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Chapter 19

Chispa waited in silence on the other side of the sitrus bush. She stretched out her front paws and lowered her head and shoulders to the ground as she surveyed her prey, who was helplessly unaware of where she had vanished to.
Hmm, it just seems weird to me to open on the “other side” of the sitrus bush. Having the other side without a side to start on just reads oddly.

At one point, they stowed themselves away between the railroad cars that transported coal through Mount Coronet to the eastern cities from Oreburgh; Barry had been quite convinced they needed to cut holes in their clothes and sing railroad songs, but Sam was happy to discover Barry actually had no idea what a “railroad song” might be. And thus ended their possible tenure as hobos.
Somehow I’m not surprised that Barry would want to play hobo. Funny as usual.

…but they saw little more than the Magikarp within it swimming peacefully and some squirrel-like electric types Sam recognized as Pachirisu. Magikarp were all-too common back home in Johto, but the snow-white Pachirisu with their cyan stripes down their tails was something he’d never seen in person. Cute though they were, they were not what he was there for.
I wonder if it might make more sense for Barry to be the one to identify the Pachirisu rather than Sam recognizing them despite never having seen them up close before. After all, Barry lives in the region and is Rowan’s assistant. Sure, Sam may have read about them or seen them on TV, but it might give Barry a chance to do more than comic relief between action scenes by showing off what he knows.

“Why don’t you hate me?”

Sam wasn’t sure why he had asked the question, but it was one that had been bothering him for days. He had, perhaps, previously been afraid that asking it would remind Barry that he should not want anything to do with Sam since the events in Snowpoint. In that moment, though, with the waning sun and the calm of Lake Valor, the question came more easily.

“What do you mean?”

Sam felt his chest sink; he was hoping he would not have to go into the details. “I pretty much out-and-out attacked you in Snowpoint. And then I left you with a psychopath who would go on to lock you in a basement. So what are you still doing with me?”

“Well, I--”
Sometimes scenes like this come off as corny, but not here. The question seems natural, as does the timing for it. Well done.

“Don’t make a joke about how you’ve kidnapped me as part of some eco-terrorism plot and can’t let me go.”
Can’t get out of this one, Barry.

Barry sighed. “You really want the serious adult conversation here, huh? Damn. What the hell, man? You were mad, and you lost it. We’ve all been there. I’m not going to bust your chops over it forever, okay? You seem pretty sorry about it.”
Wow, this seems oddly mature for Barry. Hmm, now I’d actually want to read about how Barry’s thought process went while he was captured.

“I still shouldn’t have taken your friends.”

“That was pretty sucky. I thought you were going all supervillain on me there, really.”
Knowing Barry, this was complete with a mental picture of Sam in a supervillain costume!

“That’s ‘cause Chispa’s cute. That’s, like, ninety percent of her offense so far.”
I’m not sure how much longer she’ll be able to rely on that.

Sam opened his backpack--itself an item he’d snatched from a department store in Eterna City--to see what they still had available besides the row of sitrus bushes that Chispa had previously used as cover. Sam pushed aside the baggies of berries they had picked, a handful of cans of food for their pokemon, and a half dozen packages of snack cakes but found little else.
I notice this is all food. What about their water supplies? Or are they boiling lake water?

Sam pulled out the snack cakes and internally made a promise never to eat sugar again if he could just make it through to his next proper meal without getting diabetes.
This is amusing.

Barry--giving credence to the idea that human energy was a finite resource--was snoring within moments of hitting the ground.
I really like how this is worded for some reason.
Hmm, shall we be encountering Carlos again soon?

A nice chapter for introspection on Sam’s part. I’m not sure about Barry just telling his thoughts to Sam without the reader being able to see how he reached this point (I would think he’d have been pretty angry about his pokémon being stolen even if he’d been feeling guilty about lying to Sam), but the limit to Sam’s POV pretty much means we can only understand Barry as much as Sam does and guess the rest. Of course, outside of a Barry POV chapter, it wouldn’t make sense to show Barry’s thoughts instead of simply telling them given the writing style up to this point. Anyway, it’s good to see breaks for the characters to gather their thoughts between action.