himself with something of Ethan Bernard’s.
    I wish I could tell this from the way Dorian behaved rather than having to be told it. Dorian definitely snaps at Alakazam a lot and reacts angrily throughout this chapter, but he hardly acts as though he's experiencing "torture."

    "Asked" is a perfectly fine word, you don't have to come up with a bunch of different ways of saying it. We have some fairly exotic dialogue tags showing up in this chapter--"questioned," "queried," and so on. They don't mean quite the same thing as "asked," and they look rather out of place here. The value in common words like "asked" and "said" is that they're invisible--nobody's going to notice if you have to use them over and over! But even one "questioned" is enough to give me pause, and you've got multiple here.

    Only one other person had ever referred to him as ‘human’, and with that much distaste. Ethan.
    Well, actually, Alakazam did so too, just a little earlier on in this chapter.

    "This isn’t Shelton, this is Ethan."
    Well, Dorian'd already pretty much figured that one out already, right? Makes this fall kinda flat as an end-of-section line.

    The warm blood had bathed her face and chest in a wave of liquid red brilliance.
    "Liquid red brilliance?" Seems a bit over the top to me.

    "Apparently not," the Gardevoir said wishfully, waving a petite arm towards Shelton.
    I believe you mean "wistfully."


    Right. In addition to that, there are some persistent grammar/punctuation things that showed up consistently across chapters. For these sections I've grabbed examples more or less at random, but they're representatives of problems that appear across all chapters. First sentence in each quote is the original, second is corrected. As an aside, your proofreading is a bit poor well, which is a pity, since you can generally fix that pretty easily with a beta your story looks ragged when it's littered with typos.

    Anyway, you have a strong tendency towards run-on sentences. They were all over the place in chapter twenty-eight in particular. Some examples:

    Shelton tapped the Steelix again and it began moving forward.

    Shelton tapped the Steelix again, and it began moving forward.
    Garrett followed behind them and when he spoke, his tone was barely a whisper and he wouldn’t show them his face.

    Garrett followed behind them, and when he spoke, his tone was barely a whisper, and he wouldn’t show them his face.
    His stomach hit his feet and his breath caught in his throat.

    His stomach hit his feet, and his breath caught in his throat.
    A run-on sentence is one where you join two or more independent clauses--which could stand as sentences by themselves--with just a conjunction, like "and," "but," or "so." A conjunction isn't strong enough to tie together two complete sentences; it should always have a comma in front of it, so I've simply added commas to the sentences above.

    If you're trying to tell whether a sentence is a run-on or not, all you have to do is break it up at the conjunctions and see whether all the parts stand on their own. If so, then you need the commas. Otherwise not. Consider this sentence from above: "Garrett followed behind them and when he spoke, his tone was barely a whisper and he wouldn’t show them his face."

    You can break that into three separate sentences: "Garrett followed behind them. When he spoke, his tone was barely a whisper. He wouldn't show them his face." Because these sentences work fine on their own, you need to join them using a comma and the conjunction.

    On the other hand, consider the sentence "Dorian tried to find some kind of flaw in the Alakazam’s reasoning but was unable to summon anything coherent or logical." You can break that up into two parts: "Dorian tried to find some kind of flaw in the Alakazam's reasoning. Was unable to summon anything coherent or logical." Because the second part isn't a valid sentence, this sentence is fine as is--you don't need (or want) a comma in it.

    So you end up with a lot of run-ons because you tend to leave out the commas. However, sometimes you add a comma where it isn't needed instead:

    This kind of thing could get him locked up in Kanto, and most certainly executed in Unova if he was found out.
    Better to comply with him now, and stick a knife in his back when his attention was elsewhere.
    These are both examples where you only want the conjunction. Once again, you just need to break the sentence into parts and see whether they all work on their own. Take "This kind of thing could get him locked up in Kanto, and most certainly executed in Unova if he was found out." That becomes "This kind of thing could get him locked up in Kanto. Most certainly executed in Unova if he was found out." Because the second part isn't a complete sentence, you don't want a comma here--just "and," the final sentence being "This kind of thing could get him locked up in Kanto and most certainly executed in Unova if he was found out."

    Similarly, semicolons are used to join two independent clauses, or complete sentences, the same as a comma + conjunction. You've been sticking them in places where only a comma is necessary:

    Dagger raised high in his right hand; Dorian threw himself forward, aiming to bury the weapon in the psychic type’s back.

    Dagger raised high in his right hand, Dorian threw himself forward, aiming to bury the weapon in the psychic type’s back.
    Every few minutes she heard the chorus of voices from her backpack; a soft whisper that echoed deep within her mind.

    Every few minutes she heard the chorus of voices from her backpack, a soft whisper that echoed deep within her mind.
    Death wasn’t something he ever gave any real thought too, but now as he was faced with it; it seemed so profound and titanic.

    Death wasn’t something he ever gave any real thought to, but now as he was faced with it, it seemed so profound and titanic.
    Same deal as in previous sections: can the parts of the sentence to either side of the semicolon stand on their own? If no, the semicolon should be a comma. So, "Every few minutes she heard the chorus of voices from her backpack; a soft whisper that echoed deep within her mind." becomes "Every few minutes she heard the chorus of voices from her backpack. A soft whisper that echoed deep within her mind." Because "A soft whisper that echoed deep within her mind" isn't a sentence on its own, it should be attached to the first clause with a comma rather than a semicolon.

    Finally, changing gears almost completely, you don't punctuate instances of direct address completely. When you have a character being spoken to directly as in, "Excuse me, Character, I have something to say to you," you want a comma in front of the name of whomever's being spoken to. For example:

    It's fine Shelton.

    It’s fine, Shelton.
    I’m serious Dorian, don’t you think the answer to everything going on is not to get completely plowed?

    I’m serious, Dorian, don’t you think the answer to everything going on is not to get completely plowed?
    I see your thoughts human, and the strength of your convictions is admirable.

    I see your thoughts, human, and the strength of your convictions is admirable.
    You’ll die along with him you filth!

    You’ll die along with him, you filth!
    Here, the rule is that if you could take the name away and still have the sentence make sense, it should be bracketed with commas on both sides. For example, "You'll die along with him, you filth!" works just as well as "You'll die along with him!", and "I see your thoughts, human, and the strength of your convictions is admirable" becomes the perfectly-valid "I see your thoughts, and the strength of your convictions is admirable."

    This is actually a general rule--any part of a sentence that you can remove completely without changing the sentence into a fragment should be set off from the rest by a pair of commas. In your case, you just seem to be having particular problems with that rule when it comes to names.

    And finally, one last stylistic sort of thing before I move on to more general topics: colors. I know you're a fan of very particular color words, but I'm... not. I've never seen a field that's actually "emerald," and "ivory" isn't just something you can drop in anywhere you would otherwise have put "white." The way you use color words here isn't as bad as many authors in that they're colors I've at least heard of and you usually associate them with things that could at least plausibly be that color, even if they usually aren't. However, they still stick out like sore thumbs, especially when you put them next to something as generic as "yellow," as in the sentence "Their uniforms boasted patches of yellow and their ebony weapons glinted harshly in the artificial light of the city, which was situated only thirty feet away." They just pop out as being odd vocabulary without any apparent purpose, and because they stand out, it's a lot easier to see when you're going on a kick of describing something the same way over and over again (there's been a whole lot of "mauve glow"ing going on recently, for example). I really think it's better to go with more general color words unless there's something unusual that you really, really think is deserving of a more exacting description. Other than that, what are more exotic adjectives really giving to the text?

    But enough of that! Let's talk about some big ideas surrounding this set of chapters for a bit.

    As you may have sensed, I found the earlier chapters to be a bit of a slog. While there were some scenes that were interesting, there was also a whole lot of sitting around doing nothing much, and ultimately what it amounted to was that the gang got from Kanto to Unova, lost 100,000 credits, lost Garrett's plane, and Shuppet evolved. That's not inconsequential, to be sure... but the real question is whether all of that actually needed to be addressed directly in a chapter or whether it could be brought up in summary form. For me, it felt like a pretty long stretch of not much happening, and I had trouble getting through the downed-airplane chapter in particular. The first three or so chapters just didn't seem to add up to much to me, and if we're e.g. never going to see the Nacrene gang again and the loss of money won't matter, then that episode becomes wholly irrelevant.

    This is why I'm always happy to see Ethan show up; I can be guaranteed that if the story's bringing him back in, things are going to happen, and they're really going to matter. Ethan chapters are just plain more focused. We pretty much only get to see Ethan when he's actually doing something, and often something pretty dramatic at that. He's probably covered the most ground, both in terms of plot and in terms of characterization, of anyone, despite having significantly fewer words devoted to his part of the story than the rest of the characters. It's kind of like his narrative is an "only the good bits" director's cut. I think the part of the 'fic that focuses on Dorian and company would benefit from having a bit more of that philosophy applied to it. As it is, it feels a little crufty to me--it doesn't have as strong a direction as Ethan's side does.

    However, Dorian's experience after the body-swap serves to remind me why, although I like to see Ethan around, I have difficulty taking him seriously as a villain. His powers are just so over-the-top ridiculous that they strike me as silly rather than terrifying. Pounding your hand on the ground in frustration and accidentally driving it two feet into the earth? Even the Hulk isn't that crazy-strong.

    There's generally a lot of this story that runs on rule of cool, but it can be hard to walk a line between "cool" and "absurd," and I do think you kind of fall off into over-the-top land now and again. With Ethan the issue is that he's simply so strong that evidently only exceedingly powerful psychics like Alakazam and the Wanderer can do anything to him, and even then little more than temporarily inconvenience him. As a result, it's mostly coincidence and the intervention of higher powers that's kept the good guys from getting turned into so many little bloody smears, which is a bit unsatisfying--it would be nice to see them actually succeed on their own initiative, and at this point the power disparity is so great that it's hard to see how you would accomplish that in a satisfying way. And, generally speaking, if Ethan has that much power I can't take him all that seriously given that he hasn't annexed a couple regions and otherwise become an absolute terror to the world at large. No wonder the kings are looking for another prodigy, dude, you're kind of bad at this supervillain thing.

    Also, I've got to say I'm not a huge fan of the Unova = communist thing. It's cool that you're putting your own spin on the pokémon world, but that's a pretty drastic change, especially considering that Unova is probably the least likely to be communist of any of the canon regions. It would have to be a drastically different place than we see in the games for me to buy it being anything other than ragingly capitalist. But so far, I haven't really gotten any indication that life there is different than what I'd expect based on canon. It's one thing for you to say the region is communist, and another for me to actually be able to deduce that based on your description of it. If you simply hadn't said anything, I would just have thought that Unova was currently super-paranoid about stuff which, paranoia not being an inherently communist thing, wouldn't have given me any clue that the entire economic system was supposed to be different than the usual portrayal. I think it's definitely cool if you want to have Unova be communist in this story, but thus far I haven't really seen any indication of it in the actual text... although the characters haven't really seen a ton of the place yet, so there's still plenty of opportunities to rectify that.

    But, on a positive note, there are definitely things that this story does well. Your particular strengths are in character development and action writing, and it's entertaining to watch Dorian and Shelton's group go about their business even when whatever it is they're doing isn't in istelf all that interesting. Dorian and Shelton in particular are simply fun to watch; they're funny and sweet and very believable as a brother/sister pair, and you play them off one another very well. In general your characters are nicely nuanced and rounded, and their various desires and dilemmas feel authentic. They all have difficult choices to make, and it'll be interesting to watch how their stories unfold.

    And, like I said, you write a good action scene. While I do think that you get a little carried away at times, overall you have a nice sense of timing and tension, and your prose style works well with writing a nice, snappy fight scene. So when you've got your characters together and they're in motion, things roll along very nicely. In that respect, this arc is looking very promising--obviously there's plenty of action going on, but even afterwards I see a lot of character-y goodness in the future for both Shelton and Ethan, as I imagine that getting back into their original bodies is going to be no mean feat--and perhaps even more so than that, I can imagine that their coming to terms with their new roles in the story will be a difficult process for them both. Basically, there's plenty of trauma in their future, and what writer or reader doesn't enjoy that?

    It looks like this 'fic is working up to a high point, and I'm interested to see where it goes. Hope you're enjoying the ride, and best of luck with your writing!

    Banner by Sworn Metalhead of Dćdric Design



  7. #207
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    [Chapter 21 Review]

    - Opening: The opening was well done, it was humorous and provided a good snapshot of the characters in their everyday lives. The characters were easily relatable and seamed realistic. Without them explicitly stating it, one could easily tell that they were siblings. The opening also made me want to read onwards though some of the shifts from silly to serious were jarring, though I'll get to that later.

    - Ending: It was a good cliffhanger. The mystery surrounding Ethan remained unsolved like it should be, since it'll add more suspense in the future. I'm looking forward to reading more after the cliffhanger ending with Garrett and Dorian getting arrested, it's suspenseful and enticing and a perfect climax with the drama at a constant rise and hitting its peak with Garrett shooting Ethan.

    - Scene: The most particular scene is the highway race that segwayed into the battle with Ethan. Despite the jarring tonal shift from a goofy fun race to snapping pokemon's necks, it was still an adrenaline-fueled rush with every word hanging on a thread. Are they gonna get hit by Salamence's attacks? Are they gonna hit a car? It was all intense and the actual battle with the insanely over-the-top and malicious was the boiling point. I learned after Ledian's death that anything goes with this guy and I didn't know what could happen. Once one pokemon dies, all the stops are pulled out and no one's safe.

    - Dialogue: The dialogue was surprisingly realistic. The things that were said expressed personality and seemed like actual human speak, things that people would say on a day-to-day basis. The relationships were also easily well-defined by the dialogue. You could tell who the siblings were, who the rivals were, who the lovers were, and without it being explicitly stated. Ethan's cliched evil villain talk is a small blemish, but otherwise the entirety of the chapter was great and very well-written despite its length.

  8. #208
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    Chapter rated R for violence and language
    Now this is an excellent way to begin a chapter. Moving on.

    After the last chapter, I expected we would see Dorian’s reaction to Shelton’s disappearance, but even if I expected the scene, you still wrote it excellently. I cannot say enough how much I love Dorian and Shelton’s interactions. You are really able to dig down and bring out their raw emotions when you need to, and it’s that aspect that I truly enjoy reading.

    But I did not expect you to bring things to a head so quickly. I’m talking about Dorian and Garrett encountering Alakazam right out the gate. Now, granted, I think their meeting is well-timed with Shelton’s ordeal and their “fight” and argument are wonderfully done, but it does seem rather quick to have it happen.

    Nothing wrong with it, but I just thought I’d point it out. Otherwise, I think it’s about time that Alakazam meets up with Dorian and co under less murderous circumstances. Dorian’s immediate reaction to kill him makes complete sense and, while unsuccessful, I did quite enjoy their efforts to injure him. Your fight scenes always manage to bring the battle to life.

    And now, you have them working together in an extremely unstable alliance. People say that I’m cruel to my characters, but I’ve got nothing on you, dear sir.

    In speaking of complete mindscrew and torture, we’ve got Shelton. Now, I’m still trying to wrap my head around what you did here. I haven’t the foggiest idea on what your ultimate goal with swapping their bodies is. You have a mysterious Gardevoir organizing this whole thing, the kings are apparently approving of this, and Ethan is suddenly cast aside like chopped liver. It’s all a mess in my head, trying to keep track of it, but I’ll go through with it.

    It’s been a while since we’ve seen Ethan’s body’s true destructive force and power. Not since he fought with Dorian and Garrett quite a few chapters ago. It’s nothing short of amazing how you describe Shelton’s experience with it. You excellently capture how terrifying and exhilarating it is for her to be in his body and wielding that power. I’m really at a loss for words at how great this scene is. The rage that she feels descend on her is just .... I don’t know! It’s just great! The destruction, the desire to kill, the rage... It reveals that it’s not only Ethan’s mind doing it to him. It’s programmed into his body by the flakes. I’m now quite interested to see how Ethan’s behavior after he’s spent some time in Shelton’s body, away from the flakes and the kings...

    It also makes me wonder just why Shelton was chosen. I mean, you can argue that they needed someone new to replace Ethan after his many failures, but why Shelton? I’m curious as to why the kings decided on her and why she is so special to them...

    Now, there’s not much to say on the scene where Alakazam and the others search for Shelton and Ethan, but I do want to point out that I still love Alakazam’s character. Despite working with Ethan during all of his crimes, you paint him in a way to show that he is not evil. I seriously love his character, and it’s amusing to me when he talks into Dorian’s head.

    So now they’ve found Ethan. Murderous desires aside, I can’t imagine how awkward this is for all involved. I mean, it just is.

    But seriously. Much like Shelton’s reaction to Ethan’s body, Ethan’s reaction is executed well. Instead of seeing raw power, he’s forced to feel a mortal human’s strength once again. This forced humbling, as I said before, is bound to change things for Ethan. I am very interested to see just what happens to him.

    If I have any qualms about the chapter, it’s how relatively quickly everyone found each other. I mean, the initial problem at the beginning of the chapter was solved. Dorian found Shelton (in Ethan’s body) and Alakazam found Ethan (in Shelton’s body). Granted there’s a literal ton of other problems that have manifested now that they are reunited, but the original ones are fixed. Perhaps it’s just me, but I just think that the issue of them all being separated was solved quickly.

    And now, once again, you end on an excellent cliffhanger. This mysterious Wanderer vs Alakazam. I expect to see some exciting stuff next chapter with their battle, but I also hope that there’s some opportunity for some interactions between the others in the group and the two misplaced ones. Again, I’m still rather puzzled on where this plot thread will go, but I’m certain you’ve got an epic plan in store for all your readers.

    Sidewinder, it’s getting hard for me to find new words to praise your work with, buddy. And even harder still to find criticisms about it. Keep up the great work, man! Sorry it took me so long to review.

    Knightfall signing off...

  9. #209
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    Quote Originally Posted by Negrek
    It's a nice image, but there might not be six gem-quality diamonds of that size in the entire world (if it's anything like our own). The largest diamond ever found is about twice the size of the average tangerine... and when it was discovered, it was in turn twice as large as the biggest diamond ever found up to that point. So this is quite a bit more than an outrageous fortune.
    I appreciate you bringing that up and I actually did know that. I did quite a bit of research on sizes and densities and such before I wrote that chapter and the reason why those diamonds were so big is because of a reason very specific to Requiem. I'm not sure if it will be revealed in this portion or the sequel, but the reason for their size is actually essential to the plot.

    If they're newbie trainers, how do any of them not have pokémon?
    I guess I should have phrased that differently. I meant to say that only a few of them had Pokemon out with them. Thanks for pointing that out

    I don't really get what was up with the whole fire bit of the training session. Why was spoink letting the flamethrowers go after each time the steelix obeyed? Is it supposed to be some sort of indication of the fact that Shelton trusts the steelix more as it follows her orders, so she's removing the threat of getting torched gradually over time?
    That's exactly what it was actually lol

    Overall taming Steelix seemed pretty easy. If you just want Shelton to be able to use it no strings attached in the future, it might have been better not to have set it up as being quite so vicious in the first place--I think it would take a lot more work than this to tame a wild pokémon that seriously didn't like humans; certainly it takes a lot more work to tame a wild animal that's merely indifferent to people.
    I appreciate you making that point, as you are justified in thinking that. However, it helped Shelton out once by letting her ride it, that was it, and it only did so for the promise of more diamonds and fear of Spoink throwing another flamethrower. Just because she got it to help her once doesn't mean he'll do it again.

    Doesn't Pidgeot wonder what's up with the ashes before Garrett tries talking to her and his other pokémon? Seems odd that she doesn't even ask about it. Unless she already knows? I haven't reaed the chapter in which Ledian dies, so I don't know.
    Yeah, she already knows, but its not something I touched on in the chapter and its definitely something I should have. Thanks for bringing that to my attention

    Garrett's never had a problem getting away from the police while flying before, so why does the group decide they need to drug the cops rather than just taking off and evading them the usual way?
    Basically my thinking is that if the cops happened to see them take off, they'd alert other authorities and make it harder for them to get away undetected.

    I have to admit that I still don't understand how the emolga got up so high in the thunderstorm (or so far out into the ocean? They're supposed to be at least 400 miles from Unova at that point, right?). How do you ride the electrical current of a storm, and how does that overcome the fact that you can only glide?
    My thinking was that with every surge of electricity, it boosts Emolga's ability (Motor Drive), allowing them to fly under their own power for brief duration's. I should have touched on this more, but what I was getting at with the storm was that it was the beginning of a hurricane and would be able to feed them with electricity for a long time. Hence why they were so far from land

    Huh. I think I've actually seen the movie being referenced in this chapter
    Sahara lol

    It's mentioned earlier that they rejected having the pokémon propel the plane with elemental attacks, but in the end the only difference is they're using wind-based moves rather than solarbeam or whatever they were considering earlier. They may not be able to capture a water type to swim them to shore, but they already *have* a powerful water-type (golduck), as well as other pokémon that are at least able to swim and could tow the plane (machoke)... or they could have simply had the flying-types do the towing in the first place, with or without the help of the swimmers.
    Well, I thought that using an energy based move that was that visible would be dangerous the closer they got to Unova in case of patrol boats or satellite imagery from Unova. To be honest, any of the other suggestions for movement you gave would have worked. They would have. The reason I chose to have them build a raft was based on two things. First, I feel like them creating a major maneuver like that was keeping with Dorian and Garrett's mindsets of not thinking things through. Secondly, if they built the raft and just had Vibrava or Shiftry powering the sail, it would be easier for them to get out of a situation if they had been detected. If they had more than one Pokemon, or even two out at a time, corralling them or returning them to their balls would take more time and draw more attention then I thought they would have if they were faced with a bad situation

    Having random guy happen to overhear them and decide to take them to the boss is a bit overly convenient. It would be better if there were some indication of what attracted him to the group in particular--why he was even hanging around them in the first place; it wouldn't be very lucrative for him to just grab anybody off the street who might be interested in some under-the-table dealings: he doesn't even know if they can pay for his boss' services, and if they can't, then it's a lot of time and hassle for everybody for him to drag them over to the boss' den only for them to all get shot. Alternatively, if there was something the boss wanted other than money--she needed some mules to smuggle something in, etc., some other service they could provide and which for some reason the boss didn't want to send one of her regular contacts to do, then it would make a bit more sense, since they would serve her purpose just fine whether or not they had any cash or other valuables. One thing and another, the whole affair doesn't seem right to me if I give it a good hard look. Far better if the group had actively been looking for someone to help them out and indicating that they had the wealth to back up their request, and the boss had gotten interested in them that way.
    You're actually completely right. The biggest thing that irked me with this chapter was exactly what you mentioned. I suppose if I had taken my time and really thought it out, I would have come to a conclusion on how to progress similar to what you mentioned. Which I think is one of my biggest problems. I tend to dive in to a situation without really thinking about it and sometimes I come up with stuff that just doesn't make sense. It's definitely one of my weaknesses and something that does need work. I appreciate you bringing it to my attention

    Similarly, the illusion bit is definitely cool, but I'm not sure what purpose it would actually serve in practice--if unpleasant customers showed up, the illusion will disorient them a bit, but as Shelton beating up one of the henchmen proves, it's not about to stop anybody competent and determined to cause harm. Why not just shove people in the cage straight off and have done with it, rather than go through the song and dance of letting them believe there is no cage to begin with?
    My biggest thought with that situation was that it would yeah, be cool. Not only that but I feel like Marissa's character is a bit theatrical and that's why she sets her little lair up that way lol

    Meaty...? A pokéball doesn't have a composition anything like meat, so I would expect it to make quite a different sound entirely upon being dropped.
    You're probably right. I fear the reason I used that word is probably because of my upbringing and my own mental vernacular. Basically what I was going for with that was describing that Dorian is so shocked about what just happened that the pokeball could sound a lot heavier than it actually was. That in his crazy mental state, sound is different and his mind isn't working right.

    Ah, now that's a nice line.

    Dorian perpetually running into problems with Alakazam being able to read his mind is cute. It must have been hard to remember that Alakazam is privy to that information and have him respond accordingly, but you pull it off with flair and great comedic timing.
    Thanks very much!

    Well, Dorian'd already pretty much figured that one out already, right? Makes this fall kinda flat as an end-of-section line.
    I feel like he was more on his way to figuring it out, but I get what you're saying

    A run-on sentence is one where you join two or more independent clauses--which could stand as sentences by themselves--with just a conjunction, like "and," "but," or "so." A conjunction isn't strong enough to tie together two complete sentences; it should always have a comma in front of it, so I've simply added commas to the sentences above.

    If you're trying to tell whether a sentence is a run-on or not, all you have to do is break it up at the conjunctions and see whether all the parts stand on their own. If so, then you need the commas. Otherwise not. Consider this sentence from above: "Garrett followed behind them and when he spoke, his tone was barely a whisper and he wouldn’t show them his face."

    You can break that into three separate sentences: "Garrett followed behind them. When he spoke, his tone was barely a whisper. He wouldn't show them his face." Because these sentences work fine on their own, you need to join them using a comma and the conjunction.

    On the other hand, consider the sentence "Dorian tried to find some kind of flaw in the Alakazam’s reasoning but was unable to summon anything coherent or logical." You can break that up into two parts: "Dorian tried to find some kind of flaw in the Alakazam's reasoning. Was unable to summon anything coherent or logical." Because the second part isn't a valid sentence, this sentence is fine as is--you don't need (or want) a comma in it.

    So you end up with a lot of run-ons because you tend to leave out the commas. However, sometimes you add a comma where it isn't needed instead:
    All great and much appreciated advice. I'm still learning as I go along and though I think I've improved somewhat from the beginning, I do realize I need more work. Thanks for bringing it to my attention and I will definitely make sure to keep your words in mind for future chapters

    However, Dorian's experience after the body-swap serves to remind me why, although I like to see Ethan around, I have difficulty taking him seriously as a villain. His powers are just so over-the-top ridiculous that they strike me as silly rather than terrifying. Pounding your hand on the ground in frustration and accidentally driving it two feet into the earth? Even the Hulk isn't that crazy-strong.

    There's generally a lot of this story that runs on rule of cool, but it can be hard to walk a line between "cool" and "absurd," and I do think you kind of fall off into over-the-top land now and again. With Ethan the issue is that he's simply so strong that evidently only exceedingly powerful psychics like Alakazam and the Wanderer can do anything to him, and even then little more than temporarily inconvenience him. As a result, it's mostly coincidence and the intervention of higher powers that's kept the good guys from getting turned into so many little bloody smears, which is a bit unsatisfying--it would be nice to see them actually succeed on their own initiative, and at this point the power disparity is so great that it's hard to see how you would accomplish that in a satisfying way. And, generally speaking, if Ethan has that much power I can't take him all that seriously given that he hasn't annexed a couple regions and otherwise become an absolute terror to the world at large. No wonder the kings are looking for another prodigy, dude, you're kind of bad at this supervillain thing.
    Thanks for your opinion on that. While I do agree that you have some good points, I think this is something I'm going to stick with. And I do believe the Hulk has that kind of power lol. If you look at it though, is it really so unbelievable that he has that much power? If you ever read back towards the previous chapters, you'll see a little more of where his powers come from. When he takes on Uxie for example, the voices seize control of his body, and they hint that though Uxie is a legendary and made by Arceus, they are not a part of him, implying that the powers the six kings have is a part of Arceus. Now, when you look at it that way, it doesn't seem to be too much of a stretch that his powers are too strong if they're part of a literal god. Another portion of a chapter shows that when he strikes Dorian, his fists bounce off his Pokeflect, which implies that his power may be Pokemon of Pokemon origin. That's basically what I'm getting at with his powers. I really appreciate your opinion on it though

    It looks like this 'fic is working up to a high point, and I'm interested to see where it goes. Hope you're enjoying the ride, and best of luck with your writing!
    Thanks for all your help. You made a multitude of good points and I feel like I learned quite a bit. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by The Meddler
    Opening: The opening was well done, it was humorous and provided a good snapshot of the characters in their everyday lives. The characters were easily relatable and seamed realistic. Without them explicitly stating it, one could easily tell that they were siblings. The opening also made me want to read onwards though some of the shifts from silly to serious were jarring, though I'll get to that later.
    Thanks very much! One of the things I've worked hardest on is trying to make Dorian and Shelton's relationship as organic and real as possible. I'm glad you picked up on it

    The most particular scene is the highway race that segwayed into the battle with Ethan. Despite the jarring tonal shift from a goofy fun race to snapping pokemon's necks, it was still an adrenaline-fueled rush with every word hanging on a thread. Are they gonna get hit by Salamence's attacks? Are they gonna hit a car? It was all intense and the actual battle with the insanely over-the-top and malicious was the boiling point. I learned after Ledian's death that anything goes with this guy and I didn't know what could happen. Once one pokemon dies, all the stops are pulled out and no one's safe.
    That is a huge compliment and I thank you for it. This chapter was one of the hardest for me to write because of the highway. I knew from the beginning that I wanted them to be there, but when you're dealing with obstacles like speeding cars while you're also speeding along, it gets complicated. I went through several versions of it before I settled on this one. I'm glad you liked it

    Ethan's cliched evil villain talk is a small blemish, but otherwise the entirety of the chapter was great and very well-written despite its length.
    That's something I've actually been trying to train myself on recently. Thanks for bringing it up

    I appreciate the review bud. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Knightfall
    After the last chapter, I expected we would see Dorian’s reaction to Shelton’s disappearance, but even if I expected the scene, you still wrote it excellently. I cannot say enough how much I love Dorian and Shelton’s interactions. You are really able to dig down and bring out their raw emotions when you need to, and it’s that aspect that I truly enjoy reading
    Thanks buddy, that made me feel really good. I appreciate the compliment

    But I did not expect you to bring things to a head so quickly. I’m talking about Dorian and Garrett encountering Alakazam right out the gate. Now, granted, I think their meeting is well-timed with Shelton’s ordeal and their “fight” and argument are wonderfully done, but it does seem rather quick to have it happen
    You know, no one else has brought that to my attention and seeing as how Alakazam was so close to them, it seems to me like it was justified for them to come together so quickly. However, I do see what you're getting at and I appreciate you bringing it to my attention. To be honest, it may have actually worked out a little better if they had scrambled around not knowing what happened for a bit longer before Alakazam pops up. Good advice bud

    And now, you have them working together in an extremely unstable alliance. People say that I’m cruel to my characters, but I’ve got nothing on you, dear sir.
    Hah! You have no idea how mean I'm eventually going to be to all of them haha

    In speaking of complete mindscrew and torture, we’ve got Shelton. Now, I’m still trying to wrap my head around what you did here. I haven’t the foggiest idea on what your ultimate goal with swapping their bodies is. You have a mysterious Gardevoir organizing this whole thing, the kings are apparently approving of this, and Ethan is suddenly cast aside like chopped liver. It’s all a mess in my head, trying to keep track of it, but I’ll go through with it.
    It also makes me wonder just why Shelton was chosen. I mean, you can argue that they needed someone new to replace Ethan after his many failures, but why Shelton? I’m curious as to why the kings decided on her and why she is so special to them...
    If you remember back when Ethan failed at killing them outside the airport, there was a small scene where The Voices discussed putting Shelton in his body because of how he keeps failing to kill them. Now, when you look at how much Shelton respects power and how driven she can be sometimes, it makes me think she would be a prime candidate for helping the six kings. Especially seeing how persuasive they can be. Dig?

    Now, there’s not much to say on the scene where Alakazam and the others search for Shelton and Ethan, but I do want to point out that I still love Alakazam’s character. Despite working with Ethan during all of his crimes, you paint him in a way to show that he is not evil. I seriously love his character, and it’s amusing to me when he talks into Dorian’s head.

    So now they’ve found Ethan. Murderous desires aside, I can’t imagine how awkward this is for all involved. I mean, it just is.
    I appreciate that buddy. I've tried really hard to make him as true to himself as he can be. and yeah, I feel like Dorian's antics with Alakazam in his mind kinda mirror how I would react in the situation lol

    If I have any qualms about the chapter, it’s how relatively quickly everyone found each other. I mean, the initial problem at the beginning of the chapter was solved. Dorian found Shelton (in Ethan’s body) and Alakazam found Ethan (in Shelton’s body). Granted there’s a literal ton of other problems that have manifested now that they are reunited, but the original ones are fixed. Perhaps it’s just me, but I just think that the issue of them all being separated was solved quickly.
    I'm starting to think the same thing. Halfway through responding to these reviews, I went back and read the chapter and it does seem like it happened to quickly. I think I'm going to keep it the way it is but much like Negrek did above, I appreciate you bringing pacing to my attention. No doubt its important and pacing is definitely something that you've proven that you're good at. I'll definitely keep that in mind for future chapters. Thanks!

    This mysterious Wanderer vs Alakazam. I expect to see some exciting stuff next chapter with their battle, but I also hope that there’s some opportunity for some interactions between the others in the group and the two misplaced ones. Again, I’m still rather puzzled on where this plot thread will go, but I’m certain you’ve got an epic plan in store for all your readers.
    I think you're going to be pleasantly excited for the battle that takes place. Not to toot my own horn but I've been working hard on it.

    Sidewinder, it’s getting hard for me to find new words to praise your work with, buddy. And even harder still to find criticisms about it. Keep up the great work, man! Sorry it took me so long to review.
    That really means a lot coming from you man, thanks!

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

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


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

  10. #210
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    Rated R for language

    Chapter 29

    The battle between the Gardevoir and Alakazam began with light.

    As Dorian watched in motionless terror, a beam of lilac energy shot forward from Alakazam’s forehead and raced towards the seemingly oblivious Gardevoir. Halfway to its target, the beam split into dozens of smaller beams, arching in random paths towards the other psychic. Some traced a route along the ground, others zigzagged through the air, but they all seemed to be winding towards the same point. Just before they reached the Gardevoir’s smiling face, she waved her arm.

    An equal amount of scarlet beams exploded outwards from the horn in her chest. The beams found their purple counterparts and dissolved them; shooting through their glittering remains and racing towards Alakazam faster than Dorian could follow. A loud metallic screech shook the ground as the beams hit a flat pane of iridescent psychic energy Alakazam had conjured to protect himself. The beams grew in intensity and size, forcing Alakazam down to his knees as he struggled to maintain the shield. The screeching grew louder with each passing second and the psychic shield began to flash white.

    Dorian flicked his eyes back to the left and saw that the Gardevoir had both her arms pointed straight forward. Her eyes were glowing pools of scarlet energy that burned so dark, they verged on black. He shifted his eyes backwards just in time to see Alakazam snarl and slash through his shield with his wiry arms. The shield exploded into wisps of formless energy as Alakazam dove to the side. The beams that had been pushing against his shield missed him by inches and continued forward. They plowed into the ground, carving foot deep ruts into the dirt and leveled an oak tree in an explosion of burgundy energy.

    “Kazam!” Alakazam shouted, tossing two curved silver spoons into the air.

    Dorian wondered despite the situation as to where the spoons had come from. Did Ethan’s Pokemon have some sort of fleshy pockets that he didn’t know about? Mentally kicking himself for his accursed attention span, Dorian turned his focus back to the battle.

    Alakazam was chanting his name in a slow and steady beat like some sort of rhythmic tribal singer while his two spoons spun quickly in front of him. The spoons acted like a sort of reflecting shield, channeling the blasts of energy launched at him back to their source. Dorian marveled as the Gardevoir simply swung her arms and dissolved the spheres and beams of energy; she did it slowly, as if it was no different than, well, waving her arms. There was no way Alakazam was going to win this. There was just no possible way. Dorian could see how powerful her attacks were, hell he could feel the energy discharge as they ignited and detonated; and she just waved them off like they were nothing.

    Alakazam had obviously come to the same conclusion as Dorian because he suddenly switched tactics. He ran forward, dodging the beams of energy launched at him while simultaneously summoning an orb of glowing white and black in his left hand. Alakazam dropped backwards as another beam sliced towards him, and threw the ball as his back touched the ground. The energy within the ball spun as it zipped forward, phasing through other streams of energy like a ghost. Just before it reached the Gardevoir however, it slowed to a halt and exploded.

    His vision went white but it didn’t clear after a moment as he expected. Rather, when he opened his eyes again he saw that he hadn’t been blinded; everything had literally just gone white. They were all still standing in place where they had been a moment ago, including the two fighting psychics, but everything was different. There was no sky or ground, no trees or clouds, just an empty white void. Something flickered light green for a split second behind the Gardevoir, but it was swallowed immediately again by the solid expanse of white nothingness.

    Were they all being hypnotized? Was this one of Gardevoir’s tricks, or Alakazam’s?

    Have you met my companion?” Alakazam questioned, gesturing to his right.

    The Gardevoir turned in time to see a massive Pokemon materialize out of the nothingness and bound forward. Even though he had only seen pictures of the legendary Pokemon from amateur photos and crudely drawn pictures of people who survived an encounter, Dorian had no trouble recognizing the undisputed land lord of fire. Entei.

    The Pokemon’s long wavy fur shone chestnut as it sprinted forward, its paws the size of manhole covers. The legendary Pokemon had what appeared to be black shackles clamped around each of its four legs, and they glistened oily in the bright white that surrounded it. The Entei skidded to a stop a few feet from the Gardevoir and roared. The sound cut through Dorian like a knife. It vibrated his body and for a moment he was grateful he was being held up by Gardevoir’s psychic power or he otherwise might of collapsed. The call was ferocious, primal, and it gushed pure power.

    Dorian looked back towards the Gardevoir and saw her take a step back in fear, her arms trembling slightly. He looked back and saw Entei draw in a breath. An orb of energy gathered beneath its shining fangs, causing the russet and gold fur around its mouth to flare with color. The attack came in a flash. A torrent of flickering flame that expanded in size as it closed in; it was the very embodiment of heat and chaos. To Dorian’s surprise, the Gardevoir didn’t even move to defend herself. She smiled and lowered her arms, letting the flames wash over her like a cool breeze.

    A valiant effort, youngling,” the Gardevoir chided. Turning her attention back to the roaring Entei, she winked. The Pokemon dissolved into a globule of red energy and then winked out of existence. “Allow me to respond in kind.”

    Dorian’s vision shifted again and he gasped. Suddenly, they were all standing on a carefully manicured lawn. A fountain gurgled nearby within the midst of meticulously squared beds of roses. Flicking his eyes to the right, Dorian observed an enormous mansion. It was made of brilliant red brick and accented by many windows all adorned with white shutters. He looked back towards Alakazam and saw two figures sitting cross-legged between him and the Gardevoir. Dorian gasped.

    Laughing merrily was the teenaged Ethan. His face was unmistakable even though this version of him was easily twenty years younger. He was ganglier than he was now, all knees and elbows with a shaggy mass of black hair. Sitting across from him, telekinetically rotating marbles was an Abra. Was this a memory? Dorian had known from the moment that Alakazam had summoned Entei that it was a fake. A convincing fake, but a fake nonetheless. The two psychics were fighting each other through the expanse of each other’s minds now. As much as Dorian hated to admit it, Dorian kept forgetting that what was in front of him wasn’t real.

    He smelled the delicate scent of the roses. He felt the grass bending under his motionless feet. He inhaled the air that was laced with the sweet smell of honeysuckle. From the way he saw Alakazam sink to his knees across from him, it was obvious that he believed the illusion as well. The Gardevoir walked forward. As Dorian watched she came up behind Ethan and smiled down at him. Both younger Ethan and Abra went on laughing and blabbing as if nothing was amiss. The Gardevoir smiled broadly and pulled both arms behind her head. A wood handled axe appeared in her arms and Dorian dimly wondered how she was able to hold it without hands right before she swung it down.

    The axe bit into Ethan’s flesh between his neck and left shoulder and sliced downwards all the way to his collarbone. Alakazam suddenly screamed in pain and Dorian turned his eyes back towards him to see Ethan’s injury mirrored in his furred torso. Blood sprayed in graceful arcs as he fell to his back, the Gardevoir laughing all the while. The psychic illusion they were in fell apart in panes of white energy and Dorian was back to floating in place back where they started. Despite the Gardevoir’s obvious psychic prowess, he could tell that they were back in the real, real world.

    You’ve grown,” the Gardevoir said, extending her right arm forward. “Not enough of course, but admirable nonetheless.”

    At her arm’s suggestion, Alakazam rose from the grass and floated upright towards the other psychic. Rivulets of blood trickled to the ground as he drifted forward, filling Dorian with a sadness that he hadn’t felt since he had first seen Ronnie’s body. They were dead. It was over. The Gardevoir was too strong for Alakazam and all hope of living had been dashed with the wound that Gardevoir had dealt. The reality of facing his own mortality didn’t trouble Dorian as much as he always thought it would. It wasn’t calming, or welcome, but it was acceptable. He knew he had been close to dying several times when he and Shelton had started this insane quest for vengeance, but it was never as assured like it was now.

    As Alakazam came to a halt inches from the Gardevoir, she spoke again. “What did you hope to achieve? The will of the six kings will not be denied. They will rise, just as you now fall.”

    Dorian could see how much pain Alakazam was in from the way his body was shivering. Despite the hopelessness of the situation however, his heart leapt as Alakazam raised his right hand above his head. Alakzam glared straight down into the Gardevoir’s eyes, and for a brief moment time stopped as they drank in the other. Alakazam closed his hand into a fist and orange light enveloped the meadow.


    *******


    Vibrava knew that Dorian was going to be angry with him.

    He had searched for the Garrett as Dorian had instructed, but after only a few minutes had seen Garrett streaking towards where Dorian and Shelton were. Satisfied that he had fulfilled his goal without actually having a hand in it, Vibrava had started to turn back when he saw her.

    She was so beautiful. She glittered green and pale yellow as she drifted lazily through the sky. Even from a quarter of a mile away he could see the fire behind her ruby goggles of eyes. Her tail was so long and thick, and swished through the air without a care. Vibrava had excitedly hurried forward. This was the first time he had seen his next evolution in the flesh. Dorian had shown him pictures when he had been a Trapinch but it in no way measured up to the grace and fluidity that this Pokemon possessed. With her shiny ivory claws and cherry accented wings, she was a god of the air. He had never seen anything that even came close to her level of majesty.

    She had been unimpressed by his barrel-rolls and corkscrews as he rose to meet her. She had even begun drifting east away from him as he tried to impress her with his dragonfire. The Flygon had only responded to his advances as he drifted close enough to touch her. She had snarled and slashed, dove and dipped. Vibrava feigned obliviousness at first, but as her slashes actually cut his flesh he had been forced to defend himself by spiraling away.

    He had looked over his shoulder as he winged back towards Dorian and saw that she wasn’t even looking at him. The sight of her turned back filled him with a sadness he had never experienced before. Wasn’t he good enough to even warrant her attention? He knew that he was only recently evolved but his tail was large and his wings were broad. Why wasn’t that enough? He had only wanted to express his admiration after all. There wasn’t any harm that could come from that.

    As he dejectedly approached the clearing where he had left Dorian, a voice spoke to his mind.

    We’re not there,” the voice said. “Press yourself deep into the woods and wait. Your master’s life will depend on it.”

    Vibrava recognized Ethan’s Alakazam midway through the order and anger flashed through him at the threat on his master’s life. But it evaporated instantly as he realized that the psychic type wasn’t threatening Dorian, he was warning him. Tucking himself low and avoiding the urge to trumpet, Vibrava dove downwards. He flared his wings as he reached the ground and hovered, his wings flapping silently. He followed the Alakazam’s mental instructions through the trees and clearings. He passed no Pokemon or humans, but felt a growing unease within himself as the Alakazam’s voice grew in intensity. As he saw the trees thinning ahead of him, he dropped to the ground and crawled slowly forward.

    The sight before him was utterly befuddling. Ethan’s Alakazam was battling a scarred and deformed Gardevoir, and it was obvious from the intensity of the fight that Alakazam was fighting for his life. After he migrated past the initial awe of energy discharge between the two psychics, he noticed Dorian, along with Garrett and Shelton standing prone at the edge of their web of power. He began to gather himself for an assault when the Alakazam spoke to him again. His voice was soft and Vibrava went past his natural instincts and listened.

    I know this is difficult for you, but if you want any of us to survive you’ll stay hidden. I don’t wish your master harm. Give me an affirmation, please…

    Knowing that the psychic would hear his reply with his mind, Vibrava mentally said his name in affirmation.

    Thank you, now, this is what I need from you. Picture your thoughts, your body, your entire being as nothingness. No color, no form, no purpose. Can you do that for me?

    Vibrava tried as hard as he could through the heat of the explosions decimating the clearing to do as the Alakazam instructed. He tried so hard it hurt. The thought of something happening to Dorian terrified him further than words could ever explain. He thought he was doing well for a few moments, but his concentration slipped for a split second and his thoughts drifted back to what was happening in front of him. He refocused himself instantly but he thought he saw Dorian look his way. Then the battle stopped, in a way.

    The two psychics stopped throwing energy attacks at each other and simply stared each other down. Vibrava could see sweat breaking out across the Alakazam’s brow, and a moment later he saw the Gardevoir shrudder, but nothing seemed to be happening. Vibrava gathered himself again to attack when suddenly Alakazam reeled back. Blood squirted from a wound in his shoulder that had randomly appeared without action from the Gardevoir. Vibrava didn’t know how this was possible but he lost his focus again and began calculating his odds of sneaking up behind the Gardevoir without being noticed.

    Wait,” the Alakazam said to his mind. There was urgency in the psychic’s voice, and Vibrava begrudgingly decided to acquiesce.

    As Vibrava watched, the Gardevoir motioned with its right arm and Alakazam floated upright and forward. As Alakazam drifted forward, Vibrava felt himself shaking in fear. What could he do? He had wasted time listening to the Alakazam against his better judgment and now he was in even more of an impossible situation. When Ethan’s Pokemon was still mobile at least he had an ally to fight the Gardevoir. Now what was he supposed to do?

    His answer came quickly. The Alakazam lifted his right arm and clenched his fist tight. He spoke a single word that breathed power into Vibrava’s body.

    Flame.”


    ********


    The light puzzled Dorian for a split second before he saw its source.

    Vibrava had leapt from the tree line with wings beating furiously and tail pointed forward. From his mouth was issuing the most powerful dragonbreath attack he had ever seen. It wasn’t so much a spray of blue tinged fire as it was a whirlwind of throbbing destruction. The Gardevoir turned in slow-motion and screamed. The scream came not from her mind as Dorian expected, but from her own vocal chords. It was shrill and terrified, cutting through the chilly air like a trumpet of aimless fear

    The torrent of fire almost reached the Gardevoir when Alakazam dropped from her mental hold and swung his hand in a wide arc. The flame changed course and swept itself into a sphere that enveloped the screaming psychic. Dorian’s mind surged against his bound body, cheering Alakazam on. The fire whipped faster and faster as the screaming grew louder. Looking forward he saw that Vibrava was still feeding the growing orb of dragonfire as it expanded in size. The light grew so intense that Dorian’s eyes struggled to adjust to the barrage of pulsating colors.

    No!” Gardevoir exclaimed.

    A sudden wave of scarlet energy expanded outward from the whirlwind of flames. The blast struck Vibrava and sent him crashing back through the forest. The glowing wall struck Alakazam and he flipped backwards, rolling across the ground like a dervish. The wave of energy raced backwards, surrounding the raging firestorm and lifting it up and away from the Gardevoir. The formidable psychic raised both her arms and tossed the flames up into the air where it dissipated into a halo of orange brilliance.

    Dorian turned his eyes back down in time to see the Gardevoir swing her head back just as Alakazam rolled to his feet. Alakazam roared his name and sliced upwards with his left hand from ground to sky. A brilliant purple blade of energy shot forward faster than Dorian could follow and passed through the center of Gardevoir’s body. The pressure that had been holding Dorian upright vanished and he shakily fell back to his feet. He turned his head to the side and saw that everyone else had likewise been released from the psychic’s mental hold.

    Imagine that,” the Gardevoir giggled.

    As Dorian’s eyes focused on the disfigured psychic, he saw a gash open up in the middle of the Pokemon’s face. The Gardevoir split apart vertically from head to toe in a spray of blood and sloshing organs. The Wanderer’s remains splashed to the ground with a squelch just as Dorian fell to his knees.

    “Holy shit,” Garrett spoke quietly to his left.

    Dorian rose and took a step forward, looking back towards Alakazam. The psychic’s laceration was still open and bleeding fiercely. Alakazam shook his head and breathed rapidly in and out. Knowing what was coming, Dorian jumped forward and caught the trembling psychic just as he began to stagger backwards. The Pokemon was lighter than he expected, and his furred body was scorching hot.

    Don’t touch me, human!” Alakazam hissed, feebly trying to jerk away.

    “I only felt the need to step in because you were about to fall on your ass,” Dorian explained, gently lying him down in the grass.

    You have muscle foam in your bag, yes?” Alakazam asked. “I require it.

    “Right,” Dorian said, kicking himself for not thinking of that sooner.

    As he rose back to his feet and began to search for his pack, Dorian questioned as to whether he should even bother. The Alakazam would probably bleed out from the wound combined with the shock and exhaustion from the battle anyway. Then he remembered why he had to bother with the psychic. Shelton. She was in front of him, still in Ethan’s body. She seemed to be completely unaware of what was happening. Tears wet her cheeks as she stared at the ground. Her shoulders heaved slightly as he watched.

    “Die,” a voice spoke venomously.

    Looking over he saw Shelton’s body likewise on her knees. Ethan was wearing a cold and knowing smirk as he gazed with Shelton’s eyes towards Alakazam. He seemed to be rocking back and forth, hands tearing out small clumps of grass.

    “How about you do me a favor and shut the fuck up?” Dorian asked as he pulled his pack from the ground.

    “Die,” Ethan repeated, disgustingly tracing the shape of Shelton’s mouth with her tongue.

    As Dorian passed Garrett, who was staring at Ethan with a mix of what seemed to be revulsion and hate, he spoke again.

    “Do me a favor and watch my sister.”

    “Uh, your sister, or Ethan?”

    “I, well, watch Ethan more, but watch Shelton too.”

    “Why didn’t you just say that?”

    “I did!” Dorian said, throwing up his hands in exasperation.

    He plopped back to the ground and began rifling through his bag. A quick glance up and he saw that Alakazam looked like he had a bit more color flowing into his cheeks. He found the bottle he was looking for and pulled the six inch clear tube from the top of it. The muscle foam was always something that had piqued Dorian’s interest and he chided himself for always forgetting to look up the specifics. His basic understanding of the product consisted on what was on the label of the bottle. Basically, it was filled with organic foam for use only with mammalian Pokemon. The foam was synthesized from similarly hair bearing Pokemon and acted as a cauterizing agent for deep lacerations. It filled the split flesh and hardened, acting as part cast, and part treatment, as the nutrient rich foam promoted healthy cellular growth that aided in the natural healing process.

    I know you are going to tell me that this is going to hurt, but save your words. Just do it.”

    Dorian did as instructed and forced the tube as deep as he could into the Pokemon’s wound. The ground shook slightly as Alakazam bared his teeth in pain. Taking a breath, he pushed the button at the top of the can. Alakazam’s scream of pain was like a knife driven straight into his ear. As he watched, the psychic’s type’s wound gushed with yellow-pink foam that flashed hardened as it met the air. Dorian yanked the tube out and scooted backward a few inches. Alakazam took a deep, steadying breath and moved his arm. The foam moved with his musculature and Dorian noticed that the tremors racking his body had stopped.

    Thank you,” Alakazam said softly.

    “Thank you,” Dorian responded. “You good?”

    I am fine.”

    Satisfied, Dorian rose to his feet and shouldered his pack. Looking back towards the rest of his party he saw that Garrett had released his Vileplume, which was pinning Ethan face down in the dirt. Garrett gave him a sheepish shrug as he approached.

    “I know it’s your sister’s body, but I figured just in case,” he explained.

    “Good call. Keep a hold of shit while I check on my Vibrava.”

    Dorian started jogging towards where his dragon had been thrown without waiting for his affirmation. The spot was easy to find. A whole fifteen foot section of the tree line had been demolished when Vibrava had been blasted backwards. He carefully stepped over sharp shards of tree trunks as he made his way forward, finding his dragon lying prone on his back. Dorian’s heart rate spiked but quickly fell back to his normal rhythm as Vibrava started speaking.

    “Bravvaaaaaa, Vibrava brava, brava,” it accused.

    Dorian placed a leg on each side of his Pokemon’s yellow torso and leaned down. “Yeah I helped him first. He’s more injured than you are, smartass.”

    “Bravaa Vibrava brav.”

    “I know that, but without his help we’d probably all be dead. But I’m sorry, okay?”

    “Vibrava, bravaaa.”

    “Yeah well, I know you were essential too, but she did drop you like a bad habit when you popped up.”

    Vibrava snorted in indignance, small puffs of smoke issuing from his nostrils. The dragon rolled over to his side and snaked his head up to rub against Dorian’s shoulder. He scratched Vibrava hard under his jaw and pulled him close.

    “Yeah, I’m glad you’re okay too, buddy.”

    “Bravvaaa?”

    “You’re right,” Dorian sighed. “Let’s go figure this shit out.”

    With Vibrava buzzing along at chest level behind him, Dorian started back towards their group. It was immediately apparent that an argument was going on. He couldn’t hear what was being said, but he saw Alakazam angrily pointing at Vileplume, and Garrett reaching for his gun. Dorian tripled his pace just as a beam of energy lanced out from Alakazam’s hand and shoved Vileplume off of Shelton’s body. Vileplume’s body glowed as she rolled to her feet and furiously growled her name.

    “Touch my fucking Pokemon again,” Garrett spat as he leveled a gun at Alakazam. “Go ahead and do it you piece of shit! I fucking dare you!”

    If you had been paying attention, you would have noticed that I did not touch her,” Alakazam admonished, his eyes beginning to shine.

    “Are you being a wise ass?” Garrett said as he tightened his grip on the gun. “Just try me motherfucker!”

    “All of you fucking stop!” Dorian commanded as he arrived at their confrontation. He turned his focus to Alakazam. “What the fuck are you trying to do?”

    I am trying to make sure that Ethan is secured. This plant thinks that it can dictate my actions, and it is sorely mistaken.”

    “Plume!” Vileplume roared.

    “Stop!” Dorian screamed. “This is bullshit! We have bigger things to worry about! Everyone just fucking stop!”

    “Traitorous filth!” Ethan screeched with Shelton’s voice.

    “And you really need to shut the fuck up!” Dorian spat. He almost dove forward and tackled the murderer but the fact that he was occupying his sister’s body stopped him flat. He had never been this close to Ethan without trying to stab him, and being this close now without being able to act infuriated him beyond words.

    I was merely suggesting that she or I put Ethan to sleep,” Alakazam growled.

    Dorian didn’t think it was a bad suggestion at all. It was immensely better than having to watch Ethan squirm around in his sister’s body. It might even reign in his need to stab anything.

    “Sounds reasonable to me. Garrett?”

    His blond companion waited a full minute before responding, then turned to his Pokemon and spoke. “Sleep powder.”

    Vileplume grunted angrily and lowered her head. The Pokemon shook her head back and forth quickly, a bluish-green powder issuing from the bloom attached to her head. The powder drifted forward and enveloped Ethan, who unwillingly inhaled and fell facedown to the ground.

    “Well that settles that. We good?” Dorian asked.

    For now,” Alakazam retorted.

    Dorian knew what would come next was going to painful. Emotionally, hell, physically. It was going to be nauseatingly awful. But Dorian approached Ethan’s body because he know he should. Shelton was still staring at the ground as he approached. As he knelt down next to her, she didn’t react at all. Being this close to Ethan’s face made him feel extremely stabby, but he fought through it for his sister. He leaned in front of her but she didn’t react. Dorian snapped his fingers and her eyes shot up to look at him. At first she acted as if she didn’t recognize him. Then he saw her face change, his face change, and Ethan’s body leaned forward to grasp him tightly.

    “Do-Dorian,” Shelton sobbed, tears wetting his shoulder as sobs racked her body.

    The feeling of Ethan against his chest, his muscles, his clothes, his smell, it hurt. He grasped his sister despite his feeling of anger and felt his eyes begin to water. He was holding him, well not him, he was holding his sister but it was still Ethan. It was still him. What the fuck was going on? Obviously this was his own fault; there was no one else to possibly blame. But as Shelton gripped him tighter he mirrored the action, his stomach churning as he fought the urge to pull away.

    Looking for a quick way out and for a way to quell Shelton’s hysterical sobbing, Dorian looked up to Garrett and nodded. Garrett directed his grass type closer and Dorian held his breath as a fog of blue powder washed over them. He begrudgingly laid Ethan’s body down gently to the grass and sprinted away towards the air that was free of the sleep inducing powder. When he thought he was far enough he breathed deeply and turned back towards Garrett and Alakazam.

    “Now what?”

    Alakazam lowered himself to the ground and crossed his legs in front of him. “I’m going to switch their minds back.”

    “I thought you said that anyone who tried that died, along with the people getting switched,” Garrett reminded him.

    I did, it seems however that we have no alternative.”

    Bullshit we don’t,” Dorian said as he took a step closer. “We’re not doing anything that’ll hurt my sister, and that’s final.”

    “Bravvaa,” his dragon added.

    Would you prefer she remains entombed in Ethan’s body for the rest of her life? It will prolong her suffering for a very long time, especially since his invulnerability will assure that she has an abnormally long life. Perhaps even an immortal one.”

    “What do you mean, her suffering?”

    Before she was put to sleep I looked inside her thoughts. She’s so deeply immersed in sadness and self-revulsion that I was surprised she hadn’t already passed into catatonia. Her mind is beginning to fracture under the strain of the situation. I have no idea how much longer she’ll last before she completely detaches herself from reality.”

    Dorian had sensed the same thing from the way she had trembled in his arms, and as much as he wanted to argue his point further, he couldn’t figure out anything worthwhile of a rebuttal. “How will you do it?”

    I could try to explain it to you but you wouldn’t understand. Not only would it be hard to put into words, but the intricacies of mental continuity and states of being are so far above your understanding that it would take days for me to enlighten you.”

    “That sounds like a left handed insult,” Garrett said.

    It’s not,” Alakazam responded flatly. “Dorian, I’ll need your Spoink to assist me.

    “Okay,” Dorian said dryly. “I’ll just bring her out and ask for help. I’m sure she’ll be happy to.”

    That is sarcasm.”

    “Yeah it’s fucking sarcasm. Spoink hates me; she’s not going to do anything I tell her.”

    Just release her and I’ll make sure she listens to reason.”

    Dorian rolled his eyes and pulled out his psychic’s ball. As Spoink formed she immediately turned away from him, as was quickly becoming a regular emergence custom. She bobbed up and down as a flurry or words passed between her and Alakazam. After a lot of miming and nodding, Spoink took a sizeable bounce forward and landed in front of him. His psychic glared at him as usual, then turned to Alakazam and raised her eyebrows. Something seemed to be passing between them from the way the small psychic bounced faster and slower. After a full minute, Dorian’s Pokemon turned back to him and spoke her name loudly.

    “Care to help me out?” Dorian asked.

    She said that she won’t risk her life for Shelton, and especially not for you,” Alakazam responded.

    “Well that’s a shocker,” Dorian spat as he gazed down at the Spoink. “Apparently he needs your help. I’m asking you nicely, will you please help me out?”

    “Spoink, oink Spoink!”

    “I’ve never asked you to do anything for me, but I’m asking now. Please?”

    “Spo! Oink!”

    A flash of inspiration struck him and he lowered his voice theatrically. “If you help me, I’ll release you. No joke. I’ll let you go.”

    The Spoink slowed his bounce to a lazy bob and considered. Dorian could almost see the wheels in her head turning; weighing his promise, perhaps even probing his mind to see if he was telling the truth. Dorian knew she probably thought he was lying but he wasn’t. At this point he welcomed the chance to be rid of her. Despite his best efforts to be friendly to her, she had rejected his every olive branch. She hated him for whatever reason she deemed valid and it was obvious she wasn’t going to change.

    “Spoink?” she asked with a grunt.

    Dorian had picked up on enough of her speech to realize that she was asking a question, so he nodded, hoping that it wouldn’t prove to bite him in the ass. He watched his Spoink narrow her eyes and take a bounce closer to him. For a second he cursed himself for holding on to hope, but then she spoke to him. With her mind, in fucking English.

    I will hold you to your word,” she said softly. Her voice was surprisingly smooth, like well oiled leather.

    “Have you seriously been able to talk this entire time?” Dorian asked. Spoink didn’t respond and even turned away from him as if to emphasize her point. “Just so you know, you’re an asshole.”

    Dorian turned his attention back to Alakazam. “I still don’t know if this is a good enough idea. Maybe we could wait a few days to find some more psychics to help?”

    No,” Alakazam said softly yet firmly. “We will do this now. For your sister’s sake, as well as Ethan’s.

    “Well personally,” Garrett started, resting an elbow on his Vileplume. “I could really give a shit if Ethan makes it through. Just in case anyone wanted to hear my opinion.”

    No one does, human,” Alakazam said with a glow from his eyes.

    “Garrett, really?!” Dorian asked. “Can you just fucking chill for awhile. It’s my sister, okay?”

    Garrett glared back at Alakazam for a moment before taking a breath and dejectedly waving his hand in a shooing gesture to Dorian. Just as Dorian was forming a new argument, he realized how futile it would be. He really believed now that Alakazam meant them no harm. Dorian knew that he had touched on Shelton’s mental condition in order to bait him into letting him try to switch them. He had seen that immediately, and it was fine. What was slightly frustrating and amusing to Dorian was that everything Alakazam had said about his sister and her mental deterioration was said while he was looking at her body. Had he been looking at Dorian, or even at Ethan’s body as he spoke, he would have thought that Alakazam really spoke out of concern for Shelton, and while he thought he might, he knew that the words he was speaking were more out of concern for Ethan.

    “Do it,” Dorian said.


    *******


    Alakazam reached out with his hands and connected Ethan and Shelton’s minds with two lilac beams of energy. They fizzled and crackled as he shaped them into tubes. As he worked, he nodded to Spoink, who reached out with her mind and helped caress the beams of energy into the shape that Alakazam wanted. Sweat began to break out across his brow as he plucked away random hairs of psychic energy that struggled to escape. The beams of energy suddenly flared brightly as they reached the perfect cylindrical shape that he wanted. Taking a breath to steady himself for what came next, Alakazam let go of his streamlined thoughts and allowed his consciousness to be sucked into the two vibrating beams.

    He blinked once, twice, and then involuntarily cocked his head sideways in confusion.

    He was still in the small meadow, and Ethan and Shelton were still in front of them, but they were now awake, and sitting in two very different pieces of furniture. Shelton was seated in what he could only describe as a monstrous throne of black metal. The back, seat, and arms of the throne were ornately and rigidly carved, all straight lines and right angles. The rest of the throne was made of lumps of the same material accented by wickedly sharp points. She was smoking a cigarette and gazing at Ethan with a mix of hostility and acceptance.

    Ethan was seated on something not near as grandiose. It was a simple but shockingly purple couch. It was frayed along the runner board and the cushions sagged a bit in a charming sort of way. Ethan was likewise staring at Shelton, though his gaze was unmistakably hateful and intense. As Alakazam walked forward, he noticed that Ethan wasn’t even blinking; his crisp green eyes were focused directly ahead. The two of them didn’t even look like they were breathing.

    Alakazam reviewed what he knew about consciousness transfer attempts but realized that what he knew didn’t apply. It did in a sense when it came to the action, but not when it came to what he wanted to do. The main hazard of mental transfer revolved around the fact that an individual’s mind wanted to stay with the person to which it belonged. When it was attempted you were trying to wrestle something into submission that fought with everything it had to resist you. Trying to bring one under your control was challenging enough, but juggling two was neigh impossible. This is where he thought he had an advantage though. He wasn’t trying to put a mind where it didn’t belong but rather return it to where it did belong.

    How to start though? Telekinesis was his first choice but would it work on something incorporeal? Alakazam was inside their minds and he wasn’t sure that it would apply, or even how to attempt it. Usually when he moved something with his thoughts, he visualized moving said object with a monstrous mental hand, and that effort proved enough. But would that work on two people who were for lack of a better word, real? Perhaps that was the wrong way of thinking though. He knew they were real but they weren’t physically real in the space that he was in; but they were, they were right in front of him. Mentally they were, but was mentally different than physical when he was dealing with both their mental state and their physical state?

    Throughout his internal debate on how to proceed, Shelton and Ethan continued to stare at each other without notice of him. He arrived at the conclusion that thinking about how to proceed was going to drive him insane. There were a million paths he could choose but he had always gone with his first instinct, throughout his entire life. Acknowledging that, he dove in the best way he knew how.

    Stretching out his hands he grabbed both of their bodies with his mind. Their forms flickered fiercely as his mental hold slid its way up their bodies. At once, both of them turned to glare at him. It was unnerving but he saw both of them clench their respective seats tightly. A thought occurred to him as he saw that action. Was that their constant? Their home? He didn’t know enough about the process because he had never seen it successfully completed. He did know though that a mind wanted to be where it belonged and it seemed like they both weren’t. Were they seated in their opposite places? Could it be that simple?

    He put about half his force into lifting them upwards and though they were lifted a few inches off their perches, he saw them clinch their seats tightly. Maybe he was right, maybe that was the key. With a grunt he doubled his efforts and lifted them off their seats. They didn’t speak, or make any indication that they were floating. They just continued to glare at him. Instead of focusing on their eyes like he wanted to, he stared at their throats as he maneuvered them through the air and to their rightful seats. Something happened though as they reached the halfway point; both of them dissolved into energy.

    Shelton transformed into pinpricks of sapphire light that radiated warmth he could feel all over his body. Ethan’s body became flecks of emerald that were indistinguishable from the flakes he lovingly absorbed; and they pulsed with a frigid and absolute coldness. The globules of energy multiplied rapidly and began to circle him. Soon enough they had blended into a whirlwind of greenish blue that was impossible for him to track. Despair gripped him as he tried to separate the two different colors. All they did in response for his attempt was swirl faster and change direction, making it even harder for him to track their movements. Now he knew why this was so hard for anyone to do.

    Alakazam committed himself to this and now he was facing a situation that was completely unwinnable. If he backed out of their minds, their consciousnesses would collapse and their bodies would be nothing more than hollow shells. On the flip side, the same would happen to him if he expended all of his energy trying to pull them together while locked inside of their minds. Knowing now what to do next he folded himself down to the ground and crossed his legs. He watched Shelton and Ethan swirl around him. Each flake and ball of energy carried with it an experience, a memory, a piece of their personality. He noticed that some of them would pass through their opposite from time to time. When that happened they would flare brightly for a split second and change course, both a shade lighter with the other’s color.

    He just didn’t know how to proceed. He could stay here watching them for the foreseeable future. Well, at least until his physical body expired, at which point his mind would die as well. It was the thought of that made him wonder if he could just save Ethan. In theory he could he supposed. Alakazam could use his mind to separate the Ethan energy from the Shelton, and deposit him on the throne he thought was his. He chastised himself for even thinking that though. It was impossible for him to separate the two of them, especially now that their selves were beginning to merge and grow harder to recognize. Not only that, but even if he was able to just separate Ethan, that would leave Shelton to float lost in her own mind. No being, no structure, no real anything. He couldn’t do that to her, he couldn’t do that to anyone; not ever.

    Alakazam massaged his throbbing temples and took a breath. He searched his mind for a solution but nothing he had ever experienced would aid him in this fruitless endeavor. He thought of what Ethan would do in this situation but immediately threw it aside. Ethan would leave Shelton to spend the rest of her life brain-dead. He’d do it without a second thought. It was almost like his aversion to doing dishes. Throughout their life Ethan had flat out refused to touch the sink after a ‘traumatizing’ experience with gunk buildup in the sink filter. It had seemed so childish to Alakazam at the time. They ate food, they did dishes, and sometimes the filter gets clogged. Sometimes you had to clean it out, why was that such a bi-.

    Filter…A filter works as a separator. It lets water flow freely while keeping matter from clogging the piping. Inspiration struck him then and he rose to his feet. Could the same not work in his position as well? Could he not filter Ethan and Shelton? They were only swirling bits of energy now anyway, and they were both very distinctive in shape. As an experiment he reached out with his mind and snagged one of Shelton’s and one of Ethan’s. He circled them with a transparent globe of energy and watched them for several minutes as they circled their confines. They were extremely unique. He let both of them go and snagged two more. He did this several more times with different particles, and he was pleased to find that each of the ones he isolated were the same shape as the previous ones. Each one was distinctive to each person, and each one was the same shape as their counterparts.

    Why not try it? Summoning the energy that pulsed through his mind, he raised his arms again. He swished his hands and erected two large panes of energy, each with holes in them that corresponded to the shape of either Ethan or Shelton’s energy. To the back of each pane he attached a globe of energy that could serve as a sort of holding tank for the energy he collected. When they seemed large enough he took a breath and sent them forward into the swirling fray.

    It immediately began to work, and he felt like the energy knew it. They began changing direction and altitude, scurrying away from his impromptu net like their lives depended on it. He swung the panes faster as they swarmed towards him, quickly filling the tanks to more than half their capacity. As he continued to chase down the erratic globules he noticed that his strength was starting to weaken. The more he caught in his net the more fatigued he realized he became. He continued on without hesitation though and his success rate grew as he became more adept at estimating the courses of the errant particles. The air grew clearer as he caught more and more, bolstering his confidence.

    Alakazam moved his arms faster, looping the filters in wide arcs. Soon enough only a handful of the glittering orbs remained. He slowed the filters to a stop and used his mind to forcefully shove the remaining ones into their respective spheres. His knees buckled as the last piece of Shelton floated into her container. His vision began to flicker as the sound of his heartbeat thudded louder in his ears. He raised his hands and floated the spheres higher. The weight of maintaining the two of them was an incredible strain on his mind. It felt like a foghorn going off in his ears while a vise bent his body in half.

    Just a bit more,” he thought as he maneuvered them closer to their seats. “Please Ethan, help me do this. Please.”

    Baring his teeth and narrowing his eyes he gave the orbs a final mental push towards the sofa and the throne. Alakazam felt a searing pain flare between his eyes as the orbs made contact and splashed their contents across the seats. He cried out in agony as the pain flooded his mind like a typhoon. Through the pain he saw Shelton reform on the sofa, smiling at him in an abstract way while she pulled a velvety brown blanket across her chest. He turned then and saw Ethan, perched on the black throne like a crazed monarch. His eyes were wide and his teeth were bared in a soundless snarl. For some reason that look sapped the last bit of strength he had left and he wobbled on his feet.

    There was still one thing left to do but he wasn’t sure if he’d live to see how it turned out. The sadness of that thought weighed on him so much that his legs began to tremble. He just didn’t know how it all became so wrong so fast. Alakazam took a breath and raised his arms one final time.

    I love you, brother,” he said to Ethan.

    Alakazam pulled his arms down with a jerk. The throne and the sofa vanished in a cascade of light. Dorian and Garrett appeared back in front of him as Ethan and Shelton fell forward, unconscious. He saw Dorian take a step forward but his vision swam again.

    It’s done,” Alakazam broadcasted to them both.

    He felt the darkness close in on him as he fell backwards. It was warmer than he thought it would be. Almost like an embrace from a lover. It caressed him, sheltered him, and protected him from the fury and overwhelming sadness of his life. He welcomed it and gave himself over. As if in appreciation of his willingness, the darkness triggered a memory in his fluttering mind. A vision of him and Ethan when they were still so young and full of excitement; lying together in the grass. He heard Ethan’s adolescent laughter in his ears. Then the darkness swallowed him whole and he thought no more.


    Continued on next post

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

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

  11. #211
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    Dorian and Garrett had been standing in place for almost an hour before something happened. As the minutes ticked by they witnessed Alakazam raise and lower his arms several times, as if he was feeling himself through a maze without end. Spoink continued to smooth out the beams that connected Ethan and Shelton as she had been instructed. Her eyes had drifted closed and her usual bob had slowed to an almost indiscernible wiggle. Dorian had forced his mind to go blank and not think about the fact that he may not see his sister again. Instead he had taken to berating himself over and over for being so fucking rash in his decision making. He always did this. Shelton had always screamed at him that he didn’t think before he acted and all he had done was prove her right.

    Garrett had wisely not spoken a word through the entire ordeal. He had taken a few steps forward to stand beside him but never looked at him. Dorian had just glanced at his phone to see that minute fifty-six had elapsed when Spoink shrieked loudly and bounced backwards. The beams connecting Ethan and Shelton fizzled out just as Alakazam opened his eyes. The Pokemon was pale and sickly looking, staggering on his feet. Dorian moved forward but stopped when he heard the Pokemon’s voice.

    It’s done.”

    Dorian breathed in like he had been starved of oxygen for hours. It was at that moment that Alakazam’s eyes rolled straight up and he collapsed backwards to the ground. Dorian sprinted forward even after he had hit the ground but skidded to a stop when he reached Shelton. He rolled his sister over to her back and put his right hand to her chest. Her heartbeat was strong and looking down to her mouth; it seemed that she was breathing at a regular rate as well. As he smoothed out the hair around her face he felt Garrett pass behind his back. Dorian pressed his head against his sister’s and squeezed her hand.

    “Dorian, he’s not breathing,” Garrett spoke quickly.

    “What do you mean,” Dorian replied as he jumped to his feet.

    “The fuck do you think I mean?! He’s not breathing!” Garrett spat as he started rhythmically pushing down on the Pokemon’s sternum.

    “Shit!” Dorian hissed.

    He bent down low over Alakazam and made a tube with his right hand as Garrett kept up with the compressions. As Garrett pulled away for a moment, Dorian pinched the psychic’s nostrils shut and blew into his mouth with his clenched right hand. Alakazam’s chest rose up but immediately collapsed. They resumed pumping and giving him oxygen for another two minutes before they both looked up at each other.

    “Epi,” Garrett spoke.

    “Get it,” Dorian nodded, pulling out his phone.

    As Garrett scrambled to remove his pack, Dorian woke up his phone and booted up his anatomy app. He quickly typed in the psychic’s name and blinked as the screen glowed blue with a dotted grid. The image on the phone showed a clear picture of the lifeless organs in the Alakazam’s torso. Grunting in frustration, Dorian centered the phone over the psychic’s chest and found the image of his motionless heart.

    “Got it?” Garrett asked.

    “Yeah, gimme a second,” Dorian replied.

    He transferred the phone to his left hand and removed his dagger from its sheath. Carefully, he shaved off a patch of hair in the middle of the psychic’s chest to expose the rosy pink skin underneath. Dorian tucked his dagger away and turned to Garrett.

    “You ever done this before?”

    “Nope,” Garrett admitted, pulling the syringe from its pouch and clenching it tight in its fist.

    Dorian nodded at him and moved a few inches back. Garrett grimaced and slammed his fist down. A slight snick sounded as the needle broke through Alakazam’s sternum and buried itself into his chest. Garrett pressed down on the plunger and emptied the liquid adrenaline into the psychic’s heart. The reaction was immediate. Alakazam’s eyes shot open and the ground bucked from a miniature earthquake. Alakazam growled and Dorian and Garrett were psychically shoved backwards to roll to their feet. The psychic rose to his knees as a milky white froth dribbled from the corner of his mouth. He took both of them in and promptly collapsed back to the ground. Garrett took a few tentative steps forward and rolled the Alakazam over. Garrett put his head to the Pokemon’s chest for a moment then looked back up.

    “He’s breathing,” Garrett offered with a shrug. Glancing at Ethan he said, “You think we should check that douchebag for his Pokeball? Might do him some good to go inside for awhile.”

    “I’ll do it,” Dorian responded.

    He turned and approached Ethan’s motionless form. He could tell that he was breathing as he bent down to check his belt. Dorian saw four pokeballs attached to his waist and carefully ran a finger across each of them. Three of them were slightly warm to the touch, signaling they were occupied. He unclipped the only cool one from the magnet and wrapped his hand around it. He started to turn back towards Garrett before pausing. He had never seen Ethan more vulnerable. Dorian knew that whatever he did he would probably immediately heal from, but he couldn’t shake the want to kill the murdering bastard. Breathing out through his nose he drew back his right foot and kicked Ethan in the stomach as hard as he could.

    Asshole,” Dorian muttered as he walked back to Alakazam.

    He pressed the return button and the psychic was absorbed back into the ball. Dorian took a breath and raised his eyebrows to Garrett.

    “Today sucks,” Garrett huffed.

    “Yeah,” Dorian agreed. “Why did you do that? I thought you hated him.”

    “I don’t hate him,” Garrett said softly. “He saved us, and your sister. He gets a pass for right now. Letting him die would make me as bad as that prick over there.”

    “What are we going to do about him?”

    Garrett turned back towards Ethan and his face flared red.

    Fuck!” he screamed.

    Dorian looked back. Shelton’s pack was torn open. Ethan was gone.


    *******


    They had quickly found out that Ethan had stolen their shard. Their only means of tracking his movements had vanished. Their closest chance to killing him had disappeared with him, and they were left in the meadow, bent over like morons. Night had fallen and the air had turned cold, mirroring their feelings of dejection. As he tried to figure out their next move he had turned to Spoink to tell her she could leave. Before the words were even out of his mouth though, she had telekinetically pressed the return button on her pokeball and allowed herself to be brought back inside it. He didn’t know why she did it and he didn’t care to waste the time to think about it.

    He had looked up then and stared at the stars as he drank in the feeling of hopelessness. Garrett had eventually shaken him out of his funk by releasing his Pidgeot. After a short discussion, Dorian had helped Garrett load up his unconscious sister onto his golden bird. They had winged away towards the cabin they had started their day at, Dorian held beneath Vibrava’s buzzing wings.

    When they got to the cabin Garrett had summoned Manectric, who lit the interior of the house with a sustained flash. They followed the directions on the map to the basement where they found a door cleverly hidden behind a bookcase. Dorian removed one of Shelton’s Pokeball’s and released Machoke. The hulking Pokemon had begun to whimper upon seeing Shelton lying unconscious on the floor, but Dorian had silenced him with a snap of his fingers and a glare. Dorian explained the situation to him and instructed him to carry her. The Pokemon surprised Dorian by wiping his face and doing as he was told without any sobbing.

    With Shelton tucked safely in her Pokemon’s muscular arms, they had opened the door to expose a concrete tunnel that gently sloped downwards. Seeing no other option to get into Castelia they had trekked forward. About an hour into it the passage had become wet with puddles and green with mold. Dorian had figured they were under the ocean now and tried not to think about the millions of tons of water pressing down on them from all sides. After another hour that had found themselves at a steel door. It took Machoke to open it and they were immediately overcome by the stench of human waste. Peeking his head in, Garrett determined they had been led into a small sewage tunnel. A narrow ledge about two feet wide was waiting for them to crawl on, barely six inches above a river of excrement. When they had spied a rusting iron ladder they decided to scale it regardless of the consequences. Anything was better than the smell they were having to deal with.

    After prying open the manhole cover above they found themselves in an alleyway adjacent to one of the main streets. The skyscrapers loomed forbiddingly above their heads, shrouding them from the stars and prying eyes. Garrett had walked carefully out to the street while Dorian, Shelton, and Machoke pushed themselves into the darkness that the buildings provided. As luck would have it he returned a few minutes later, excitedly telling them that a thirty story hotel waited for them just across the street. After going over the possible ramifications of trying to check in with an unconscious woman in their arms, Garrett stalked back to the hotel with the purpose of renting a room with a balcony.

    It took about twenty minutes before Garrett called his phone. His companion flicked the lights on and off in a room about fifteen stories up. The location fixed in his mind, Dorian returned Machoke and released his dragon. After showing Vibrava the location of the room he placed Shelton in his arms and watched him carry her up to the balcony. A moment later he was back and did the same for Dorian. As they rose up he observed the city below. Cars honked and voices merged together in a softly roaring cacophony of sound. The buildings stretched up higher than he could observe though the light pollution that enveloped the sky. Vibrava prodded him forward as his feet touched the balcony and he walked through the sliding glass door.

    The room was comfortably painted a creamy pink. It was simple enough, with two queen sized beds and a single nightstand between them. Other than that there was a small fridge decorated with a listing of prices, flanked by a tiny bathroom that sparkled so white it hurt his eyes. Shelton was lying in the bed to the right with the comforter pulled up to her shoulders. Garrett was seated on the opposite bed with a beer in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other.

    “I took her boots off,” he explained. “She moved a little bit and she’s still breathing okay, so I figured she should just sleep it off some more.”

    Dorian nodded and gestured towards his beer, “Fridge?”

    “Yeah, try to ignore the price.”

    Keeping his eyes glued to the floor he reached in and grabbed the closest can. He didn’t care for how nutty most Unovan beers were but he drank deeply. The alcohol stung his throat in the pleasurable way he was hoping for. He sat down across from Garrett and took the cigarette he offered. Dorian lit it and pulled off his boots.

    “I thought this would be better than separate rooms,” Garrett said.

    “You were right. Listen though, I know what you’re thinking but I need to sleep buddy. I just don’t have it in me to go after it tonight.”

    “Hey man I don’t either, but regardless of whether you’re sister is feeling up to it, we have to tomorrow. I don’t know where that son of a bitch is and I’ll feel a lot better if we have that last shard so we can figure out whether he’s about to demolish the building were in”

    “I’m in complete agreement,” Dorian said, tapping his beer against Garrett’s. “But, and I’m serious when I say this. We need to fucking think from now on. Us rushing into stuff without preparation keeps getting us knee deep in shit. You hear me?”

    “You’re right, buddy. If we corner that guy again though we’re gonna have to figure something out. We can’t let him get away again. Otherwise what are we doing?”

    Dorian mulled it over in his head for a moment before nodding. He was right of course. They hadn’t gone through this much hardship to end with nothing to show for it. Especially since Ethan would probably go on murdering for the foreseeable future. Dorian couldn’t let that happen, none of them could. He looked over to Vibrava who was sniffing the carpet.

    “Can you take the first watch, buddy?”

    “Brava,” he replied, wiggling his hindquarters.

    “Thanks.”

    “Well if that’s settled then I’m gonna pass out for awhile,” Garrett sighed. He drained his beer and pulled a gun from his holster. Stretching out, Garrett fluffed up the pillow behind his head and crossed both arms across his chest, gun pointing to the ceiling.

    “You really gonna sleep with that?” Dorian asked.

    “Better my gun than my ass,” Garrett shrugged.

    Dorian couldn’t argue with that logic. He stared at Garrett for a long moment as the man closed his eyes.

    Dorian shrugged inwardly and put his back against the headboard. He gently pulled Shelton close to lay sideways against his chest. He smoked for a minute and finished his beer, depositing the smoking butt into the can. Dorian thought about getting another but pulled his sister closer instead. He focused his attention on the door. He imagined Ethan bursting through it, shattering the frame and roaring louder than a jet engine. At that thought he reached down and gripped the hilt of his dagger. Dorian stared at the door until he fell asleep.


    ********

    They had followed the trail of their brother’s murderer. From Sinnoh, across the sea to Orre, then across another ocean to Unova. His scent was pungent and bitter. It spoke of malice and hate. They could feel his anger and murderous intent as they traveled together, side by side.

    They drank in each other’s grief and sadness. They became one, they became two, they became infinite, they became miniscule. Their rage blended with the sadness of their brother’s passing and turned outwards. Rocks cracked, clouds scattered, and the water beneath them boiled as they flew past. Anything in their way was blown apart at the atomic level.

    The murderer had killed their brother, even ripped out his jewel. It was insult to their family that would not be tolerated. Humans had never before risen up to them in this manner and it would not stand. They would start with this demon, this Ethan, and after they obliterated him they would turn to the rest of the mortals and remind them of their place.

    Azelf and Mesprit spurned themselves faster as the morning sun kissed the horizon.

    They were coming.

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

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

  12. #212
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    Here I am! Skimmed this last night, will do the "pick-apart" thing in a minute, but before we get started, I have one question:

    What was the whole point of this whole two-chapter shark-jumping story inversion? We've done what, exactly? Kill off (Well, I kinda doubt that) the Wanderer? Emotionally scar Shelton? Give Ethan his first and only taste of the opposite sex? Rid ourselves of a troublesome Spoink? Give Ethan the shard Dorian and Shelton had? Weird out the readership? Most of these could be dealt with if needed, Spoink the shard, lots of things. and the major ones, well, we realy didn't need.

    Don't get me wrong, turning Shelton into a puppet was a very nice potential to the story, and I think I would've liked seeing what happened if she had involuntarily had the shards/flakes/mcguffins/doohickeys injected into her. I'm certainly waiting for the next chapter, when Ethan takes the stolen shard back to the Kings for a reward and they ak him why he isn't dead. That'll e a blow and a half o his ego. But by and large I'm not seeing any benefit to theselast two chapters. Maybe time will reveal all secrets, but for now, it mostly felt pointless.

    One other thing I wanted to address: Reading this chapter felt "wordy". too many words; too much describing, not enough fluidity to the story.

    Alakazam was chanting his name in a slow and steady beat like some sort of rhythmic tribal singer
    Gardevoir simply swung her arms and dissolved the spheres and beams of energy; she did it slowly, as if it was no different than, well, waving her arms.
    Especially the Big Battle. It was fine once you bright Vibrava in, but the first part, not so much. Maybe it was just the state of mind I was in last night, but that's what hit me. I would almost subscribe dialing this puppy back and taking a deep breath, if it weren't for the fact tha I'd hate you if this story didn't get finished.

    In all seriousness though, it might be beneficial to you to si down one night and bang out a quickie little bonus-reel story like I did with Alec and Glover. Maybe Dorian and Nuzleaf playing, their first battle as trainer and Seedot, or a side-story of Shelton and Machop cleaning house before all of this happened, or take the characters and just drop them in another universe, some kind of 5 minute short like you see in Movies to get you off this strange twist of a sideplot you have going.

    Okay, so that's that. Time to get out thew boning knife....

    O_o

    ---
    Dorian wondered despite the situation as to where the spoons had come from. Did Ethan’s Pokemon have some sort of fleshy pockets that he didn’t know about? Mentally kicking himself for his accursed attention span, Dorian turned his focus back to the battle.
    Why is it "Did Ethan's Pokemon"? Are you trying to paint an illusion that Alakazam in your story don't actually carry their own utensils? Because to someone who's been with the game from the get-go, Alakazams have spoons. Duh. and i seems kinda jarring that Dorian would think this odd. Its like asking where someone's Farfetch'd got a Leek from.

    Something flickered light green for a split second behind the Gardevoir,
    Didn' catch this last night, good job.


    He smelled the delicate scent of the roses. He felt the grass bending under his motionless feet. He inhaled the air that was laced with the sweet smell of honeysuckle.
    I do like this descriptor though.

    He had searched for the Garrett as Dorian had instructed, but after only a few minutes had seen Garrett
    I actuallylike "the Garrett" as being from Vibrava's point of view. Its a good, and likely accurate, way the Pokemon would see each individually named human. The problem is, no a sentance later, you go and name Garrett by his actual name, and not as "the Garrett" and it ruins the effect, so pick whichever one you like ad fix the other.

    Vibrava knew that Dorian was going to be angry with him.

    He had searched for the Garrett as Dorian had instructed, but after only a few minutes had seen Garrett streaking towards where Dorian and Shelton were. Satisfied that he had fulfilled his goal without actually having a hand in it, Vibrava had started to turn back when he saw her.

    She was so beautiful. She glittered green and pale yellow as she drifted lazily through the sky. Even from a quarter of a mile away he could see the fire behind her ruby goggles of eyes. Her tail was so long and thick, and swished through the air without a care. Vibrava had excitedly hurried forward. This was the first time he had seen his next evolution in the flesh. Dorian had shown him pictures when he had been a Trapinch but it in no way measured up to the grace and fluidity that this Pokemon possessed. With her shiny ivory claws and cherry accented wings, she was a god of the air. He had never seen anything that even came close to her level of majesty.

    She had been unimpressed by his barrel-rolls and corkscrews as he rose to meet her. She had even begun drifting east away from him as he tried to impress her with his dragonfire. The Flygon had only responded to his advances as he drifted close enough to touch her. She had snarled and slashed, dove and dipped. Vibrava feigned obliviousness at first, but as her slashes actually cut his flesh he had been forced to defend himself by spiraling away.

    He had looked over his shoulder as he winged back towards Dorian and saw that she wasn’t even looking at him. The sight of her turned back filled him with a sadness he had never experienced before. Wasn’t he good enough to even warrant her attention? He knew that he was only recently evolved but his tail was large and his wings were broad. Why wasn’t that enough? He had only wanted to express his admiration after all. There wasn’t any harm that could come from that.
    This. More of your stories like this. Also, I want to hug him now. Make him feel all better and try to convince him he world is not full of heartache and loss.

    His answer came quickly. The Alakazam lifted his right arm and clenched his fist tight. He spoke a single word that breathed power into Vibrava’s body.

    “Flame.”
    I actually feel like there was a missed opportunity here, not sure how to do it without feeling redundant, but coupling an illusionary Entei with a real fire, even if it was just a DragonBreath, would definately sent the Gardevoir reeling.

    Also, I feel the urge o point out that Gardevoir are now fairy types, and are thereby not effected by draghon type attacks, but screw Gen6 and their discombobulated retconning anyway.

    The Wanderer’s remains splashed to the ground with a squelch just as Dorian fell to his knees.
    umm eww?

    Also, what was the Wnaderer's purpose except to die?

    You have muscle foam in your bag, yes?”
    I'm picturing this as a Super Potion, yes? and possibly something out of a recent episode of Agents of Shield?

    but she did drop you like a bad habit
    twice...

    “I am trying to make sure that Ethan is secured. This plant thinks that it can dictate my actions, and it is sorely mistaken.”
    Not sure I understand what the Vileplume was trying to say, but was it something like "go walk off a cliff?"

    The Spoink slowed his bounce to a lazy bob and considered. Dorian could almost see the wheels in her head turning;
    So, either we're dealing with a hermaphrodite Spoink, or you dropped your pronouns... Either way, I like how you use the bounce to portray emotion, like a dog wagging its tail.

    “I will hold you to your word,” she said softly. Her voice was surprisingly smooth, like well oiled leather.
    *Like*

    but juggling two was neigh impossible.
    Using this line to summarize my thoughts on the matter, but here's a thought, don't try to juggle both. Pick one person up, carry them over, then yank the other person out and uncerimoniously stuff the first person into the rightful chair. I dpn't stand there and hold both the flaming hot Lasagna plate and the dirty salad dish when I'm serving, I set onedown as I pick the other one up.

    And yes, you could argue that Alakazam would still be holding both souls. (Come-on, lets not pussyfoot around with "Mental transfers" and mind tricks, this is a person's soul we're dealing with. And that's really cool that you wanted to try and tackle that, even if it doesn't quite go far enough)

    He put about half his force into lifting them upwards and though they were lifted a few inches off their perches, he saw them clinch their seats tightly. Maybe he was right, maybe that was the key.
    The soul usually does not like being unhinged from the body. They tend to float away. If you beleive in that kind of theological science. (I do, I feel like I saw it once, before Dad passed away, like he was trapped inside of his body, trying to hold onto the physical but floating aroundm only plugging in for brief moments before collapsing back into a yellow, worn out cancer filled body...)

    Shelton’s Pokeball’s
    One to many apostrophe's, bucko!

    When did we go back o Unova, or did we never leave? For some reason, I was thinking we'd gone back to Kanto already?

    though the light pollution that enveloped the sky
    through

    After showing Vibrava the location of the room he placed Shelton in his arms and watched him carry her up to the balcony
    and to think you originally wanted to put this Vibrava on Dorian's shoulder...

    the building were in”
    we're

    “You’re right, buddy. If we corner that guy again though we’re gonna have to figure something out. We can’t let him get away again. Otherwise what are we doing?”
    Chop him up into tiny pieces. Put them into boxes. Put those boxes into bigger boxes...

    Dorian thought about getting another but pulled his sister closer instead. He focused his attention on the door.
    Dear Shelton, Dorian chose you over another beer and you SLEPT through it.

    Azelf and Mesprit spurned themselves faster as the morning sun kissed the horizon.
    This could be very bad...
    Last edited by Glover; 26th March 2014 at 7:23 PM.
        Spoiler:- Breeding stuff:

  13. #213
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    Hey! I've been very slowly making my way through this for a while now and have finally finished, so here's a lengthy, incredibly rambly review. No chapter-by-chapter analysis, I'm afraid, only overall thoughts.

    Negrek's already brought up two of the things I wanted to, namely the persistent grammar, punctuation, homonym and proofreading errors and your love of calling everything "ivory" or "ebony" or "mauve" or "emerald". (Some bit early on where you described an entirely unremarkable Pokéball as having a "scarlet top and ivory bottom" struck me as especially over-the-top.) I have to really suggest you get a beta-reader - it's easy to get pulled out of a tense action scene by a glaring grammatical mistake, and since your tense action scenes are one of your strongest points, it's a real shame something easily fixable by just getting an experienced second set of eyes to read over it before you post is detracting from them.

    But I think my main complaint is actually that the treatment of Pokémon in this fic really bothers me. You portray them as clearly sapient and capable of conversing with humans, but simultaneously you show them to be treated like they have no rights whatsoever, and those two things make a pretty skeevy combination. For example, Dorian accidentally catches an unwary sleeping Spoink, but it seemingly occurs to nobody that the nice thing to do in such a situation is to apologize and release her immediately. Instead, he lets her out and just says hi like he's her trainer now, and when the Spoink freaks out, Nuzleaf brutally beats the crap out of her and Shelton recalls her back into the ball that she's made perfectly clear she wants nothing to do with. Then much later when Shelton asks what Dorian is going to do about the Spoink, she talks like it's purely his decision whether he wants to keep the Spoink or release her, and what he ends up doing is having their other Pokémon surround her in a circle, giving them explicit orders to beat her up if she tries anything, and then going "What do I have to do to make you come with me?" Nominally Spoink agrees to go with him, sure, but only after being treated like property that's Dorian's to carry around as he pleases for a while, and Dorian never even apologizes to her for any of this. Normally a level of consent to at least the possibility of being caught can arguably be considered implied by a wild Pokémon choosing to attack a trainer, but Spoink didn't get to make any choice at all until later, surrounded by threatening Pokémon, to a trainer who considers the possibility of releasing her (as in, releasing this conscious person with her own life and ambitions that he snagged out of her home while she was sleeping, not even out of need but simply by accident) to be something to bribe her with as a last resort when he desperately needs her help to save his sister. This is awful. This is not how you treat sapient beings.

    Similarly, when Shelton catches Steelix, she hauls it unconscious off to a faraway region, releases it only to blast it with a weapon, threaten it with fireballs and subject it to a breathtakingly condescending "breaking" session instead of any kind of honest attempt to negotiate a deal for its help, and then declares it belongs to her now, without even asking if it agrees to her terms. She gives absolutely no indication that she'll take no for an answer, and it doesn't feel like that's accidental. Shelton's relationships with her existing Pokémon are portrayed as quite close and honestly touching, but if this is how she normally goes about catching Pokémon, the entire thing just starts to feel unpleasant, like there's Stockholm syndrome involved. It's pretty hard to appreciate her love for Golduck anymore when I can't help wondering if she kidnapped and threatened him into submission, too.

    In a universe where Pokémon are sapient, the idea that once you've thrown a ball at a Pokémon you can just do whatever you want with it is abhorrent. If you want to write truly sympathetic trainers in that universe, you have to make them actually treat Pokémon like people - all Pokémon, not just their current team. You can write a story where Pokémon don't have any rights, of course: people have considered abhorrent things to be perfectly normal and acceptable all throughout human history, and there have been lots of interesting interpretations of the Pokémon world as a pretty dark place where Pokémon really are being enslaved for human amusement. But usually then that's a major theme in the story and the actual narrative is sympathetic to the Pokémon. I don't feel like the narrative is on the Pokémon's side here at all - Spoink's hatred of Dorian largely seems to be played for laughs, like she's the grumpy side character who's more trouble than she's worth, when really she has every right in the world to despise him, and Steelix is basically an obstacle to be conquered instead of a character. Dorian and Shelton, while flawed, appear to be shown as perfectly straight protagonists, and given you portray their relationships with their existing Pokémon as powerful bonds of friendship and nobody (including their Pokémon) comments negatively on their treatment of Pokémon, it seems they're supposed to be at least pretty decent trainers. And that's fairly alienating, at least for me as a reader. (I'm already a little alienated because I find the protagonists' shared "Well, murder is wrong, but the guy I want to murder really deserves it, so it's okay" mentality rather disturbing, but I'm aware that's a really common mentality and it's not like you portray them as shining beacons of morality for that, so that's not so much an issue with the story as a personal squick.)

    I guess in chapter 29 where Dorian finally offers to release Spoink you seem to be more on her side than usual, what with Dorian's blatantly idiotic decision to just say yes without knowing what she was asking and her actually getting to speak, so I hope that's leading up to some kind of serious "What the hell, hero" moment regarding this. If not, though, I'd seriously suggest you think closely about how you're portraying the treatment of Pokémon in this fic.

    Anyway, it's a testament to the strength of your character writing that even though I honestly think Dorian and Shelton are kind of terrible people, all things considered, they're still likeable characters. They play well off one another and have a nice sibling relationship filled with moments of both touching tenderness and amusing vitriol. I've got to say, though, that the beginning of the story really, really doesn't make it sound like they're siblings. Shelton is first introduced as Dorian's "roommate", which is a pretty odd way to introduce somebody's sister, and a few paragraphs later Dorian describes her in terms that frankly sound like he's ogling her (I certainly hope, at least, that when guys look at their sister they're generally not "taking in her glowing, shoulder length blond hair, the slight curves of her shoulder and hips, and her ivory skin"). Even more disturbingly, a bit later you have Ronnie refer to Shelton as his "future daughter-in-law", which is simply absurd given he's her adoptive father too - it's a joke, sure, but it's the kind of joke people make about good friends everybody thinks are romantic, not about siblings. When you revealed they were actually brother and sister, I was baffled. I get the feeling you didn't actually decide they'd been raised together until a few chapters in, which is fine, but I seriously suggest you edit the beginning a little bit to reflect that, because right now it has some weirdly incestuous overtones.

    (Incidentally, I found it really conspicuous how, after twenty chapters of never having Dorian or Shelton refer to each other as "brother" or "sister" - okay, I Ctrl+F-ed through the entire thread to confirm this and there's one single instance of Shelton calling Dorian her brother in chapter 17, but it literally never happens before that - you then quite suddenly began to use "her brother" and "his sister" as their most prominent epithets for each other. It felt like you'd established it as part of their characters and relationship that they didn't usually think of each other in those terms even after it became perfectly clear in the story that they were, and to see that change so completely and so abruptly was a bit strange.)

    Much as I enjoy Dorian and Shelton (and recently Garrett), though, I have to say Ethan's Alakazam is my favorite character. In addition to being the most genuinely moral person around by a considerable margin, his deep love for Ethan and the conflict between that and his horror at everything Ethan has become gives him depth and complexity, and I hope we'll be seeing more of him interacting with Ethan in the future. It saddens me that Ethan seems to have no love for Alakazam left, since their relationship was pretty compelling when Ethan cared about him as well; actually I kind of liked Ethan better as a villain in general when he seemed to genuinely believe the murders he committed were justified and was just angry Alakazam didn't see that, as opposed to his current state of screaming about human filth, killing people pretty much for the hell of it and apparently wanting Alakazam dead. I understand the progression of him becoming ever more unhinged is the point here, but I feel it's made him rather less compelling and more generically kill-all-humans evil. I'm hoping the fact apparently he and Shelton started to blend together a little bit is going to ground him a little more in future chapters and bring back some of that lost dimension to his character - it seems like a perfect opportunity for that to happen, at least, especially now that he has Alakazam with him again.

    Wow, that's a lot of complaining. Last thing, I promise: though I enjoy your various technological and scientific additions to the Pokémon world like Pokéflects and shehnais, I often feel you could go about explaining them to the reader in a more elegant way. Right now you tend to just suddenly pull the story to a screeching halt while you infodump about it for a paragraph. I definitely understand the temptation to tell the reader straight out what you're talking about rather than possibly leaving them confused, but it tends to not really make sense for the characters to be thinking about how this technology works when they're clearly already quite familiar with it, and worse, sometimes this infodumping happens at really inappropriate moments where it disrupts otherwise tense scenes - I'm thinking particularly of where Alakazam lies apparently dying and Dorian takes a paragraph to explain muscle foam to us. This is something you should either try to have the foresight to establish beforehand or accept that the reader won't quite understand it and merely try to imply the basic gist as it pertains to the current scene: I think it would have been fairly easy to grasp that muscle foam is some sort of healing agent simply from the fact Alakazam asks Dorian to get it for his wound, and the rest isn't really stuff we need to know right now.

    Despite these niggles I've been spending disproportionately many words on, this is a very enjoyable fic. I already talked about your characters and their interactions, and you're good at managing tension and emotion - your action scenes are vivid and thrilling, but I enjoy the quiet aftermaths perhaps even more, where the characters are just sorting out their many messed-up feelings and coping with what's been happening to them. The events of the story affect the characters deeply, and you take care to show that well without just turning it into endless angst; that's what makes for compelling fiction as far as I'm concerned.

    Which is the main reason I'm greatly looking forward to how Shelton is going to deal with the events of the last couple of chapters. Brutally tearing apart innocent Pokémon and getting mind-melded with a psychopath will screw with anyone's brain, and I have full faith you'll be able to pull it off interestingly. No matter how lengthily I've talked about what I don't like, I really quite enjoy this overall and will be continuing to follow it (I can't promise a review this detailed for every chapter, though). Keep up the good work.
    Last edited by Dragonfree; 4th April 2014 at 4:42 AM.

    Chapter 64: Hide and Seek
    The story of an ordinary boy on an impossible quest in a world that isn't as black and white as he always thought it was.
    (rough draft of the remaining chapters finished for NaNoWriMo; to be edited and posted)

    Morphic
    (completed, plus silly extras)
    A few scientists get drunk and start fiddling with gene splicing. Ten years later, they're taking care of eight half-Pokémon kids, each freakier than the next, while a religious fanatic plots to murder them all.

    Lengthy fanfiction reviewing guide / A more condensed version
    Read and I will be very happy for a large number of reasons.

  14. #214
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    Thanks to both of you for the reviews! They're much appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by Glover
    Kill off (Well, I kinda doubt that) the Wanderer?
    Don't doubt it sir

    Emotionally scar Shelton?
    Yup

    Don't get me wrong, turning Shelton into a puppet was a very nice potential to the story, and I think I would've liked seeing what happened if she had involuntarily had the shards/flakes/mcguffins/doohickeys injected into her.
    Well, I see what you mean. Basically my rationale behind that was a chapter a few back. If you remember back to a few chapters ago when the six kings were talking amongst themselves, it kinda explained that. They said that Ethan's physical composition was unique among humans. That they had tried to use other humans to carry flakes but they had all immediately died. Ethan was unique in the sense that he is the only one they have found that could contain the flakes without dying

    In all seriousness though, it might be beneficial to you to si down one night and bang out a quickie little bonus-reel story like I did with Alec and Glover.
    I appreciate that piece of advice a lot. I think it would do me good. Thanks!

    Why is it "Did Ethan's Pokemon"? Are you trying to paint an illusion that Alakazam in your story don't actually carry their own utensils? Because to someone who's been with the game from the get-go, Alakazams have spoons. Duh. and i seems kinda jarring that Dorian would think this odd. Its like asking where someone's Farfetch'd got a Leek from.
    I don't think Dorian was questioning why he had spoons, but rather where he kept them when he wasn's using them. Sorry if I didn't make that clear enough lol

    I actuallylike "the Garrett" as being from Vibrava's point of view. Its a good, and likely accurate, way the Pokemon would see each individually named human. The problem is, no a sentance later, you go and name Garrett by his actual name, and not as "the Garrett" and it ruins the effect, so pick whichever one you like ad fix the other.
    I'm gonna go back and change that. Thanks for pointing it out, as I think it works really well too

    Also, I feel the urge o point out that Gardevoir are now fairy types, and are thereby not effected by draghon type attacks, but screw Gen6 and their discombobulated retconning anyway.
    Hah! Agreed! Well, little bit of a fun fact; when I started writing this, Gen6 didn't exist yet. So when it did come out I decided not to adjust the story and just act like Kalos/fairy/everything there just didn't exist. Gen6 is my least favorite portion anyway lol

    Also, what was the Wnaderer's purpose except to die?
    Well, if you remember back to the prologue, the thing that guided Ethan through the rock wall to the hidden cavern was 'white and green', then Alakazam revealed The Wanderer trained Alakazam how to fight, and instructed Ethan on how to attempt to control the flakes. I think she was somewhat instrumental. And to be honest I liked that her character popped in to deliver some chaos then die lol, it just seemed fitting in my head.

    Not sure I understand what the Vileplume was trying to say, but was it something like "go walk off a cliff?
    Pretty much lol, though I'd imagine it was a little more vulgar

    Come-on, lets not pussyfoot around with "Mental transfers" and mind tricks, this is a person's soul we're dealing with.
    I'm glad you picked up on that. I was wondering how many people would

    The soul usually does not like being unhinged from the body. They tend to float away. If you beleive in that kind of theological science. (I do, I feel like I saw it once, before Dad passed away, like he was trapped inside of his body, trying to hold onto the physical but floating around only plugging in for brief moments before collapsing back into a yellow, worn out cancer filled body...)
    That it does not. I'm sorry you had to go through that. I've never gone through something like that but that's what I was trying to channel when I wrote it. I'm still not sure I did an adequate job, but I'm glad I did enough that it was something you could recognize and respond to

    When did we go back o Unova, or did we never leave? For some reason, I was thinking we'd gone back to Kanto already?
    They flew from Kanto to Unova to find the shard in Castelia

    and to think you originally wanted to put this Vibrava on Dorian's shoulder.
    Every time I think about Vibrava carrying one of them, I think about what you said in that review lol. It stuck with me

    Dear Shelton, Dorian chose you over another beer and you SLEPT through it.
    Lol it figures that the one time it happens she'd be unconscious haha

    Thanks for the review buddy, you're ten kinds of awesome

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonfree
    and your love of calling everything "ivory" or "ebony" or "mauve" or "emerald". (Some bit early on where you described an entirely unremarkable Pokéball as having a "scarlet top and ivory bottom" struck me as especially over-the-top.)
    Hah! Looking back you're completely right and I appreciate both of you bring that up. Sometimes I need to just call something red, red. Hell, I don't need to describe a tree trunk as brown, or coffee colored, I can just say tree trunk and people will assume its brown. Thanks for bringing it to my attention and I'm sure you'll see me taking that advice in the upcoming chapters

    For example, Dorian accidentally catches an unwary sleeping Spoink, but it seemingly occurs to nobody that the nice thing to do in such a situation is to apologize and release her immediately. Instead, he lets her out and just says hi like he's her trainer now, and when the Spoink freaks out, Nuzleaf brutally beats the crap out of her and Shelton recalls her back into the ball that she's made perfectly clear she wants nothing to do with. Then much later when Shelton asks what Dorian is going to do about the Spoink, she talks like it's purely his decision whether he wants to keep the Spoink or release her, and what he ends up doing is having their other Pokémon surround her in a circle, giving them explicit orders to beat her up if she tries anything, and then going "What do I have to do to make you come with me?" Nominally Spoink agrees to go with him, sure, but only after being treated like property that's Dorian's to carry around as he pleases for a while, and Dorian never even apologizes to her for any of this. Normally a level of consent to at least the possibility of being caught can arguably be considered implied by a wild Pokémon choosing to attack a trainer, but Spoink didn't get to make any choice at all until later, surrounded by threatening Pokémon, to a trainer who considers the possibility of releasing her (as in, releasing this conscious person with her own life and ambitions that he snagged out of her home while she was sleeping, not even out of need but simply by accident) to be something to bribe her with as a last resort when he desperately needs her help to save his sister. This is awful. This is not how you treat sapient beings
    I agree with you completely. I've always believed its a fundamental flaw in human nature that we tend to take what we want without regard to the feelings of others or the moral consequences associated with various actions. There's barely a nation on the planet that is still controlled by the people who originally settled it. Athens, Rome, Egypt, North America, all are places that were taken over at one time or another, and if their inhabitants didn't conform, they were either enslaved or killed. To me, it's human nature to reach out and take what we want without thought of moral obligation or consequence; its been demonstrated through time. Which is why instead of shunning that ideal with my fic, I embraced it. What I quoted from you, went through my head several times before I even started the prologue.

    It is wrong to mistreat sapient beings, to enslave them (which is what happens to Pokemon when they're forced inside pokeballs), to make them do what you want with disregard to their feelings. Hell, even in the anime, humans beat pokemon unconscious and capture them despite what the Pokemon might want. I'm not offering this argument to try and explain or defend the actions of my characters at all, but to highlight the mindset that most people (especially our ancestors) had. Dorian, Shelton, Garrett, all have Pokemon they love, who love them back, but with Spoink, and Steelix who you mention later, they take on this mindset of complete control that to me does not fit with their characters thoughts or moral principles. In my fic, humans have lost the element that makes them equal with Pokemon, and adopted the mindset that we have over normal animals in our world. I don't want to reveal too much, but everything you mentioned, how they treat Pokemon, will be addressed in complete detail. All humans will realize that they cannot just subjugate other sapient beings because they want to. I almost feel like im copping out of an explanation, but if you keep reading the sequel, you'll understand that every point you make is answered for. Thanks by the way for that wonderful explanation of your thoughts, and I hope you know that on a personal, I completely agree with every point you made

    even though I honestly think Dorian and Shelton are kind of terrible people,
    Yeah they are lol

    helton is first introduced as Dorian's "roommate", which is a pretty odd way to introduce somebody's sister, and a few paragraphs later Dorian describes her in terms that frankly sound like he's ogling her (I certainly hope, at least, that when guys look at their sister they're generally not "taking in her glowing, shoulder length blond hair, the slight curves of her shoulder and hips, and her ivory skin"). Even more disturbingly, a bit later you have Ronnie refer to Shelton as his "future daughter-in-law", which is simply absurd given he's her adoptive father too - it's a joke, sure, but it's the kind of joke people make about good friends everybody thinks are romantic, not about siblings. When you revealed they were actually brother and sister, I was baffled. I get the feeling you didn't actually decide they'd been raised together until a few chapters in, which is fine, but I seriously suggest you edit the beginning a little bit to reflect that, because right now it has some weirdly incestuous overtones.
    Another amazing point, and I thank you for making it. When I started this fic, they were brother and sister to me, and it was an error on my part to not portray them more clearly as such. Dorian and Shelton are modeled after me and my wife, as our their descriptions. Since this is my first time trying to write something like this, at first I fell into a rhythm of describing objects and feelings how I viewed them without thinking how others might. It was only as time went on that I tried to mold things into a perspective that everyone could understand. The portion you mentioned about how Dorian describes Shelton is how I view my wife, which is inappropriate and actually pretty creepy if it was a brother describing a sister. You're right on that, and when I revise my fic from chapter one, all the points you mentioned is something I'm going to address and fix, because theyre extremely valid points

    I kind of liked Ethan better as a villain in general when he seemed to genuinely believe the murders he committed were justified and was just angry Alakazam didn't see that, as opposed to his current state of screaming about human filth, killing people pretty much for the hell of it and apparently wanting Alakazam dead. I understand the progression of him becoming ever more unhinged is the point here, but I feel it's made him rather less compelling and more generically kill-all-humans evil.
    Basically the way I thought of it was until he met Dorian and Shelton, everything had been going his way. He was a ghost, taking the flakes and shards, accumulating wealth, etc, but when he met them he was faced with his first real opposition. All the control he had learned over the flakes vanished as they kept besting him and his plans, and he started to succumb to 'the rage' that the flakes inspired. While I know I may have dived into a generic character in him as time went on, to me it fits. I appreciate the thought though and appreciate you pointing it out

    hough I enjoy your various technological and scientific additions to the Pokémon world like Pokéflects and shehnais, I often feel you could go about explaining them to the reader in a more elegant way. Right now you tend to just suddenly pull the story to a screeching halt while you infodump about it for a paragraph. I definitely understand the temptation to tell the reader straight out what you're talking about rather than possibly leaving them confused, but it tends to not really make sense for the characters to be thinking about how this technology works when they're clearly already quite familiar with it, and worse, sometimes this infodumping happens at really inappropriate moments where it disrupts otherwise tense scenes - I'm thinking particularly of where Alakazam lies apparently dying and Dorian takes a paragraph to explain muscle foam to us. This is something you should either try to have the foresight to establish beforehand or accept that the reader won't quite understand it and merely try to imply the basic gist as it pertains to the current scene: I think it would have been fairly easy to grasp that muscle foam is some sort of healing agent simply from the fact Alakazam asks Dorian to get it for his wound, and the rest isn't really stuff we need to know right now.
    Great point, and this is actually a point my wife has brought to me several times, especially on the portions you mentioned. I kinda contribute those flaws to the fact that I'm still learning the ropes when it comes to creating a cohesive thought with my writing. Sometimes I get so excited and wrapped up in something (like the pokeflect), that I want to make sure that the audience really understands what I'm trying to convey. I suppose that I need to have more faith in people's ability to understand. Thanks for bringing that to my attention

    but I enjoy the quiet aftermaths perhaps even more, where the characters are just sorting out their many messed-up feelings and coping with what's been happening to them
    Besides the action bits, those are my favorite portions as well

    Thanks for all your advice. I really appreciate it and I want you to know that I'll really take it into account for future chapters. You're awesome

    Speaking of future chapters. Everyone, there's only two left. I'm posting chapter 30 tomorrow after work, so get ready. **** is about to get intense

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

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


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

  15. #215
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    Chapter 30


    When Ethan had awoken, his first breath had felt like inhaling pure fear. Then he felt it. The power, his power. He flexed his arms lightly and realized that they were once again his own. His body felt fluid and lithe. It was his again. He rolled to his stomach and his eyes immediately focused. One of the thieves was standing a few yards away with another human. The other thief was lying unconscious on the ground behind them.

    Just as he prepared himself to race forward to end them for good, a realization hit him. His kings. They had betrayed him. They had sent The Wanderer and torn him from his body. The overwhelming sadness of that simple fact terrified him. Why had they forsaken him? Why had they deemed the thief worthy; the one they had ordered him to destroy. He couldn’t kill them now.

    Somehow through his grief he found the will to move. Creeping slowly forward on his belly to avoid detection, he reached the female’s pack and searched through it. Ethan found the shard and rolled to his feet. He sprinted forward and blasted through the meadow to the tree line beyond. His feet barely made a sound as he dashed forward. Behind him he heard a shout and doubled his speed. The shout triggered something inside him he hadn’t felt for as long as he could recall. Fear.

    They were in league with Alakazam, probably The Wander too. Could that mean that they had turned the kings against him as well? The thought was too much to bear. It couldn’t be! He belonged to them. He was their child, their apprentice, their equal. How could they toss him away? How could they be so cruel? Ethan cried out in anguish as the tears began to flow down his cheeks. His speed slowed as he approached the shore of the ocean. Castelia glittered across the bay like a starlit beacon of steel and glass.

    Ethan stopped and fell to his knees. He cried out again and again.

    A figure appeared in front of him. The quickness unnerved him and he shrank back. Covering his face he looked through his arms and saw a Unovan soldier shouting at him. The man had an assault rifle pointed at his chest and was gesturing for him to stand. Like most Unovans he was black of skin and large in stature. Sweat beaded his brow and his teeth were shockingly white. Ethan lunged forward to the man’s feet crying out in shame and sadness. The man shot him.

    Ethan rocked back as blood filled his mouth. The man fired again as black smoke billowed from the wound in Ethan’s chest. Ethan screamed, his voice amplified by the power of the flakes, and the frightened man emptied the rest of the clip into his chest. The bullets were excruciatingly painful but the flakes released their mystical energy and invigorated him, which amplified his emotional state. Ethan tore the gun from the man’s hands and forced him to the ground.

    In a whirlwind of black smoke he grabbed the man’s shoulders and shook him. He pleaded with the man to understand his plight, to feel his abandonment. Ethan’s tears dripped into the man’s open mouth as he tried to free himself. Ethan moved his hands to the soldier’s neck in an attempt to stop his struggling and began screaming out his feelings again. Seconds passed as Ethan unloaded his mental turmoil on the helpless man. It was only after the man had stopped moving completely that Ethan really focused on him. He had inadvertently dethatched the man’s head from his shoulders. His head was lying a few feet away, and now the stench of sweat and fear was gone from him; what replaced it was the smell of his blood, rich in its scent of iron and life.

    Ethan had taken many lives through the course of his own but the death of this solider terrified him in a way he couldn’t describe. Ethan recoiled and tore the bloody shirt from his body. He screamed again and leapt into the sea, coming down headfirst and urging himself into a forward stroke. As he viciously paddled himself forward his sadness and fright began to mix with the rage. A part of Ethan’s mind knew it was inevitable. The rage always simmered below the surface of his existence; ever watchful, always waiting to blossom. His strokes grew quicker as he spurned himself through the moonlit harbor of Castelia Bay. He angled himself right as he saw the streamlined white shape of a yacht bobbing slightly in the distance.

    With his enhanced eyesight he saw through the darkness and observed a man and woman dancing leisurely on the main deck. Ethan clenched his teeth and pulled energy from the flakes wrapped around his heart. He exploded upwards in a spray of salt water and roughly landed on the deck. The woman screamed. Ethan lashed out with his left arm and broke her neck with ease. The man stood in place, dumfounded while Ethan bent low and eviscerated him with two quick swipes. He fell to the deck with a look of profound confusion. His eyes were blank and glassy, staring into the sea in an eternal trance.

    Ethan cried out again as the sadness took hold of his mind. Mucus dribbled across his mouth as he fell backwards to a sitting position. He sobbed long and hard as his perceived abandonment crashed down around him. What would he do now? Was his life all for naught?

    They owed him an explanation; they had to give him one. He alone held their fate in his hands. Without him and the shards they were nothing, doomed to spend the rest of eternity in their shapeless prison. It was Ethan who held the key to their salvation. He loved them more dearly than anything he had ever known. He had crossed the world for them several times over. Ethan deserved a reason for their treachery.

    Wiping the tears and snot from his face he descended into the cabin of the slowly rocking vessel. A quick search through the bed’s nightstand and he found what he expected to. The revolver was an antique and seemed to have never been fired. He opened the cylinder and verified that it was loaded. Ethan sat down on the foot of the bed, raised the gun to his temple, and pulled the trigger.


    *****



    The sky was overcast and the breeze was cool. Those were the first things he noticed as he opened his eyes and saw the island. The grey water stretched out from him in all directions, and he heard the distinct rumble of thunder far in the distance. Rising to his feet he saw the tower. The low clouds obscured the top of it from his view. Their voice cooed to him softly as he stared, and he followed the sound to the entrance of the ancient relic.

    Come.”

    Ethan carefully stepped past the threshold and into the tower. It was just as he remembered from his glance inside previously. A winding staircase spiraled upwards through the confines. He followed it up to where it ended in a pure and pulsing white light. Though he couldn’t see them, Ethan knew that the six kings were in that holy glow. He felt them float down to surround him as the light changed to a creamy yellow.

    Ethan,” they spoke in unison.

    “You betrayed me,” Ethan spat. “You sent The Wanderer to kill me.”

    No Ethan, no,” the assured him.

    “You did. I’ve given you my life, my blood, everything. You wish me to die. For what? Failing to kill two thieves that pose no threat to our cause? You stained our bond of love with lies.”

    We did no such thing Ethan. We love you.”

    “You lied to me! You tossed me aside like I was nothing! You gave your blessing to the theif! Why?! WHY!?”

    We were testing you, Ethan...

    “Testing me? Why?”

    Ethan, we have waited a millennia for you. How could we not test you? Our fate, as you believe, does rest in your hands. We tested you as a youth, and as our return draws so near we decided to test you again.

    “A test,” Ethan repeated.

    Yes, Ethan, a test. Only the true of heart and courageous of spirit deserve to rule by our side. As we anticipated, you prevailed. You overcame the obstacles with your wile and returned to us. We are so proud of you.”

    A test…Could it be that simple? The kings had never lied to him before. They encouraged his growth and strength. They picked him over all others to bestow their gift. It made sense in a way. After all, only the worthy deserved to rule. Why had he misjudged them so quickly? They only wanted him to succeed. His knees suddenly felt weak and his eyes began to water. Ethan was wrong. It wasn’t the kings who had betrayed him, it was Alakazam. His brother in all but flesh had grown jealous of his status. That was it. Jealousy. Somehow he had poisoned Ethan’s mind against the kings.

    “I’m so sorry,” Ethan sobbed. “Forgive me.”

    No forgiveness is necessary, Ethan,” they said. “You are our champion, the only and the one. Our hopes live within you. Our methods can be harsh, even beyond your understanding, but we do it because we love you. So many years have passed since we found you in the cave, and through our guidance you have grown into the vessel we always knew you could be.”

    “I submit myself to you, willingly and completely,” Ethan cried as their warmth touched his shaking frame.

    You honor us, Ethan. The end is near. Only one more piece of the tablet is required to restore us. Find the shard, take it to the tablet and make us whole again.”

    “I will, I swear to you. You will rise again, and I will be there to welcome you.”

    You will be rewarded beyond your wildest fantasies. You will join us in your rightful place above all humans and Pokemon. Together we will reign in this wicked world.

    “I, I love you,” Ethan stammered.

    We love you, Ethan. Go now and fulfill your destiny.”

    The world flashed white in front of him and his vision blurred. Ethan closed his eyes. When he opened them he was back in the cabin. He crossed the room with abundant purpose and ascended the stairs. Soft mist kissed his face as he took in the swiftly rising sun. This world was his. He deserved it, he earned it, and soon enough he would rule it.


    *****



    Shelton opened her eyes.

    She took in her surroundings quickly, noting Vibrava gazing towards the glass doors of the balcony. She was lying against Dorian’s chest, and his warmth comforted her. He was snoring softly and the vibration quickened her ascent into wakefulness. Shelton carefully moved his arm from her shoulder and slid out of bed. She spied an open pack of cigarettes on the nightstand and grabbed them. Crossing the room she lowered herself into a chair.

    Vibrava dipped his head at her and she responded in kind. Shelton lit the cigarette and stared at her brother. His lightly muscular form was completely relaxed. His mouth was open slightly as if he was astounded. His beard had grown scraggly and unkempt. Dorian had hints of Ronnie inside him. Their shoulders were both broad and matched by their above average height. Shelton took a drag on the cigarette and shifted her gaze to the balcony. Dawn was close to arriving; the horizon was already beginning to lighten.

    Her thoughts turned to the day before. Trapped in Ethan’s body, killing those innocent Pokemon, losing herself in Ethan’s mind. A part of her was aware of Alakazam switching them back, but something had happened during the process. When she had been broken down to pinpricks of consciousness, Ethan’s mind had bled into hers. Every memory, experience, lesson, and hardship of his was hers to remember now. She recalled his struggles through life, his chance encounter with the voices, the murder and the hate. She took another drag. It was if Shelton had lived another life. Her consciousness did as well, for it pounded her thought process with how she and he would both proceed in the same situation. It was strange, almost as if her mind was at war with itself. The cigarette burned itself out and she lit another.

    “Morning,” Garrett’s voice said from the darkness.

    Shelton turned her head and observed him sitting up. “Morning.”

    “How do you feel?” He whispered as he rolled out of bed.

    “I’m fine,” Shelton replied.

    “That is you in there, right?”

    “Yes.”

    “How do I know?” He asked as he stopped a few feet away from her.

    “You don’t,” Shelton shrugged. “But I do know that we were almost killed by a flock of supercharged Emolga. Then we turned your plane into a life raft. Good enough?”

    “That’ll do it,” Garrett said with a smile.

    He crossed the room and grabbed a beer from the refrigerator, gesturing to her and nodding his head. She nodded in reply and he sat down in the chair next to her. He grabbed a cigarette and smoked with her, both sipping their beer and not speaking. As the sky continued to lighten and accent his angular face, Shelton decided that she liked him after all. Garrett didn’t pry when it was obvious you didn’t want to talk. He was actually very adept at reading emotion and knowing when to shut up. Garrett simply let you be, and she was grateful for that.

    She saw Dorian stir as she cycled through Ethan’s memories. When he woke up he gasped and looked to his side. He shot out of bed with a yelp but paused when he saw her sitting with Garrett. He approached slowly, as if he thought she would suddenly float away. Which given what happened recently wasn’t that far off base. He smiled at her and she returned the gesture as best she could.

    “Hey, sis,” he said softly.

    “Hey,” she replied.

    Dorian bent down and pulled her into an embrace. Generally, her brother’s touch comforted her, but this time it made her feel trapped. Shelton shivered involuntarily and nudged him aside with her shoulder. She thought she saw a look of apprehension flash across his face but he turned away before she could make sure. Dorian likewise grabbed a beer and lit a cigarette. He dropped into one of the available chairs at the table and sighed heavily.

    “So,” he started. “We should figure out what we’re gonna do.”

    “First things first, we need to hea-“ Garrett began, before Shelton cut him off.

    “We need to eat, and I want to take a shower. Then we go get the shard,” she stated.

    “You sure you wanna get back on it that fast?” Dorian asked. “Garrett and I can figure-,”

    With a wave of her hand she cut him off as well. “I’m sure. We do it now.”

    “Damn straight,” Garrett agreed as he finished his beer.

    “Okay then,” Dorian said quietly. “I’ll go downstairs and get us some breakfast. I think I saw a Pokemon center next door. I’ll see if I can get them to heal Alakazam”

    “Bravvaaa?” Vibrava cooed.

    “Yeah, but don’t be long and don’t go far. Okay?”

    “Vibravaaaa.”

    Shelton lit another cigarette as the dragon slid the glass door open to the balcony and leapt into the air. She turned in time to see Dorian pull on his boots and start towards the door. He paused as he reached for the handle and looked at her. Concern was written across his face and he stared at her with rapt intensity. Shelton returned his gaze as the tension grew. Eventually he turned the knob and left the room.

    As soon as Dorian’s footsteps faded away, Garrett rose and retrieved a bottle of oil and a cloth from his pack. He took out both his pistols and started disassembling them. Shelton almost said something to him but stopped herself and grabbed her pack. She retreated to the bathroom and closed the door. Shelton turned the water on and quickly shrugged off her clothes. As soon as the water touched her skin she lowered herself to the floor of the tub and trembled.

    She cried softly. She cried for Ronnie, for Dorian, and for Golduck. She cried for the life she had before all this happened. She even cried for Ethan, despite his inequities and monstrosities. It was all so wrong. Another life inside her own; simmering, settling deep into the lining of her own consciousness. How could she continue to exist with such feelings? Especially now with the knowledge of that one memory. The only memory of Ethan’s that really mattered. An overturned vehicle, a screaming newborn held by a confused toddler.

    She discovered that that memory was the reason she could continue to exist. Shelton rose and scrubbed her body with the scorching water. She would continue this endeavor because of what he had done, even if it had not been intentional. Ethan had not only robbed her of the only father she had ever known. He had done more than she thought was possible. Ethan had already affected her life before she even became self-aware.

    Before she had been forced into his consciousness she had held on to the hope that Dorian wouldn’t kill him. She still hoped that because she decided that she would be the one to do it. Flakes be damned, shards be damned, everything be damned. Ethan would die. Not only would he deserve it, but he designed it, it was meant to be. Ethan had created her with his actions. As Shelton clenched her fists she realized what the point of her existence was. She was born to kill Ethan. Because of his memories that she now possessed, she might be the only person who really knew how.

    Shelton clenched her teeth as she rinsed the last of the conditioner from her hair and turned off the water. She wrapped one towel around her hair and used the other to dry herself. She selected a dark shirt and jeans and quickly dressed. Taking out a small tube of lotion she squeezed the bottle and lightly applied a thin coat of moisturizer to her face. Before she left the bathroom she looked in the mirror one last time. For a moment, she imagined Ethan looking back at her, and in response she bared her teeth.

    “Food?” Dorian asked as she walked back into the room.

    Spread out on the table were three plates of eggs and bacon, with a few halved pieces of toast accented by a variety of fruit. Shelton nodded and sat down. She took the offered fork and ate vigorously, taking in the scent of gun oil that hung in the air. Shelton noticed that Dorian kept trying to catch her eye but she ignored him. Instead she turned to Garrett.

    “How we doing this?”

    “Far as I figure we just walk through the front door,” Garrett said through a mouthful of bacon.

    “What’s the place called again?” Dorian asked.

    “Cynadyne Solutions,” Garrett offered. “Energy company that specializes in electrical current applications. From the research I did and what we saw when we shocked ourselves, there’s a front area with a reception desk, and four rooms behind it. Looked like a mad scientist’s wet dream in there. Metal, beakers, that sort of shit. It’s on the fortieth floor of some building downtown.”

    “Some building?” Shelton asked.

    “I don’t remember what it’s called but I know where it’s at.”

    “So we just go in and do what?”

    “Hopefully nothing. It’s Sunday so everyone should be gone. If it’s locked electronically we’re fucked, but if it’s not we can probably get in. I can pick just about anything.”

    “What about security?”

    “Figure we’ll just cross that bridge when we come to it,” Garrett shrugged. “I got some stuff for us once we make it inside.”

    “So we’re basically just fucking winging it?” Dorian asked.

    “Pretty much,” Garrett said sheepishly.

    As Garrett went back to his breakfast there was a rustle and Vibrava buzzed back into the room. After a short conversation with Dorian, her brother returned him to his ball and pushed his plate forward. He lit a cigarette and turned towards her.

    “We need to think about what we’re gonna do if we come across Ethan,” he said.

    “Ten minutes?” Shelton asked, rising from the table and removing the towel from her head.

    “Wait, Shelton, we reall-“

    “Ten minutes,” she said again.

    Shelton removed a hair band from her wrist and pulled her hair into a tight bun. She went back to the bathroom and gathered her wrinkled clothes. She placed them into a side pocket on her pack and retrieved her baton. Shelton gripped it tightly and flicked her wrist. The blued steel sprang out fluidly with a snap. Satisfied, she pressed the button down and retracted the baton. She tucked it in the back of her jeans and went to the fridge. She downed a beer as quickly as she could to steady her nerves and turned to her brother and Garrett.

    “Here,” Garrett said, holding out some cloth. It was a woman’s stocking, pale brown.

    “Really?” Dorian asked. “Are we knocking over liquor stores?”

    “Well it’s either this or risk the Unovan’s seeing our faces. The last people they caught illegally in their country, they fed to a pack of Mightyena. Personally, I’d like to avoid that,” Garrett explained.

    “Sounds good,” Dorian nodded.

    “Let’s go,” Shelton said as she shouldered her pack.

    Without waiting for their replies she opened the door and stepped through. Shelton heard them behind her as she walked down the pleasantly wallpapered hallway. They took the elevator down to the ground level and walked with purpose to the street. Inhaling the thick and noxious air Shelton stepped to the sidewalk.

    The melted into the crowd of people heading north, keeping their heads down. Their snowy skin colors stuck out plainly against the citizens of Unova so they concentrated on sticking to the sides of buildings and took as many alleyways as they could. It took them almost an hour to reach the skyscraper that held the laboratory. They ascended the stairs to the main entrance. No words were spoken between them as they went through the revolving doors, none were necessary.


    *******


    The shards in Ethan’s pack had guided him to the last one that remained. An internet search told him that it was located in the offices of Cynadyne Solutions. The building was centrally located at the core of the city. People were everywhere, along with surveillance cameras so he decided the best course of action was to find an alternative route inside.

    The idea was sound to him at first. Then his excitement began getting the better of him. The flakes in his chest pulsed with anticipation, fueling his emotions. Ethan climbed the steel building adjacent to the other faster, his hands digging deep ruts into the metal. He was hundreds of feet into the air now and the wind began to push his body from side to side. The flakes gave one last triumphant thump as he found himself level with the floor of the building across the street.

    Taking a breath, he channeled the energy of the flakes into his limbs and leapt. He flew through the air like a missile and crashed through the plate glass in a shatter of shimmering fragments. Ethan walked forward through the haze of black smoke that healed his body. The room was dark, partially lit only by glowing banks of computers. Directly in front of him lay the last shard. It was perched upright on a stand at one end of an enormous oaken desk. As Ethan walked forward an ear splitting wail filled the air.

    Red lights began to flash from the four corners of the room.

    Ethan slid his hand around the shard and picked it up. The flake dethatched itself and immediately burrowed its way into his arm. A sense of finality overcame him as he felt the flake worm itself through his body. This was it. All of the relics were gathered. He had succeeded. As Ethan turned to exit through the window he had entered, he saw a flash of white light. The door crashed open.


    ******



    The elevator slowly slid open and they walked out. The corridor was dimly lit and unoccupied. Shelton stalked forward ahead of Dorian and Garrett with quick and purposeful strides. The glass doors to Cynadyne stood closed at the end of the hall. Shelton reached out and pulled but they wouldn’t budge. Looking forward she saw a woman sitting behind a reception desk. She was wearing headphones that disappeared into her long red hair. Shelton slammed her right fist into the glass.

    The woman jumped, her mouth forming a silent ring. She stared at Shelton for a long moment before getting up and walking to the door. Shelton heard Dorian shift behind her. The woman flipped the lock apprehensively and opened the door a few inches.

    “We’re closed,” she explained. “Business hours are between-,”

    Shelton didn’t wait for her to finish. She put her full force into the door and shoved it open. The woman went sprawling to the thickly carpeted floor as Shelton quickly pushed past her. She heard Dorian exclaim something as she crossed the space between her and the desk. On either side of the reception desk were two hallways. She didn’t know which lead to the shard. Closing her eyes she tried to remember what her shard had shown her when she had been psychically transported here before. It was the east side, towards the ocean, which meant the hallway on the left.

    Just as she started to move towards it, a screech filled the room. Red lights started flashing which triggered a torrent of anger to splash across her mind. Shelton turned to see the receptionist crying, her hand frantically pressing a button on the underside of the desk. Shelton felt her insides ignite with invisible flame. She stalked forward and quickly delivered a spinning kick to the woman’s midsection. As the woman fell back to the floor Shelton slammed her palm into the woman’s nose, breaking it and knocking her out. She wiped the blood off her hand in time to come face to face with Dorian.

    “What the fuck are you doing!?” he exclaimed.

    “Trying to get the shard,” Shelton said over the roar of the alarm.

    “So that means you maim anyone in your way? The fuck is wrong with you?!”

    Shelton felt Ethan’s anger flare inside her again and shoved him out of the way. She stalked down the hall to the door at the far end. An electronic lock and eye scanner greeted her as she arrived. Shelton heard two pairs of hurried steps behind her as she decided on her next move. The door was large, and made of metal. With a quick motion she released Machoke into the hall.

    “Break the door down,” she commanded.

    Her Pokemon took in her serious demeanor and crouched low. His muscles twitched and he threw himself forward. The door exploded off its hinges and crashed against the far wall. Shelton jumped into the room. Through the haze of drywall dust that permeated her immediate area she saw a figure standing at the end of the room. The picture window behind the person had been shattered inward, accenting the form with ghastly beautiful spikes of glass. Through the flashes of red light, Shelton saw that it was Ethan.

    Fuck!” Dorian yelled behind her.

    Loud bangs echoed through her right ear as Garrett started firing. A few bullets found their mark in Ethan’s torso, which elicited a scream of rage or pain; Shelton wasn’t sure which. As she took in the situation, Ethan bent low and swept his arm up, sending the enormous desk flipping towards them quicker than she could react. She saw a streak of blue flesh as Machoke jumped forward and smashed a glowing fist into the desk. The desk split apart into two halves where it shattered against the wall behind them. Machoke roared and ran forward, his body trailing a white glow. He viciously tackled Ethan back through the shattered window and they disappeared into the open air.

    The shard Ethan was holding had not followed him through the window. It hovered in the air for a split second before falling back to the ground. Shelton was already running forward as it bounced towards the open window. She dove through the air and slid across the carpet. She caught the shard with the tips of her fingers just as it began to disappear over the edge. Her body continued sliding forward and she caught herself with her left hand just as her torso crossed the threshold. As she breathed a sigh of relief she felt strong hands grab her feet and pull her backwards.

    She rolled upwards into a crouch as her brother let go of her. His shocked face began to form a sound just as Garrett cut him off with a single word.

    “Move!”

    Apparently not trusting them to follow simple instruction, their companion tackled both of them back to the floor. Her eyes were focused upwards so she was able to behold Machoke in great detail as he flew back through the window and slammed into the far wall. Shelton activated her Pokeflect just as Ethan followed Machoke back into the room. The murderer opened his mouth wider than she thought possible and issued a primal roar that shook the floor.

    Her baton came out, seemingly on its own accord and extended to its full length. She was just about to break out of Dorian’s hold when her baton flew out of her hand and buried itself in the ceiling. Likewise, everything else in the room that wasn’t bolted down joined it. They all stopped dead, even Ethan, to try and process the strange phenomena. The computers, furniture, glass vials, all vibrated and sank deeper into the ceiling.

    The bright blue sky was suddenly visible to Shelton as the twenty floors above her were ripped away from the building and cast aside into the city around them. A cacophony of sound assaulted her all at once; breaking glass, twisting metal, the horrified screams of people in the streets below; the sound was unbearably titanic. Her mind raced as she tried to quantify the event. How was this possible? As the millions of tons of metal and cement rained down below she found her answer.

    Above her, two Pokemon hovered in the air. Their bodies were pale and diminutive, which was ironic considering the power that dwelt within them. They both had twin tails beset with glowing red jewels. Further up, Shelton saw that one’s head was pink with four long tendrils while the other had a head of dark blue in the shape of a curved triangle. Despite the chaos and enormity of the situation, Shelton had no trouble recognizing the two legendary Pokemon. They floated side by side with eyes glowing white.

    As Shelton watched, Ethan was lifted upwards to meet them.


    *******



    Ethan came to rest at eye-level with the furious Pokemon. Looking down, he saw fire spreading like a wave across the city where the top floors of the building had been thrown. He felt the rage take hold as the two Pokemon drifted closer. When their brother had immobilized him he hadn’t been able to move at all, but with both of them exerting pressure on him he couldn’t even breathe.

    I still cannot fathom how he was able to overcome brother,” one spoke.

    Nor can I,” the other agreed.

    The Azelf drifted closer, and when it spoke, Ethan had no doubt that the voice was coming from it. “You believe our family a farce, human?

    It makes no difference, brother,” the Mespirit answered for him. “He has consigned his race to the darkness and barbarism of old.”

    The pressure surrounding him lessened slightly, enough for him to draw a breath. They were goading him. They were daring him to defend himself even though they were obviously at the advantage. Ethan gave himself over to the rage. He surrendered himself without struggle to the red haze that had guided his life since he was a boy.

    “What race is that?” Ethan asked.

    Humans,” the Azelf spat.

    “I am no human,” Ethan whispered.

    Something happened then that took him by surprise. The flakes wrapped around his heart released a surge of energy so great that Ethan involuntarily screamed out in pain and exhilaration. The energy rocketed through his circulatory system so powerfully that he felt as if his very soul was vibrating. His vision flashed white for a split second, and then it changed. Ethan felt his mind draw back and make way for a force so immense he couldn’t even grasp its shape. His voice spoke without his command, and he mentally yelled out in triumph.

    “If you think yourselves our equal, we accept your challenge,” the six kings said with his voice.

    As the two psychic’s eyes went wide, Ethan saw his arms flex and swing upwards; breaking the mental hold they had on him. His body lightly dropped back downwards to the building below. As the six kings filled his lungs with air, Ethan felt his body stiffen. His fingers fused together to form three over sized digits on each hand. A sharp pain enveloped his mouth as his teeth grew longer and shaped themselves into fangs. His back arched unnaturally as his spine lengthened, transforming his body into a more serpentine shape. The two thieves and their companion stared open-mouthed at him as the six kings closed his hands into fists.

    Ethan relinquished his control completely. The kings accepted his willingness and crouched. His body leapt upwards towards the two psychics as Ethan broke down into hysterical laughter.


    *********



    Shelton could barely process what was happening. Ethan had been yanked into the sky by the two legendary Pokemon just to be dropped moments later. His skin had vibrated in front of her as he turned into some sort of snake-like creature. He still had two legs, but his torso and arms had grown longer, like his body had been stretched like taffy. Ethan had jumped straight up, covering the distance between himself and the Azelf in the blink of an eye.

    Shelton gasped as Ethan collided with the Azelf and drove him into the side of a nearby building in an explosion of steel and glass. Before her mind could wrap itself around what was happening, the Mespirit let loose with a psychic scream so great that Shelton was knocked off her feet. The legendary Pokemon released a whirlwind of pink energy that shredded the top floors of the nearby skyscrapers. Thousands of terrified screams melded with the sound of roaring calamity to form a wail so great that she struggled to even pick herself up.

    Somehow she found it within herself to rise to her feet just as a wayward blast of energy struck the base of the building they were in. Machoke yanked her off her feet just as the building began to rock beneath her feet. As her eyes found her bother she saw him release Shiftry.

    “Out the window!” Dorian screamed to Machoke.

    Machoke didn’t wait for Shelton to give him permission. His feet thundered across the floor as he clutched her tighter to his massive chest. Suddenly they were airborne and she looked down to see the streets below in vivid detail. Cars lay overturned hundreds of feet below, accompanied by slabs of concrete and metal. Thousands of people were running randomly in all directions, their forms no bigger than pinpricks. Machoke landed in the building he had tackled Ethan through minutes before, driving the air from her lungs.

    “Let me go!” Shelton gasped.

    Her Pokemon acquiesced in time for her to be nearly knocked over by Shiftry who had leapt through the window right after them, holding Garrett around the waist. Garret scrambled out of Shiftry’s arms and drew both of his guns despite their uselessness in this situation.

    “Get Dorian!” She yelled, surprised at how shrill her voice sounded.

    “Try!” Shiftry agreed.

    Before the grass type could make it to the window however, the building they had just exited shifted again. The entire building began to lean backwards as more bursts of energy lit up the sky from the Mespirit above. Shelton’s heart raced as she looked downwards and saw the foundations of the building across the street crumble in a detonation of dust. She swung her head upwards to see the broken window they had came from. The building roared as it began to tumble backwards. Shelton screamed in crazed panic as she realized that she had no way of helping her brother.

    “Shiftry!” Shiftry yelled.

    Shelton looked back up to see her brother throw himself through the broken window and out into the open air. The building fell backwards behind him as his body began to drop downwards. Shiftry glowed white and his body shot out through the window. As she watched, Shiftry sliced through the air and he gracefully landed on a glass window of the collapsing building. The grass type ran vertically upwards, his body trailing a milky aura. Shiftry became even with Dorian’s falling form and he leapt backwards to meet her brother. Their bodies collided and tumbled forward towards her.

    She could tell from their trajectory that Shiftry’s leap back didn’t have enough power to carry them all the way back. The Pokemon’s mane of silvery white hair glistened in the light of another aerial explosion as they glided through the air. They were mere feet away as they reached the apex of the jump and began to fall downwards. Shelton sucked in a breath to yell just as one of Machoke’s meaty hands shoved her backwards. As she fell to the carpet, she saw Machoke slam his right hand into the floor and throw his legs over the side of the window.

    “Dorian!” Shelton yelled as she scrambled forward.

    Looking over the side she saw her brother clinging to Shiftry’s torso, his Pokemon’s right arm grasped firmly by Machoke. Shelton’s fighting type gave a grunt and pulled upwards with his left arm. The three of them flew up to land inside the window. Shelton grabbed her brother and pulled him into a hug.

    “You damn stupid idiot bastard,” she whispered.

    “And I did what to merit that? Because I think I’m fine.”

    “I know you did but you als-“

    Shelton’s vision suddenly flashed blue as a huge energy discharge lit up with city. The windows around them shattered and they were all once again knocked to the ground. As her vision cleared she saw that Dorian’s pokeballs had been loosened from the clip on his belt. He quickly snatched all of them except for one that rolled into her stomach. Shelton picked it. Blue top with white bottom; which meant Vibrava. She was just about to hand it back when Garrett’s voice rose over the chaos outside.

    “We need to get the fuck out of here!” he yelled.

    “No shit!” Dorian responded. “How the fuck are we supposed to do that?”

    Her brother gestured outside. Pieces of metal and concrete spun through the air in waves, accented by streaks of blue and pink energy. Whenever the beams of light hit something solid, an explosion soon followed, sending more debris into the air all around their building. They were stuck. If they stayed in this building any longer there was the chance that it would either explode or collapse. They also couldn’t use their Pokemon to fly out due to all the shit cascading around outside.

    “We go up!” Garrett yelled over the noise of sound all around them. “We’re on the thirtieth floor! I think there’s only a few more above us, and if we can get above it we can fly out!”

    Fuck it! Good with me!” Dorian shouted back.

    The five of them sprinted forward through the door on the far side of the room. They came upon a hallway flashing yellow with warning lights. A door loomed at the end of the hall with a green arrow pointing upwards. They broke through the door and dashed up the steps towards the roof.


    *******



    When the six kings had used his body to tackle the Azelf into the building, Ethan had mentally screamed in mirth. His body had become their weapon of righteousness. There was no greater pleasure in knowing the he was now fully their instrument again. The small psychic threw out his arms as they exploded out through the other side of the building. A bubble of energy expanded between them, pulling him away from Ethan’s grasp. Ethan’s body tumbled downwards through the air and landed on his feet on the roof of a building.

    The Azelf spun in a circle, throwing a wide wave of glittering psychic energy at him. Instantaneously, the six kings had his body leaping straight up. He flew hundreds of feet upwards to land on the side of another skyscraper. The wind tore at his body as the Mespirit appeared and zoomed forward, holding several vehicles in the air behind her. She released a mental scream and threw them. Ethan felt his mouth stretch itself into a grin as his body was once again sent forward. The six kings twisted through the air, lightly touching each car long enough to use them as a springboard for more speed and altitude. The Mespirit saw their intent and gathered a swirling mass of energy above her head but was too late to stop the six kings from grabbing her by her head tendrils.

    “Hah!” the six kings roared.

    They swung the psychic in a wide arc and released her downwards. The Mespirit flew like a missile and collided with a skyscraper, tearing off the top five floors in another explosion of metal and flame. As Ethan’s body began to fall down he was suddenly blinded as a blue discharge of energy hit him in the torso and blasted him backwards. He flew through a window and into an office. Shocked workers screamed from the spaces beneath their cubicles where they had already been hiding.

    Through the haze of black smoke that billowed from his body, Ethan could see one curious fellow approaching him slowly. The man shakily held out a hand.

    “Are you okay?”

    “We’re wonderful, thank you,” the six kings said with their overlapping voices.

    The six kings grabbed the man by the throat and squeezed, hoisting him off the ground. The man gasped and turned red, his hands slapping feebly against Ethan’s arms. Just then, the Azelf dropped down through the open window. The six kings wound back and threw the man towards the hovering psychic. The Azelf let loose with a beam of energy that simply erased the flailing man from reality. The six kings dove forward and rolled Ethan’s body across the floor just as the Azelf released another barrage of the blue beams. The energy dissolved everything in its path, disintegrating people and inanimate objects alike.

    “Your boasts of power are unfounded!” the six kings shouted as they jumped from the floor and ran forward.

    The psychic released more attacks but the six kings dodged them with uncannily agility. The Azelf’s eyes went wide as they put on an extra spurt of speed and tackled him backwards. As the two flew through the air, the six kings plunged Ethan’s right arm down the psychic’s throat, all the way to the elbow. The Azelf trembled and heaved, his saliva coating Ethan’s arm. The six kings apparently found what they were looking for and yanked his arm back out. A golden orb of glowing energy was clenched in his misshapen hand.

    You!” the Azelf accused. The Pokemon’s skin faded to a dull gray as they continued to fall.

    “Correct,” the six kings confirmed. “A pity you won’t be present to celebrate our complete resurgence.”

    In one smooth movement the six kings crushed the ball in his right hand and broke the Azelf’s neck with his left. The six kings smashed into a roof as they breathed in the smoky air. Reaching down, they tore the jewel from the Pokemon’s triangular head and held it up to the sunlight. It sparkled beautifully for a moment before a shadow blocked out the sunlight. The six kings turned. A mile wide and long area of twisted metal and cement hung in the air behind the glowing Mespirit. Tendrils of energy lashed out randomly from the Pokemon’s head as it hovered in place.

    “It would suit us better to have a matched set,” the six kings laughed as they held the jewel up.

    The Mespirit’s eyes flashed.

    Ethan felt himself slip away even more as the six kings bent low. A gush of energy unlike anything he had ever felt rushed through his consciousness. So great was the torrent that he felt almost as if it was tearing away part of his mind. Ethan mentally cried out in fear and tried to throw up a wall to protect himself.

    The six kings cut through the air as the mountain of objects crashed down all around them. They flew threw stone and steel as if it was no more than a light breeze. The Mespirit saw them coming and lashed out with a wave of energy but they barreled through that as well. The six kings collided with the psychic type and quickly tore the Pokemon in half. The bottom portion fell away as Ethan let go and grabbed the pulsing ball of energy inside the newly deceased Pokemon. He crushed it and watched the remains float away as his body hurtled downwards to the debris strewn streets below. Faster and faster he fell until he smashed against the asphalt with a resounding slam.

    We grow weary, Ethan,” the six kings said to his mind. “We’ve exhausted our last store of energy. We won’t be able to help you again.”

    “The gift of your assistance was a great honor,” Ethan responded as control of his body began to return.

    You honor us, Ethan. Take the last shard from the thieves and return it to the tablet. Make us whole again.”

    “I will, I promise.”

    Black smoke engulfed his broken body as he struggled to rise to his feet. He waited impatiently as his skin mended, his bones were forced back into place, and he was able to draw breath without difficulty. Ethan observed the devastation all around him as he rose to his feet. The Castelia skyline had been shattered. Smoke from hundreds of fires obscured the sky like monstrous storm clouds. People ran towards the distant shore in waves of frenzied panic. Ethan smiled and knelt down. He tore the jewel from the Mespirit’s forehead. He deposited it into his pocket along with the one from the Azelf. Looking skyward he opened Salamence’s pokeball.


    ******



    Shelton, Garrett, and Dorian burst through the door at the top of the stairs. They were all wheezing and drenched in sweat. Despite their Pokemon’s protests, Dorian and Shelton had returned them to their balls. The sky was black with smoke but they saw through the haze that the air around them was devoid of floating objects. Shelton breathed a sigh of relief. They could leave. They had the shard, and Ethan and the legendary Pokemon were nowhere in sight. Shelton still had Vibrava’s Pokeball, and as she saw Garrett holster his weapons she pulled it from her pocket.

    Shelton heard Dorian yelp and she spun around. The Salamence roared at them as Ethan reached out and snagged Dorian off his feet. Holding Dorian in the air by his throat, Ethan guided his steed to land twenty feet away. The dragon’s tongue flicked out and tasted the air. Shelton saw from the corner of her vision that Garrett had drawn his weapons. She threw her arm out to stop him. Shelton breathed in, terrified.

    “Bring it to me,” Ethan growled.

    Shelton clenched her fists as she observed Dorian’s face turning red, his hands clenched on Ethan’s outstretched arm. She felt the shard vibrate in her left pocket. Shelton thought of her options for a split second before shoving them away. She could hand over the shard or Dorian would die. It was simple.

    “Now,” Ethan hissed.

    The murderer tightened his grip on her brother’s neck. Dorian’s legs kicked halfheartedly as he struggled to draw a breath. The threat was clear. Shelton pulled the lightly pulsing shard from her pocket and took a step forward. Then another, and another. Soon enough she was in front of the growling Salamence. The Pokemon glowered at her, showing its dagger like teeth. Shelton reached out and offered the shard. Ethan reached down from his mount and for a brief moment his fingers touched hers.

    “You are all going to die screaming,” Ethan whispered.

    The red haze she had adopted from Ethan came down. She struggled against it, waging a mental war to hold it at bay. Then suddenly it didn’t matter, nothing mattered. Ethan smiled at her and pulled Dorian backwards. Eyes focused directly on Shelton, he flexed and threw her brother into the air.

    “Mence!” the Salamence roared.

    Its head snaked forward to engulf her but Shelton reacted faster and dropped into a crouch. She kicked out with her right foot and clipped the dragon on the jaw just as its mouth closed on the space she had vacated. Her kick didn’t hurt the Salamence but distracted it long enough for her to jump to her feet and start running. Her feet barely touched the ground as she followed Dorian’s arc through the sky.

    Shelton heard the loud retorts of Garrett’s guns as he started firing but it was inconsequential. All that mattered was her brother, floating through the air like a dream. She could tell from his speed that he would bypass falling back to the roof. Dorian was going to go over, he was going to die.

    She clutched Vibrava’s pokeball tighter as she continued to sprint. As Dorian fell even with her a few feet from the lip of the roof, he looked at her. She looked back. Something imperceptible passed between them for a split second and then he vanished from her sight. Shelton spurned herself faster and as she reached the edge of the roof she leapt off after him.

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

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


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

  16. #216
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    Well, this is it. Final chapter is here for your enjoyment. It has been a wonderful ride. When I started out, this was just a story I had in my head, an unformed story at that. Each chapter gave me more perspective though and over time it became exactly what I wanted it to be. I'd like to thank all my readers and reviewers that have stuck with this over the last two years. I count many of you as my friends and as inspirations. All of you, with your comments and opinions helped me shape this story into exactly what I had in my head, and for that I am eternally grateful. Two people I think deserve special recognition.

    The first is my buddy Garrett. Whose dialogue, physical description, and mannerisms gave birth to the character of Garrett. Seriously people, if you like Garrett, you should know that I feel incredibly lucky to have the real version in my life. Not only is he the very definition of a true friend, but he's a person with principles, character, and loyalty that cannot be matched. He's a person that I have come to greatly respect and love dearly. I count him as my best friend and a person that I trust with my life. Thank you, Garrett.

    The second is to my wonderful wife. Yeah, it's weird that my wife Shelton is my characters sister in the story but whatever lol. Shelton pulled me from a very strange time in my life. She gave me love, guidance, and purpose that I had not realized. She gives me strength, inspiration, and lights up my entire world. I love her with every fiber of my being and she surprises me everyday with the depth of her compassion, understanding, and love. Forever and ever, babe.

    At the end of this chapter, I'm posting a link to a song on youtube that I think everyone who reads this should listen to. Not only is it a great song, but I feel like it sums up Requiem pretty damn well. Enjoy the chapter everyone, and once again, thanks for everything. And BTW, the sequel to Requiem is coming in July



    Chapter 31



    As Shelton’s feet left the edge of the roof she had turned herself around to focus on Vibrava’s pokeball. Her fingers delicately manipulated the reticule on the small button of the ball, decreasing the space between her and the distance in which Vibrava would form. As it clicked into place she pressed the button and released Vibrava. The dragon materialized in a spray of white light a few feet from her, his eyes widening as he beheld the situation.

    “Get Dorian!” Shelton screamed as she fell through a pillar of black smoke.

    Vibrava roared his name and folded his wings backwards, increasing his speed downwards and grabbing Shelton with his front legs. The dragon pulled her close against his scaly chest and grunted as they began to dive faster. Shelton turned her head to see Dorian reaching out to them with outstretched arms. The air screamed as an explosion rocked the building next to them. Heat flashed across her skin as a gout of flame caressed Vibrava’s torso. He leaned right, shielding her from the majority of the blast.

    The ground was reaching up to them so fast. Four hundred feet, three hundred feet. Still they dove, cutting through the air like a rocket. Dorian came closer and closer as Shelton was able to observe the white stripes painted in the road. Suddenly they met with a crash of flailing limbs. Shelton pulled him close, and he in return pulled tight on Vibrava’s legs. The dragon’s wings flared outward as he attempted to slow their momentum.

    They were far too low and falling far too fast for that to be of use though. The street reached up to them. Thirty feet, twenty feet, Shelton’s breath catching in her throat, Vibrava barely breathing above her. In a last ditch effort to provide them safety, Vibrava flipped his body around and folded his wings around them. Her sight was momentarily lost in a shield of darkness as they crashed into an overturned car. Shelton felt one of her ribs crack as Vibrava’s hard musculature thudded against the hard metal. The dragon released his grip and she and her brother were thrown free to collide against the asphalt.

    “Dorian!” Shelton gasped, her breath sending spasms of pain through her chest.

    Her brother forced himself to his knees, staring at the ground and breathing deeply. Despite her tremors she ran to him, only to have him jump to his feet and streak past her. His fingers trembled as he touched his unconscious Vibrava’s face.

    “Where’s his pokeball?” He asked without looking at her.

    Shelton deposited it into his hand and the dragon vanished in a flash of red light.

    “Are you okay?” Shelton asked.

    Dorian took a moment to answer. He looked skyward at the ruined buildings, downward to the screaming people and the devastation all around them. When he finally looked at her, his shoulders heaved. Tears wet his cheeks and his breath began to come in hyperventilated gasps. Shelton moved forward and hugged him, her breath automatically matching his panicked intakes. She didn’t know how long they stood there. It could have been seconds; it could have been an hour. It only ended when he pulled away and gripped her arms tightly.

    “We need to get out of here,” Dorian said as he wiped his eyes.

    “I know,” she said as she wiped her own.

    They spied a manhole a few yards away, and after Dorian had pried loose the cover with his dagger, they descended down the rusty ladder to the depths below. The sewers were still and the air was rank. They walked along the narrow pathway for a while without any real purpose. As they reached a fork, Dorian turned to her and ran a hand through his shaggy hair.

    “You know this is over, right? All of it. We’re going home.”

    “We can’t, Dorian. He’s got the last piece now. What do you think is gonna happen if we don’t stop him?”

    “What do you think is gonna happen?” Dorian repeated. “What the fuck did I say that was unclear to you?”

    “Don’t talk to me like that.”

    Fuck you, Shelton. We almost all died for the fifth fucking time now. Also, if you didn’t notice, Ethan just demolished A FUCKING CITY!”

    “Do you think I just magically fucking disappeared into a sugar coated la-la land when it was happening?! I know, I was there!”

    “Then why the hell are you fighting me on this?! We are going home, that’s it!”

    “And what are we supposed to do when we get there?” Shelton asked. “Play with our fucking feet while Ethan brings those fuckers back to life and takes over the world!?”

    “You have literally lost your mind,” Dorian proclaimed, pointing a finger out of her. “I’m not willing to die for him, or whatever the fuck we’ve been doing.”

    “You willing to die for Ronnie? Because just so you know, you sound like a coward.”

    “Get fucked!” Dorian spat, turning his head to look at the darkened tunnel beyond them. “We are going home, and that’s final!”

    Shelton cringed as those last words left his lips. She could tell that he meant what he said. That there was no way he would continue. Shelton knew there was only one way he would follow her. She had told herself that she would never tell him, but the thought of her going on without him was too heavy of a weight for to shoulder. So she told him.

    Shelton told him how she now possessed everything that Ethan thought, everything that he had been, everything that he had known. She told him how everything about the six kings was real. Then she told him that one thing. That thing that would change his mind, the thing that would change him. Dorian let her speak without interruption, and for that she was thankful, but as she stopped speaking she saw what it did to him.

    “Y-, you,” he stuttered.

    Shelton saw his face change. First it was disbelief, then sadness, then finally anger. As she reached out to him he pushed her hands away. Dorian turned and stared down the tunnel. The darkness swallowed them both as they drank in the finality of what she had told him. She started to speak but he cut her off. His voice was low, barely audible.

    “We need to find Garrett,” he said solemnly. “And we need to find a plane.”

    At that, he pulled Alakazam’s pokeball from his pocket. As the Pokemon appeared, Shelton felt a push against her mind, knowing that Dorian was feeling them same. Alakazam took in the events of the last few hours. His pokeball levitated out of Dorian’s hand and floated between them for a moment before it collapsed into itself in a spray of sparks. Alakazam dumped the remains of the device into the river of waste water before he spoke.

    I know where Garrett is, follow me.”

    So they followed. For almost two miles they walked beneath the city streets. They passed junctions and pathways without pausing. When they reached a ladder, Alakazam gestured upwards and they followed his suggestion. They emerged into a side street at the western edge of the city. The sky was still dark with smoke and the air was thick with the mingled scent of chaos and confusion. Much to her surprise, Garrett was waiting with his Manectric just up the block.

    “Well this is fucked.” Garrett said with his hands held wide.

    “You certainly have a knack for stating the obvious,” Dorian said with a roll of his eyes.

    “What’s your problem?” Garrett asked, taking a step closer.

    “Really?” Dorian asked, gesturing in every direction.

    This will solve nothing,” Alakazam growled. “We should find a plane. The sooner we’re out of this country, the sooner we can find Ethan.”

    “And what are we supposed to do once we find him, smart ass?” Garrett sarcastically asked. “Unless my memory has failed me, I think Ethan just killed two legendaries. Do you have some sort of superhero backup team we don’t know about?”

    We need to find Ethan,” Alakazam repeated. “I will deal with him once we do. You can be a part of it if you wish, but if not you are free to leave.

    Garrett’s Manectric growled at the psychic type, and Alakazam returned the stare. After a moment, Garrett placed a hand on his canine’s head. Lead by Alakazam, the four of them picked their way through the ruined city. The military was out in full force. Thousands of soldiers were lifting wreckage and helping civilians. Medical tents sprang up like wildflowers, their snowy white tops standing out brilliantly against the dark sky. After almost an hour of walking they found a small airstrip that ran parallel with the bay.

    Alakazam snapped the lock to the gate with his mind. They hurried through and quickly spied a plane bobbing slightly on the waterfront. After a brief inspection of the outside and the cockpit, Garrett decided that he’d be able to pilot it. The interior was much roomier than Garrett’s old plane. Rich mahogany lined the walls, and the seats were plush and comfortable. A small kitchenette was situated near the rear of the plane along with a bathroom. The plane was stocked with food enough for a week, along with a full tank of fuel. As Garrett tore out the GPS locator and pried open the ignition box, Shelton sat down in one of the oversized chairs. She tightened the seatbelt around her waist, enjoying the sensation of being constrained.

    Dorian wouldn’t look at her. No matter how many times she tried to get his attention he just stared out the window. Occasionally he would grip the arm rest tightly then let go, wrinkling the leather and whitening his knuckles. A throaty purr suddenly filled the cabin as Garrett managed to start the plane.

    “If you ain’t buckled, strap yourselves in,” Garrett called from the cockpit.

    Alakazam sat down in the seat in front of her and swiveled it to the right to face her. As she heard Dorian’s buckle snap closed, she felt Alakazam touch her thoughts.

    Speak your voice in your mind and I’ll hear you,” he instructed.

    Ok…What?” she thought.

    I sense Ethan within you. I apologize that so much of him was left inside of you. I wasn’t sure what I was doing when I attempted to switch you back.”

    It’s fine,” Shelton said, grimacing at the mention of Ethan’s name. “And I apologize for not thanking you for what you did. Saving us, putting me back in my body, everything. Thank you.”

    You are most welcome. I owe your brother and Garrett thanks as well, as it seems they saved my life too.”

    A silent thanks will probably serve you best, I think.”

    As do I,” Alakazam agreed, dipping his head slightly.

    The plane vibrated beneath them as Garrett sped up across the waves. The plane thumped faster and faster until it gave a lurch upward and glided into the sky. Garrett kept the plane low, around fifty feet above the sparkling water. She assumed it was to keep them below radar level like when they had left Kanto.

    I’d like to ask you something,” Alakazam started.

    Feel free.”

    How much did you retain? Of Ethan and the flakes?

    Shelton considered his question for a minute. She remembered his laugh as a child, the mansion he grew up in, and his abusive foster father. Shelton even remembered how it felt when he absorbed every flake, the collective voice of the six kings, and what the shards really were.

    I know everything,” Shelton admitted.

    Even the tablet?

    Yes, but tablet isn’t the right word, is it?

    I suppose that plate would be the right word, yes? One of Arceus’s plates to be more precise. One of sixteen, though I am not sure which one it is.”

    It’s still hard for me to believe that Arceus gave it to them,” Shelton said with a glance at Dorian.

    It’s not if you think of the myth. So much war and strife, how could a just god turn his back on such suffering? Though I think that Arceus meant it more as a loan. Humans and Pokemon are not meant to hold such power and from what I viewed from the stories they told Ethan, the power was unparalleled.”

    Enough to stop a world war apparently. Enough even to kill legendaries.”

    Ethan he-,” Alakazam started, pausing for a moment as he considered his next words. “Ethan used to say that legendaries were created by Arceus, imbued with a portion of his power. The six kings power though, the plate, the flakes, are all a part of Arceus; part of his divine being. It gave the six kings a power that cannot be matched.”

    Which begs a certain question,” Shelton stated, knowing that he would catch her drift.

    It does, and I believe you and I are the only ones who know how to answer that question.”

    Alakazam was right of course. Shelton’s ears popped as they rose higher into the sky. She shrugged off her seatbelt and made her way towards the back of the plane. She opened the small fridge and much to her delight, found a twelve pack of beer. Shelton cracked one open and drank, draining it and opening another. Alakazam was right.


    *****


    Ethan’s Salamence had made short work of the five officers guarding the entrance to the Dewford Cave. His dragon was shattering the bones of their remains as he strode through the darkened interior with abundant purpose. By the time he reached the wall to the hidden chamber, the shards in his pack were all but leaping out. They were vibrating so hard that Ethan had trouble keeping it on his shoulders. He considered letting out Rhydon to take down the wall but smiled as he realized that his Pokemon wasn’t required. This was his duty, and by god above and the devil below he would finish this himself.

    His fists slammed into the rock and broke it away. Ethan laughed as pebbles peppered his face and his fists began to bleed and smoke. Suddenly he was punching open air as the wall fell into pieces at his feet. With his enhanced eyesight he saw downwards into the cavern in vivid detail. Ethan jumped and fell fifteen feet to the smooth rock below.

    The altar was still there. The tablet was still there. Everything was exactly how he remembered. Every step he took forward, the shards vibrated harder. As he arrived at the altar he climbed up on to it and sank to his knees. No sooner had he opened the pack did the shards float into the air and shoot forward. They attached themselves to the portion that had been sawn off. Ethan’s eyes began to water as the shards glowed, sealing themselves into place.

    It was done. Throughout all the struggle, all the pain, all the years, he had done it. Ethan trembled as the tablet began to shake itself free of the altar. They would come now, all six of them. They would make him one of them. He could already feel their embraces. His breath came in ragged gasps as he held his arms wide. Ethan was ready to receive them.

    What happened next surprised him. The tablet shot upwards faster than he could follow and blasted through the roof of the cave, taking nearly half of the rocky ceiling of the cave skyward with it. Ethan’s heart stopped dead. What was happening? What had he done wrong?

    Follow the plate, Ethan. We await you at the tower,” the voices said to his mind.

    Of course they wouldn’t be waiting there. He wasn’t some peasant; they wouldn’t receive him in some cave. They would embrace him in their tower of old. Heart racing with excitement, Ethan jumped back into the upper level and raced to the opening. Salamence was still there; his mouth stained a deep burgundy. Ethan covered the distance between them with a leap and landed on his back.

    Grasping his dragon around the neck, he lead him back outside and spurned him into the sky.


    *****


    The black plate sliced through the air, honing in on its adopted home. Just to the East of Pacifidlog Town, it plunged into the water. It corkscrewed downward as it dove, whipping up a whirlpool on the surface. Down and down it dove until it hit the sandy bottom. The plate pushed through the sand, crushing rock and ancient fossils into powder.

    It suddenly stopped as it found what it was looking for. Then it rose, bringing with it a massive spire of carved black stone. Water poured from the entrance as it stopped, its shadow a long lance to the South.

    The children of Pacifidlog laughed and pointed, and adults stood dumbfounded as they beheld the great tower that had erupted from the ocean. Word spread across the floating village like wildfire and soon every citizen of the tiny town was outside and staring. People whipped out phones and called everyone they knew, informing them, exclaiming to them that the Sky Pillar of myth had risen again.


    *****


    It took them almost two days to get to Hoenn, and by the time they glided into the water a few miles from Dewford town, they were all weary. Between all of them talking and not talking, they were all pretty annoyed with each other as well. When she and Alakazam had explained everything about Ethan and what he was coming to Dewford to do, it had been met with straight disbelief.

    After a while of her telling them more and more about what she knew, they started to believe. Garrett had taken it upon himself to push the plane as fast as it could go, while Dorian called every law office he could find in Hoenn. From the Federal Bureau of Investigations, to the local Dewford Police. Not only had no one believed him, but every one of them had threatened to arrest him if the calls didn’t stop. Finally, Garrett had phoned in a bomb threat to Dewford Cave and that got the ball rolling.

    I’m sure he’s already here,” Alakazam broadcasted. “I see the doubt my words bring to you, Garrett, but I know what I’m talking about.”

    “Well then let’s say that he did feed energy into his dragon from those damn flake things. If he’s already here, don’t you think we should fucking be on Dewford to stop him from getting to the plate?” Garrett asked.

    I’d prefer not to engage in open conflict in a populated area, for obvious reasons,” Alakazam responded.

    “Well this waiting around bullshit is getting pretty old,” Dorian said with a roll of his eyes.

    “How about you fucking chill?” Shelton suggested.

    Dorian gave a grunt and turned back to gazing at the blue sky through the window. Then he leapt almost right into her lap as a titanic explosion rocked Dewford Island and their plane. Shelton jumped forward to the window in time to see a square of black shoot out of the top of the cave, throwing boulders high into the air. The object paused high above the city then streaked West. A loud boom echoed through the air as it broke the sound barrier and vanished from sight.

    “Yeah, I’d say he’s fucking here,” Garrett spat.

    Just then the outside went dark as a shadow slid over the plane.

    Shelton’s vision flashed violet as the far side of the plane opened outward like a flower. They were all yanked off their feet by Alakazam’s mind and thrown outside into the ocean just as a massive boulder cleaved their plane in half. Metal screeched and Shelton coughed out water, quickly checking to make sure Dorian had made it out. He was treading water next to Garrett and Alakazam as he swept the hair out of his face.

    “Ever since I fucking met you people I keep losing my fucking planes!” Garrett screamed.

    “Shut up!” Shelton yelled back, spraying him with water with a swipe of her hand.

    “Look!” Dorian shouted, pointing towards the sky.

    Wings of red wine glowed against the cloudless sky as Ethan’s dragon launched himself from the island city and winged into the sky. Shelton saw Garrett reach underwater for Pidgeot’s pokeball but he stopped as Alakazam spoke.

    I can follow him faster than your Pokemon can carry you.”

    With that, their bodies glowed purple and they were yanked upwards into the sky. Shelton’s clothes began to dry as they rocketed through the air after Ethan. They dropped downwards as a sudden wave of purple dragonfire was launched at them. He knew they were following. Alakazam returned fire with several balls of pulsing energy, all of which the Salamence deftly dodged. They took turns trading potshots at each other as they flew through the air, but none from each found their mark.

    It was at that moment, as Shelton was considering releasing Banette, that she saw it. The tower from Ethan’s dream had risen like a blackened sword from the ocean. It’s base was rounded, and it spiraled into a small point at its peak. The tower, the fucking tower. They were there. Those fucking maniac psychopaths were there.

    “Oh my god,” Shelton whispered over the roaring wind.

    Shelton saw Salamence tuck its wings and fall to the base of the structure. Just as Alakazam began to follow, Shelton noticed something. Surrounding the tower was an almost invisible dome. She couldn’t tell what it was, but it sparkled slightly in the sunlight, like a hair thin veil of water. As they passed through it, Shelton’s spine tingled and she felt heat dance across her skin. It was gone almost as soon as it came, but a feeling of dread began to creep across her mind.

    “We can’t let him do it!” Shelton yelled.

    “What!?” Dorian screamed back.

    But it was much too late. The dragon landed and he and Ethan disappeared into the tower.


    ******


    “Don’t let them follow!” Ethan commanded as he spied a set of stairs leading up.

    His dragon roared in understanding and scraped a paw against the glossy floor. Ethan sprinted forward and pumped his legs as fast as he could up the staircase. He passed rooms knee deep with seawater and kept going. A few times he had to cross a room to find his way up but he always found the stairs he was looking for. Ethan kept going, always up, his destiny breathing life into his body. The flakes in his chest were in a frenzy, vibrating and pouring strength into his muscles. With every step he took he breathed out black smoke.

    He could barely contain himself. They were waiting. His fathers, his equals, his purpose. This was it, this was all. His decisions through life had lead him to this point. Every choice, every breath, every action had culminated to this coming moment. Never before had anyone in the history of existence felt this much elation.

    Suddenly he burst into radiant sunlight. Ahead of him, at the very center of the plateau of obsidian was the tablet. It was locked into what he could only describe as an enormous coffin. Ethan walked forward. The coffin was bare of any carving or adornment. It was plain but radiated a kind of cold heat that raised goose bumps on his skin. As he stepped closer though he saw that it wasn’t completely bare. Six deep handprints were spaced out across the top, facing towards him.

    Turn the seals, Ethan,” the voices spoke to his mind. “Release us.”

    Ethan took a breath and placed his hand into the first handprint. He turned it to the right and when it locked forward into place, pain erupted from his hand. Ethan yanked his hand back in time to see one of his flakes disappear into the print. Blood flowed for a moment before the black smoke healed the wound.

    Calm yourself, Ethan, turn the seals. This is what we have worked for, you must continue,” the voices sang.

    Despite the overwhelming feeling of sadness that gripped him, Ethan continued. Four more times he turned the seals and every time he lost another flake. When he reached the last seal he paused. This was right, wasn’t it? Sure he was losing the flakes but he would gain back so much more, wouldn’t he? Ethan chided himself for thinking such thoughts. This was his destiny. He had always trusted their judgment and there was no reason to start questioning them now. He turned the last seal into place. The lid to the coffin clicked.

    A sudden sense of exhaustion and nausea overcame him. Ethan fell to his knees as the lid to the coffin slid backwards to reveal its contents. Blood flowed freely from his right hand, and with every drop he felt himself weaken. A green glow pulsed from within the coffin, catching his eye. With a grunt he gripped the edge and pulled himself up.

    Flakes lay inside the coffin. Thousands of them, millions of them. They rolled like water inside their confines, calling to him. Just as he reached out they burst from inside and slammed him back against the ground. As he watched, the tablet floated free from the coffin and floated into the air. The flakes surged out and melded with the tablet, turning its black surface a dark but shiny emerald. The tablet flipped over and settled down to the ground with a soft thump.

    Ethan crawled towards it, dragging his weakening body that suddenly went limp from the waist down. He pulled himself across the tablet to the middle. Heat baked his extremities, filling his core with warmth.

    “Please,” Ethan begged.

    The flakes that had melded with the tablet detached themselves and began twisting themselves into something more familiar. As Ethan watched, the flakes solidified into six distinct humanoid shapes. Two were large of waist, two were thin and tall, and the last were a mixture of both. They took a step closer on misshapen feet and reached out to his broken form.

    “Hello, Ethan.”



    *****


    When Dorian’s feet touched the ground he slapped the button on the pokeflect attached to his wrist. His form blurred for a split second before adopting a hearty blue glow. He followed Alakazam into the tower, his eyes struggling to adjust to the darkness. That particular effort was in vain however as his vision was suddenly assaulted with a discharge of purple energy.

    The attack bounced off Dorian’s pokeflect and slammed into the far wall, splintering the smooth stone. The Salamence bounded forward and stretched its wings wide. Alakazam took a flying leap and rolled forward, coming up beneath the dragon’s jaw and detonating a sphere of energy against its midsection. Salamence skidded back and breathed outwards, spreading more fire across the room.

    Dorian grabbed Shiftry’s pokeball and pressed the button but nothing happened. As the Salamence roared he tried again but the ball refused to eject its passenger. Stunned, he tried Growlithe’s, but it too remained shut. His eyes flew to Shelton and Garrett, and he saw that they too were struggling with their own pokeballs. An invisible force shoved him backwards just as the Salamence swiped at the space he was just in.

    He mentally thanked Alakazam as the dragon jumped forward and seized the psychic’s shoulder with its jaws. Salamence shook the psychic from left to right and threw him towards the stairs. The dragon breathed in, then let loose with another jet of fire. Alakazam countered with a bubble of psychic energy, deflecting the torrent into the ceiling.

    “Kazam!” Alakazam roared, sliding to his right and throwing a beam of energy at the roaring dragon.

    The attack sent the Salamence sprawling into the wall. The dragon shook his head and galloped forward to meet Alakazam as he rose to his feet. The psychic dove underneath the dragon as they came together and threw his arm upwards. Alakazam lifted the dragon with his mind and slammed the Salamence into the ceiling. The dragon dropped back to the ground with a moan and spun in a spiral, striking Alakazam with his tail.

    “Mence!” the dragon roared.

    Salamence breathed in again and lit up the air with another dragonbreath attack. Alakazam apparently was prepared for this. The psychic bent low and threw his arms forward. A wave of violet light issued from his hands and met the Salamence’s attack head on. The beams of energy met and showered the room with light. The attacks pushed against the other, both Pokemon forcing out as much power as they could.

    “Alakazam!” the psychic roared, his eyes flashing white.

    The psychic energy overpowered the dragon’s attack and exploded, sending the Salamence to crash against the wall once again. Despite being beaten the dragon struggled to his feet, a growl issuing from between its razor sharp teeth. Dorian heard a snarl from Alakazam. The psychic reached out with his hands and telekinetically snapped the dragon’s neck with a loud crack.

    Carbos?” the psychic asked, leaning to his right.

    Garrett passed the Pokemon a syringe of yellow liquid and continued forward. As Dorian watched, Alakazam removed the cap and injected the liquid into his neck. His posture immediately straightened and his eyes took on a white glow. Dorian turned his eyes back to Garrett. His friend reached down and cupped the Salamence’s neck in his hands. After a long moment, Garrett turned to Alakazam and spoke.

    “He’s still breathing. Thanks for your help but I got it from here.”

    Reaching down, Garrett removed a blued, short barreled shotgun from his pack.

    “The fuck is that?” Dorian asked.

    “Johnny fucking kneecaps is what that is,” Garrett said without looking at him.

    Garrett opened the gun and after verifying that it was loaded he pressed it against the dragon’s face. Turning his head away, Garrett pulled the trigger and the Salamence’s face vanished in a loud bang and a spray of gore.

    “Burn in hell you piece of shit,” Garrett spoke quietly.

    Shelton’s hand touched Dorian’s shoulder.

    “Up?” she suggested.

    “Up,” Dorian nodded.


    *****


    “My kings,” Ethan gasped.

    “Yes, Ethan,” their voices laughed.

    “What more of me would you ask?”

    “Even at the end you are still willing to give us your devotion?”

    “Yes, always yes,” Ethan managed, his body growing numb.

    “Rise, Ethan.”

    Ethan willed his limbs to move but they wouldn’t respond. He gritted his teeth and tried again but his body wouldn’t move.

    “I cannot,” Ethan admitted. “Help me.”

    “Oh we will,” the figures laughed again.

    “Heal me,” Ethan begged. “You promised.”

    “What was it we promised? Our memory grows feeble.”

    “To- to make me one of you, to rule by your side.”

    “That is not something we would bestow on someone as unworthy as you, human,” the voices chided.

    Fear gripped him then as a hand from each of the figures reached out to grasp his neck.

    “We thank you for your assistance, boy,” they said, hate reverberating through the air. “But your service will no longer be required.”

    “I- but you tol-,” Ethan gasped as their grip tightened.

    Ethan tried to think of some argument to combat their words, but his thought process was interrupted as he experienced the sensation of his head being ripped from his shoulders.


    *****


    Dorian was already out of breath by the time they had ascended the first set of stairs. They had found that the floor of the room they needed to cross was hostile to their intent. He had taken a step forward into the room to have the floor crumble beneath them. So they had adopted a habit of Alakazam levitating them over every room they needed to cross on their way to the top.

    Shelton had not let go of his hand since they had ascended the first set of stairs. For the first couple floors he had wanted to break away from her, and he didn’t know why. Some kind of space had opened up between them when she told him about Ethan’s involvement with their parents’ death. It was a space that had no shape or quantification. It was just there but he held on to her hand because it seemed to give her comfort.

    They rose through the levels of the towers to eventually arrive at an archway filled with sunlight. The cascaded through and into the open air. Alakazam screamed with his mind and his voice.

    A bewildering sight greeted Dorian. Six vaguely humanoid forms were holding Ethan’s head above his body. A small part of him exclaimed with happiness before the larger part cast it aside as he watched what happened next. The six shapes of glowing green dissolved into the air, swirling around Ethan’s levitating head. All at once, the pieces burrowed into Ethan’s exposed neck. A flash of green light issued from Ethan’s body as the last of the flakes disappeared from view.

    Alakazam bellowed again as Ethan’s head drifted down to attach itself to his body. Black smoke issued from his neck as the flesh melded itself back together. Ethan shot to his knees, arms held forward. He breathed in, then out, in then out. When he breathed out on the third breath, he exhaled his teeth. They tinkled to the ground, their whiteness a stark contrast to the black of the tower.

    “Dorian,” Shelton whispered.

    He was about to say something, anything, when Alakazam interrupted by launching a swirling ball of energy at Ethan. The attack connected with his chest and ricocheted into the sky and exploded. Again Alakazam launched an attack but it bounced off Ethan’s body. Ethan looked up at them, his pupils dilated to the edge of his eyes.

    Dorian shifted his stance as Ethan rose to his feet and floated into the air. His arms were stretched wide as he floated upwards. He looked down to them, a cruel grin etched across his face.

    “Ethan?” Alakazam broadcasted.

    “Our name is all,” Ethan responded, his voice a mix of overlapping voices.

    Ethan’s skin darkened to black. His torso elongated and his arms instantly tripled in length. His clothes fell away as his body expanded and lengthened, becoming more serpentine. His legs melded together as his head morphed into a more triangular shape. Four fleshy crests broke his skin from behind his neck; two smaller below and two longer above. Interlocking rings of gold traced the length of his snake-like torso as a forked tail took shape at the end of his body. Bigger and bigger he grew as three claws sprouted from each hand and two fangs became visible in his mouth.

    Dorian was never a model student. However, he had always been entranced by Pokemon mythology and had no trouble recognizing the creature in front of them. Rayquaza. Lord of the air and all below it. They all took an involuntarily step backwards, except for Alakazam. The legendary Pokemon snaked its reptilian head forward and grasped the plate in its mouth. Raising its head, the Rayquaza swallowed it whole.

    The air dragon spun in a quick circle, clawed hands grasping the empty air. Its gaze fell to them. It roared so loudly that Dorian felt like the entire world was breaking apart. The Rayquaza lifted its head; a ball of pulsing white light filling its mouth. Dorian saw Alakazam raise his arms.

    The sky dragon’s head jutted forward and released a discharge of energy that Dorian knew would kill them all. The blast of energy halted though, right before it reached them as Alakazam erected a gargantuan pane of energy to halt its movement. He saw the psychic’s body shake and glow as he struggled to hold the attack in place. The shield began to fracture. Wide cracks of white light expanded through its expanse as Alakazam’s hands waved from side to side.

    Alakazam turned his head and looked backwards. He glanced at all of them but his gaze focused on Dorian. He breathed in and stared back as Alakazam closed his eyes. The shield of energy shattered and Rayquaza’s attack struck the top of the tower. Dorian saw Alakazam’s body break apart in a scattering of light as the energy detonated.

    The shockwave blew all three of them off the tower. A pressure gripped Dorian’s chest as he fell. He focused his eyes down to see a spear of the tower embedded in his chest. Blood trickled into the air as he lightly gripped the shaft of stone. With each beat of his heart, the world around him became sprinkled with blackness. He turned his head to look for his sister but all he saw was the sky.

    Another explosion turned his body around to face the water. It greeted him with an azure smile, waves slow and hypnotic. Dorian blinked, more darkness clouding his vision. As shock ravaged his body he saw two shapes streaking towards him from the West. One was pink and one was purple, and they both glowed like heaven itself.

    Dorian’s heart thumped loudly one final time then stopped completely. The water below reached out to him, and up above, he heard the air dragon roar.


    ******

    The end. Sequel to Requiem coming in July.

    Listen to this

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDpdpE00rfI
    Last edited by Sidewinder; 16th May 2014 at 5:22 AM.

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  17. #217
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    Dorian wondered despite the situation as to where the spoons had come from. Did Ethan’s Pokemon have some sort of fleshy pockets that he didn’t know about? Mentally kicking himself for his accursed attention span, Dorian turned his focus back to the battle.
    You would somehow try to bring humor into the middle of a heated battle. Haha

    She was so beautiful. She glittered green and pale yellow as she drifted lazily through the sky. Even from a quarter of a mile away he could see the fire behind her ruby goggles of eyes. Her tail was so long and thick, and swished through the air without a care. Vibrava had excitedly hurried forward. This was the first time he had seen his next evolution in the flesh. Dorian had shown him pictures when he had been a Trapinch but it in no way measured up to the grace and fluidity that this Pokemon possessed. With her shiny ivory claws and cherry accented wings, she was a god of the air. He had never seen anything that even came close to her level of majesty.
    Oh hell no Vibrava. NOT NOW. EDIT: Okay, it seemed to work out in the end. Thanks, random beautiful Flygon.

    It was shrill and terrified, cutting through the chilly air like a trumpet of aimless fear
    Forgot a period at the end.

    “I only felt the need to step in because you were about to fall on your ***,” Dorian explained, gently lying him down in the grass.

    “You have muscle foam in your bag, yes?” Alakazam asked. “I require it.”
    Leave it to Alakazam to have no sense of humor at all.

    The ground shook slightly as Alakazam bared his teeth in pain.
    I’m not sure Alakazam, being so light and weak would be able to cause the earth to shake still. Lol.


    The feeling of Ethan against his chest, his muscles, his clothes, his smell, it hurt. He grasped his sister despite his feeling of anger and felt his eyes begin to water. He was holding him, well not him, he was holding his sister but it was still Ethan. It was still him. What the **** was going on? Obviously this was his own fault; there was no one else to possibly blame. But as Shelton gripped him tighter he mirrored the action, his stomach churning as he fought the urge to pull away.
    Damn. It’s a powerful image. I would not want to be Dorian right now.
    “Before she was put to sleep I looked inside her thoughts. She’s so deeply immersed in sadness and self-revulsion that I was surprised she hadn’t already passed into catatonia. Her mind is beginning to fracture under the strain of the situation. I have no idea how much longer she’ll last before she completely detaches herself from reality.”

    Dorian had sensed the same thing from the way she had trembled in his arms, and as much as he wanted to argue his point further, he couldn’t figure out anything worthwhile of a rebuttal. “How will you do it?”

    “I could try to explain it to you but you wouldn’t understand. Not only would it be hard to put into words, but the intricacies of mental continuity and states of being are so far above your understanding that it would take days for me to enlighten you.”

    “That sounds like a left handed insult,” Garrett said.
    LMAO. All beautiful dialogue. I love it.

    The Spoink slowed his bounce to a lazy bob and considered. Dorian could almost see the wheels in her head turning; weighing his promise, perhaps even probing his mind to see if he was telling the truth.
    You called spoink a boy and then a girl here.
    How to start though? Telekinesis was his first choice but would it work on something incorporeal? Alakazam was inside their minds and he wasn’t sure that it would apply, or even how to attempt it. Usually when he moved something with his thoughts, he visualized moving said object with a monstrous mental hand, and that effort proved enough. But would that work on two people who were for lack of a better word, real? Perhaps that was the wrong way of thinking though. He knew they were real but they weren’t physically real in the space that he was in; but they were, they were right in front of him. Mentally they were, but was mentally different than physical when he was dealing with both their mental state and their physical state?
    Jesus, I feel like I’m taking a philosophy class all over again.

    Three of them were slightly warm to the touch, signaling they were occupied. He unclipped the only cool one from the magnet and wrapped his hand around it.
    Ah, that’s a cool way to deal with pokeballs. :~)

    Dorian looked back. Shelton’s pack was torn open. Ethan was gone.
    I knew this was going to happen as soon as Dorian kicked him. **** you, Dorian.

    I don’t know where that son of a ***** is and I’ll feel a lot better if we have that last shard so we can figure out whether he’s about to demolish the building were in”
    Forgot period at the end. Also you said it’d be weird to check into a hotel with an unconscious lady in their arms, but they probably look dirty from walking in the sewers for so long. Isn’t that just as bad?

    They became one, they became two, they became infinite, they became miniscule.
    A cool sentence, pair. I love you.

    They were in league with Alakazam, probably The Wander too.
    The Wanderer

    “Okay then,” Dorian said quietly. “I’ll go downstairs and get us some breakfast. I think I saw a Pokemon center next door. I’ll see if I can get them to heal Alakazam”
    You’re a period murderer.

    I read 3 long chapters but didn’t comment much because I was absolutely hooked and just wanted to keep reading. I literally had to re-read a lot of things because I was going so fast and was so excited. Geez. It’s a damn good thing you’re making a sequel or I’d pretty much kill you right now. Ethan’s dead, Dorian’s dead, Alakazam’s dead, and I’m assuming the sequel will have Shelton and Garrett? Unless I missed something and they’re dead too, nothing surprises me with you. I think it hurts me most that Shelton told Dorian about their parents’ death and they became distant in their final moments. If only Shelton hadn’t retained Ethan’s memory, then they might have really gone home, like Dorian wanted, and he would be alive right now. **** you, Dorian.

    It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since you started writing this fic, I feel like I’ve been following it forever. But I guess that means I’ve also known you for two years now and I’m glad we’re friends. Thanks for writing this action-packed, hilarious, and heartbreaking story. Your description was always great to read, even if over the top sometimes, and your dialogue always put a smile on my face. So did your characters, even if they were all crazy. Ethan died in vain pretty much but I won’t forget his devotion. And your Alakazam has made me reconsider if unconditional love really exists. And Dorian and Shelton make me wish I had a sibling my age to protect too. And I’m glad you have a Garrett in your life, I wish to find my own Garrett someday too. :~) See you in July with more reviews, but I hope to talk to you before then!

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


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


    | love and other nightmares |
    | limited time, limited abilities. kyurem says she can be cured in exchange for saving those who need saving. |
    | chapter 3 released 11/22/14 |


  18. #218
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    Been a couple chapters, ho hum.

    I have to admit that I agree with Glove in that the Wanderer section ended up feeling like a bit of an odd detour. It was certainly important in that it gave Shelton the knowledge that Ethan had been responsible for her parents' death, and this in turn motivated her and Dorian to chase Ethan all the way to Sky Pillar, but otherwise it kind of comes out of nowhere and leaves just as quickly. I was kind of hoping that Ethan/Shelton would spend more time switched, since I think you could have gotten a lot of mileage out of how being trapped in the other person's body affected them. On the other hand, I had no idea how close we were to the end of the story! In that light the shortness of the arc makes a bit more sense. It does mean, though, that we never really got to see much of Shelton's reaction to it, outside of, again, the realization of who was responsible for her parents' death. I would have thought the stuff that she actually did while in Ethan's body would have hit her a bit harder, for all that it's rational to realize it wasn't really her fault and she was under the influence of his crazy rage-thing. I think I'd still be pretty ripped up if I'd totally murdered several people in cold blood, even if I was under the influence of something or someone else, especially if I rather enjoyed it at the time. Of course, there doesn't end up being much time for denouement in this story, so perhaps it's something that'll get dealt with in the sequel; goodness knows Shelton has a lot that she's going to have to deal with in the sequel, assuming that she'll continue to be a major character.

    His strokes grew quicker as he spurned himself through the moonlit harbor of Castelia Bay.
    Grasping his dragon around the neck, he lead him back outside and spurned him into the sky.
    That'd be "spurred," like putting your spurs into a horse to make it move faster. To spur something is to reject it.

    Shelton was the only one who knew how to kill Ethan? How would that be, exactly? I never got the indication that she was trying to put any particular plan into action, and if she did know how to kill him, why didn't she tell Dorian? Especially when he asked what they'd do if they met Ethan?

    Nobody's suspicious about the people walking down the street with stockings over their faces?

    I'm surprised Ethan went for capturing Dorian to try and get the shard back from Shelton. Just grabbing it from her, likely killing her in the process, seems more his style.

    It seems like Shelton hugging Dorian right after breaking one of her ribs would be pretty painful...

    All in all, though, it was an appropriately over-the-top final battle sequence. I'll admit to having a thing for city-smashing fights with lots of aerial acrobatics. I'd be wondering whether the gemstones Ethan collected from the lake trio would come up again later, but he got pretty well obliterated, and presumably all his stuff, too, so I guess not.

    I was a little disappointed that in the end we didn't get a great deal of closure to the whole Ethan/Alakazam relationship, assuming the both of them really are dead. It was certainly tragic that he got to see Ethan killed in the end without any attempt to confront him or reconcile with it, but I feel like just one more scene with the two of them just before the end would have been perfect.

    In any case, you put together some action-packed final chapters there, and it looks like you've set up plenty of good stuff to work with in the sequel. It's hard to speculate now without a real sense of who's alive and who's dead, but there are plenty of interesting directions you could go from here. Congratulations on finishing the story! It's a pretty big accomplishment that not many 'fic writers accomplish, so I hope you're feeling accomplished and enjoying your break before the sequel starts.

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  19. #219
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    I know, I know. It’s been far too long, Sidewinder. Far, far too long. Life’s been quite the bear for me lately, but I wanted to at least leave some sort of review for this wonderful final chapter of a story I love so much.

    Let me just say outright how fortunate I am to have stuck with this story through to the end. I’m very glad I started reading and I find myself more excited than ever to begin the sequel. It’s been one hell of a ride already, and knowing you, you’ll somehow add more twists and turns in the future.

    For one, I do have to marvel at everything that has happened so far. You’ve succeeded entirely in giving your readers an action-packed last few chapters. Starting a few chapters back, you’ve been constantly increasing the pace until it’s snowballed out of control to make this beautiful climax we now have.

    More so than before, it seems that your writing skills are shining through more than ever. The description is flowing enough to coat everything it touches in a colorful array of words, but that’s also easy to take in. From the details of the destruction of the skyscrapers and, in the previous chapter, the deaths of the final two of the Lake Trio. It’s chilling just how much you can draw a reader in and then have a scene that can send actual shivers up my spine.

    From beginning to end, there’s never been much of a dull moment in the story, and even when there was one, it was when their lives were at stake stuck in the middle of the ocean. You always kept an optimum level of action and anxiousness peppered throughout the story, so that went you went all-out for these last few chapters, we readers were already primed for it.

    Now, let me say a few comments on the ending, or is it a new beginning? Either way, throughout the story, you are building up to this moment. When Ethan absorbs all the flakes and restores the shards and his kings. But what I never caught up on is the true motive of these kings. I had an inkling that Ethan would likely lose himself to some sort of possession or death... But now I have no idea. I don’t know if he’s still alive in there, buried beneath the influence of the kings, or if they truly killed him in order to command his body fully... To be quite honest, despite the fact that I retain a strong hatred for Ethan, I don’t want him dead, not in this way. It seems to be the conflict between the lesser of two evils. Ethan isn’t as evil as these six kings, so as much as it pains me, I’d rather have Ethan.

    But, that seems to be a question for the sequel to answer, I’m sure.

    ... Bravo, man. Seriously, you have my utmost congrats. I didn’t see any of this coming. Not Sky Pillar, not Ethan’s “death”, not the transformation, not what happened to Alakazam... You leave us with the obvious question of Dorian and company’s survival and who the strange beings are behind the pink and purple glows are. I have an idea, but I’ll keep it to myself for now. Knowing you, you’d more than likely find a way to twist around my expectations once again. xD

    However, I did get a large amount of satisfaction when Alakazam killed off the Salamance... I’ll have to go on believing that that made all the other unanswered questions of this chapter worth it. XD

    Sidewinder, you've never ceased to be an inspiration to me. Not only in your skills, which are amazing, you continue to write no matter what happens. That is what I admire in you, and it’s the work ethic I wish to keep well into my own adult years. You’re a great guy and even greater writer; it’s an honor to know you and follow your works. As Negrek said before me, you have done something that most fan-fiction writers never obtain. You've completed a story, and that's definitely something to celebrate.

    Now bring on that sequel when you're done with your break, because Dialga knows I’m ready for it.

    Knightfall signing off...

  20. #220
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    Aww, what can I say about this fic? I’ve been following it since probably the 2012 awards’ nomination phase. Before then, I freely admit I didn’t quite take a peek, but I’m so very glad I eventually caved and gave it a look. It’s been an impressive run, and it was a thrill to see you develop as an author. At first, I have to admit I was a mite put off by the little things—smaller errors here and there, characters who seemed more like the standard happy-go-lucky protagonist and evil villains—but the longer this went on, the more I got to see you improve. Your writing has become tighter and cleaner with each new chapter, the characters grew more and more developed and real, and the plot …

    … Well. The plot was good from the get-go.

    What really drew me into this fic was how different it was. It had the vague essence of a trainer fic, but this wasn’t a typical journey. Dorian and Shelton weren’t chosen ones, and the Chosen One was hell-bent on death and destruction. Like Dragonfree, I didn’t find anyone particularly likable, but on the other hand, that was half the point. These aren’t meant to be likable characters. The fate of the world rested in the hands of a homicidal maniac, an alcoholic, and his smart-alecky sister. While it was clear that Dorian and Shelton were meant to be protagonists, sometimes, you had to wonder, especially when Dorian’s solution to grief was straight-up binge drinking. And this isn’t a funny ha-ha binge drinking or a “look at my badass character” binge drinking. This was flat-out, this-kid-has-problems binge drinking, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg of flaws that both of these characters have. And on top of everything else, every last flaw was presented extremely well, with painful, almost realistic details. They’re flaws; they got in the way of the characters all the time and made them into fascinating people. You could feel something for everyone, even Ethan, who you just had to pity because of how fantastically delusional he was.

    I mean, Ethan’s another one. Ethan believed, and believed genuinely, that the kings were benevolent, and that paved the way of the swaths of destruction that happened throughout the fic. Yes, it’s not the first religiously delusional character I’ve ever read, but here, you can see how he can possibly think of himself as being right, and when he finds out he isn’t, that delivers a blow a reader can feel. Sure, Ethan’s more identifiable when he’s more human and when he’s simply bickering with Alakazam; I will agree with reviewers about that. But it’s also amazingly heartbreaking to see him presented with the truth because then, after all of that religious monstrosity, after he practically forgoes his humanity for the sake of his beliefs, you see him standing there, human again for the briefest, panicky moments.

    But I’ll get to that in a second. Generally speaking, yes, the best part of this fic were the characters, but I applaud you for the story as well. There’s definitely a sense of mythos here, one that a reader just gets the bare surface of. You don’t know for certain what the kings are now/up until this chapter, and you’re not really meant to know. The whole thing is a massive mystery that just adds to the ethereal nature of the legend the story revolves around.

    More than that, there’s the pacing. The story starts off slowly, but it builds up and up to the point where every chapter, you know some level of **** is about to go down. You mastered the overall pacing part of it, and everything feels like it’s not only necessary but also adds to the suspense of the story. Even when the characters are experiencing a level of downtime, you’re just waiting for something to explode. Additionally, your attention to detail is fantastic. As a reader, I really could picture in my head all of the worlds you wanted to present and all of the situations you wanted to drag your characters through in either gruesome or beautiful detail.

    So in short, I’ve really enjoyed reading this fic, and with that said, let’s talk about this final chapter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    Her fingers delicately manipulated the reticule on the small button of the ball,
    I also loved the amount of detail you added to the canon of the fic, and this is one example. You put a lot of thought into describing different concepts (like, in this case, how a poké ball works) and different locations’ culture and history.

    (Although I do agree with other reviewers by saying it’s odd that Unova is the communist region, but hey, I’m all for dystopian vaguely American societies.)

    The ground was reaching up to them so fast.
    Too fast, perhaps? Too quickly, for an even more grammatically correct phrase? The sentence feels like it ends a bit abruptly when this is left as “so fast,” so.

    Still they dove, cutting through the air like a rocket. Dorian came closer and closer as Shelton was able to observe the white stripes painted in the road.
    I feel like these two sentences could be combined into one. This goes especially when a lot of these couple of paragraphs go into describing how quickly Dorian, Shelton, and Vibrava are falling. In order to increase the momentum of the scene (i.e., avoid making it feel like the scene is slowing down just for description), you’ll want to be as concise as possible—which is to say cut some chunks out. Say something once and then move on, in other words.

    Her brother
    I actually have to agree a bit with the other reviewers. It felt a little strange that for the past couple of chapters, you really focused on their relationship with each other through the use of brother/sister words when previous chapters saw very little of that. Perhaps, should you ever do a rewrite of the earlier chapters, this would be a little less obvious with a bit more use of either term (if that makes sense), but for now, it does feel a bit jarring. I mean, using that term tends to imply that its meaning is particularly important, but you’ve established early on that although Shelton and Dorian are important to each other, what they are besides generally family isn’t as vital to them.

    Not sure if that makes sense, but point is, it’s odd that it’s being emphasized now.

    Despite her tremors she ran to him, only to have him jump to his feet and streak past her. His fingers trembled as he touched his unconscious Vibrava’s face.
    Especially when this happens.

    Not that this is a bad thing because it’s hilarious.

    Tears wet his cheeks and his breath began to come in hyperventilated gasps.
    Commas are one thing I never really got to see improve all that much, not to be overly blunt. But there were some instances when you could have used them. For example, if an introduction clause is more than four words long, chances are good that you’ll need a comma to indicate to a reader where the main sentence begins. In this case, try replacing the “and” with a period. Notice that you end up with two complete sentences? That’s a good signal that you’ll need a comma just before the conjunction to show the reader that you’ve got two complete thoughts going on. Now, admittedly, there are instances where you can get away with not having a comma in a compound sentence, but the rule of thumb is that if you’ve got a lengthy clause, you’ll most likely need a comma.

    For a better explanation of comma rules, I’d recommend checking out guides online. OWL at Purdue has an excellent tutorial with examples.

    It could have been seconds; it could have been an hour. It only ended when he pulled away and gripped her arms tightly.
    But high five for being one of the few people to use a semicolon properly.

    “We can’t, Dorian. He’s got the last piece now. What do you think is gonna happen if we don’t stop him?”

    “What do you think is gonna happen?” Dorian repeated. “What the fuck did I say that was unclear to you?”
    Another admission: This is the second time I’m reading the chapter. At first, I was a bit put-off by the not-ending, but then, I began to realize something. Requiem is by and large not the typical fic. The heroes screw up. The villain is double-crossed by the dragon and never survives it. And most importantly, there isn’t a happy ending. Not in this one. Requiem only promises one thing, and that’s to be a different experience from the average Pokémon fic. And it absolutely delivers, right up to the punch.

    I had to isolate these two lines because they were the ones that made me realize that. They made me stop and remember that despite everything that Shelton and Dorian go through, despite the fact that any other fic would take these everyman characters and elevate them to something extraordinary, they can’t. These are real (or very close to real) people facing a supernatural force that goes well above and beyond what they can handle. Everyman characters don’t save the day. They watch in horror as the world falls down around their ears.

    And that, I think, is what makes this ending actually rather satisfying, even when it’s not supposed to be.

    I know, I was there!”
    Split these into two sentences at the comma, though.

    We are going home, that’s it!”
    Same with this. Believe it or not, both halves of these clauses are independent thoughts.

    “I’m not willing to die for him, or whatever the fuck we’ve been doing.”
    Oddly enough, though, this is a sentence that doesn’t require a comma. Note that by replacing the comma and conjunction (“or” in this case) with a period, you end up with one full sentence and one sentence fragment.

    “Y-, you,”
    Drop the first comma and pull the “you” in to meet the other end of that hyphen (if that makes sense).

    I know where Garrett is, follow me.”
    No need for a comma here.

    The sky was still dark with smoke and the air was thick with the mingled scent of chaos and confusion.
    But a comma could go after the “smoke” here. (I swear, that’s probably going to be the last comma I point out. You probably get the idea, but otherwise, definitely check out comma guides online.)

    “You certainly have a knack for stating the obvious,” Dorian said with a roll of his eyes.

    “What’s your problem?” Garrett asked, taking a step closer.

    “Really?” Dorian asked, gesturing in every direction.
    I also generally adore how the everyman characters interact. You know they’re supposed to be the heroes of the story, but they just have the most natural reactions I’ve ever seen. Including layers upon layers of sarcasm and anger.

    Ok…What?” she thought.
    Try to avoid using “ok” in text. It’s a bit on the informal side, so.

    I suppose that plate would be the right word, yes? One of Arceus’s plates to be more precise. One of sixteen, though I am not sure which one it is.”

    It’s still hard for me to believe that Arceus gave it to them,” Shelton said with a glance at Dorian.

    It’s not if you think of the myth. So much war and strife, how could a just god turn his back on such suffering? Though I think that Arceus meant it more as a loan. Humans and Pokemon are not meant to hold such power and from what I viewed from the stories they told Ethan, the power was unparalleled.”
    And this is a fascinating turn of events. I’m delighted to see it, actually. You could have just as easily created a powerful device of your own, but instead, you choose to expand on canon—rather subtly up until this point, much to my delight—and give an existing item more background and power. That and I just find the plates fascinating, so I’m thrilled to see them in play here with a rather fascinating myth attached to them.

    Ethan he-,”
    Side note: If you have a hyphen (or, well, em dash, actually, but you can get away with a hyphen), then you don’t need a comma. The em dash serves as an ending mark of punctuation.

    are all a part of Arceus; part of his divine being.
    Use a comma or em dash here instead of a semicolon. Semicolons are kinda tricky, but long story short, this isn’t one of the ways they can be used.

    The black plate sliced through the air, honing in on its adopted home.
    Interesting. Assuming that the plates are still color-coded as in canon, this would imply that the plate in question is either the Dread or Spooky Plate. (The green color it becomes towards the end might also suggest Insect or Meadow, but those just straight-up don't fit the situation.) If so, that would explain so much about the corruption of the kings.

    If not, then don’t mind meeeee~!

    (I mean, it could be the Draco Plate, given what happens at the end of the chapter, but that one is red, not black or green. Then again, you could also be blowing off the whole color thing, which actually wouldn’t be a problem, tbqh.)

    Just to the East of Pacifidlog Town,
    Another thing to note: directions are only capitalized if they’re referring to specific places. (e.g.: The Far East refers to a specific geographic location. The South, when applied to the US, refers to a specific region. The west of a place doesn’t refer to a specific region but instead a general direction relative to a particular place.)

    its shadow a long lance to the South.
    Same thing here. This is not a specific region but instead a general direction relative to a place, so it shouldn’t be capitalized.

    The children of Pacifidlog laughed and pointed, and adults stood dumbfounded as they beheld the great tower that had erupted from the ocean.
    And then it hit me. This is beautiful.

    You know, I can’t praise this fic enough, but have another. You’re very conscious of canon, and it’s wonderful that you are. As such, you include all these subtle details that point to various bits of canon, but the reader will never see that you’re expanding on what’s already there, rather than creating something wholly new. As a result, the world feels fresh and immersive, rather than simply familiar.

    And in this case, it’s wondrous that you’ve featured this canon location so many times in previous chapters, yet we had no idea that that’s what it was. Not until this moment, when you come right out and say it. And then it becomes a pleasant surprise.

    Although I have to say I thought you were talking about Mirage Island at this point. Maybe you were talking about both. Either way, the point is, your world feels so much deeper and detailed than canon, but it’s awesome that you went that route instead of just dumping canon altogether. It’s always fascinating to stumble across canon points and read what you have to say about them, in other words.

    Curious to know why the children were laughing, though, but that’s a minor point.

    Shelton’s vision flashed violet as the far side of the plane opened outward like a flower.
    I love how you make horrific images sound so beautiful. Just sayin’.

    “Ever since I fucking met you people I keep losing my fucking planes!” Garrett screamed.
    Aaaaaaand I lol’d. Oh, Garrett. You’re one of my favorites. (I also deeply appreciate the down-to-earthiness of Alakazam and the entire ball of insanity that is Shelton and Dorian, just for the record. Ethan’s also a pretty effective villain, so … I think this is the first time in a long while where I can say I really like all of the characters.)

    Wings of red wine glowed against the cloudless sky as Ethan’s dragon launched himself from the island city and winged into the sky.
    The “wings” at the beginning of this sentence and the “winged” at the end sound just a touch redundant, I think. Especially given the fact that I can probably suggest a lot of other verbs to slide into that second slot that might actually be more dynamic.

    It’s base was rounded,
    Careful with homophones. It’s is the contraction; its is the possessive.

    “Johnny fucking kneecaps is what that is,” Garrett said without looking at him.
    And here we have the best line I’ve ever read in a Pokémon fanfic.

    I mean, I don’t normally let weapons in a Pokémon fic go without comment, but throughout this fic, I actually didn’t mind it so much. I wouldn’t say it added to the realism of the fic (because it very rarely actually does in fics for reasons I won’t get into because that’s another post and a half), but it actually felt like the weapon usage fit. As in, it felt like the characters would have them, and they would use the weapons they had the ways they did. For example, I can definitely see Garrett spouting a one-liner as he hoists a gun, and I think it’s a rather pleasant surprise to see him do it right about now.

    “To- to
    Drop the space between the hyphen and the other “to.” Basically, if you have a hyphen, you shouldn’t have spaces around it. Dashes could go either way depending on your school of thought, but yeah. Hyphens are a bridge, to put it simply.

    Ethan tried to think of some argument to combat their words, but his thought process was interrupted as he experienced the sensation of his head being ripped from his shoulders.
    I have to admit that this is one of the points where I was torn. On the one hand, of course the kings would be evil enough to use a mortal and dump him aside once they got what they wanted. That’s why it didn’t particularly matter who got the shards and flakes in an earlier chapter so long as they were loyal to the search. (Or, at least, that’s why they felt the need to drag Shelton into the whole mix for that brief time.) On the other, it also kicks them down a notch and slides them into the typical villain roles. As in, one of the things that I felt was most compelling about them was the fact that they weren’t the typical antagonists. Sure, they were power-hungry, but they were also kind to Ethan. Revealing that as being part of a massive manipulation plan forces them to become villains and nothing more, rather than a force that had been good but wound up being corrupted by power, if that makes sense. I guess in short, this act takes away from the idea that they might have been good and human at one point and propels them purely into the “they are totally evil” territory, but what made them particularly fascinating earlier on was the fact that they were corrupted into being these all-powerful evil presences.

    In other words, it’s a little like Ethan. I really want to feel for Ethan here, but I’ve got mixed feelings about him because over the course of the fic, he became a purely evil entity, rather than a being who was misled. So his values turned from being potentially good but driven by a seriously twisted set of morals to just the seriously twisted set of morals part.

    I know. That’s a rather lengthy bit of crit, but don’t get me wrong. I still like the power that these characters hold, the hopelessness they induce on the protagonists, and the compelling nature they maintained in earlier chapters. I just feel like this exchange could’ve been made a bit deeper if they weren’t just the kinds of villains prone to evil laughing, y’know?

    A bewildering sight greeted Dorian. Six vaguely humanoid forms were holding Ethan’s head above his body. A small part of him exclaimed with happiness before the larger part cast it aside as he watched what happened next. The six shapes of glowing green dissolved into the air, swirling around Ethan’s levitating head. All at once, the pieces burrowed into Ethan’s exposed neck. A flash of green light issued from Ethan’s body as the last of the flakes disappeared from view.

    Alakazam bellowed again as Ethan’s head drifted down to attach itself to his body. Black smoke issued from his neck as the flesh melded itself back together. Ethan shot to his knees, arms held forward. He breathed in, then out, in then out. When he breathed out on the third breath, he exhaled his teeth. They tinkled to the ground, their whiteness a stark contrast to the black of the tower.
    I’d just like to give you credit for fantastically body horrific images. The violence in this fic is incredibly creative and carefully described—which is saying something because a lot of the time, when an author attempts to be to be gritty and horrific, their descriptions are flat-out clumsy. Like, okay, yeah, you stab someone, and blood comes out everywhere. Sure, you skin something, and you can see their muscles. There’s just limited creativity in that, you know? But here, it’s not just beheading. It’s beheading and reassembly. I know, it’s weird to be complimenting someone on how macabre they get, but what I find satisfying about this fic’s gore is that it’s actually well-thought-out. It doesn’t just exist for shock factor or to be oh-so ~adult~. It’s there to be part of the elegance of the fic—to add to the horror of the characters, not the scene. It’s functional violence, not violence for the sake of violence.

    Ethan responded, his voice a mix of overlapping voices.
    Hm. Any way you can remove one of the “voices” here? I can understand why both are used at this moment, but it might feel smoother if the word wasn’t repeated so quickly, y’know?

    Ethan’s skin darkened to black. His torso elongated and his arms instantly tripled in length. His clothes fell away as his body expanded and lengthened, becoming more serpentine. His legs melded together as his head morphed into a more triangular shape. Four fleshy crests broke his skin from behind his neck; two smaller below and two longer above. Interlocking rings of gold traced the length of his snake-like torso as a forked tail took shape at the end of his body. Bigger and bigger he grew as three claws sprouted from each hand and two fangs became visible in his mouth.

    Dorian was never a model student. However, he had always been entranced by Pokemon mythology and had no trouble recognizing the creature in front of them. Rayquaza. Lord of the air and all below it. They all took an involuntarily step backwards, except for Alakazam. The legendary Pokemon snaked its reptilian head forward and grasped the plate in its mouth. Raising its head, the Rayquaza swallowed it whole.
    To continue on the praise for the violence in this fic, excellent description of a rather gruesome transformation. The entire concept of functional gore made this particular moment fun to watch.

    The shockwave blew all three of them off the tower. A pressure gripped Dorian’s chest as he fell. He focused his eyes down to see a spear of the tower embedded in his chest. Blood trickled into the air as he lightly gripped the shaft of stone. With each beat of his heart, the world around him became sprinkled with blackness. He turned his head to look for his sister but all he saw was the sky.

    Another explosion turned his body around to face the water. It greeted him with an azure smile, waves slow and hypnotic. Dorian blinked, more darkness clouding his vision. As shock ravaged his body he saw two shapes streaking towards him from the West. One was pink and one was purple, and they both glowed like heaven itself.

    Dorian’s heart thumped loudly one final time then stopped completely. The water below reached out to him, and up above, he heard the air dragon roar.
    Also, I commend you for stopping here. Character death. Legendary awakening. And you leave us hanging with both. It’s an excellent use of a sequel hook and wraps up Requiem in just the way we expect it to wrap up. As in, throughout the fic, you never give us the promise that it will end happily, and in fact, most chapters give us cliffhangers that make everything fantastically uncertain. Even the fic’s title makes no promises and even serves as a warning. And here, we have the non-ending that I’d mentioned earlier in the review: a lack of a satisfying ending because the story just wasn’t built to have one.

    Of course, it should also say something about your skill level because this next step will be tricky. How do you start off a new story in a way that resolves this plot point without softening the blow this one ended on?

    I honestly have no idea, but I’m certainly looking forward to July to find out.

    In short, I’ve secretly loved this fic for quite some time, and I’m looking forward to the sequel’s premier. Good luck, Sidewinder. I’ll be watching.
    Last edited by JX Valentine; 13th June 2014 at 5:49 AM.

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  21. #221
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    I'm here because Jax reviewed you. I can't promise a regular schedule for reviews but I will try to do my best. I'm going to focus more on story elements as opposed to technical ones because much of this is pretty old.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    He followed behind the other students, dimly aware of the tour guide spouting off facts and dates about the cave they were touring. His Abra had both spindly arms wrapped around his neck, head draped across the back of his own. The Abra, like most of its species, was largely lethargic, napping constantly; seeming more like an infant human than the psychic force for which it was named. The boy hiked the sleeping pokemon up to a more secure grip on his back, taking note that he was falling further and further behind the rest of the group.
    Good description, particularly for Abra. I've got a good picture of the setting so far.

    The cave, like most in Hoenn, was filled with arching passageways and hidden tunnels, luring tourists and treasure seekers from all over the land to the small island where the cave made its home. Granite Cave, was unique in the fact that it was not only just found on the island but burrowed underneath it. Occasional gouts of water forced itself inside and flooded some of the tunnels, but all in all a worthwhile risk for those who wished to learn, and to those who wished to find the rare gems scattered throughout its recesses.

    Ever since the adoption agency had placed the boy with his foster family, a successful pokemon doctor duo of husband and wife, he had found himself increasingly more withdrawn. The only enjoyment he ever looked forward to were the days when his new parents were away on business, which was becoming more and more frequent with the advances they made in pokemon restoration. They were kind, they provided, they listened, but he couldn’t connect with them. His parents were long dead, twisted and spirited away by the ghostly hand of death. They had given him his Abra however. He allowed himself a small smile at the thought; he and the pokemon had bonded extremely well over the last few months, becoming inseperable, becoming dependant on one another. The Abra had also lost its parents; his new parents being vague on how it happened, but nevertheless fate brought them together and they were both blessed for it.
    Interesting background for the boy. His history isn't necessarily unique (an orphan with foster parents is not new) but you're doing it well; you chose some curious elements to use, such as the Pokemon restoration story and Abra's backstory.

    The sounds of the tour group were barely audible, they had slipped far behind. Abra tensed.

    The psychic pokemon rolled forward across the boy’s shoulder and hovered barely off the ground, a nimbus of black-purple energy glowing in its right hand. The pokemon cocked its head from side to side like a Pidgey, listening. The boy stayed frozen still, feeling his skin break out in chills as his thoughts swayed and teetered, unable to overcome the odd sense of fear that was boiling in his stomach.

    They both reacted at the same time. Abra growled, and a sphere of psychic energy arced from its hand and struck a blur of pale cream and green that was dashing towards them. The boy clenched his fists and took a step forward, intending to get a better footing. His foot did not come back down. The blur spun in the air, reflecting the attack Abra had shot back to its source, knocking the Pokemon into its master, hurtling them both to the far wall. Before the impact struck, the boy felt a motherly warm hand grasp the back of his shirt and guide them through the wall, passing through solid granite like it was air. As the boy and his Abra were forced through the wall, he felt the hand drop them into pitch blackness.

    SLAM!

    His head struck the rocky floor as he rolled, the soft skin on his arms tearing easily on the ground as he rolled to a stop. Abra landed with a dull thump to his left, the pokemon crying out in alarm as the boy began to sob. A soft orb of white sprang into existence above the pokemon’s head, illuminating the immediate area and allowing the boy to focus his eyes. Abra limped towards his master, favoring his left leg. The psychic pokemon’s right leg bore a long gash up the side of its thigh, from which blood freely flowed. They put their arms around each other, Abra leaning on the boy for support. Even though the effort nearly threw both of them back to the ground, the boy swung the injured pokemon onto his back, mind reeling in utter disbelief at the sight that lay before them.
    Well, this got intense pretty quickly. I like the bond Abra and the boy have. They seem very close.

    The floor was black as death, black as night, it seemed to reach up and absorb the light hovering above the two of them. An altar of matching color sat on the floor in front of the pair. It was well over twenty feet wide, with odd geometric shapes carved into the front face of it. On top of the altar was a tablet of equal proportions, standing upright, seemingly made of the same material as the rest of the object. Hieroglyphics were carved into the tablet in lines, some the boy recognized as pokemon, others as humans; but as he looked towards the top of the tablet, a jagged chunk was missing. It looked as if it had been roughly cut out using a massive serrated blade.
    This is an unexpected turn. Have to say, I'm caught by surprise and wondering exactly what this could mean. It's definitely important.

    As the boy and his Abra looked in wonder at the strange object, a small stony flake, glistening slightly in the oily light of the conjured orb, began to skitter across the top of the altar, seemingly of its own accord. As the boy and his pokemon noticed the flake, they stiffened, perceiving a new threat. However, the flake stopped at the edge of the altar, just within reach of the boy. As he breathed out in relief, he took a step closer and stared at the small object. It was roughly about three inches long, and in the rough hewn shape of a diamond. As his breath reached the small flake, it began to glow. A bright neon green light shone from the flake, so bright in its intensity, the boy flung his arm up to shield himself. The small cavern the two found themselves in was illuminated in its entirety. The shapes on the tablet almost seemed to move in the ethereal green light that danced across its surface.
    That's... odd. I can't figure out what this stone flake might be.

    [quoteIt was just then the boy heard a whisper. It was soft, delicate, even comforting. Other whispers joined the first, and the boy just knew the voices were coming from the flake, and that he wanted to touch it, to envelop himself in those voices, to hold them inside his body. He needed to touch the flake or they would go away, they would leave him and Abra in this darkness forever. He looked over his shoulder at his pokemon, whose small face was unmistakably and utterly terrified. They held each other’s gaze for a moment, and Abra began slowly shaking its head. The whispers began to lose their intensity, began to sound further away. Without a second thought the boy’s arm shot forward and he snatched the flake from the top of the altar.

    The boy began to scream…[/QUOTE]

    I was beginning to think that the boy was experiencing some sort of vision, but you really played it out well enough to surprise me nevertheless.

    So far, I'm impressed. I know this review was pretty quick, but I was drawn in. I'll be back soon for more.
    Last edited by The Great Butler; 14th June 2014 at 7:33 AM.

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  22. #222
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    Chapter 1

    Twenty nine years later
    An unusually long time to timeskip. I'm intrigued.

    It was only because of the Pokeflect around his wrist that Dorian wasn’t roasted alive by the flamethrower attack the enraged Growlithe had just launched at him. While still experimental, the ‘Pokeflect’ had saved many from grievous injuries sometimes sustained in pokemon battles. Almost three years ago, scientists working for the Silph Corporation had learned how to replicate the effects of the pokemon move, Reflect, and Light Screen, and combined them. When activated, the wrist mounted device enclosed its wearer in a globule of light blue energy that had the ability to reflect all but the most powerful pokemon based attacks up and away from its wielder. Where before, trainers competing in Pokemon battles had to constantly be aware of attacks that missed their Pokemon and put them in direct danger, the Pokeflect gave trainers a sense of relevant comfort knowing that they were ‘generally’ out of harm’s way.
    I like the purpose of this device, but wouldn't Protect make more sense over Reflect and Light Screen? There are ideas I could think of based on more modern information, too (like King's Shield) but you obviously couldn't have used those since they didn't exist in 2012. I'm not sure why I brought that up, just thinking out loud.

    Dorian Dvakna, twenty-four, was far too thin for his age. At a bit over six feet he comfortably stood a few inches above most people he knew and met. With dark hair, and hazel eyes verging on brown, most would say Dorian to be handsome, though certainly not gorgeous, but rather somewhere between atrocious looking and the latter. By all accounts very ordinary, with his arms and legs toned from working at the local Pokemon breeders house in Cherrygrove City. His smile however, deterred any from thinking that he was anything but ordinary. His unnaturally straight and white teeth only showed confidence and capability.

    He had been following the wild Growlithe for a little over five days. Tracking the bent and snapped underbrush, watching for small piles of feces, and sleeping in a tent for that time had put a determination in Dorian that he had not felt in some time. The small dog was perhaps waist high, and was beautifully layered with stripes of alternating orange, black, and yellow. While not extraordinary as a Growlithe, its god-like evolved form of Arcanine was close to legendary. He knew it would give him an edge when he finally decided to enter the competitive battle scene. This little Growlithe was doing everything it could to live up to its future namesake. Biting, slashing, and breathing torrents of fire at Dorian’s Nuzleaf; who was doing a pretty adept job at dashing back and forth, bouncing on his hands as well as his feet to stay away from the fire mutt until his master gave the order.
    Huh, I wasn't sure where this was going. For some reason, I thought he was caring for it, not trying to capture it. I like the description of this fight scene too, it's pretty fluid.

    “bullet seed!’ Dorian roared.

    Nuzleaf cartwheeled thirty feet to the right, and in one motion used his hands to launch himself into the air and spin, launching a barrage of glowing yellow and green pellets at the Growlithe. The first wave hit the dirt in front of the colorful dog, kicking dirt into its eyes; just as Dorian intended. The second wave hit the disoriented Growlithe square in the chest, causing it to shake its mane in an attempt to clean the dust from its eyes. Nuzleaf’s wiry brown body came down to embrace the dog from the air, rolling at the last second to send a roundhouse kick to the dog’s muzzle. The Growlithe was shunted backwards fifteen feet, with Nuzleaf hot in pursuit.

    “Wait till it charges and faint attack!” ordered Dorian.

    No sooner had he given the command, the Growlithe righted itself and charged his Nuzleaf, orange flame licking the pits of its nostrils. The small pokemon proved to be too quick for Nuzleaf however; as the grass type readied itself to dodge, the pokemon put on an extra burst of speed and speared the brown pokemon in the sternum, making an audible crack!

    “NUZ!” the pokemon grunted.

    Nuzleaf folded like dough and slid across the gravel, flipping end over end. Meanwhile, the Growlithe turned its attention back to Dorian, who jumped to the side to dodge a squirt of flame from the enraged Pokemon. Swearing, he rolled to his feet, having forgotten that his Pokeflect would protect him from the attack. Concern racked his face as he struggled to find his Pokemon. Before he could spot, there was a loud smack!
    The description is a little rough, but I'm enjoying this fight. It feels pretty exciting for the first wild Pokemon fight of the story.

    Nuzleaf landed another harsh kick to the Pokemon’s snout, sending it soaring across the ground like a poorly guided arrow. The grass type followed behind, purpose written across its scarred face; it jumped and landed on top of the Growlithe, using both legs to pin down the pup. Extending its arms, the Nuzleaf put one hand around the Growlithe’s throat, while the other snaked down to grab its right paw. Dorian jogged forward, aware of a growing throb in his right ankle, where he had twisted it to avoid the dog’s well placed flamethrower.

    “You put up quite a fight.” Dorian said over the tired and struggling Growlithe. “It’s not often something is able to surprise Nuzleaf. Though I suppose he is getting pretty seasoned.”

    Nuzleaf shot him a dirty look. Over the last several days, the grass type’s single leaf that rested on top of his head had taken on a burnt amber color, signaling the arrival of Fall. Though the leaf would not wilt, it annoyed the bandit striped Pokemon to no end to have Dorian tease him like a seedling stuck in sap.
    I'm taking "seasoned" as a wry joke, so it makes me smile.

    “Thanks for humbling him.” Dorian winked, bringing a clenched fist to hover over the struggling Growlithe.

    A green friend ball dropped out of his hand, falling towards the Growlithe in slow motion; the white button on the front tapped the dog’s forehead; the ball split in two, and the newest addition to Dorian’s rag-tag group of misfits turned into energy. Glowing intensely white, his form folded in on itself again and again, becoming more miniscule; and at the same time started to spin. As soon as the energy that was Growlithe became smaller than the ball, its two halves came back down in a mighty snap! Signaling a successful capture, and the reward to his hard work.
    I give you credit for picking a different Poke Ball instead of just an ordinary one. I love when people do that.

    “Yeah that’s right.” he said as Nuzleaf got up and dusted itself off. “All in all I think that went pretty well.”

    “Leaf?” the Pokemon retorted in obvious annoyance.

    “Yeah you helped too I guess, although I think it’s also the fact that I’m just a real ‘Go-Getter’, the kinda guy that really overcomes adversity at all costs. Don’t you think so?”
    Huh, Dorian seems a little ungrateful for Nuzleaf...

    Instead of replying, the grass type Pokemon reached into the right front pocket of Dorian’s jeans and pulled out another pokeball, this one having a scarlet top and ivory bottom. While Dorian reached down to pick up his newly captured pokemon, Nuzleaf drew back and threw the pokeball at his owner’s head. There was a loud thunk as it connected and opened, spilling out light.

    “What the hell?!” Dorian exclaimed, bracing his hand against the growing lump on the back of his head. “You know I was just kidding. I never would have been able to do that without you.”

    Nuzleaf smirked, looking towards the Pokemon that had been released from its glittering confines. The Trapinch was of average build for a member of its species. Around the height of Dorian’s knees, the Trapinch’s body was dwarfed by its monstrous head, which consisted of two sparkling eyes, a noticeable lack of a nose, and a gargantuan mouth that Dorian knew he could easily fit his head into. Its head was supported by a proportionally smaller body with four thick legs. The color scheme of this perpetually ecstatic Pokemon was a rich royal russet, which Dorian had always found pleasant.
    Ah, so he was joking. He seems to have a good relationship with Nuzleaf.

    “Ap!” it yelled. “AP, APAP!”

    “Yeah yeah, I know.” Dorian groaned. “Horrible injustice that you weren’t involved, I know, I’m sorry. Was that heartfelt enough? Or do I need to more careful with your delicate sensibilities?”

    It was odd; both Pokemon were polar opposites in terms of facial features, but they were giving Dorian the exact same look of contempt. Rolling his eyes, Dorian tucked his newly captured Pokemon into his pocket, patting it once to reassure himself; then started back down the road towards Cherrygrove City, with the tree midget and space termite following close behind.
    Does Dorian understand what the Pokemon are saying or is he just taking a guess?

    His interaction with his Pokemon is unusual. I'm intrigued. They don't seem to have a particularly bad or particularly good relationship... it's a little difficult to get a read on right away.


    As his house came into view, situated at the edge of the tree line on the outskirts of Cherrygrove City, Dorian heard a soft growl behind him. Nuzleaf had stopped and was staring at Trapinch, concern racking its lined face. The giant Pokemon was shivering fiercely, eyes closed, mouth slightly agape.

    “You okay buddy?” Dorian asked.

    The fits Trapinch was experiencing had become more and more frequent since Dorian had used him to subdue a crazed Persian that had strayed into their camp while tracking the Growlithe. Pokemon evolution was no easy ordeal, and as much as Dorian wanted to wish the pain away, he couldn’t.
    Oh, that's a neat detail about the Persian. It's those little bits of history that build up their bond more.

    “Aap.” Trapinch moaned softly, swaying from side to side like a windblown leaf.

    The tremors having subsided, Dorian breathed a sigh of relief. Taking out its pokeball, he returned the Pokemon in a flash of ruby light. Putting his Trapinch in the blessed restful stasis of its pokeball would hopefully give the troubled Pokemon some peace. Nuzleaf shrugged and started forward again, its carved wooden feet squeaking as they crunched on gravel.
    He can take Trapinch to a Pokemon Center, right?

    “I’m sure he’ll be okay, it’s going to pass soon eno-“ Dorian started, as a violet glow suddenly enveloped his feet. He then experienced the unusual sensation of being yanked straight up and flipped upside down.

    “You blithering idiot!” Shelton screamed.

    “Oh God,” Dorian sighed, bracing himself.

    The force of the hydro pump from his roommate’s Golduck hit him with less force than he imagined it would. Maybe the duck Pokemon was taking it easy on him on account of the verbal and possible physical abuse he was about to receive from Shelton. Regardless, the icy blast of water hit him square in the sternum at the same time the force holding him up suddenly evaporated. As he fell, he sighted Sheton’s Golduck sitting on the steps of their front porch, its bill marred with a mixture of anxiousness and forced regret. Silently thanking the sapphire avian for sparing him unnecessary pain, he connected with the ground headfirst.
    I like the twist, but it was a little difficult to read because of how suddenly Shelton appeared.

    His head collided not with the thump he expected, but with the clear crisp clink of silverware on glass. Dorian groaned, the pain shooting beautiful colors across his vision, which raced towards his cranium with abundant purpose. As he heard the stomps of his roommate getting closer, he rolled over to see what had lovingly kissed his skull. The object appeared to be stone, but only a square inch was visible, the rest was buried below the dirt path he was writhing on.

    “You do realize what a complete and utter moron you are, don’t you?!” Shelton roared. “Not only did you get fired for missing five straight days of work, but I also found the receipt for the friend ball you paid THREE THOUSAND credits for!”
    Now this is an interesting angle. A little sudden, but I appreciate the difference from the usual trainer fic norm. It's nice to see characters who not only have an "ordinary" living situation but have financial difficulties as well.

    “I-“ he started, only to be cut off by the fiery glare thrown at him from her shocking azure eyes.

    “Shut it!” she yelled. “Since I handle all of our bills and know EXACTLY how much you have in savings, I’m going to correctly assume you used your money for that ridiculous purchase instead of paying our rent.”

    His head still ringing from the impact, he switched from looking at her, then back at the glossy black stone. It kept drawing his attention, calling out to him with its inky color. He switched back to Shelton, taking in her glowing, shoulder length blond hair, the slight curves of her shoulder and hips, and her ivory skin that was barely visible beneath the waves of red igniting in anger across her face.

    “You’re right.” he stammered. “It was immature, and extremely irresponsible, but if you want to calm down for just a minute I can explain.”

    “Calm down?” she asked. “Dorian, excuse me, ‘Idiot’, if we don’t pay rent, we get EVICTED. Even with your pea sized intellect, I’m sure you can understand that.”
    Possible trainer journey catalyst? It certainly would be unique.

    “I do. However, some good came out of my obvious mental inadequacy.” he explained. “I caught a Growlithe.”

    “That’s great Dorian, I’m glad that when we get tossed to the street we’ll have a nice warm Growlithe to live in.” she said, rolling her eyes and turning to Nuzleaf. “You hungry sweetheart?”

    “Nuz!” he exclaimed, taking her hand.

    “Judas!” Dorian hissed.
    Interesting. I like the relationship between Dorian, Shelton and the Pokemon already.

    Nuzleaf smirked at his owner as Shelton lead them both back towards their home. Taking a breath, Dorian sat up into a crouch, turning back to the object embedded in the dirt. Extracting his knife from its sheath on his ankle, he slowly buried it to the hilt in the compacted dirt. Pushing down on the dagger, it popped free, softly glowing as it caught the light.

    It was obviously handmade, evident by the lines and shapes carved into its face. One side of the stone was rigidly straight, while the other two sides looked like they had been sheared off of a larger piece. As he cleared away the rest of the dirt from the stone, he observed two shapes that were hewn into it below the vertical lines. One was arguably a human, judging from the shape. While the other had what appeared to be the antenna of an insect Pokemon. They were both unmistakably dead.
    Ooh, a fossil of some kind, perhaps? Certainly fodder to kick the plot off no matter what it is, and it's very intriguing.


    It had been almost three decades since a Granite Cave tour guide had found the unconscious forms of a small boy and his Pokemon at the exit of the cave. Since then, the boy had been transformed into a man. As much by life’s natural course, as by the small flake he had absorbed into his body years ago. After lying to those concerned about how he had gotten to the exit of the cave before the rest of the group; the boy began noticing strange happenings with his mental and physical state.
    I didn't expect to see the boy again so soon.

    Days after the incident, he learned that his muscular strength was rapidly increasing; along with being able to run much faster and further than he previously could. Weeks after, he noticed he could now interpret feeling from other people and their Pokemon, picking up on their intentions and mental decision making without their knowledge. Months after, the whispers he had heard in the cave had returned, singing of love and affection, assuring him in his dreams that he wouldn’t be without them anymore. They also gave him instruction on his newfound gifts and how to enhance them.
    Oh man, I love this. I love powers and horrific transformations and people getting altered and all of this. It's just a subject that fascinates me. I'm totally on board for this guy's story now, not that I wasn't before.

    Which was why he was in Vermillion city that day; to the famed Diglett’s cave he traveled, or rather, underneath it. The whispers had led him to a cave in the recent months, in the sand swept plains of the desert in Hoenn . The cave bearing another flake he took into himself. The cave he found near Route 111 however had something extra. A shard of stone from the enormous tablet he had seen in Granite Cave years ago. People the man walked past throughout the day forgot him as soon as he passed. A somewhat average looking man with long, wavy tan hair, an Alakazam keeping stride to his right. A curious jumble of thoughts passed across their minds as he walked; the sudden feeling that they were late, or had misplaced something of small importance.

    The duo walked east of the city, the man allowing himself a small smile as he zipped up his jacket.
    I love this character already. I like everything about him - the mysterious air, the Alakazam, his powers, the fact he can just walk around and affect people around him... I know (though I admit, I kind of cheated by reading the reviews) that I'm going to have a great time reading about him.

    This chapter was interesting. I liked the introduction to Dorian and Shelton very much, and I thought the way you depicted their relationship with each other and their Pokemon was very unique and enjoyable. What really hooked me was the return of the boy from the past, though. That just hit so many things I enjoy that I'm definitely on board.

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  23. #223
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    CHAPTER 2


    The stone gave Dorian an odd sensation, like cold heat, but not on his skin. Rather, it was like he had swallowed the stone and whatever kind of feeling it was giving him was coming from his inside and radiating outwards. Shrugging, he tucked the foot long, macabre stone in his back pocket and headed into the house.

    “I’m instituting a new rule,” Shelton began, crossing her legs and leaning forward. “From now on, all your decision making privileges have been revoked. Other than involuntary bodily functions you have to perform in order to survive, I want you on the sofa, sitting on your hands at all times.”

    “Agreed,” Dorian said glumly.
    Oh man, as if I didn't love the relationship these two have already, I sure do now. Shelton has such a fun attitude.

    He crossed the living room, spying two leaves lying near the bottom edge of the chipped coffee table. Which he knew was going to annoy him to no end until he could pick them up. Which was probably going to be quite some time since apparently from now on he was only allowed to sit completely still, and breathe.
    That is a nice little character quirk, his annoyance at the leaves. It's minor but a nice touch.

    The gangly adult sat down between his Nuzleaf and Shelton’s Golduck, who were both sleeping and taking up as much room as possible, leaving him about a pencil width’s amount of space. While not extravagant, the home was furnished quaintly. He and Shelton had both cosigned on a loan from Silph Co. to buy their furniture. Hardwood flooring, showing obvious signs of strain, lined the floors. They ended with tile as they touched the adjoining kitchen. The sofa, loveseat, and matching recliner were a royal violet, the latter having Shelton perched on it, seething at him like a predator.
    Great description, and I like the background on their loan.

    “Look, I’m sorry,” Dorian explained. “You know I’ve always wanted a Growlithe. When I saw it, well, you know me. When I get focused on something I just lose track of everything else.”

    “Actually, you’ve always wanted an Arcanine, so that point is moot,” she replied. “Maybe I overreacted ‘slightly’, but it was mainly because I barely had enough to cover the rent. Surely you can understand that.”

    “I can,” he said. “And I’m sure the situation of third degree battery by Golduck only came about because you were a bit worried when you couldn’t get in touch with me.”

    “Maybe,” she admitted.

    “So we’re good?” he asked.

    “After you pay me back,” she smiled. “With interest.”

    “Any point in arguing?” he asked.

    “Sure.” she replied. “What do you got?”

    After a pensive look, Dorian said, “I request the right to argue for a lower amount after I’ve thought of a good enough excuse.”

    “Request granted…Moron,” she said, flashing her teeth.
    This is so much fun, I love them. I know I keep repeating it, but still, it needs to be said.

    “Where’s the rest of them?” Dorian inquired, flicking his eyes towards the slumbering Pokemon.

    “Machop is under the house again,” she answered. “We were out back pulling weeds, when that soulless Sunflora popped out and started terrorizing him again. Shuppet is in her usual spot.”

    On cue, the small ghost type Pokemon phased herself through the nearby refrigerator door, multicolored eyes gleaming. “Shup-SHUP!” it cackled happily, drifting over to land on Dorian’s shoulder.
    Ah, so they have more Pokemon? I hadn't expected such. Shuppet is cute.

    Indistinguishable from a grey bathroom towel, the point topped ghost Pokemon was Shelton’s latest capture. It was a pleasant enough Pokemon who didn’t get into much mischief, save for the odd habit of sleeping in the refrigerator and nowhere else. Shelton had caught the charismatic Pokemon partly out of wanting a new addition to her small family of Pokemon, and partly to break her Machop of its manic fear of everything but Her, Dorian, and their respective creatures. Its species usually synonymous with bravery and strength, Shelton’s Machop unfortunately fell far short. She still didn’t believe him, but once, Dorian watched Machop catch a glimpse of his own shadow following him, only to run screaming back to the house. Nothing however, terrified the fighting type more than ghosts. Even ones they saw when watching horror movies would send him sobbing back to Shelton’s bedroom.
    Interesting inversions of what you'd usually expect from Shuppet and Machop. For the former, I'd usually expect it to be a prankster. Diversity is a good thing, though!

    “By the way,” Shelton said. “Your Uncle Ronnie called. I told him you would ring him back once you got home. He seemed pretty anxious to talk to you.”

    “Thanks,” Dorian said, pushing himself off the sofa. “I’ve never heard him sound anxious about anything but rocks, so I’ll call him back now.”
    He turned to walk back outside when Shelton’s voice stopped him.
    He's into rocks? I wonder if Ronnie has some relation to Steven.

    “Hey dummy!” she called.

    “Hmm?”

    “I’m glad you’re okay,” she admitted.

    “Thanks dummy, I’m sorry I worried you,” he said, grabbing his cell phone from the kitchen counter and excusing himself outside.
    Cute.

    Opening his cell phone, he selected his Uncle Ronnie and waited as it rang. His father’s older brother worked as a curator at the Pewter City museum, which was a profession he excelled at naturally. Owing to his near genius IQ and love of all things made hundreds to thousands of years before he was born. It had been almost three months since they had last spoken, because of both their work schedules.
    Ah, I see, Pewter Museum. That explains the rocks.

    “There’s my favorite nephew!” his uncle exclaimed.

    “Hey Ronnie!” he replied, a grin crossing his face.

    “How you doing, hotshot?” his uncle asked. “Still driving the girls crazy?”

    “Only Shelton,” Dorian replied.

    “Ah! How’s my future daughter in law doing?”

    “She’s really good. We finally set the wedding date; June, two-thousand and never!”
    Okay, I have to jump ahead a little here. Jax's review said Shelton and Dorian are siblings. Am I misunderstanding something here?

    “Eh, we’ll see about that,” his uncle joked. “But, to the real reason I called. I’ll be seeing you soon.”

    “That’s great,” Dorian said, his smile getting wider.

    “My team and I are organizing a dig right outside Cherrygrove,” he explained. “We should be there in about a week, well, maybe a little longer depending on how fast we can get out of Pewter.”

    “Sounds great. What are you going to be digging for? Oil seems a bit pointless at this point.”

    “The Director has it in his head that one of the earliest human civilizations in Johto had a settlement situated to the east of Cherrygrove,” he said. “Judging by those small tourist trap ruin’s in that area, I’m inclined to believe he may have a point. You know which one’s I’m talking about, don’t you?”
    I bet that stone Dorian found is linked to this. Plot's picking up!

    “Yeah, I do. Up in the woods on Route twenty-nine towards New Bark Town.”

    “Anyway, he’s been obsessing over this ancient legend that’s been passed down from mouth to ear for centuries. Something about six ‘markers’, and a master tablet to which they belong. Once assembled and placed back on the tablet which they were broken off of, show the way to a terrifying treasure.”

    “Terrifying?” Dorian repeated.

    “Yes,” his Uncle answered. “The direct translation goes ‘Gathered together, split apart. give your world, to eat what remains.’”
    Chilling. I'm liking it.

    “Do you believe there’s really a treasure?”

    “I believe we’ll find remnants of the civilization, but an actual treasure, I’m not sure. I think it’s subjective on what they viewed as treasure at that time. I mean, it could have very well been diamonds, other precious stones, or objects they didn’t understand which they attributed mystical properties.”
    I am totally on the hook for this. I love mystical relics and treasure hunts.

    “Ah. What about these markers? They’re just supposed to give you directions on where to bring them after you got them all?”

    “Supposedly they’re supposed to do just that, as well as point to each of the other markers that are hidden. The only odd thing is how they describe the markers themselves.”

    “How so?” Dorian asked.

    “Well, from the limited amount of information we’ve gathered on the marker’s, they’re supposedly forged from metal; but out of a rare ore we think is obsidian. Though we don’t know for sure because there is so little discovered throughout the world today, only a few grams or so. We know that from their description, it’s jet black, weighing much less than other metal ore’s they would have had access to back then. From what the Director is thinking, he attributed it more to a hollow, glossy diamond, instead of metal.”

    “These markers, would they be very big?” Dorian asked, his voice catching in his throat.

    “Quite the contrary.” his uncle answered. “From the estimations we’ve done from the legend, they would only be a foot long, chiseled with glyphs depicting why they broke the tablet, and separated the pieces in the first place. As well as directions to the others.”

    “Well,” Dorian grinned, plucking the small shard from his pocket. “I think I just saved you a trip.”
    So I was right. Looks like we're in for some big developments quite soon.


    The man and his Alakazam walked with purpose through the lower levels of Diglett’s Cave, shadows dancing ethereally across the rocky walls from the glowing ball his psychic Pokemon had conjured above its head. As he passed by a strangely large depression in the wall to his right, his jeans began to thrum not unlike that of a panicked and overworked heart. He had carried the shard he had found in Hoenn with him ever since he had discovered it, and now it was lightly pulsing from the inside. Looking at the shard and then back to the wall, he nodded. The vibrations from the stone ceased, signaling his accuracy.
    Sounds like he's bonded with it on some level. Of course, I had figured that was the case due to his powers.

    “You ready?” he asked his partner.

    The Alakazam sat down on the hard cave floor and sat cross legged. An eerie lilac glow emanated from under its feet as it rose to hover at eye level with its master. Nodding, the psychic type extended a tendril of though toward the man’s belt, lifting a pokeball from the holster at the man’s waist. Squinting its eyes, the Pokemon opened the ball, spilling light across the inside of the cavern, drowning the shadows that surrounded the two.
    Odd, he can't open his own Pokeballs?

    Armor plated feet, shins, and waist became visible first. Followed by a sizeable stomach, still armor plated, but with a different color. Two, three clawed paws with arms appeared next, which lead up to thickly muscled shoulders, surrounded by overlapping plates of substantial armor. As soon as the head became visible, a thunderous roar reverberated through the small cavern, spilling dust from the ceiling above. The Pokemon growled, confused by its surroundings.

    “Take it down.” the man ordered, smiling at the Pokemon.

    “Don.” the Pokemon agreed, returning the smile as best as its terrifying face would allow.

    The single, wicked looking horn protruding from the Pokemon’s nose began to gyrate, releasing a high pitched squeal. Striding forward, the Pokemon took mighty swings at the wall, taking away chunks with every blow. The wall whimpered in protest, trying to hold its shape, struggling to retain the only purpose it ever had. With a groan, the wall slid forward into a pile of rubble at the Rhydon’s outsized feet, a gust of air billowing over the muscular Pokemon, betraying its secret of a small inner room. The man strode past the rock type, nodding his thanks as he passed, his Alakazam following close behind.
    Hidden ruins... another thing I love. You're really doing great at hitting my interests.

    “Wasn’t as hard as I expected,” the man said to the floating Pokemon.

    As the words left his lips, steel spikes shot out from either side of the room. Orange with rust, they cut through the air with determination towards the man, already halfway to him before he even noticed they had been released. The spikes stopped a few inches from the man, a violet globule of energy attached to each of the assuredly sharp points. With the Alkazam’s direction, they slowly slid back into the holes that lined the walls to the entrance of the hidden chamber. Turning around to face his savior, the man nodded, remembering a similar dilemma when the Pokemon had saved his life.
    A trap is appropriate. I feel like he was never under any real danger, though.

    “So that’s three that I owe you now?” the man asked.

    The Pokemon didn’t reply with a verbal affirmation, rather it held up four of its spindly fingers.

    “Okay then,” the man said, sure that the psychic type had protected him from another danger that he had long since forgotten.
    It looks like Alakazam and this man have a great relationship too. The Pokemon in this fic are very personable.

    I like the "long since forgotten" line too. It really drives home just how long a life this guy has had. When you think about what he's been through, it can't have been easy.

    The man walked towards the back of the room, knowing what lay ahead. The space around the small pedestal in the center of the floor was like the other he had found in Hoenn, with its material closely resembling that of the shard he held in his pocket. At the top of the small, flat topped spire he saw another shard, standing upright on one pointed edge. On top of the splinter, glowing faintly, was the real prize. It was smaller than the two he had found in Hoenn, but it commanded just as much of a presence. Knowing he was safe with the two Pokemon guarding the entrance, he reached out with a hand to touch the small flake straddling the timeless relic. The flake sprang upward and drove itself into the man’s palm, causing a stream of burgundy blood to lazily drift down his arm as it burrowed itself into his flesh.
    Whoa, that's some intense imagery. Of course, when you're working with mystical relics like this, things getting absorbed into your body happen.

    “That’s some-ahh,” he moaned, feeling suddenly weak at the knees.

    The man’s Alkazam dropped to its two legs, placing a hand on the man’s shoulder to comfort him. The psychic Pokemon could feel the waves of anxious nausea streaming from his owner. The unease the Pokemon felt was magnified by the care and affection he had adopted towards the man since they had become partners so long ago. In truth, the flakes his master was absorbing gave the Alakazam a sense of fear. Something was innately wrong with the curious, oily flakes. Besides the pain caused by their entrance, the flakes only seemed to help the man with his physical and social dealings. However, the Alakazam maintained his suspicions about them, ready to step in if they gave him reason to act.

    “I’m fin, I’m fine,” the man stammered.

    “Zam?” his Pokemon questioned.

    “No it’s okay, I promise.” the man assured his Pokemon. “That was worst than the last, but I’m good now. See?”
    I'm impressed by how good these two are bonded to each other. They clearly seem to have understanding of each other, even if Alakazam is unsure of his master's actions.

    The Alakazam inspected the man’s palm. Except for the greasy line left behind by the seeping blood, the wound caused by the entry of the small flake had completely vanished. “Zam,” his Pokemon answered, satisfied.

    “You worry too much,” the man said, wiping his moist brow. “I was fine the first two times, and this was no different.”

    “Don?” a voice inquired from up ahead.

    “Were coming,” the man called. “Ready?”

    “Zam.”

    “Alright then,” the man said, casually plucking the small black shard from its pedestal and putting in into his pocket next to the other.

    The Alakazam floated back up to eye level with the man, its eyes flicking towards the towering rock type standing guard up ahead. The man nodded, and started forward, his legs feeling slightly weak. The Rhydon fell into step behind the two, its horned head swinging from side to side, listening for potential danger. They made it through the lower section and back up to the entrance of the cave without incident, threading their way through the cavern like serpents. It was only when faint traces of sunlight became visible did they notice something crowding the path.

    “Dig!” a chorus of voices shouted in angry unison.
    And it's here that I realize you picked Diglett's Cave. Not only is it a nice inclusion of a rarely-used location from the games, it's only natural that Diglett show up too. Now let's see how this man deals with opposition.

    In a perfectly straight line, from wall to wall near the entrance, a procession of Diglett’s sat in wait. Their voices overlapped as they growled, making them appear to be more numerous in the dim light. Black eyes glinting, their growls echoing down the cave behind them, the assembled Diglett made no move to attack. They were obviously waiting for the intruders to act first, so they could judge the severity of the threat.

    “Move?” the man questioned, bending down to pick up a small stone from the floor.

    “Dig!” the Pokemon answered, red noses taking in the scent of the Rhydon and Alakazam.

    “Didn’t think so,” the man said, rolling his eyes. “You guys are up.”

    “Don.”

    “Zam.”

    By the time the sound waves of the two Pokemon were processed by the sensitive ears of the line of Diglett’s, it was too late. Jumping about two feet up, the Rhydon slammed his left foot down, followed by his right, each smacking the ground with a deafening clap! A skeletal crack raced towards the waiting Diglett’s, closely trailed by another crack from the Pokemon’s right foot. The first line stopped a few inches from the assembled Pokemon, sinking down into the rock. A fissure erupted in the ground along the Diglett’s, sucking them down to their noses. The second moving crack slammed into the fissure, causing the ground to exhale a squall of air as each side of the fissure collapsed back into itself, trapping the Diglett’s in place.

    As this was taking place, the man’s Alakazam closed its eyes, levitating two silver spoons in front of its mustached face. The spoons began to rotate, a purple glow emanating from their handles. Suddenly, Alakazam’s eyes snapped open! A bell tone chimed as the spoons came to a stop, and a glittering sinister wave of black arced towards the Diglett’s. The wave washed over them gently, guiding them into a peaceful, dreamless slumber.
    ...and he dealt with that opposition with cold efficiency, as I expected. This guy does not disappoint.

    The trio started towards the entrance of the cave, unchallenged this time. Alakazam floated over the sleeping Pokemon as the man and his Rhydon gingerly stepped over them. The man didn’t know where they were going next, but he knew that the next time he slept, he would be told. He was always told where to go and how to better himself and his Pokemon. The voices would whisper to him in his dreams, guiding him towards additional power, guiding him to more knowledge, and eventually, guiding him to his destiny.
    Ooh, voices in his head. Yet another element I enjoy reading.

    I think that's the order of the day when it comes to this chapter - you keep hitting consistent themes, such as mystical relics, lost shrines, treasure hunts, ancient prophesies and altered, empowered humans given guidance through voices, that I personally love to read about. This chapter delivered them all in a complete clean sweep. From beginning to end, I enjoyed every minute. I'm more excited than ever now to read more.

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  24. #224
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    Chapter 3


    Dorian burst through the front door with a rabid ferocity that made Shelton think he had recently adopted the mind of a crazed Mightyena. The speed in which he rushed through the kitchen, throwing fruit, nuts, bread, and bottles of water into their two packs was wonderful and impressive to behold. Sweat poured from his forehead in torrents as he woke Golduck and Nuzleaf, and proceeded to body slam them. His fanatical eyes finally centered on Shelton, lips moving without expelling sound.

    “Dorian, for the sake of your health, I really need you to start breathing,” Shelton advised.

    “Sorry, sorry!” he gasped, taking deep gulps of air.

    “Alright out with it,” she commanded.

    “Give me a second,” Dorian said, hunching over to take in another few gulps of air. “Ronnie told me about the dig, and the legend, and about the director!”

    “You’re not making any sense. Did Golduck hit you too hard? Is that it? It didn’t look any stronger than usual.”
    Another great round of byplay between them. You really clearly are comfortable writing them.

    “This,” Dorian said, pulling out the black stone, "is what I’m talking about.”

    Turning his hand over, the gangly youth dropped the shard into her outstretched hand. Gripping it lightly, Shelton turned it over in her palm, admiring how the stone caught the light. She followed the intricate lines, her eyes moving over the broken forms of Human and Pokemon alike. The scene depicted on the stone was odd, almost disturbing. However, even as the thought grew in her mind, it gently slipped away.

    “What is it?” she asked.

    “It’s called obsidian. Well, that’s what it’s made out of apparently.”
    Seems a little odd she'd focus on what the stone is made of as opposed to what's on it.

    “Once again, what?”

    “According to my uncle this stone was handcrafted from a metal ore that’s exceedingly rare nowadays.”

    “That’s why you’re so excited?”

    “Just sit down,” he said, motioning towards the recliner. She did as she was told, confused by his slightly desperate tone.

    Bewilderment turned to interest, which in turn turned into full scale excitement as Dorian explained the events that just transpired. The apparently ancient piece of stone tablet that Dorian had found was no ordinary relic. Not only did it supposedly point to a treasure of infinite worth, but from what he said, the Pewter museum would pay dearly for the piece in his possession. His uncle was immediately convinced of the marker’s authenticity from the dozen or so pictures Dorian had sent from his phone. After the initial shock had worn off, his uncle had told Dorian about Pewter’s original plan for the site, and how his tenacious nephew could potentially profit from it.
    I like that you're taking the story in this direction, though I do wish we had gotten to see a bit more of the exchange between Dorian and his uncle.

    That said, I'm enthusiastic for where this is going. It's quite exciting.

    Cutting him off mid sentence, Shelton asked, “So if I’m hearing you correctly, they were going to spend one-hundred thousand credits to move all of their excavating equipment here, but if were able to make it there before they leave, we may get some kind of finder’s fee?”

    “Exactly. Ronnie thinks we could get up to a quarter of the moving expenses if he’s able to prove this thing is real.”
    I would hope for more than just a finder's fee if I was them. This is quite the discovery.

    “So why doesn’t he just tell the director and we just overnight it to him?”

    “Two reasons,” Dorian explained. “First, from the pictures, and the way I described the density and weight, he thinks this is the real deal. If for some reason he’s wrong though, it would damage the director’s opinion of him. Which I’m sure would set them back even more money than they’ve lost already by the constant revisions they’ve made to the location and paying for their outside consultants.

    “And the second?” she asked.

    “It’s a pretty big deal to him that this thing gets to him in one piece. According to him they have almost no idea where the others are scattered and this piece would be a huge help in recovering the other pieces. He trusts us more than a mail carrier to get it there safely.”
    That second reason is the only reason I'd need to know not to mail such an important treasure. The first one seems almost inconsequential; I'd almost think that going all the way out there with the treasure would look even worse if it was fake.

    “You mean he trusts me,” she said, smiling coyly.

    “Yes, he explicitly said that several times,” he admitted.
    Heh, sounds like even their uncle is a character. I'm loving the characters, all of them.

    “Dorian, even if he got us ten percent of the cost, that would pay me back and both our bills for the next two months!”

    “I know!”

    “That’s why you’re so excited!”

    “Exactly!”

    “Any other time, I would call attention to the fact that were both yelling!”
    Cute little lampshade of the situation here. I did think that the yelling was odd, so seeing it pointed out makes it much better.

    “Same here, but this occasion calls for it!”

    “Yes!” she agreed.

    They jumped up simultaneously for an awkward air hug, floating back to the floor on a cloud of content exuberance. Golduck, Shuppet, and Nuzleaf were staring at them with puzzlement, obviously understanding most of what had passed between them, but not enough to decipher what it meant. Probably due to how quickly travel plans were flitting back and forth between them. Regardless, the three of them waited for the inevitable explanation to come their way.

    “Wait,” Shelton said. “To get to Pewter by the time the team moves out, we have to leave now.”

    “To be fair, we needed to leave yesterday, but I know a few shortcuts that will shave some time off the trip.”

    “I’ll corral the group, you pack the bags,” Shelton advised.

    “Done and done. Meet you outside in ten.” Dorian responded, grinning broadly.

    Shelton used her allotted time to assemble their collective Pokemon, including Machop, who was now shrinking behind her every time Shuppet came into view. She gathered them all together, explaining about the trip to Pewter, and assuring them of the enjoyable time they’d have on the way. Shuppet was the hardest to convince, pouting profoundly at the though of leaving her refrigerator behind.
    I can see a lot of good developing coming for the Pokemon. They have pretty distinct personalities.

    Dorian ran from his room to Shelton’s, gathering clothes and other essentials. When they were both full, he grabbed an extra battery for his phone, slinging it into his secondary bag which was full of enough food and camping supplies for at least seven days. Spying Shelton through the kitchen window, he blitzed through the front door, barely remembering to lock it behind him as he took a flying leap off the front porch to join them.

    “Yahhh!” he yelled, promptly landing sideways on his left ankle and tumbling to the ground.

    “Nu-uh-uh-zz!” Nuzleaf cackled.

    “I have dominion over you,” Dorian reminded the grass type, getting up and brushing the dirt from his jeans. “And I am commanding you to not laugh when I inadvertently embarrass myself from now on!”

    “Good boy,” Shelton smiled, patting Nuzleaf on the shoulder as the Pokemon blew its owner a raspberry.
    heh, cute. I like it.

    “You know, sometimes I don’t know who your more loyal to,” Dorian said. “Don’t forget that I picked you off the ground when you were a Seedot and attached you’re worthless carcass to that tree in the backyard!”

    “Nuzz.” the Pokemon said, dipping his head low in an obvious apologetic gesture.

    “Ah I’m sorry man, I was just kidding. And I know I promised I wouldn’t bring that back up again,” Dorian relented, “We’re good right?”
    I wonder if this incident is going to be something we hear about later. I see the potential.

    “Nu-Nuz,” the Pokemon agreed, reaching out to shake his owners hand. As the Pokemon’s smiling owner reached down to grasp it however, the Pokemon leaped up and over Dorian; and in one motion twisted gracefully through the air, pulling the front of Dorian's shirt over his head and using his momentum to kick out his legs, sending him back to the ground.

    “You insolent sapling!” Dorian exclaimed, getting up and dusting himself off for the second time. The faction of Pokemon gathered around laughed in whatever way their species allowed, even timid little Machop giving a quick giggle.

    “Anyway,” Shelton said, not hiding her own hearty laugh. “You ready to do this?”

    “We're packed and ready, got everything we need,” Dorian said.

    “Let’s get going then.”

    “Let’s do it!” Dorian announced. “Strap on the nitro!”

    “Really?” Shelton asked, “Come on Dorian, we talked about this for like half an hour.”

    “Come on, just give it a chance,” he pleaded.

    “No. That catch phrase is never going to catch on. Besides that, its barely a catch phrase. Its just random words that have nothing to do with our current situation.”
    Their interactions are so lovable. I just wish I didn't know that it can't last.

    “Fine,” he said, shouldering his pack.

    “We’re clear then?”

    “Yes, mother,” he grumbled.

    “Now can we go?”

    “Yuppers,” he said. “Let’s do it.”

    “Are you serious?” she asked, frustration easily visible. “We talked even longer about that. Every single time you say ‘yuppers’, it causes me considerable mental pain.”

    “Fine, but eventually you’ll be saying it too.”

    “I seriously doubt it. And I don’t wanna hear any back talk from you either. Until we collect the money, I’m still somewhat pissed at you.”

    “Okay then,” he replied. “Glad were off to such a good start. I’m really looking forward to going to Kanto with the Gestapo.”

    “What did I say about talking back?” she asked.

    “Last word freak,” he muttered, walking to catch up with Nuzleaf and Golduck.

    “Heard that,” Shelton said, taking up place to his right.

    Keeping a brisk pace, they soon passed the small hole where the source of his new luck had been buried. It was funny to Dorian how far his life had shifted today. Starting with the triumph of his successful Growlithe capture, to the domestic abuse administered to him by Shelton, then to the extreme financial gain he was about to attain. Stepping over the hole, a slight lime glint caught his eye. Bending down, he saw what appeared to be a shaving of rock, its surface oily in the intense sunlight. As he turned his head sideways, the small flake glinted again, the green color out of place amidst the red dirt of the road. Just as he was about to scoop it up, Shelton’s voice rang out from down the road, making him realize they had continued on without him. Shrugging the small flake out of his mind, he started back down the road, thoughts of fat stacks of credits making him smile.
    Wait, they're going to walk all the way there? Seems like something they could just take transportation for.

    I wonder when we'll see that flake again. I'm sure we will.

    The man’s Alakazam was poking him in the shoulder, signaling for him to pay attention to what was happening in front of him. The man had been daydreaming again, as was common after his chats with the voices. They always left him somewhat lethargic and inattentive after he woke from his dreams. Taking a breath, he shook his head, trying to snap himself back to reality.
    A very strong opening for his scene.

    I want to say here that I like how you structure your chapters, one Dorian/Shelton scene and one Alakzam guy scene. Gives a great balance of keeping tabs on all the major players while it goes at a good pace.

    [quote[“You won’t give me your name?” the curious clerk asked.

    “What?” the man questioned, his Alakazam giving him a sharp pinch to the side.

    “I asked for your name. You said you wanted to checkout?” the clerk asked again.

    “Sorry,” the man said, pulling out his Hoenn resident identification card. “Ethan. My name is Ethan.”[/quote]

    Huh, so he does have a name. I didn't expect to learn it so soon.

    [quote]“Wonderful,” the clerk said, switching back to a friendlier tone. The clerk ran the card through the scanner, charging the night stay in the hotel to the account registered to it. “Is there anything else we can assist you with Mr. Bernard?

    “No, thanks though,” Ethan said, returning the card back to his wallet.

    “Thank you for your stay, we hope you’ll think of us next time you’re in Vermillion.”
    Vermilion... I sense an upcoming meeting for Ethan and Dorian/Shelton.

    “Assuredly,” Ethan said, nodding to the clerk and moving towards the exit.

    Skirting pass the other patrons walking in and out of the establishment, Ethan and his Alakazam went down the side alley of the hotel and adjoining restaurant, glancing quickly around for any signs of life. His preferred method of travel was not practical, and always drew attention. It was quicker than hiking for miles though, despite the slight physical toll it drew on his psychic Pokemon.

    “Were going to Johto, outside Cherrygrove,” he told the mustached Pokemon. “Should only take us a day if we move quick.”

    “Zam,” agreed the psychic Pokemon.

    “You okay?”

    “Alakazam,”

    “You sure?”

    “Zam!” the Pokemon exclaimed, rolling its eyes.
    Huh, so Ethan's Alakazam has some distinctive personality as well. I like that.

    “Let’s go then,” Ethan said, sure that Alakazam was holding back more than it was letting on. It didn’t matter though, Ethan had much more pressing matters to deal with, and if the troubling situation on Alakazam’s brain really began to bother him, it would speak up. They kept no secrets from one another. Which was part of the reason why years later, they had remained as close as they were when they were young.

    Nodding, Alakazam’s hands began to move in small circles, one facing towards itself, the other towards its master. The motions began to pick up speed, leaving wispy energy trails behind them as they spun. Alakazam grunted, and Ethan felt his feet lift off the ground. Pupils dilating, Alakazam pulled both of them up into the air, using only the power of its mind. The psychic type’s hands began to glow with a hearty purple aura, which it pointed towards the sky, shooting them up high above Vermillion City. The duo smiled at each other, both reveling in the feeling of absolute freedom. Facing west, they streaked towards Johto.
    I really feel their bond. You're doing a good job depicting it. And their mode of travel, while I would have anticipated simple teleportation, is fun to see and was well described.

    Another strong chapter, but then again, you started off at a good pace and have only improved each time. I'm enjoying myself.

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  25. #225
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    Kind of a filler chapter



    Chapter 4

    “Trapinch, dodge!” Dorian yelled, sensing the water attack that was about to befall his Pokemon. His intuition proved to be correct. Less than a second later, a torrent of water was expelled from the mouth of the Marshtomp that he and Trapinch were in the process of battling.

    “Ap!” the diminutive Pokemon agreed, rolling to ihis left and dodging the powerful jet of water.
    Ah, a bit sudden to start the chapter in the middle of a battle that hadn't already begun. Not too big a deal, though, just a slight challenge to get into.

    “Use dig, and throw in some zigs!” Dorian commanded.
    Nice rhyme.

    As the angered water Pokemon began spraying the whole road in frantic attempts to hit Trapinch, Dorian’s Pokemon plunged his head into the dirt, worming its body into the small hole it had created.

    The Marshtomp swung its webbed hands menacingly at Dorian, challenging the human that had sent his Pokemon to attack it. Small eyes focused on the ground, the water type tried to track the erratic zigzags that Trapinch was burrowing all around it, knowing that if he lost it, agony would be its only reward. The small hump in the ground that was wildly circling the orange stomached Pokemon suddenly stopped. The Marshtomp took in a sharp breath, its gleaming cerulean hide drenched in sweat.

    “Trapinch!” the ant Pokemon cried, bursting through the sloppy ground and striking the Marshtomp from behind. Bellowing loudly, the water Pokemon was launched upward, just to come spiraling back down as gravity exerted its unrelenting pull. As the Pokemon fell, Trapinch crouched down and leaped to meet the Pokemon in the air, twisting to bring its coiled back legs around. As the Marshtomp realized what was happening, the helpless Pokemon began to pinwheel its arms in a vain attempt to fly. There was an audible pop as Trapinch used both powerful legs to send a flying kick into Marshtomp’s stomach.

    “Marshtomp!” it cried.
    Gorgeous description here. What's particularly exceptional is that you're giving the Pokemon very distinct personalities that are coming across with subtle wording in battles. That is truly not easy. The action is good, too.

    Sliding across the ground, the Pokemon righted itself and began to run away, doubled over in pain. Trapinch landed roughly right after it, roaring at the fleeing Pokemon and proclaiming its victory. Turning around with its approximation of a grin, the ground type Pokemon trotted back to Dorian and Shelton’s makeshift camp. Morning dew still covered everything, easing drops of water onto its bruised face. Early in the battle the Marshtomp had hit Trapinch with a well placed water gun attack. The force had hit him in the face so hard he almost retched.

    Dorian and Shelton’s Pokemon were all out of their respective balls, clapping softly as Trapinch approached. Well, almost all of them. Shuppet had no hands so she swirled its weightless body around in the air in an attempt at congratulations. Machop too excluded from clapping, as he was much too occupied with having its arms wrapped around Shelton’s leg, watching Shuppet with its intense red eyes.
    More great personalities. You're quite good at doing this.

    “Nice!” Dorian beamed, jogging up to meet his Pokemon. “I liked that double kick at the end, way to improvise.”

    “Good job cutie!” Shelton joined in, spraying dry shampoo in her hair as she congratulated Trapinch. The lack of a shower was getting under her skin, causing her to burn through her cosmetics at an alarming rate. She was dressed in her usual combo of long sleeve shirt and jeans, never faltering from her style of casual, yet undeniable allure.
    Interesting to point out that Shelton is concerned about her appearance and is making heavy use of cosmetics. It's nice to have little character moments like that.

    “Ap! Apap!” Trapinch responded happily.

    “I was hoping that a win might finally make you evolve,” Dorian said. “It’s alright though. I know you’re as eager to get rid of those pains as I am. Maybe it’ll happen next time.”

    As its owner reached underneath to scratch its underbelly, Trapinch felt an familiar sensation start tugging at its gut. Nipping at his owner’s hand, Trapinch closed its eyes.

    “Really?!” Dorian started, snatching his hand away. “You love it when I scratch your belly…Oh.”

    Trapinch began to growl loudly, tapping into the growing process that his kind was sometimes afforded. His skin suddenly transformed into sickly hues of yellow and green. His eyes began to bulge and turn a lustrous olive as his backbone began to stretch and wiggle trough the back of his thick hide. Crimson blood streamed down his sides as a pair of regal looking, rhombus shaped wings burst out from underneath his skin. Growling louder now, the bones in his face began to change shape, becoming thinner, narrower, becoming almost brittle in their lightness. As a pair of antenna burst out of Trapinch’s forehead, his new tail split in two, mirroring the shape and color of its new wings.

    “Vibrava,” the dragon type hissed, his voice an eerie whisper. Arching its back, the newly evolved Pokemon beat its wings furiously, channeling the wind they produced all over its body, cleansing itself of the blood and fluids that had accumulated on its sparkling body.
    Interesting timing for the evolution. I wonder if it will affect their relationship.

    “Yes!” Dorian exclaimed, clicking his heels together as he took a flying leap toward his Pokemon. Scratching the Pokemon’s stomach in the fashion it had grown accustomed to, he asked, “Feels better doesn’t it?”

    “Brava,” his Pokemon nodded, swishing its new tail from side to side.
    Huh, so Vibrava keeps the trait of liking stomach scratches. Interesting, sometimes things like that can change.

    Shelton rushed up as well, their Pokemon following close behind. She then proceeded to shower the vibration Pokemon with praise. Their Pokemon all took turns speaking to Vibrava, even Machop, releasing one hand from Shelton’s waist as he inspected the newly evolved Pokemon.

    Dorian was glad to know that his Vibrava would not be suffering the same pains as it did as a Trapinch, and that it was one day closer to becoming the mystical Flygon.
    Something gives me the feeling that the path to Flygon will not be easy and becoming Flygon won't be as great as they hope.

    “Vibrava,” the dragon whispered, resting its head on Dorian’s shoes.

    “It’s probably tired. That was quite an ordeal it went through,” Shelton explained.

    “You’re right,” Dorian said, taking out its Pokeball. “I’m proud of you buddy.”

    He returned the Pokemon to its Pokeball, hoping that it would find the rest it needed.

    They had been traveling for almost two days, stopping on the far east side of Route 27 to make camp for the night. The area was quiet enough, save for the flock of Pidgey’s indignantly squawking at them from the shade of a nearby oak tree.
    I don't see this peace lasting long, sad to say.

    Shelton and Dorian gathered their supplies, packing up the collapsible tent and hurriedly shoving separate pieces in their bags. The Pokemon that didn’t want to walk were returned to their balls, leaving Shuppet, Machop, Nuzleaf and Growlithe out to stroll beside their owners. Downing their breakfast as they travelled, conversation soon turned to figuring out the fastest way to get to their destination.

    “I think we should go through that new route they’re building to bypass the reception area and go straight to Route 22,” Dorian suggested.

    “They said on the radio earlier that it’s not even close to finished yet,” Shelton countered. “Something about a roving gang of rock type Pokemon who are pissed at the construction crews. Apparently they’ve caused a ton of damage, setting them back almost a month.”

    “But we're not part of the construction crew. Besides, it’s just the two of us. I doubt the Pokemon would perceive us as a threat if we just keep to ourselves and wander through.”
    Dorian is about to make a serious mistake, I fear. His thinking is dangerously simplistic. He has Nuzleaf to deal with Rock-types, but this sounds too easily avoided.

    “True, but they haven’t even built the road yet. Right now it’s just a thirty foot wide path with a rock face to the left and a sheer cliff to the right.”

    “Well, it’s a little edgy, but it will shave so much time off the trip. If we go through the reception area, it’ll take at least a day to get through all the checkpoints to get to Route 22. Plus, last time I checked, both our trainer cards are expired.”

    “That’s only because those fascists at the registration office tried to charge us an extra fee for missing our appointment,” Shelton said.
    That's an interesting element to bring up, the need for regular renewal of trainer cards. I'm interested to see where you take it and what further information you present.

    “Regardless, I don’t want to waste time if we don’t have to,” Dorian said. “We’re more than capable of walking a straight line.”

    Dorian noticed a tall sign a few yards up ahead, signaling with an arrow that they needed to start heading north to connect with Route 26. He rubbed his left eye to quell the slight itch that had developed, noticing two shapes zooming across the sky. He thought at first it was just some random bird Pokemon, until he noticed that both shapes were humanoid, moving with speed in the direction they were walking away from. The sight made him anxious for some reason; no flying type Pokemon he knew of had a body like that.
    Uh oh, here we go. Their paths cross.

    The feeling of the crisp, frosty air on his skin made Ethan shiver, instinctively crossing his arms against his chest in an effort to warm himself. They passed through clouds gracefully, moisture collecting on their bodies. The land below was a brown-green blur, the roads snaking through the trees like an endless Seviper. They had been flying across Kanto for a day and a half, crossing the border into Johto almost an hour ago.

    Ethan’s Alakazam’s remarkable mental abilities made it possible for him to lift them telekinetically; shortening the time it would take them to cross the distance normally. Psychic energy lightly glowed around his chest, the anchor point that he was being carried from. His Alakazam was sitting cross legged in the air, eyes closed, not needing them as he felt the air and the land below with his astounding mental abilities.
    I wonder if Ethan taught Alakazam this strength or it was already capable of such things.

    I feel like Ethan's shiver is a curious little bit of character.

    “Kazam,” his Pokemon said, his words straining to reach Ethan over the howling wind.

    Following his Pokemon’s pointing finger, he spied six figures on the ground below. They moved as a unit, keeping synch as they traversed the smooth path below. One of the figures, a human judging by the shape, stopped and looked at them as they flew past, the others in its group continuing their stride. As Ethan watched, the figure motioned to another human, pointing with one hand to where he and Alakazam were flying. Not wanting to be recognized, he called out to Alakazam.

    “Through that cloud,” Ethan said, pointing to a nearby puff.

    “Ala,” he grunted, giving them both an extra spurt of speed.

    By the time the other human had looked up, they were inside the cloud, hiding them from prying eyes. Knowing that they were safe for the moment, Ethan relaxed. It was strange though; the first human had given him an odd sensation as he looked down at their group, a momentary feeling of anxiousness, as if the man or woman below had somehow wronged him.
    Showing this same scene from Ethan's point of view is a brilliant decision, especially when you add the feeling he got from Dorian. This is an electrifying moment. It feels like a moment of escalation even though it's so simple, setting the stage for so much more to come.

    “Keep us in the clouds until we get there,” Ethan told his Pokemon.

    “Kazam,” the psychic type agreed, reducing their speed slightly for extra directional control. Moving them higher, they cruised at a slower speed, making sure to keep their presence hidden in the thick layer of clouds.

    “Cherrygrove should only be about another two hours away,” Ethan said, sending Alakazam a mental picture of a small gravel path on the outskirts of the city.

    Plucking the image of the gravel path from Ethan’s mind, the Pokemon ran through his memories of Cherrygrove City, trying to decide on an inconspicuous place to put them down once they reached their destination.
    An appropriate reaction, too.

    I'm noticing Alakazam didn't read Ethan's mind, but instead Ethan sent Alakazam the picture using his mind. Interesting...

    “Look kid, I’m not in the mood to battle you,” Dorian said, his mood bypassing annoyance and going straight to exasperation. “I don’t care if we locked eyes, I don’t have to adhere to your need to prove yourself. How old are you anyway? Twelve?”
    Ahaha, perfect. I smiled.

    “I’m fourteen!” the kid yelled. “It’s in the rules! If you look at me, and I look back at you, we have to battle. I’ll call the Pokemon Battle Association if you don’t!”

    “What makes you think I care? Do you think that’s going to change my mind? Kid, before you threaten someone, you need to make sure you have something to take away from them.”
    Referring to the trainer card? I like how you're using it. What could the PBA do to him, revoke his license? He obviously can't use that.

    I can't wait to find out what further the expiration of his trainer card will lead to.

    “You’re just scared,” the adolescent surmised. “You know Beedrill and I would pound you senseless!”

    “Are you off your medication? I have at least twelve years experience on you,” Dorian said, bringing his head down to the teen’s level. “Where are your parents? I’m feeling the sudden urge to tell them what an annoying little bastard you are.”

    “They’re back in Kanto, not that it’s any of your damn business!”

    “And you said you were fourteen? What kind of negligent parents send their kids out by themselves at that age?”
    This feels weak, however, unless you changed the age most trainers get started for this.

    “They have faith in me!”

    “The only thing they should have faith in is that their son is about to get drop kicked in the head,” Dorian said, taking a step closer.

    “Dorian, if you touch that kid I’m going to have Golduck toss you a quarter mile,” Shelton chimed in.
    Ah yes, Shelton coming in with a classic line. I love her.

    I bet we see this kid again.

    The roommates and their Pokemon had been nearing the end of Route 26, when a young boy had burst out from the bushes to their right, his Beedrill buzzing along behind him. Clad entirely in purple clothes, including his hat, the fair-haired youth had walked right up to Dorian and challenged him to a fight. Normally, putting an over confident youth in his place appealed to Dorian, but they were on a schedule, a timeline which would net him and Shelton a lot of credits if they stuck to it. The little punk had spirit, which Dorian admired, but schooling this kid in a match was not an option if it cost him his payday.
    It feels a little odd to explain the scene so late into it. Perhaps this should have been moved up to an earlier line, with relevant information to the later bit of the scene broken away and moved down.

    “I’m going to walk away now, count yourself lucky,” Dorian told the kid, motioning for Shelton to follow his lead. Turning away from the worked up teenager, he started walking forward, his anger beginning to subside. It was at that moment that the teen called him the one thing that put him over the edge.

    “Coward!”

    Turning around slowly, Dorian dropped his backpack to the ground, his eyes ablaze with righteous determination.

    “Here we go,” Shelton sighed, lowering herself to the ground. Leaning her head on Machop’s shoulder, she said, “Can you at least make this quick?”

    “Terms?” Dorian asked, his voice laced with venom.
    I can really tell a lot about every character in this scene, and I'm loving it.

    “One Pokemon each, sixty credits to the winner,” the kid replied, stomping out a spot in the ground with his foot.

    Striding forward, Dorian opened his wallet and deposited the agreed amount on the spot, his violet clad counterpart following suit. Taking up positions about sixty feet away from one another, the trainers each reached towards their wrists and activated their Pokeflects. A quick chirp later, and both of them were enveloped in a creamy blue glow. The kid started making small jumps up and down, pumping himself up.

    “Twenty credits says he smokes you!” Shelton called out, moving herself in front of Machop and activating her own Pokeflect.
    Ah, I almost forgot about the Pokeflect. Good to see it again.

    Do I see a bit of a gambling streak in Shelton?

    “Whatever,” Dorian whispered.

    “I lead with Beedrill!” the kid yelled.

    “Stop screaming, I can hear you,” Dorian said, rolling his eyes. Seeing a quick way to end the match, he called over Growlithe from where it was laying next to Shelton.

    “Listen to me and we’ll get through this quick,” Dorian said, smiling at the dog Pokemon.

    “Growlithe,” he barked, giving his new master a quick nod.

    “Ready whenever you are, junior,” Dorian called, taunting the upstart kid. “Take some notes while this is going on. You might actually learn some-“

    “PIN MISSLE!”
    Did Dorian just screw this up? I bet he did...

    Great chapter. It really flew on the power of your characterization, which is absolutely excellent. There was some great action here too, so overall, just about everything came together perfectly.

    (Banner by Matori)
    Beyond all ideals, the truth shall set you free...
    Most Recent: 18: Winter of Discontent
    Next: The Weight of the World (Part 1)

    The steps on the road to the truth.
    The Firestorm Rebellion
    The Victory Star of Fate


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