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Thread: Brothers' Bond (PG-13)

  1. #201
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knightfall View Post
    I am so sorry for the delay, but here I am. I hope you can forgive my tardiness.
    No problem! Happy to have you back.

    That’s an interesting take on how Pokeballs work. I honestly haven’t seen that before, using release chips. Hmm, I wonder, does a specific release chip work with only one ball? Or are they interchangeable? This has no plot relevance, but I just want to know.
    I imagine they'd be somewhat interchangeable, like cell phone SD cards.

    Heh, I wondered what the other inmates were thinking of Sam’s special treatment at the prison. I love little details like that. You really know how to make the world of this story seem “real” in a sense.
    Thanks! I try.

    Wow, that’s a powerful scene. The gravity of what Sam just did practically made Alonzo his enemy, even if he somehow wasn’t before. This solidifies it. Mr. Alonzo won’t stand for this, I know he won’t. He’ll do something that’s going to screw Sam over for good, though I’m not sure how things could get much worse for him right now.
    Oh, we'll see. We'll be seeing Mr. Alonzo again somewhat soon...

    Wait … What? This changes everything. In fact, I think that if my theory on who was freed from the prison is correct, then Alonzo might have been behind the attacks in the first place... His policy about acquiring legendary Pokemon seems right on track with Galactic’s.
    You are, admittedly, fairly warm.

    And this is where I am excited beyond measure. Why? Why must you end the chapter here?! I want to know if my guess on who this person is is correct. Dang it, I want to read on!

    So, congratulations on making yet another chapter that I’m begging to read beyond the cliffhanger. I really cannot wait to see the next chapter, and I hope it comes out soon (or maybe, I can wait a little while, it’ll be a little while until I get more time to write up another review. XD).

    Excellent job, Sid. Excellent job. And, again, I’m sorry for the delay in this.

    Knightfall signing off...
    Thank you for your thoughts as always. This is a lazy reply, but... I'm tired tonight. I really do appreciate it and enjoy reading your thoughts!


    Quote Originally Posted by Doryuzu View Post
    Chapter 16

    Sam's dialogue was pretty entertaining for me at some points this chapter. "spoiler alert--you lost." I did feel a bit bad for Carlos, he seemed pretty legit in the fact he was trying to help and not scare away the Lake Trio. I imagine his view of Sam isn't very friendly anymore due to the constant egging on, let's not forget before Carlos did joke with Sam with his "Do you yield." line. I think Yes, his anger was justified after being lied to by Barry and having Carlos and his crew screw up his attempts at getting the Lake Trio. He just came off as unlikable in that instance to me, I have a theory on that due to Sam's sarcastic, witty nature I found it a tad hard to really feel for him in that instance. I feel like we haven't really seen a dent in his armor due to his witty nature sorta overtaking him in a way, we haven't seen him in a true moment of intense weakness aside from his Tommy scenes.
    Nothing wrong with this line, I just really like how those two Pokemon are compared to wrecking balls here. :P
    Sam was under a lot of stress here, and was just starting the long hike down the mountain of being a self-centered jerk. We'll be seeing more of Carlos in the future...

    Nice characterization on Bree wanting to fight the likes of Garchomp, you linked it to Barry's Pokemon too which was a nice little moment. I wonder what the cryptic call from Professor Rowan was about, something involving Barry apparently. I have a feeling something big is gonna be revealed when they make it to the company.
    By any chance is Hoennese based off Spanish or German? I like how you portray it stereo typically in such a realistic way. I mean, I scold myself for this, but we've all thought something of that similar way in real life at some point.
    I don't have a particular language in mind for Hoenese, I just tend to think the most foreign languages sound "angry" to non-native speakers.

    Regarding the Pokemon, I wonder when Chispa is actually going to be worth something. She seems to do nothing but do toddler-esque things all the time and doesn't seem any stronger or more mature than she was when Sam caught her. I kinda wonder what was the point in her being caught since she hasn't been of any use at all really, unlike Vlam and Bree who at least contributed to something story-wise with the former being the Pokemon of Sam's bro and the latter his own. Both have battled as well, Chispa's just sorta there to do cutesy stuff.
    Oh, yeah, that's right Sam's Pokemon are all girls. I almost forgot that.
    I know... poor Chispa hasn't contributed much. But she has a lot of potential? Heh.

    I did not expect the reactions we got from Barry's Pokemon upon being released, I thought they would be an uproar from being away from their trainer. Unless they were unaware they were pretty much stolen. Overall, this was a solid chapter. I'll try to get another review in tomorrow.
    Thanks for your thoughts, and I look forward to your future reviews!


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  2. #202
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    Started reading a few days ago, and wow. This story is intriguing and exciting, and I can really feel the emotions of the main character, Sam. This story is great and I simply can't wait for the next chapter.
    Three most annoying things:

    1. Metal Mario
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    3. Writer's Block

  3. #203
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    Quote Originally Posted by JFought View Post
    Started reading a few days ago, and wow. This story is intriguing and exciting, and I can really feel the emotions of the main character, Sam. This story is great and I simply can't wait for the next chapter.
    Thank you very much for your time and effort to start on this! I always appreciate a new face to let me know what he thinks.


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  4. #204
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    Sorry it took me so long man

    Inside the Solaceon Prison
    Lol nice. This is the first time I believe in any Pokemon Fic that I've seen a Prison being used. I've seen dungeons and holding cells, but when it comes to actual functioning prisons, this is a first. It's such a realistic part of cities, and I salute you adding it.

    though their release chip had been removed and was held in custody elsewhere in the prison
    First off, I like the idea of them taking away the release chips, and I'd love for you to eventually go more into your interpretation of pokeballs. However, even having them deactivated makes me uncomfortable. I mean, I see that they officials removed the risk by taking the chips out, but at the same time it still seems a bit too risky to let Sam hve them (from a guard standpoint I mean)

    In addition to the nose, the overzealous officers had separated the shoulder
    Hmm, I feel like maybe dislocated would be a better word here. Separated makes me think it was chopped off

    having to join a gang for survival, or whatever it was that convicts had to do
    Almost sounds like you're talking from experience. Are you a rehabilitated convict, Sid? :P

    I’d know. Everybody’d know.”
    I liked the everybody'd. I, along with most, would have put 'everybody would', instead of what you did. Not only does it show a touch of slang, but shows your talent with dialogue. Nicely done

    “I, of course, have an Order of Protection against Mr. West, so I had to be informed right away that he was going to be released out of custody. For my own safety, obviously.”
    Wow, he's so amazingly sly

    “Man, I take a little bit of a nap in the hospital, and you go and get yourself arrested halfway across the world. What am I going to do with you, Sammy?”
    WHAT THE ****!?

    I wanted to take this last paragraph to talk about this chapter as a whole, but after that bomb you dropped at the end, I'm not only super stoked for the next chapter, but I also kinda want to punch you in the face haha (in a nice way). Tommy is alive? You just, argh! That was by far the least likely thing I expected to happen. Did he miraculously get better of his own accord, or did the legends understand Sam's meaning and help him out? Even though I asked those questions I don't want to know the answers until they're revealed in coming chapters, but still man, nicely done. I mean, it's what the entire book is about (this is me hopefully correctly deducing that this is Tommy lol), and I'm totally floored. You had better not start the next chapter out on someone else, I have to see where this goes

    An Ancient Treasure, a Terrible Price. Take the Risk, Eat the World
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  5. #205
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sidewinder View Post
    Sorry it took me so long man
    It's not even a thing. No worry!

    Lol nice. This is the first time I believe in any Pokemon Fic that I've seen a Prison being used. I've seen dungeons and holding cells, but when it comes to actual functioning prisons, this is a first. It's such a realistic part of cities, and I salute you adding it.
    Really? Well that makes me feel neat then.

    Hmm, I feel like maybe dislocated would be a better word here. Separated makes me think it was chopped off
    It's an actual injury, a separate shoulder. I've even had one. It's about as awesome as it sounds. However, as I noted before to Ememew, I did diagnose Sam's injury wrong, and TECHNICALLY, his injury IS a dislocation. I just haven't edited that yet because I keep forgetting.

    I liked the everybody'd. I, along with most, would have put 'everybody would', instead of what you did. Not only does it show a touch of slang, but shows your talent with dialogue. Nicely done
    I honestly didn't think much of it when I wrote that--it's just how most people say--so I'm glad it resonated with you.

    WHAT THE ****!?

    I wanted to take this last paragraph to talk about this chapter as a whole, but after that bomb you dropped at the end, I'm not only super stoked for the next chapter, but I also kinda want to punch you in the face haha (in a nice way). Tommy is alive? You just, argh! That was by far the least likely thing I expected to happen. Did he miraculously get better of his own accord, or did the legends understand Sam's meaning and help him out? Even though I asked those questions I don't want to know the answers until they're revealed in coming chapters, but still man, nicely done. I mean, it's what the entire book is about (this is me hopefully correctly deducing that this is Tommy lol), and I'm totally floored. You had better not start the next chapter out on someone else, I have to see where this goes
    I do promise all will be (is) explained next chapter, and fairly right away. You'll see what's happening here.


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  6. #206
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    Chapter 22

    “H-how?”

    “How did you get yourself arrested? Boy, that’s not a good question for me, Sammy. But by the looks of you, it came with a spicy dash of police brutality.”

    Sam sat stunned in his silence at the sight of Tommy through the prison booth window. It simply could not be. Sam blinked hard; it had to be the concussion playing tricks on him. He had hit his head so hard against the ground that he was now seeing phantasms. When his eyes opened, nothing had changed; Tommy was still there. Sam forced his eyes shut again and tried to erase the impossible sight before him, but it was, again, to no avail.

    “Whoa, did you develop a nervous tick while I was out or something?”

    Tommy was still there—still sitting and grinning and talking—and Sam knew there was only one possible answer left; he was going mad. It was reasonable after all, wasn’t it? He had been through so much since Tommy’s coma after all. The doctors, the international traveling, the lies and deceit, the Phoenix Corporation, the legends, explosions, Barry. Any sane man’s mind would snap under so much pressure. He placed a palm to his forehead and felt the sweat building there, and his thoughts centered on the prison around him; did they have the facilities to care for a prisoner with a declining mental state? Maybe he would be transferred to an institution with padded walls and pills that came in a little white cup and nurses with little red crosses on their hats. Sam could not help but wonder if they would at least allow him to be kept somewhere back home in Johto, but that assumed he was even still safe for travel. His brain stabbed him with a question: what if he had never left Johto? How long had he been seeing things that were not happening?

    “You always went all catatonic when you were under great stress, which is really ironic for me to say, by the by. But you… you’re like the Incredible Hulk’s really nervous brother. Wait… that would make me the Incredible Hulk. Which is really kind of cool.”

    Tommy was talking gibberish and Sam knew his mind was slipping further away from any semblance of reality. He knew that at any second, he might see the room fill up with dancing Pidgey. Maybe they would sing him a song and calm him down. He could go for a song.

    “Hey…”

    Sam suddenly hoped that straight-jackets were either a myth or something old-fashioned and archaic like lobotomies. He may have been going crazy, but what if he had an itch or a cramp? And they looked so uncomfortable to begin with. He did not want to spend the rest of his life forced to hug himself.

    “Hey!”

    Sam was shocked from his introspection by a loud smacking noise, and when he looked up, he saw Tommy’s hand pressed against the glass between them.

    “Are you okay? It’s really me, Sammy. I’m here for you.”

    With the shock of Tommy’s hand slamming the glass and those soft words, the doubt flew away, and Sam knew within himself that it was really his brother seated across from him, no matter how impossible that was. Tommy looked… honestly, Sam had seen him looking better. His blond hair had thinned dramatically over the last year, and Sam could easily see Tommy’s scalp beneath it. His face was drained both of color and volume; it suddenly seemed obvious that spending a year inside a hospital room and being fed intravenously wasn’t the best plan for long-term health. The gray Goldenrod University hoodie that Tommy wore—a shirt Sam had seen him in countless times before—seemed to envelope his body at the neck, and it gave Sam the thought that the shirt could slide all the way off of Tommy’s new, smaller frame. Sam shook his head in disbelief at how Tommy had changed.

    “No, I really am here for you. I don’t have anyone else to visit. Just your dumb ass.”

    “You look awful. For what the hospital was charging your insurance, they could at least have given you a cheeseburger or twenty before you walked out the door.”

    Tommy smiled and lifted his posture back from the window. The fluorescent lights of the visitation ward caught his eyes, and for the first time, Sam truly recognized Tommy. “All right, we got the spunk back in you. Good.”

    Sam finally felt as though he fully had his wits about him. “You realize I’ve only got every question in the world, right?”

    “Oh, I know. I’ve seen your test scores, remember?”

    “How are you here?”

    “Airplane.”

    “Wow, I didn’t miss that part of you at all.”

    Tommy laughed off Sam’s dismissal of his oversimplified answer, and Sam knew inside himself that he lied. He had missed everything about his brother.

    “I was just sitting there in the hospital, doing the nothing that I did for the past year. My eyes were open, and I could see, but it didn’t really mean anything, if that—it’s hard to explain. It was like I was looking at pictures of things happening to someone else; like a movie I didn’t even care about. And then… it just made sense. I started recognizing things and I could move myself and I knew where I was. I looked up, and…,” Tommy narrowed his eyes at Sam. “You really don’t see where this is going?” Sam shook his head; how could he know? Tommy finally finished, “The legends were there. The Sinnoh ones. Mesprit, Uxie, and Azelf. They were there, just hovering over me. Like… ‘hey, how’s it going?’”

    Sam’s body was still, but his mind was moving at a blinding pace, putting together all the details.

    “I’m told this was your doing,” Tommy continued when Sam had no reply aside from dumbfounded silence. “When the doctors were running tests on me to see if they could figure out my recovery, they said that you had left to find a way to cure me. It was one of the nurses who’d heard you mention the Sinnoh legends. Of course, none of them thought you’d actually—“ Tommy sighed and rolled his eyes. “All right, lay it on me… how big of one do I owe you?”

    Sam was still trying to compose himself. His brain was being torn in several directions by chariots of emotion; laughter, tears, jumping in celebration, and busting through the plexiglass between them to hug Tommy all seemed like equally viable reactions. He felt his mouth spread wide into a smile as an option emerged victorious. “A damn big one.”

    Tommy nodded and sat back in his chair. He smiled, too, as he seemed to relax. “That’s what I thought.”

    Sam, now fully in the moment of their discussion and no longer distracted by fear of insanity or impossible questions, erased his smile; reality dawned on him. “I’m… I’m in jail. I mean, I’m not a… whatever, but I’m still here. I don’t think they’ll let me out. I mean, I’ve asked, but…”

    “Yeah, Professor Rowan told me you’d been playing Action-Adventure Sammy the last few weeks. At the wrongest places at the wrongest times, as it were. So what are we going to do about that?”

    Sam slouched in his seat and stared across at Tommy. The plexiglass between them might as well have been the Orre Sea. Tommy was right there, but Sam could not touch him or get close to him.

    “You know,” Tommy suddenly continued, tapping the side of his head with a finger, “besides use the Sinnoh government registry to trace the GPS in that other kid’s pokeballs, thereby proving that you and he never stepped foot in Veilstone City until hours after the attack. I mean, we could do that, but that’s like cheating.”

    Sam’s ears perked. “What? Yes! Do that! It will prove that we didn’t do it.”

    Tommy jerked his head slightly to the right and one side of his lips curled. “I’m just going to sit here and let you catch up to the conversation at your own pace.”

    “You… already did that.”

    “And thank you for joining me here at the finish line.”

    “So I can just… leave now? Like… leave?”

    “I had Rowan call in the details when I arrived. You should be ready to go by the time we’re done here. It was a little bit harder with that Barry kid considering he was actually charged with something, but with your case, it should b—hey!”

    Sam did not even need to hear the end of Tommy’s sentence. He bounded out of the seat in booth four and scrambled to the door that separated him from the rest of the prison. His pounding on the door drew him some threatening looks from the inmates who were still in the middle of their conversations, but Sam found he did not care; in a few minutes, he’d hopefully never see them again.

    ---

    The release process went faster than Sammy could even have hoped, and it made him appreciate being a person of insight and interest all the more. After Officer Clarke let Sam out of the visitation ward, Sam prattled out everything he and Tommy had discussed. Then, after Clarke laughed and told Sam that he did not understand a damn thing he said since it all came out in one breath, Sam went through it slowly and more deliberately. Clarke called the front of the prison and apparently received the okay—Sam was free to go. After that came a stop-over in the personal effects hold where Sam was given the release chips to his pokeballs, his wallet, his dead cellular phone, and the rest of what few things he had with him in Veilstone. The police decided to keep the backpack and supplies Sam had stolen on his way to Lake Valor, but that was fair, Sam figured. Clarke finally escorted him to the lobby of the prison, and Sam saw his brother with no barriers left between them.

    Sam knew it was cheesy, and he knew his brother would invariably make fun of him for it, but he could not stop himself from charging Tommy and wrapping his arms around him. It was the last piece of the puzzle left to convince him it was all real. To Tommy’s credit, he said nothing. He merely returned the hug and patted the back of Sam’s head. Everything else in the lobby was set to mute as time lapsed away in the realness of Tommy. It was only the curious thought that he should say goodbye to Officer Clarke that pulled Sammy away from his brother; but by the time he turned around, the guard had vanished back behind the heavy doors of the prison.

    The sun and the breeze outside the Solaceon Prison was the best weather Sam could ever remember feeling. Maybe it was because he’d been stuck in a building for most of a week, but the gorgeous spring day was exactly what he could have wished to walk out to. Sam briefly thought about what the weather was like when Tommy first emerged from the hospital, but thought better than to ask it. After so long apart, they had to have more to discuss than the weather.

    “Are Rowan and Barry with you?” It was an odd question in that the possibility of seeing Rowan after all that had transpired filled Sam with dread, while the thought of seeing Barry alive and well and unincarcerated was rather uplifting.

    “No. They’re at Rowan’s home in Sandgem Town. The professor has a press conference tonight they’re all getting ready for.”

    “So he really is stepping down,” Sam mused aloud.

    “I—yeah, how did you know?”

    Sam considered talking about the visit from Mr. Alonzo, but it was better to not burden Tommy with that already. “Just prison buzz, you know?”

    “Did you join a gang? Is that how you stayed safe in the showers? Is there anything I need to know?”

    Sam replied with a sarcastic pseudo-laugh. “If they aren’t with you, how are we getting back to Sandgem?”

    “In style, Sammy,” Tommy answered, pointing towards the end of the parking lot where Sam saw a man standing outside a white limousine. “In style.”

    Sam squinted into the distance at the red-headed young man in khakis and collared, button-down shirt. The man grinned as Sam and Tommy approached, and Sam immediately recognized him.

    “Bug Catcher Sammy!”

    “Miah Vanderbelt,” Sam greeted him back, “What are you doing here?”

    “Are you kidding me? My old classmate’s brother gets out of the hospital and needs to come to Sinnoh, and I’m just not supposed to gas up the jet and bring him? What kind of guy would I be?”

    Sam and Miah had drifted apart after high school, but it was not hard to keep up with Miah’s exploits. His father had sent him to the prestigious Mahogany Academy Business School to sharpen him for joining his father’s investment firm. Mahogany Academy was one of the best business schools in Johto, as well as one of its priciest, but money was hardly an object for the Vanderbelts. Sam would have allowed himself more envy in his youth, but even then he knew it seemed ill-fitting for a kid that was going to Goldenrod University for free at the same time. Still, Miah would quickly prove his worth in Mahogany, graduating with his degree two years early. His success at school tempered some of the complaints of nepotism when he was appointed to a lofty position in his father’s company.

    “Man, that’s actually pretty awesome of you, Miah,” Sam said.

    “I know.”

    Sam felt like he did not have enough words to show his appreciation for what Miah was doing, but at the same time, gushing over Miah Vanderbelt was rather unseemly. He settled for a playful bow in agreement as the three of them stepped into the back of the limo.

    Sam had never actually been in a limousine before, and he was fairly certain that Tommy never had, either. Sam was not sure where to focus his attention as his gaze darted from the personal cooler situated next to each individual seat along the side windows to the high-definition television screens hung in each corner of the back of the car to the tinted privacy window that separated the driver from the passengers, though the last item befuddled Sam as he tried to figure out how the driver knew what was behind him.

    “It’s not bad, I guess,” Miah interrupted his musings, “It’s just a rental, though. Mine back home is nicer.”

    “Well, we all have to make sacrifices,” Sam replied, causing Tommy to smack him lightly on the back of the head. Even the slight love-tap caused a pulsating pain in Sam’s skull from his delicate concussion. “But no, it’s great. Better than anything I’ve been in before,” he corrected himself, trying to keep his wincing under control.

    The three of them settled into their seats; Sam purposely taking the longest to get situated since he wanted to see what the protocol was for putting a seatbelt on in a limo, especially since the driver probably could not see what was on his rear. Miah stretched out and left his off; Tommy fastened his own. With the popular vote split, Sam went with shadowing his brother since it did not seem wise to incur Tommy’s wrath so soon after reuniting with him. Once they were all ready to go, Miah pressed a button next to his seat which was apparently the universal limo signal for ready-to-go since the car then pulled out of its spot. Suddenly Sam wondered how many of the prisoners who already thought he was getting preferential treatment just saw him leave the jail and immediately hop into a limo to cruise away. Sam wondered briefly if the prison had a second-least popular inmate, and if the other cons would shank him or something in proxy over their frustration that evening.

    “Oh!” Sam cried, finally remembering something. He reached into his pocket and pulled out Vlam’s Dusk Ball. He looked it over in his hand and lifted his lower lip in pride. “Here’s Vlam back, Tommy.”

    Tommy’s head bobbed slowly and shallowly as he studied Sam’s outstretched arm. “No,” he said after a moment of consideration, “you keep her.”

    Sam’s brow crunched. “You’re… no, you can’t… just take her back. It’s Vlam!”

    Tommy chuckled. “Yeah, I got that part. But she’s been with you for a year. You’ve been taking care of her and protecting her. I think you’ve earned the right to keep her.”

    Sam was still incredulous. The only explanation was that, between the broken nose and concussion causing some slurred speech, his brother didn’t understand what he was saying. “But she’s your friend.”

    “I know. And if you decide to move across the world, we’ll settle on visitation rights. But for now… I want you to keep her.”

    “I’m sorry, but,” Miah broke in while Sam continued trying to process, “I’ve seen that fox in action. If you’re both so eager to give her away, I’ll gladly take her.”

    The three of them shared a laugh at Miah’s offering, and Sam reluctantly put the ball away. He wanted more than anything for Tommy and Vlam to see each other, but it would have been rude to release her in the back of Miah’s limo, so it would have to wait until they pulled over.

    As the limousine grew uncomfortably quiet, Sam felt a niggling in the back of his mind, like he was on the verge of a realization, but he couldn’t figure out exactly what it was. The harder he tried to think about it, the more the dull ache in his bruised brain grew. He tried to look out the windows of the car to settle himself, but the blur of traffic passing by outside it and the sun coming through it only made him ill.

    “Hey,” Tommy’s voice shocked Sam out of his state, “do these tv’s work or what? We’re never going to make it to Sandgem Town by tonight, and I want to see what happens at Professor Rowan’s press conference.”

    Miah grabbed his chin as he looked to the corners of the limousine. “I’m not entirely sure. I just assumed they were for movies, but there might be satellite access. Now where is…” His voice trailed off as he stood from his seat and began searching around it. He bent over and emerged with a controller in-hand. “Found it!”

    “What time is the press conference?” Sam asked.

    “It is at…,” Tommy crunched up his face as he stopped, “today. It’s definitely at some time today.”

    Miah chuckled and shrugged at Sam before turning the televisions on. The cacophony of noise as each screen was turned to a separate channel assaulted the pain in Sam’s skull, but Miah fairly quickly figured out how to turn all but one of the televisions off. He scanned the lower channels for news of the conference, but all they found were game shows and programs with doctors telling people how to live their lives. Miah noted that it was probably too early in the day for Rowan’s conference, and Sam and Tommy agreed; he asked if they had a preference of what program to watch, but seeing how neither of them had any idea what kinds of shows Sinnoh aired, they left it up to him.

    Miah continued cycling upward through the channels, and Sam found himself momentarily amazed at the prospect of finding out what kind of shows wealthy people watched. There was no reason for it, and Miah was hardly a stranger whose taste in things was foreign to Sam, but he still found himself expecting to watch an upper-crust program about how to best polish one’s diamonds.

    Miah, instead, finally stopped the television on a show that featured a gathering of women. They were eating in a restaurant with white tablecloths and a chandelier above them, and as one of the ladies said something snarky about another’s husband, the latter reached over to grab the snarky one’s hair. A quick brawl erupted in the restaurant, complete with the throwing rolls and the splashing of wine, as other diners who were apparently not part of the show looked on, mouths agape and pressing backwards for their own safety—or, at least, the safety of their expensive suits and gowns. The show would go on for quite a while in the limousine, and Miah did not seem inclined to change it. Eventually Sam was told by the program that it was about the wives of Hearthome City; though given their penchant for wearing colorful dresses everywhere and how little they were featured with their families, Sam questioned just how real they were. Despite the fact that the show starred well-to-do women in extravagant settings, the appeal seemed to be at very base level; it capitalized on shock at each cruel thing the wives said about each other, and seemed to feature far more brawling and censored shouting than Sam would think was normal for real people. In spite of that, by the third consecutive episode, Sam found himself wanting to see one particular wife named Shana get her comeuppance. She was really a jerk.

    By the fourth episode, Miah was forgetting to even check back on the regular network channels for the professor’s announcement anymore. As he and Miah engrossed themselves in the embittered women, Sam had almost forgotten Tommy was with them until his brother announced he needed to stretch his legs. Miah pressed another button next to his seat in the car, and within moments, it was pulling over. Sam grew more fascinated with the car that might as well have been remote-controlled.

    He peered out the window more confidently now that the car was coming to a stop, and found that they were pulling into a large traveler’s center. After dropping Miah, Tommy, and Sam off at the front door, the limo driver looped the car around to one of the gas pumps.

    “I’m going to get a tea; do you guys want anything?”

    Tommy shook his head. “No thanks, Miah. I’m sure we’ll be in shortly. Are we in a rush to leave?”

    “I’m not if you’re not,” Miah answered before entering the center.

    “Hey,” Sam said to get his brother’s attention. He pointed towards the side of the building, where a large, worn patch of grass sat. It was clearly a place for people to let out their friends and allow them to stretch their own legs. “Want to see Vlam?”

    Sam felt that he was at least as excited as Tommy at the chance to reunite the two of them. Tommy may have been right that Sam had been tending to her, but the older brother would always be her proper trainer. He felt a muscle in his shoulder tighten and twitch with anticipation as they stepped closer and closer to the play area. Sam was amused by the cheerfulness of the place. Large chunks of the soil were uprooted and tossed away in defeated mounds. Other areas of the grass with scorched so badly, it seemed unlikely anything would ever grow there again. And still other patches were saturated in water that had become large, muddy puddles. Each blade of damaged, burnt, or drowned grass was a memory some trainer had made with their friends there.

    They had barely just stepped onto the pokemon play area when Sam grabbed the Dusk Ball from his pocket and squeezed it once. Concentrated energy erupted with an static sound from the socket in the center of the ball and coalesced on the ground in front of them. The energy transformed into a familiar sight for both Sam and Tommy; a creamy orange fox with nine tails fluffing themselves out. Vlam, in her typical undisturbed fashion, stretched her front end out slowly and shook her head before setting down in the grass.

    Sam looked to Tommy, whom the Ninetales clearly had not seen when she emerged, and grinned in anticipation. He cleared his throat to attract her attention and pointed to his side. When Vlam turned to see what he wanted, her eyes were immediately drawn to Tommy. With a spriteliness that Sam hadn’t seen from the fox in quite a while, Vlam bounced in one fluid movement from her lying position in the grass to standing on her hindlegs before Tommy with her front paws on his chest. She was aggressively rubbing the side of her head and her ear on her trainer, whining as she did so.

    “Vlam, Vlam!” Tommy cried, gripping her paws and setting her back down on the ground. He cartoonishly blew on his palms. “You’re burning up, baby. Remember how you have to regulate your temperature when you get excited? You were gonna cook me, Vee-Vee.”

    Vlam whimpered again, this time sounding appropriately scolded, and then found Tommy’s shin with her head and began rubbing against it. “Hey, I missed you, too. Daddy missed you, too,” Tommy said, his voice much softer. “Was my meanie brother mistreating you while I was gone?” Vlam barked loudly one time before returning to her trainer’s leg, and Tommy and Sam both laughed in reply. “Man, right under the bus with you, huh?”

    Sam nodded, still smiling at the reunion. He gripped the Nest and Friend Balls from his pocket and squeezed both of them to release Bree and Chispa. Bree would certainly also be excited to see Tommy, and Chispa deserved a chance to meet him, as well.

    Bree emerged from her ball facing Tommy and raced towards him. She zipped in figure-eights around him in the air, buzzing happily. Sam’s brother tried to reach out to rub her head, but the Butterfree was too excited and moved too quickly for him to get a hand on. Tommy was a mess of trying to reaching both down to pet Vlam and up to give some attention to Bree; it looked to Sam like two invisible forces were alternately pulling him in different directions.

    Chispa was less impressed by the stranger, choosing instead to rush behind Sam’s legs and mew loudly at her sisters, as if warning them the new man might be dangerous. She was so disturbed by his presence, she even flinched when Sam reached down to reassure her. He had wanted to scoop her up with his good arm and comfort her, but she was still shooting off nervous sparks of electricity. She hadn’t been so scared of Barry in the past, but after having been involved in a few battles and getting momentarily left behind at the Phoenix Building, she might have been feeling a little anxiety around new people.

    Sam knelt beside her. “It’s okay, girl. They’re both safe. That’s my brother, and he’s a good guy. He’ll be really nice to you if you give him a chance.” Chispa looked to his face, then over at her sisters. They must have seemed to be okay by her, because she then turned back to Sam and started rubbing her mouth on his sling. “You need to make that smell like you, huh?” Sam smiled. “You’re not really bothered by anything.”

    “So what’s that thing?”

    Sam looked up to his brother, still trying to appease both Bree and Vlam. “It’s a Shinx,” he answered.

    “I know that. But you took precious time out of trying to save my life to start catching Sinnohan pokemon? I’m offended! What all have you caught?”

    Sam looked down to Chispa and back up to his brother. “It’s a…it’s a Shinx…”

    Tommy laughed. “Good job on that one catch then, bro.”

    Sam shrugged playfully and continued to watch his brother play with their two friends. Sam had imagined many times that when his brother got better, he’d say something to the effect of “Oh, it was like he was never gone at all”. The reality was quite different, he found. It felt not only like Tommy had been gone, but that he’d been gone even longer than he really had. Sam was not sure what to talk to his brother about, and was happy the attention from Bree and Vlam was distracting him. Tommy’s last year was clearly uneventful. Sam’s, while significantly more eventful, was not something either seemed eager to discuss. Sam did not want to burden his brother with the exact stories of how he’d argued with doctors and medical staffs to the point of being escorted off their premises, nor did he want to talk about the desperate depression that led him to run away from Johto on an unlikely fantasy hunt. Even if the fantasy had come to fruition, even with Tommy standing right in front of him, Sam knew that part was true: he had come to Sinnoh to escape. He wondered, if he had never found the legends and never been able to cure Tommy, would he ever have gone back home?

    That was when he felt it again; the strange feeling that his mind was trying to tell him something. The realization appeared as a hummingbird that hovered in front of him and then darted away before he could truly recognize it. His consciousness chased it again, but it had vanished. The bruising on his brain reprimanded him with pain when he started pushing too hard to remember it.

    “Hey guys! It’s on in here.”

    Sam’s attention was pulled to Miah’s voice coming from the front of the travel center.

    “That press conference you wanted to see,” Miah clarified while pointing to the door, “it’s on the TV in here.”

    Tommy stood upright and whistled, signaling to Vlam it was time to get up and follow. Bree swooped over to Sam’s good shoulder, and Chispa followed along as they all approached the building. If the building had a policy about pokemon being allowed inside, no one said anything to them as the attention of the entire building was focused on the TV above the flavored coffee machine.

    Professor Rowan stood before a blue curtain at a podium with Sinnoh’s red-and-blue flag draped around it. He was wearing thin-rimmed glasses and a brown suit, and he was reading from something atop the podium that Sam could not see. While assuring the region that Barry West was innocent, he admitted that the accusations levied against him were as embarrassing as they were vicious. He went on to say he was stepping down, effective immediately, to help the young man over whom he had legal guardianship get past the incident and remain safe from those who would besmirch his name.

    Sam was surprised to see Professor Carolina approach the podium next to Rowan; the latter introduced her as the region’s new interim professor until the Prime Minister could conduct a more thorough search for a long-term replacement. The thought of Carolina and Rowan both being in the same place as Sam turned his stomach upside-down. Neither of them was a particularly huge fan of him, and he knew that he’d be getting raked over every coal they could find. They might even have been bringing some in from Oreburgh just to make sure they had some to literally rake him over if just doing it figuratively grew tiresome.

    The conference ended with Rowan and Carolina both declining to take any questions and then referring the media to the Prime Minister’s Office of Public Relations. Sam tapped Tommy on the arm and motioned for the two of them and their friends to head back outside before the rest of the center realized there brought in released pokemon. Miah must have noticed their walking out because he was right behind them. He took a sip from his cup before patting Sam on the back.

    “Are we ready to power through to Sandgem then?”

    Sam looked up to the sky and then back towards his friend and Tommy. He was as ready as he was going to get.
    Last edited by Sid87; 26th February 2013 at 6:48 PM.


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  7. #207
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    “How did you get yourself arrested? Boy, that’s not a good question for me, Sammy. But by the looks of you, it came with a spicy dash of police brutality.”
    Oh, boy. Looks like Tommy hasn’t changed one bit. Great dialogue as always.

    The Sam blinked hard;
    The Sam??? Amusing, but doesn’t make sense.

    It was reasonable after all, wasn’t it? He had been through so much since Tommy’s coma after all.
    Wouldn’t use “after all” twice in a row so closely to each other.

    Maybe he would be transferred to an institution with padded walls and pills that came in a little white cup and nurses with little red crosses on their hats. Sam could not help but wonder if they would at least allow him to be kept somewhere back home in Johto, but that assumed he was even still safe for travel. His brain stabbed him with a question: what if he had never left Johto? How long had he been seeing things that were not happening?
    Really like this part. Shows how confused Sam really is. And the idea that someone isn’t even safe enough in their own mind for travel is interesting.

    “Wow, I didn’t miss that part of you at all.”

    Tommy laughed off Sam’s dismissal of his oversimplified answer, and Sam knew inside himself that he lied. He had missed everything about his brother.
    Cute. Sammy can’t help but betray himself.

    “Vlam, Vlam!” Tommy cried, gripping her paws and setting her back down on the ground. He cartoonishly blew on his palms. “You’re burning up, baby. Remember how you have to regulate your temperature when you get excited? You were gonna cook me, Vee-Vee.”
    He’d get cooked and then be sent right back to the hospital. Nice. Cute scene.

    I think I love you for bringing Tommy back. Sam really deserved it and his responses to the situation were great to see. You did a good job at making it feel like it was an unreal dream to him. I hope we do get to see them talk about all the things Sam doesn’t want to talk about, though; I think they both deserve to share that moment. But it’s up to you to include it, of course! Also, this makes me wonder: is BB almost completed?

    | 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 |


  8. #208
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    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    Oh, boy. Looks like Tommy hasn’t changed one bit. Great dialogue as always.
    Thanks! I try.

    The Sam??? Amusing, but doesn’t make sense.
    Um, yeah. Between chapters, Sam decided to adopt a professional wrestling personality. He's The Sam now. Do you smell what The Sam is cooking?

    I think I love you for bringing Tommy back. Sam really deserved it and his responses to the situation were great to see. You did a good job at making it feel like it was an unreal dream to him. I hope we do get to see them talk about all the things Sam doesn’t want to talk about, though; I think they both deserve to share that moment. But it’s up to you to include it, of course! Also, this makes me wonder: is BB almost completed?
    ALMOST completed? No. There are at least... (counts in head)... five or six chapters level. And that's if everything is direct and immediate, which--it should be abundantly clear by now--I don't do well. So I'm thinking chapter 30 might be the final chapter, but I'm just speculating.


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  9. #209
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    Man, again. I did it again. It’s been much too long since the chapter and this review, but, I’m here. So, let’s get into this odd chapter. I use the word odd because that’s mainly what I’ll use to describe it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Sam sat stunned in his silence at the sight of Tommy through the prison booth window. It simply could not be. The Sam blinked hard; it had to be the concussion playing tricks on him. He had hit his head so hard against the ground that he was now seeing phantasms. When his eyes opened, nothing had changed; Tommy was still there. Sam forced his eyes shut again and tried to erase the impossible sight before him, but it was, again, to no avail.
    Believe me, Sam, I’m doing the same exact thing right now. Except, well, without the possible concussion. I’m confused as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Tommy was still there—still sitting and grinning and talking—and Sam knew there was only one possible answer left; he was going mad. It was reasonable after all, wasn’t it? He had been through so much since Tommy’s coma after all. The doctors, the international traveling, the lies and deceit, the Phoenix Corporation, the legends, explosions, Barry. Any sane man’s mind would snap under so much pressure. He placed a palm to his forehead and felt the sweat building there, and his thoughts centered on the prison around him; did they have the facilities to care for a prisoner with a declining mental state? Maybe he would be transferred to an institution with padded walls and pills that came in a little white cup and nurses with little red crosses on their hats. Sam could not help but wonder if they would at least allow him to be kept somewhere back home in Johto, but that assumed he was even still safe for travel. His brain stabbed him with a question: what if he had never left Johto? How long had he been seeing things that were not happening?
    Heh, Sam, come on. You’re not mad. You’re only insane when you start hearing the voices. Then, you can expect the pills, padded walls, and the straight jackets.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Tommy was talking gibberish and Sam knew his mind was slipping further away from any semblance of reality. He knew that at any second, he might see the room fill up with dancing Pidgey. Maybe they would sing him a song and calm him down. He could go for a song.
    I’m liking this new side of Sam, for reasons you can probably guess based on what you know of me. Though I can understand why he would think these things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    “Are you okay? It’s really me, Sammy. I’m here for you.”

    With the shock of Tommy’s hand slamming the glass and those soft words, the doubt flew away, and Sam knew within himself that it was really his brother seated across from him, no matter how impossible that was.
    Good to see that finally cleared up, now let’s try and get some answers...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    “No, I really am here for you. I don’t have anyone else to visit. Just your dumb ass.”
    I’m liking this current Tommy quite a lot. It’s a step up from the dream one at the very least.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    “How are you here?”

    “Airplane.”

    “Wow, I didn’t miss that part of you at all.”
    I love how you immediately have them interact like nothing’s happened.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    “I was just sitting there in the hospital, doing the nothing that I did for the past year. My eyes were open, and I could see, but it didn’t really mean anything, if that—it’s hard to explain. It was like I was looking at pictures of things happening to someone else; like a movie I didn’t even care about. And then… it just made sense. I started recognizing things and I could move myself and I knew where I was. I looked up, and…,” Tommy narrowed his eyes at Sam. “You really don’t see where this is going?” Sam shook his head; how could he know? Tommy finally finished, “The legends were there. The Sinnoh ones. Mesprit, Uxie, and Azelf. They were there, just hovering over me. Like… ‘hey, how’s it going?’”
    So, even despite the trio fleeing the scene in Celestic Town, they still helped Tommy? Hmm, for some reason, I kinda thought it would be a lot harder than that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    He felt his mouth spread wide into a smile as an option emerged victorious. “A damn big one.”
    Well, that’s one way to summarize the hardships of last 21 chapters of this story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    “You know,” Tommy suddenly continued, tapping the side of his head with a finger, “besides use the Sinnoh government registry to trace the GPS in that other kid’s pokeballs, thereby proving that you and he never stepped foot in Veilstone City until hours after the attack. I mean, we could do that, but that’s like cheating.”

    Sam’s ears perked. “What? Yes! Do that! It will prove that we didn’t do it.”

    Tommy jerked his head slightly to the right and one side of his lips curled. “I’m just going to sit here and let you catch up to the conversation at your own pace.”

    “You… already did that.”

    “And thank you for joining me here at the finish line.”
    Well, that certainly went by fast. I mean, not only is Sam now acquitted of his alleged crimes, it also proves that Mr. Alonzo was lying to an extent when he said that Rowen had put all the blame on Sam. While there remains some points in his words, Tommy has just disproved a lot of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Sam knew it was cheesy, and he knew his brother would invariably make fun of him for it, but he could not stop himself from charging Tommy and wrapping his arms around him. It was the last piece of the puzzle left to convince him it was all real. To Tommy’s credit, he said nothing. He merely returned the hug and patted the back of Sam’s head. Everything else in the lobby was set to mute as time lapsed away in the realness of Tommy. It was only the curious thought that he should say goodbye to Officer Clarke that pulled Sammy away from his brother; but by the time he turned around, the guard had vanished back behind the heavy doors of the prison.
    Cheesy or not, I have been waiting for this moment for 21 chapters now. So, let the cheese flow! Cover the scene like a bowl of nachos!

    A-hem, so yeah, good scene.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    “Did you join a gang? Is that how you stayed safe in the showers? Is there anything I need to know?”
    Seriously, I am loving his character. He just woke up from a year-long coma and yet here he is cracking jokes. I doubt Barry could top that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    “Bug Catcher Sammy!”

    “Miah Vanderbelt,” Sam greeted him back, “What are you doing here?”

    “Are you kidding me? My old classmate’s brother gets out of the hospital and needs to come to Sinnoh, and I’m just not supposed to gas up the jet and bring him? What kind of guy would I be?”
    Wow, is this a chapter for reunions or what? I mean, I didn’t expect to see Miah anytime soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    “It’s not bad, I guess,” Miah interrupted his musings, “It’s just a rental, though. Mine back home is nicer.”
    Typical rich person attitude. XD

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Suddenly Sam wondered how many of the prisoners who already thought he was getting preferential treatment just saw him leave the jail and immediately hop into a limo to cruise away. Sam wondered briefly if the prison had a second-least popular inmate, and if the other cons would shank him or something in proxy over their frustration that evening.
    I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if that actually happened based on what they thought of Sam even before he hopped in a limo.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Tommy’s head bobbed slowly and shallowly as he studied Sam’s outstretched arm. “No,” he said after a moment of consideration, “you keep her.”

    Sam’s brow crunched. “You’re… no, you can’t… just take her back. It’s Vlam!”

    Tommy chuckled. “Yeah, I got that part. But she’s been with you for a year. You’ve been taking care of her and protecting her. I think you’ve earned the right to keep her.”
    Hmm, I wasn’t expecting that, but then again, I couldn’t really see Vlam going back to Tommy either...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Eventually Sam was told by the program that it was about the wives of Hearthome City; though given their penchant for wearing colorful dresses everywhere and how little they were featured with their families, Sam questioned just how real they were. Despite the fact that the show starred well-to-do women in extravagant settings, the appeal seemed to be at very base level; it capitalized on shock at each cruel thing the wives said about each other, and seemed to feature far more brawling and censored shouting than Sam would think was normal for real people. In spite of that, by the third consecutive episode, Sam found himself wanting to see one particular wife named Shana get her comeuppance. She was really a jerk.
    Alright, I gotta say that I laughed pretty hard after reading this, because it’s exactly what I would have done if that’s what was on.

    Also, you get the honor of being the first story I’ve read on the internet to use the word comeuppance. Congratulations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Sam was amused by the cheerfulness of the place. Large chunks of the soil were uprooted and tossed away in defeated mounds. Other areas of the grass with scorched so badly, it seemed unlikely anything would ever grow there again. And still other patches were saturated in water that had become large, muddy puddles. Each blade of damaged, burnt, or drowned grass was a memory some trainer had made with their friends there.
    Excellent description here, I love how you address each “type” of damage in turn. I overlooked this scene before, but now after rereading it, I see that is really detailed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    With a spriteliness that Sam hadn’t seen from the fox in quite a while, Vlam bounced in one fluid movement from her lying position in the grass to standing on her hindlegs before Tommy with her front paws on his chest. She was aggressively rubbing the side of her head and her ear on her trainer, whining as she did so.

    “Vlam, Vlam!” Tommy cried, gripping her paws and setting her back down on the ground. He cartoonishly blew on his palms. “You’re burning up, baby. Remember how you have to regulate your temperature when you get excited? You were gonna cook me, Vee-Vee.”
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Bree emerged from her ball facing Tommy and raced towards him. She zipped in figure-eights around him in the air, buzzing happily. Sam’s brother tried to reach out to rub her head, but the Butterfree was too excited and moved too quickly for him to get a hand on. Tommy was a mess of trying to reaching both down to pet Vlam and up to give some attention to Bree; it looked to Sam like two invisible forces were alternately pulling him in different directions.

    God, more “Dawww” moments? Man, you are trying to make this chapter an uplifting one, aren’t you? You know what this means, right? The next twenty-one have to be really somber if you’re going to follow the pattern. xD

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    “Are we ready to power through to Sandgem then?”

    Sam looked up to the sky and then back towards his friend and Tommy. He was as ready as he was going to get.
    Well, like I said before, this chapter was kinda odd for me. I mean, it was excellent and contained a lot of reunions, information, and tying up some of the plot strings, but not all of them just yet.
    I had expected Sam’s quest to heal Tommy to be slightly …harder if anything. I did not expect the lake trio to go and heal him after running off from Celestic. I expected Sam would have to go track them down again, yet this time Mr. Alonzo would get in the way of that.

    But, I’m not complaining as there’s still plenty of time and plot to fill out, I’m sure. I suspect it will be coming to a climax very shortly, and I intend to be here for it.

    Knightfall signing off...

  10. #210
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knightfall View Post
    Man, again. I did it again. It’s been much too long since the chapter and this review, but, I’m here. So, let’s get into this odd chapter. I use the word odd because that’s mainly what I’ll use to describe it.
    Ha! Eep, that's foreboding.

    I’m liking this current Tommy quite a lot. It’s a step up from the dream one at the very least.
    Tommy's always been a smartass to me. In a brotherly love, harassing the little brother kind of way!

    I love how you immediately have them interact like nothing’s happened.
    Doesn't come across as too rushed?

    So, even despite the trio fleeing the scene in Celestic Town, they still helped Tommy? Hmm, for some reason, I kinda thought it would be a lot harder than that.
    So did Sam! But it's funny how things work out sometime...

    Well, that’s one way to summarize the hardships of last 21 chapters of this story.
    You think? I think so, too, now that you mention it.

    Well, that certainly went by fast. I mean, not only is Sam now acquitted of his alleged crimes, it also proves that Mr. Alonzo was lying to an extent when he said that Rowen had put all the blame on Sam. While there remains some points in his words, Tommy has just disproved a lot of it.
    It was fast, but it was one of those moments where my brain just went "dragging this out will be unrealistic if there really is a way out", so I was compelled to go in that direction. I'm admittedly bad at pacing and setting up prolonged drama at times like this.

    Funny you bring up what else you brought up... you'll see how that progresses...

    Cheesy or not, I have been waiting for this moment for 21 chapters now. So, let the cheese flow! Cover the scene like a bowl of nachos!
    Glad it wasn't too melodramatic!

    Wow, is this a chapter for reunions or what? I mean, I didn’t expect to see Miah anytime soon.
    I decided a WHILE back that I spent a lot of time in flashback chapters talking ABOUT Miah, so not having him appear would seem kind of like a miss.

    Alright, I gotta say that I laughed pretty hard after reading this, because it’s exactly what I would have done if that’s what was on.

    Also, you get the honor of being the first story I’ve read on the internet to use the word comeuppance. Congratulations.
    Those shows are so damn insidious. They truly are TERRIBLE on virtually ever level, but... once you start watching them, it is HARD to stop. You actually get involved in their fake little lives.

    Excellent description here, I love how you address each “type” of damage in turn. I overlooked this scene before, but now after rereading it, I see that is really detailed.
    I was really happy with that, so I'm glad you appreciated it.

    Well, like I said before, this chapter was kinda odd for me. I mean, it was excellent and contained a lot of reunions, information, and tying up some of the plot strings, but not all of them just yet.
    I had expected Sam’s quest to heal Tommy to be slightly …harder if anything. I did not expect the lake trio to go and heal him after running off from Celestic. I expected Sam would have to go track them down again, yet this time Mr. Alonzo would get in the way of that.

    But, I’m not complaining as there’s still plenty of time and plot to fill out, I’m sure. I suspect it will be coming to a climax very shortly, and I intend to be here for it.

    Knightfall signing off...
    I kind of want to give things away for what's coming, and then... I kind of don't. The more I think about it, the more I think I've got about ten chapters left. Right around there, anyway. It's not NEARLY wrapping up as much as people might think, but... more on that next chapter, which has ANOTHER cliffhanger, and it's one of my favorites (aside from the Tommy one last chapter).


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  11. #211
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    Hey there. I'm going through and reading various 'fics before I vote in the Fanfiction Awards this year. Yours was first on the list, so I guess you get to see a) how horrifyingly behind I am on this and b) a review! How nice.

    Anyway, I do have to echo everybody else and say that character development is definitely your strongest points. The banter between Sam and Tommy is some of the most genuinely funny/heartwarming I've seen from two OC's, and I definitely enjoy the scenes where they feature the most. You do dialogue well in general, with Barry being another particularly good character in that regard. It's unfortunate that, for a pokémon fanfic, the pokémon don't factor into the story all that much, but at least when they do show up they have some glimmerings of personality. The humans are by and large handled very well, though.

    On the other hand, I do think your plotting is a little more spotty. The Phoenix Corporation subplot in particular doesn't feel like it hangs together all that well to me. The company seems to act pretty dumb a lot of the time, which doesn't make it feel like much of a threat. Bulldozing on protected lands using equipment with your logo plastered all over it? Sending Carlos and company off with Sam to collect the legends, despite the fact that they'd already managed to screw up both the operation at Lake Acuity and the ship battle against Barry and Sam so badly (i.e. I hope Alonzo has some better employees out there somewheres)? Keeping trainers locked up in your basement because... because? I'm still not sure what Mr. Alonzo was hoping to accomplish by kidnapping Barry. You've also already lampshade-hung the fact that if Mr. Alonzo was lying about what Rowan was going to say at the press conference, it would be pretty much the worst lie ever (so I do hope there will turn out to be more to what he said than just a particularly pathetic last-ditch attempt to get Sam on his side, though it's not so much looking that way at the moment). One thing and another, it's hard for me to see Alonzo as a real threat--his operation just doesn't seem competent enough to pull off anything truly dismaying. Yeah, they were able to find and accost Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf, but as I'll complain about later, that seemed to be more a function of it not being all that difficult to get ahold of them than that he's especially skilled at it. As a whole, Mr. Alonzo is an interesting character who attempts to use legitimate channels (e.g. the justice system) and manipulation of people like Sam rather than going the cult leader route that antagonists in the games and, consequently, a lot of fanfic. At the moment it just doesn't feel to me like he has any real teeth.

    Rowan and company don't seem to be much better in the competence department. Apparently the best they could do to protect the legends was stick them in a conspicuous cave in Celestic Town, where they were so well-guarded that a bunch of construction workers who had no clue of the cave's layout or nature could blunder in and, with a little dynamite, have the legends out of there in approximately fifteen minutes. Cynthia and her grandmother serve as a deterrent, sure, but it's not like they can stand out in front of the cave 24/7, and you would hope that Rowan would be able to come up with a defense that couldn't easily be defeated by a plan like, "Well we'll just wait until they go to sleep, then." There's also the fact that Cynthia evidently has issues with just walking around people who get in your way and demand a pokémon battle (and didn't simply consider sending her other pokémon off to hold down the fort while she finished up the battle) and her grandmother is unable to do anything but stand there and tell Sam to get out of the way because she can't just walk around their battle to go do something about the cave situation herself or, you know, run into the town proper and summon the cavalry. The whole episode feels very contrived, and it just seemed ridiculously easy to locate and release the legends: Sam makes some quick and shaky inferences about where (or rather, with whom) Rowan might have stashed them--and is correct! They go off to investigate the first town Mr. Alonzo suggests, on the basis of some fog in the background of a single photograph--and it turns out to be right! They show up there and, as previously mentioned, within half an hour have already found the legends. Yeah, they then proceed to fly off--to find and heal Tommy, thus preventing Sam from having to do any further actual work towards his ostensible goal. It's not that Sam's journey through Sinnoh hasn't been difficult, it's just that this whole "finding-the-legends-and-getting-them-to-heal-my-brother" thing that everyone was like, "Whooooah no, impossible!" about actually turned out to be, well... kinda trivial. It feels a little cheap to me.

    That's also why I'm a bit puzzled as to Tommy's return in this chapter. It's very rewarding, certainly, and I'm sure it will be a lot of fun to see him working together with Sam in the future. It's a big emotional high point for the narrative, though--I mean, this is what Sam was striving for the whole time, after all. He's reached his stated goal, so what's left for him now? There's obviously the mess with the Phoenix Corporation and with Rowan, but that subplot really doesn't feel as compelling as Sam's original quest. On the other hand, you say you're expecting to get another nine chapters out of this, which is essentially an entire third act--so the only thing I can imagine is that you're planning a large twist that will throw a wrench into everything and set up another rising arc. That could also potentially solve the problem that I mentioned above, where it feels like Sam's quest ended up being a little bit too easy. So, I guess I look forward to seeing what you come up with--I'm not sure how you could draw things out for more than three chapters or so otherwise. Now that you've got everyone feeling all warm and fuzzy since Tommy's turned up all right, it's the perfect time to crush the reader's spirit with something horribly depressing, yeah?

    There are some other, somewhat more minor, weirdnesses as well--the police going bonkers and roughing Sam up in the process of not-arresting him, despite the fact that supposedly he was the one who had been kidnapped and was therefore the victim being one of them. It's also not clear what kind of justice system you're going for in this story, but keeping someone in prison as a "person of special interest" or whatever, i.e. not formally charging them with anything, is hella illegal in many countries--and I'm still not sure why the police would even have done that. Barry is actually supposed to be a terrorist, but why exactly do they care about Sam. Also that bit where there was the delcatty that hadn't properly been quarantined and then it spread leukemia everywhere, despite the fact that leukemia isn't transmissable...

    Oh, small thing. When you have dialogue ending in an elipsis, as in this exerpt:

    “I understand your frustration, Mr. Stark. I’m not asking that you take my word for it; you merely have to wait until the news conference tonight. I’m sure someone here will let you watch it, or at least tell you about it. You will see. Barry has been released into professor…,” Alonzo snorted a small burst of air through his nostrils and placed a hand over his mouth, “I’m sorry, Mr. Rowan’s custody, and Rowan has stepped down in exchange.”
    You don't actually want a comma after the elipsis:

    "Barry has been released into professor..."
    Also as far as that particular passage goes, well, even if Rowan's retired from the position of regional professor, he should presumably still have his doctorate if professors in the Pokémon world are credentialed like they are here, so Mr. Alonzo should still be calling him "Dr. Rowan," not "Mr. Rowan." Unless he's just trying to be extra-disrespectful to Rowan, heh.

    On the whole, though, this is an enjoyable read. The plot kind of teeters dangerously if you look at it too closely, but watching Sam and Tommy interact is worth the price of admission alone. On the whole your writing is pretty solid; no complaints there really. I also enjoyed how differently this story played out than your standard trainer 'fic--I mean, the premise is entirely different, so you'd kind of expect it to, but still. You have characters getting arrested, Professor Rowan doing something other than just giving out pokémon at the beginning of the story, and trainers actually facing some realistic consequences of getting caught up with criminal(?) organizations. While on the one hand, it would be nice to see more participation from the pokémon and how their presence influences the way the world works (for example, why would you even use bulldozers when you could have something like a rhyperior instead? Much more portable.), on the other it's nice to get away from the trainer scene and see how the rest of the world keeps running while the kids are out teaching monsters to beat each other up and stuff. You have a nice and unusual premise, and on the whole I think it works out pretty well. I'll definitely be sticking around to see how everything turns out.

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  12. #212
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    Quote Originally Posted by Negrek View Post
    Hey there. I'm going through and reading various 'fics before I vote in the Fanfiction Awards this year. Yours was first on the list, so I guess you get to see a) how horrifyingly behind I am on this and b) a review! How nice.

    Anyway, I do have to echo everybody else and say that character development is definitely your strongest points. The banter between Sam and Tommy is some of the most genuinely funny/heartwarming I've seen from two OC's, and I definitely enjoy the scenes where they feature the most. You do dialogue well in general, with Barry being another particularly good character in that regard. It's unfortunate that, for a pokémon fanfic, the pokémon don't factor into the story all that much, but at least when they do show up they have some glimmerings of personality. The humans are by and large handled very well, though.

    On the other hand, I do think your plotting is a little more spotty. The Phoenix Corporation subplot in particular doesn't feel like it hangs together all that well to me. The company seems to act pretty dumb a lot of the time, which doesn't make it feel like much of a threat. Bulldozing on protected lands using equipment with your logo plastered all over it? Sending Carlos and company off with Sam to collect the legends, despite the fact that they'd already managed to screw up both the operation at Lake Acuity and the ship battle against Barry and Sam so badly (i.e. I hope Alonzo has some better employees out there somewheres)? Keeping trainers locked up in your basement because... because? I'm still not sure what Mr. Alonzo was hoping to accomplish by kidnapping Barry. You've also already lampshade-hung the fact that if Mr. Alonzo was lying about what Rowan was going to say at the press conference, it would be pretty much the worst lie ever (so I do hope there will turn out to be more to what he said than just a particularly pathetic last-ditch attempt to get Sam on his side, though it's not so much looking that way at the moment). One thing and another, it's hard for me to see Alonzo as a real threat--his operation just doesn't seem competent enough to pull off anything truly dismaying. Yeah, they were able to find and accost Uxie, Mesprit, and Azelf, but as I'll complain about later, that seemed to be more a function of it not being all that difficult to get ahold of them than that he's especially skilled at it. As a whole, Mr. Alonzo is an interesting character who attempts to use legitimate channels (e.g. the justice system) and manipulation of people like Sam rather than going the cult leader route that antagonists in the games and, consequently, a lot of fanfic. At the moment it just doesn't feel to me like he has any real teeth.

    Rowan and company don't seem to be much better in the competence department. Apparently the best they could do to protect the legends was stick them in a conspicuous cave in Celestic Town, where they were so well-guarded that a bunch of construction workers who had no clue of the cave's layout or nature could blunder in and, with a little dynamite, have the legends out of there in approximately fifteen minutes. Cynthia and her grandmother serve as a deterrent, sure, but it's not like they can stand out in front of the cave 24/7, and you would hope that Rowan would be able to come up with a defense that couldn't easily be defeated by a plan like, "Well we'll just wait until they go to sleep, then." There's also the fact that Cynthia evidently has issues with just walking around people who get in your way and demand a pokémon battle (and didn't simply consider sending her other pokémon off to hold down the fort while she finished up the battle) and her grandmother is unable to do anything but stand there and tell Sam to get out of the way because she can't just walk around their battle to go do something about the cave situation herself or, you know, run into the town proper and summon the cavalry. The whole episode feels very contrived, and it just seemed ridiculously easy to locate and release the legends: Sam makes some quick and shaky inferences about where (or rather, with whom) Rowan might have stashed them--and is correct! They go off to investigate the first town Mr. Alonzo suggests, on the basis of some fog in the background of a single photograph--and it turns out to be right! They show up there and, as previously mentioned, within half an hour have already found the legends. Yeah, they then proceed to fly off--to find and heal Tommy, thus preventing Sam from having to do any further actual work towards his ostensible goal. It's not that Sam's journey through Sinnoh hasn't been difficult, it's just that this whole "finding-the-legends-and-getting-them-to-heal-my-brother" thing that everyone was like, "Whooooah no, impossible!" about actually turned out to be, well... kinda trivial. It feels a little cheap to me.

    That's also why I'm a bit puzzled as to Tommy's return in this chapter. It's very rewarding, certainly, and I'm sure it will be a lot of fun to see him working together with Sam in the future. It's a big emotional high point for the narrative, though--I mean, this is what Sam was striving for the whole time, after all. He's reached his stated goal, so what's left for him now? There's obviously the mess with the Phoenix Corporation and with Rowan, but that subplot really doesn't feel as compelling as Sam's original quest. On the other hand, you say you're expecting to get another nine chapters out of this, which is essentially an entire third act--so the only thing I can imagine is that you're planning a large twist that will throw a wrench into everything and set up another rising arc. That could also potentially solve the problem that I mentioned above, where it feels like Sam's quest ended up being a little bit too easy. So, I guess I look forward to seeing what you come up with--I'm not sure how you could draw things out for more than three chapters or so otherwise. Now that you've got everyone feeling all warm and fuzzy since Tommy's turned up all right, it's the perfect time to crush the reader's spirit with something horribly depressing, yeah?

    There are some other, somewhat more minor, weirdnesses as well--the police going bonkers and roughing Sam up in the process of not-arresting him, despite the fact that supposedly he was the one who had been kidnapped and was therefore the victim being one of them. It's also not clear what kind of justice system you're going for in this story, but keeping someone in prison as a "person of special interest" or whatever, i.e. not formally charging them with anything, is hella illegal in many countries--and I'm still not sure why the police would even have done that. Barry is actually supposed to be a terrorist, but why exactly do they care about Sam. Also that bit where there was the delcatty that hadn't properly been quarantined and then it spread leukemia everywhere, despite the fact that leukemia isn't transmissable...

    Oh, small thing. When you have dialogue ending in an elipsis, as in this exerpt:



    You don't actually want a comma after the elipsis:



    Also as far as that particular passage goes, well, even if Rowan's retired from the position of regional professor, he should presumably still have his doctorate if professors in the Pokémon world are credentialed like they are here, so Mr. Alonzo should still be calling him "Dr. Rowan," not "Mr. Rowan." Unless he's just trying to be extra-disrespectful to Rowan, heh.

    On the whole, though, this is an enjoyable read. The plot kind of teeters dangerously if you look at it too closely, but watching Sam and Tommy interact is worth the price of admission alone. On the whole your writing is pretty solid; no complaints there really. I also enjoyed how differently this story played out than your standard trainer 'fic--I mean, the premise is entirely different, so you'd kind of expect it to, but still. You have characters getting arrested, Professor Rowan doing something other than just giving out pokémon at the beginning of the story, and trainers actually facing some realistic consequences of getting caught up with criminal(?) organizations. While on the one hand, it would be nice to see more participation from the pokémon and how their presence influences the way the world works (for example, why would you even use bulldozers when you could have something like a rhyperior instead? Much more portable.), on the other it's nice to get away from the trainer scene and see how the rest of the world keeps running while the kids are out teaching monsters to beat each other up and stuff. You have a nice and unusual premise, and on the whole I think it works out pretty well. I'll definitely be sticking around to see how everything turns out.
    I started replying to this point-by-point, but then I realized I thought I might be coming across as too "defensive" of some issues, and not getting across what I wanted to. Before I reply to your thoughts en masse, I DO want to defend two things, in particular.

    1) People leukemia and feline leukemia are two very different things, and feline leukemia is highly contagious.

    2) On the matter of why Cynthia did not just walk around Sam, I think there's an unwritten precedent set in the pokemon universe that if you and someone oppose each other in a possibly violent setting, there is the danger that they could set their pokemon on YOU personally if you don't have your own to defend yourself. That would be why the protagonists in the games don't just walk around the villainous teams... they could send their Weezings and Zubats to attack the character, so you need pokemon to defend yourself. Same principle here; Cynthia COULD have just side-stepped Sam, but there was the likelihood he would have his friends attack her (now, would SAM do that? No. But Cynthia wouldn't know that, would she? So she attempted to subdue his threats before trying to get past him). I think that's just the way things are in the pokemon-related universe. As I covered in the chapter where I discussed world history--there's quite a precedent for pokemon being used to hurt people.

    As for the general thoughts at large, there is one thing I've done with this story as an exercise, and that has been to NOT plot things out too far in advance. I'm using this story as an exercise in, basically, making crap up as I go. So, yeah, I imagine reading it all in fairly short order, there are a lot of things that seem disjointed (when I reread old chapters, I'm reminded of ideas and plotpoints I had that I basically just abandoned, heh). The story, as it is being done NOW, bears almost NO resemblence to the story I was writing in, say, chapter 5. Barry was not even a character in my head until RIGHT before I wrote him. Same thing with Mr. Alonzo. I'm just letting the story move itself. And that is... not ideal for writing in general, but it's an exercise, and I've been enjoying it. I tend to find in MANY of my works when I plot things out FAR in advance and plan a story beat-by-beat, I tend to get "defeated" by how much I want to write the later events, and I've dropped a lot of stories due to that. I wanted to see how I'd do with essentially the exact opposite. But I think that's why stuff seems to happen so "suddenly" and why some build-ups have been somewhat lackluster (honestly, I had no plans on Tommy being cured by the legends until about chapter 18 or so when my brain basically went "HEY, WHAT IF--!", and so I made it happen).

    I agree with a great many of your points. The Phoenix workers have been pretty incompetent thus far. I've fallen into Foot Soldier Mentality with those guys, and it hasn't been fair to them. I endeavor to improve that. At first, I kind of just wanted them to be comic relief, but as I've gotten into the story (again, changing flow mid-stream), they've been more relevant. Then again, they basically are just laborers, too. We're not dealing with scientists here. But why wouldn't Alonzo send scientists then, right? Ha! I could probably follow that plot-tail all day long. They should be better than they have been so far, though, or else why would Alonzo have selected them? Sigh.

    I think I cold say the same thing for the police scenario. Police officers generally aren't the highest caliber individuals when it comes to careful foresight and reactions. But in this scenario, that's not even an insult; I think if you lived in a city where a terrorist attack just occurred, and you saw a suspected terrorist... you would subdue everything even POSSIBLY a threat and let things sort out from there. Yeah, Sam wasn't a known threat, but he was with Barry, and there had just been an attack. I'd think it is reasonable to subdue with great prejudice. I mean, we are talking about men here who are probably panicked and scared at their core. I really don't regret their actions at all, and that's still one of my favorite moments in the story. I actually thought it was incredibly realistic of the officers to react how they did.

    That said, the cave thing? Yeah, you're pretty much spot-on there again. I got distracted by another shiny plot point and changed directions on another whim, and it became kind of plotting-by-convenience. Where are the legends? How about in that weird town with the cave? How do we get the characters there? Eh, look at a picture. If I had ANY of it to do over, I might show the insides of the cave and make it seem more perilous and "trappy" in there. It DOES seem "too easy", and that was a mistake on my part.
    Last edited by Sid87; 4th April 2013 at 9:00 PM.


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  13. #213
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    By "soon" I apparently meant "almost a month after I said that" but I'm finally here to review.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Chapter 22
    Like a lot of the reviewers prior to me, I have some mixed feelings about Tommy’s return. I’ll get to these more in depth later and start with my thoughts as I go.

    “H-how?”

    “How did you get yourself arrested? Boy, that’s not a good question for me, Sammy. But by the looks of you, it came with a spicy dash of police brutality.”

    Sam sat stunned in his silence at the sight of Tommy through the prison booth window. It simply could not be. Sam blinked hard; it had to be the concussion playing tricks on him. He had hit his head so hard against the ground that he was now seeing phantasms. When his eyes opened, nothing had changed; Tommy was still there. Sam forced his eyes shut again and tried to erase the impossible sight before him, but it was, again, to no avail.
    Well, the way Tommy acts make it pretty clear that it’s the real him instead of a disguised Zoroark sent by Alonzo or something (I doubt he’d know enough about Tommy’s personality to mimic it). I’m glad to see it’s the real him instead of a trick or something.

    “You always went all catatonic when you were under great stress, which is really ironic for me to say, by the by. But you… you’re like the Incredible Hulk’s really nervous brother. Wait… that would make me the Incredible Hulk. Which is really kind of cool.”

    Tommy was talking gibberish and Sam knew his mind was slipping further away from any semblance of reality. He knew that at any second, he might see the room fill up with dancing Pidgey. Maybe they would sing him a song and calm him down. He could go for a song.
    Sam’s reaction is quite entertaining.

    With the shock of Tommy’s hand slamming the glass and those soft words, the doubt flew away, and Sam knew within himself that it was really his brother seated across from him, no matter how impossible that was.
    Sam knew within himself just seems awkwardly wordy to me. Sam knew or Sam could tell would work just fine.

    Tommy looked… honestly, Sam had seen him looking better. His blond hair had thinned dramatically over the last year, and Sam could easily see Tommy’s scalp beneath it. His face was drained both of color and volume; it suddenly seemed obvious that spending a year inside a hospital room and being fed intravenously wasn’t the best plan for long-term health. The gray Goldenrod University hoodie that Tommy wore—a shirt Sam had seen him in countless times before—seemed to envelope his body at the neck, and it gave Sam the thought that the shirt could slide all the way off of Tommy’s new, smaller frame. Sam shook his head in disbelief at how Tommy had changed.
    It would also have atrophied his muscles from disuse, so I’m not sure how realistic it is for Tommy to be “slamming” his hand against the glass at this point in his recovery.

    That said, if you decide he can’t slam stuff to make Sam snap out of it, Sam realizing how his brother looks might be a good way to convince him this was really happening (i.e. that if it was a fantasy, he would likely be imagining Tommy in perfect health, so his physical deterioration would act as proof that he wasn’t just dreaming this up).

    Sam finally felt as though he fully had his wits about him. “You realize I’ve only got every question in the world, right?”

    “Oh, I know. I’ve seen your test scores, remember?”
    I would say it might be more realistic for Tommy to still be groggy at this point instead of right back to normal, except, well, he was cured by legendary pokémon so this is probably about right.

    “How are you here?”

    “Airplane.”

    “Wow, I didn’t miss that part of you at all.”

    Tommy laughed off Sam’s dismissal of his oversimplified answer, and Sam knew inside himself that he lied. He had missed everything about his brother.
    Dawwwww. Aside from a repeat of the phrase “knew inside himself” this is really cute.

    “I was just sitting there in the hospital, doing the nothing that I did for the past year. My eyes were open, and I could see, but it didn’t really mean anything, if that—it’s hard to explain. It was like I was looking at pictures of things happening to someone else; like a movie I didn’t even care about. And then… it just made sense. I started recognizing things and I could move myself and I knew where I was. I looked up, and…,” Tommy narrowed his eyes at Sam. “You really don’t see where this is going?” Sam shook his head; how could he know? Tommy finally finished, “The legends were there. The Sinnoh ones. Mesprit, Uxie, and Azelf. They were there, just hovering over me. Like… ‘hey, how’s it going?’”
    So it indeed was because the legends reacted to Sam’s plea in Celestic. Did anyone other than Tommy notice they were there? Or were they even “there” at all, instead curing him from a distance/visiting in spirit?

    Tommy sighed and rolled his eyes. “All right, lay it on me… how big of one do I owe you?”

    Sam was still trying to compose himself. His brain was being torn in several directions by chariots of emotion; laughter, tears, jumping in celebration, and busting through the plexiglass between them to hug Tommy all seemed like equally viable reactions. He felt his mouth spread wide into a smile as an option emerged victorious. “A damn big one.”
    While it makes sense from Sam’s perspective to say this, I sort of wonder how much suffering on Sam’s part Tommy is imagining now in comparison to what actually happened. Is he imagining Sam fighting fierce dragons as opposed to Sam falling off a boat into freezing water? (Not that that wasn’t a big deal, because it is, I’m just wondering how heroic Tommy’s imagining his brother right now, if that makes any sense.) I mean, he has Rowan, and by extension, Barry, to tell him about everything up to Sam and Barry parting ways in Snowpoint, but has to imagine anything between then and Sam and Alonzo’s crew finding the legends in Celestic.

    Sam’s ears perked. “What? Yes! Do that! It will prove that we didn’t do it.”

    Tommy jerked his head slightly to the right and one side of his lips curled. “I’m just going to sit here and let you catch up to the conversation at your own pace.”

    “You… already did that.”

    “And thank you for joining me here at the finish line.”

    “So I can just… leave now? Like… leave?”
    And technology saves the day.

    “I had Rowan call in the details when I arrived. You should be ready to go by the time we’re done here. It was a little bit harder with that Barry kid considering he was actually charged with something, but with your case, it should b—hey!”

    Sam did not even need to hear the end of Tommy’s sentence. He bounded out of the seat in booth four and scrambled to the door that separated him from the rest of the prison. His pounding on the door drew him some threatening looks from the inmates who were still in the middle of their conversations, but Sam found he did not care; in a few minutes, he’d hopefully never see them again.
    I love Sam’s reaction here.

    After that came a stop-over in the personal effects hold where Sam was given the release chips to his pokeballs, his wallet, his dead cellular phone, and the rest of what few things he had with him in Veilstone.
    Since they’ve been mentioned again, I guess I’ll comment here. I would imagine that release chips would have to be fairly interchangeable so they can be replaced if they get broken or stolen so the pokémon aren’t trapped for weeks while they make a specific replacement part. Doesn’t affect the story any, just me trying to figure out how they work.

    The police decided to keep the backpack and supplies Sam had stolen on his way to Lake Valor, but that was fair, Sam figured. Clarke finally escorted him to the lobby of the prison, and Sam saw his brother with no barriers left between them.
    So no one is going to charge Sam over the stolen goods even though the police know they were stolen? It just seems odd that he doesn’t even have to worry about paying a fine at a later date or anything. I know a Sam-goes-to-trial-over-shoplifting doesn’t probably sound like an important point to include, but it seems like it’s just getting brushed aside.

    Sam squinted into the distance at the red-headed young man in khakis and collared, button-down shirt. The man grinned as Sam and Tommy approached, and Sam immediately recognized him.

    “Bug Catcher Sammy!”

    “Miah Vanderbelt,” Sam greeted him back, “What are you doing here?”

    “Are you kidding me? My old classmate’s brother gets out of the hospital and needs to come to Sinnoh, and I’m just not supposed to gas up the jet and bring him? What kind of guy would I be?”
    Bringing Miah back into the story seems an interesting choice, and a good payoff for introducing him early on, but I’m not sure why he cares about this other than that he and Sam were classmates, especially when you mention that they “had drifted apart after high school” a sentence later. If I remember right from the earlier chapters, he was mentioned as more of a rival than a close friend most of the time (I might be remembering wrong, though).

    Unfortunately, the limo scene is where I find the chapter starts to get shaky. I’ll address my main concern when I get to it.

    “Oh!” Sam cried, finally remembering something. He reached into his pocket and pulled out Vlam’s Dusk Ball. He looked it over in his hand and lifted his lower lip in pride. “Here’s Vlam back, Tommy.”

    Tommy’s head bobbed slowly and shallowly as he studied Sam’s outstretched arm. “No,” he said after a moment of consideration, “you keep her.”

    Sam’s brow crunched. “You’re… no, you can’t… just take her back. It’s Vlam!”

    Tommy chuckled. “Yeah, I got that part. But she’s been with you for a year. You’ve been taking care of her and protecting her. I think you’ve earned the right to keep her.”
    Because one year with Sam is way more time to bond than years and years with Tommy? I’m not really sure about this decision and the basis for it. Maybe if Tommy had said that Sam’s more capable of acting as a trainer for Vlam right now because Tommy still needs to recover physically, I’d buy it, but the way this plays out here seems like Sam’s just being rewarded for being the main character, to be (hopefully not too bluntly) honest.

    I also find it odd that neither of them thinks about how Vlam will feel about this. I know pokémon tend to be closer to animals than people in terms of intelligence, but Ninetales are considered one of the more intelligent pokémon in the games.

    As the limousine grew uncomfortably quiet, Sam felt a niggling in the back of his mind, like he was on the verge of a realization, but he couldn’t figure out exactly what it was. The harder he tried to think about it, the more the dull ache in his bruised brain grew. He tried to look out the windows of the car to settle himself, but the blur of traffic passing by outside it and the sun coming through it only made him ill.
    I didn’t catch this on the first read-through, but this seems like ominous foreshadowing to me, like Sam’s realized something is wrong but his subconscious is trying to hide it from him or something. I have a bit of speculation about this, considering it pops up right after Tommy says Vlam should stay with Sam.

    Miah, instead, finally stopped the television on a show that featured a gathering of women. They were eating in a restaurant with white tablecloths and a chandelier above them, and as one of the ladies said something snarky about another’s husband, the latter reached over to grab the snarky one’s hair. A quick brawl erupted in the restaurant, complete with the throwing rolls and the splashing of wine, as other diners who were apparently not part of the show looked on, mouths agape and pressing backwards for their own safety—or, at least, the safety of their expensive suits and gowns. The show would go on for quite a while in the limousine, and Miah did not seem inclined to change it. Eventually Sam was told by the program that it was about the wives of Hearthome City; though given their penchant for wearing colorful dresses everywhere and how little they were featured with their families, Sam questioned just how real they were. Despite the fact that the show starred well-to-do women in extravagant settings, the appeal seemed to be at very base level; it capitalized on shock at each cruel thing the wives said about each other, and seemed to feature far more brawling and censored shouting than Sam would think was normal for real people. In spite of that, by the third consecutive episode, Sam found himself wanting to see one particular wife named Shana get her comeuppance. She was really a jerk.

    By the fourth episode, Miah was forgetting to even check back on the regular network channels for the professor’s announcement anymore. As he and Miah engrossed themselves in the embittered women, Sam had almost forgotten Tommy was with them until his brother announced he needed to stretch his legs. Miah pressed another button next to his seat in the car, and within moments, it was pulling over. Sam grew more fascinated with the car that might as well have been remote-controlled.
    Here’s the main part of the chapter that just didn’t manage to sit right with me no matter how I tried to look at it. The bolded part in particular seems sort of wrong, considering that the entire story up to this point was Sam’s quest to get Tommy back and seems out of place with his earlier rush to hug his brother after getting to the other side of the prison glass. Tommy has been such a focus that for Sam to forget he was there in favor of a reality show he claims he doesn’t even like seems out-of-character at best or callous at worst, and reads like you decided to take a break from the story in order to comment on “reality” shows.

    I would think that in the very least, Sam would be looking awkwardly at Tommy and wondering what to say, or asking him how he feels. Come to think of it, none of Sam’s questions for Tommy have actually been about Tommy since he got out of jail. He asked about Barry and Rowan, but hasn’t asked if Tommy is feeling OK or if he’s tired, or shown any worry at all that the legends might have just fixed him temporarily and that the underlying cause of the stroke might still be there waiting to afflict Tommy again (all things that I would think would cross Sam’s mind at some point or another).

    It seems especially weird to ignore Tommy in favor of minimal-scripting-television when he hasn’t so much as asked “How are you doing?” yet. I could imagine him not wanting to have a personal conversation with Miah there, but getting distracted by The Real Housewives of Hearthome City doesn’t make it look like privacy concerns were the cause.

    “Hey,” Sam said to get his brother’s attention. He pointed towards the side of the building, where a large, worn patch of grass sat. It was clearly a place for people to let out their friends and allow them to stretch their own legs. “Want to see Vlam?”

    Sam felt that he was at least as excited as Tommy at the chance to reunite the two of them. Tommy may have been right that Sam had been tending to her, but the older brother would always be her proper trainer.
    That line somehow makes Tommy’s idea to let Sam keep Vlam feel all the more ominous, even though it seemed harmless enough on my first read-through. Either I’m reading too much into it, or there’s still something wrong with Tommy that he doesn’t want Sam to worry about yet.

    They had barely just stepped onto the pokemon play area when Sam grabbed the Dusk Ball from his pocket and squeezed it once. Concentrated energy erupted with an static sound from the socket in the center of the ball and coalesced on the ground in front of them.
    A, not an.

    Sam looked to Tommy, whom the Ninetales clearly had not seen when she emerged, and grinned in anticipation. He cleared his throat to attract her attention and pointed to his side. When Vlam turned to see what he wanted, her eyes were immediately drawn to Tommy. With a spriteliness that Sam hadn’t seen from the fox in quite a while, Vlam bounced in one fluid movement from her lying position in the grass to standing on her hindlegs before Tommy with her front paws on his chest. She was aggressively rubbing the side of her head and her ear on her trainer, whining as she did so.

    “Vlam, Vlam!” Tommy cried, gripping her paws and setting her back down on the ground. He cartoonishly blew on his palms. “You’re burning up, baby. Remember how you have to regulate your temperature when you get excited? You were gonna cook me, Vee-Vee.”
    I’m surprised she didn’t accidentally knock him over, considering his muscles likely haven’t regained their strength yet. When my mom was hospitalized for pneumonia a few years ago it took her a while to get her strength back enough to walk without a cane. Granted, Tommy’s fairly young, but he was catatonic for a fairly long time, too.

    Sam looked up to his brother, still trying to appease both Bree and Vlam. “It’s a Shinx,” he answered.
    I wonder if it might make more sense for Sam to say “she’s a Shinx” since he already knows Chispa’s female.

    “I know that. But you took precious time out of trying to save my life to start catching Sinnohan pokemon? I’m offended! What all have you caught?”

    Sam looked down to Chispa and back up to his brother. “It’s a…it’s a Shinx…”

    Tommy laughed. “Good job on that one catch then, bro.”
    This seems like a real brotherly conversation, but I can’t help but notice that even with Miah out of the way, none of the questions have been about Tommy. The focus is all on Sam, and it seems a little odd to me, considering the rest of the story up to this point.

    Sam shrugged playfully and continued to watch his brother play with their two friends. Sam had imagined many times that when his brother got better, he’d say something to the effect of “Oh, it was like he was never gone at all”. The reality was quite different, he found. It felt not only like Tommy had been gone, but that he’d been gone even longer than he really had. Sam was not sure what to talk to his brother about, and was happy the attention from Bree and Vlam was distracting him. Tommy’s last year was clearly uneventful. Sam’s, while significantly more eventful, was not something either seemed eager to discuss. Sam did not want to burden his brother with the exact stories of how he’d argued with doctors and medical staffs to the point of being escorted off their premises, nor did he want to talk about the desperate depression that led him to run away from Johto on an unlikely fantasy hunt. Even if the fantasy had come to fruition, even with Tommy standing right in front of him, Sam knew that part was true: he had come to Sinnoh to escape. He wondered, if he had never found the legends and never been able to cure Tommy, would he ever have gone back home?
    This part seems real, and is a great way to describe how Sam’s feeling and why he doesn’t want to know what to talk about.

    That was when he felt it again; the strange feeling that his mind was trying to tell him something. The realization appeared as a hummingbird that hovered in front of him and then darted away before he could truly recognize it. His consciousness chased it again, but it had vanished. The bruising on his brain reprimanded him with pain when he started pushing too hard to remember it.
    Ooh, it’s mentioned again. Definitely foreshadowing something.

    If the building had a policy about pokemon being allowed inside, no one said anything to them as the attention of the entire building was focused on the TV above the flavored coffee machine.
    All eyes are on the press conference? It seems a little strange that no one there just doesn’t care about politics, although it’s not all that distracting. Just something I noticed when I went to review the chapter.

    Sam was surprised to see Professor Carolina approach the podium next to Rowan; the latter introduced her as the region’s new interim professor until the Prime Minister could conduct a more thorough search for a long-term replacement. The thought of Carolina and Rowan both being in the same place as Sam turned his stomach upside-down.
    You know, I can’t remember. Was Carolina her first or her last name?

    The conference ended with Rowan and Carolina both declining to take any questions and then referring the media to the Prime Minister’s Office of Public Relations. Sam tapped Tommy on the arm and motioned for the two of them and their friends to head back outside before the rest of the center realized there brought in released pokemon. Miah must have noticed their walking out because he was right behind them. He took a sip from his cup before patting Sam on the back.

    “Are we ready to power through to Sandgem then?”

    Sam looked up to the sky and then back towards his friend and Tommy. He was as ready as he was going to get.
    Overall, this is a good chapter, solidifying the fact that the story isn’t going to end just because Tommy’s awake (other than the hints from prior chapters, such as the prison bombing not being tied up neatly yet). Likewise, the hints that there might still be something wrong with Tommy are woven in nicely without flashing neon lights at it.

    Tommy’s return is interesting. The fact that it seemed to happen easily and without a lot of effort on Sam’s part is both a positive and a negative, though. On the positive side, it made his return hard to predict and made it a true surprise for the reader, whereas Sam having to fight the Big Bad to get this result might have come off as cliché or predictable. The hints that things might not be over yet also keep this from seeming too easy for the most part (at least, after I actually noticed the foreshadowing).

    On the other hand, it raises the question of why no one seems to have done this before. The legends weren’t always under the Professor’s protection, so why is this apparently the first time it happened? Was it because Sam found the group together in the same place, while they usually would live in separate lakes? If this really is the first time it’s happened, then Sam just being in the right area (through Alonzo’s efforts rather than his own) and asking for help and it just working because the legends sensed how desperate he was sort of seems like it just makes Sam “special.” Has anyone else around Celestic, say, felt strongly about helping their ailing grandparent with dementia close enough for the legends to pick it up? Depending on where that “feeling” Sam has is leading, a more in depth focus on why it worked for Sam and why no one else has apparently done this before (or maybe that they have but kept it secret) could help Tommy’s return be a lot stronger, even if it doesn’t require Sam to have fought the Big Bad first.

    The only major complaint is how Tommy’s return focuses on Sam more than it does on Tommy. “How are you feeling?” seems natural enough to ask someone after they’ve been hospitalized, but Sam never says it. Worse, he even ignores Tommy to watch a show he claims he doesn’t even like, which seems off no matter how I try to think about it.

    Overall, I am curious about what that foreshadowing might lead to, so well done.
    Last edited by Ememew; 6th April 2013 at 3:26 AM. Reason: noticed a messed up quote tag
    Oh, look! I wrote a fanfic! Weak (One-Shot. Rated G). Can Iris convince Bianca that she can't just avoid her problems?

    And another one: Mischief (One-Shot. Rated G). A little fun for October.

  14. #214
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ememew View Post
    By "soon" I apparently meant "almost a month after I said that" but I'm finally here to review. Like a lot of the reviewers prior to me, I have some mixed feelings about Tommy’s return. I’ll get to these more in depth later and start with my thoughts as I go.
    Hey, I'm thrilled to have you as always. And, obviously, I've been slacking off on my updating, so you haven't missed anything!

    Sam knew within himself just seems awkwardly wordy to me. Sam knew or Sam could tell would work just fine.
    Hm... I'll keep an eye out for that. It doesn't really bother ME, but I'll try to just word things more...plainly, I guess?...going foward! Maybe "Sam knew deep inside?" or "deep down"?

    It would also have atrophied his muscles from disuse, so I’m not sure how realistic it is for Tommy to be “slamming” his hand against the glass at this point in his recovery.
    I will... cop to this being a really lame excuse, but I kind of see this as a suspension of disbelief thing. I mean, we have animals shooting fire at each other, so the fact that someone, aside from being worn and gaunt, is back to most of his physical capacities after two weeks or so from waking up from a coma? That's not killing me. It is, quite probably, unrealistic, but it's one of those things that seems... negligible to me in regards to the plot. Which might just make me a bad writer.

    But as I think about it, those are the little details I strive to add in my writing, so it's starting to upset me that I DID miss that. Sigh.

    So it indeed was because the legends reacted to Sam’s plea in Celestic. Did anyone other than Tommy notice they were there? Or were they even “there” at all, instead curing him from a distance/visiting in spirit?
    I HAVE actually considered that! The "were they THERE there, or were they just manifesting to him?" And I've decided... I don't know yet. Really, it could be either at this point; Tommy's the only one who could verify it, and how would he know?

    And technology saves the day.
    Can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not. But maybe here, and NOT with the atrophied muscles, is where I just thought "I can't be unrealistic here" and just HAD to go with this, because we live in an ACTUAL world where the technology we carry around with us reports our location to companies and government. So if we had highly advanced tech that was also a possible weapon? I'm imagining there's NO WAY the government doesn't have that locked into.

    Since they’ve been mentioned again, I guess I’ll comment here. I would imagine that release chips would have to be fairly interchangeable so they can be replaced if they get broken or stolen so the pokémon aren’t trapped for weeks while they make a specific replacement part. Doesn’t affect the story any, just me trying to figure out how they work.
    I actually REALLY appreciate your curiosity here because it pushes ME to think more about it, and it reminds me of all the questions I asked Sidewinder about the PokeFlect in Requiem. That fascinated me as this does you. I still kind of picture them as SD cards. One size fits all, as it were.

    So no one is going to charge Sam over the stolen goods even though the police know they were stolen? It just seems odd that he doesn’t even have to worry about paying a fine at a later date or anything. I know a Sam-goes-to-trial-over-shoplifting doesn’t probably sound like an important point to include, but it seems like it’s just getting brushed aside.
    That IS a good point. I think this is just kind of a "No harm, no foul". I would also imagine if the cops pressed the issue on such a minor charge, they might worry Sam will press back with possible police brutality charges. So maybe it just wasn't as much trouble as it was worth? But yeah, I did just basically sweep that under the rug.

    Bringing Miah back into the story seems an interesting choice, and a good payoff for introducing him early on, but I’m not sure why he cares about this other than that he and Sam were classmates, especially when you mention that they “had drifted apart after high school” a sentence later. If I remember right from the earlier chapters, he was mentioned as more of a rival than a close friend most of the time (I might be remembering wrong, though).
    This is another case of my having these INCREDIBLY DETAILED characters in my head, but probably not fleshing them out IN THE WORK as I need to. I kibd of picture Miah as two things: a) a genuinely good guy, and b) a glory hound. I think that he is doing this because he wants to get good press for himself. "High Up Muckity Muck Spares No Personal Expense To Reunite Former Classmate With Comatose Brother". He was raised to see everything as an opportunity and a chance to advance himself, and this is a way to do that.

    Because one year with Sam is way more time to bond than years and years with Tommy? I’m not really sure about this decision and the basis for it. Maybe if Tommy had said that Sam’s more capable of acting as a trainer for Vlam right now because Tommy still needs to recover physically, I’d buy it, but the way this plays out here seems like Sam’s just being rewarded for being the main character, to be (hopefully not too bluntly) honest.
    No, that's not bad. It's not a superstrong premise, but Tommy was never really a TRAINER since their dad died. He had Vlam and loved her, but Sam was always the better trainer. Sam has more to offer Vlam that Tommy does. I also think Tommy sees Sam taking Vlam in and caring for her when Tommy couldn't as a sign that Sam was there for her when he couldn't be. He just doesn't want to feel like, "Okay, give her back now", even though Sam is offering. But yes, while I have rationale FOR it, and it makes sense to me, I will admit this is basically a way for Sam to keep Vlam, and that will introduce possible conflict... about 3 chapters or so from now.

    I didn’t catch this on the first read-through, but this seems like ominous foreshadowing to me, like Sam’s realized something is wrong but his subconscious is trying to hide it from him or something. I have a bit of speculation about this, considering it pops up right after Tommy says Vlam should stay with Sam.
    I'd love to hear your speculation, even if you just want to PM it to me.

    Here’s the main part of the chapter that just didn’t manage to sit right with me no matter how I tried to look at it. The bolded part in particular seems sort of wrong, considering that the entire story up to this point was Sam’s quest to get Tommy back and seems out of place with his earlier rush to hug his brother after getting to the other side of the prison glass. Tommy has been such a focus that for Sam to forget he was there in favor of a reality show he claims he doesn’t even like seems out-of-character at best or callous at worst, and reads like you decided to take a break from the story in order to comment on “reality” shows.

    I would think that in the very least, Sam would be looking awkwardly at Tommy and wondering what to say, or asking him how he feels. Come to think of it, none of Sam’s questions for Tommy have actually been about Tommy since he got out of jail. He asked about Barry and Rowan, but hasn’t asked if Tommy is feeling OK or if he’s tired, or shown any worry at all that the legends might have just fixed him temporarily and that the underlying cause of the stroke might still be there waiting to afflict Tommy again (all things that I would think would cross Sam’s mind at some point or another).

    It seems especially weird to ignore Tommy in favor of minimal-scripting-television when he hasn’t so much as asked “How are you doing?” yet. I could imagine him not wanting to have a personal conversation with Miah there, but getting distracted by The Real Housewives of Hearthome City doesn’t make it look like privacy concerns were the cause.
    THIS, I will say, actually WAS very intentional on my part. You didn't buy it, and I get that, but this is something I don't have to just state a previously understated explanation for, because I did all of this fully on purpose. I wanted there to be a full sense of alienation here. Sam has been struggling and fighting and crying and hurting and working his butt off for a singular goal for over a year, and then... it just HAPPENS with minimal work on his part and no expectation that it was coming. There is kind of a wedge between them right now because Sam doesn't know what to feel. He's happy, obviously, but he was not ready for this. And a part of him feels AMAZINGLY guilty. He's allowed his goal of rescuing Tommy to be railroaded by Barry and Rowan and Alonzo, and he doesn't know how to say that to Tommy. Despite the fact that Tommy IS better and IS back, Sam still feels like he failed him.

    And, like I said, he was actually not ready for this. He wanted it and he fought for it, but he was getting to the point where he really, deep down (WITHIN HIMSELF) thought it was hopeless. So he is not sure how to react. He is a mess of happiness, guilt, surprise, and shame. Everything is internalized, and he doesn't know hot to get it out.

    So yeah, I basically just GAVE AWAY CHAPTER 24. So thanks. This was all going to be explained and dwelled on more there. But I didn't want it to seem like something I just threw in because you pressed me on it.

    All eyes are on the press conference? It seems a little strange that no one there just doesn’t care about politics, although it’s not all that distracting. Just something I noticed when I went to review the chapter.
    Yeah, that was probably hyperbole on my part...

    You know, I can’t remember. Was Carolina her first or her last name?
    Take it up with Bulbapedia, they just refer to her as Professor Carolina. Heck, I don't even know if ROWAN's first or last name is Rowan. You'd think Bulbapedia would at least have THAT.

    Tommy’s return is interesting. The fact that it seemed to happen easily and without a lot of effort on Sam’s part is both a positive and a negative, though. On the positive side, it made his return hard to predict and made it a true surprise for the reader, whereas Sam having to fight the Big Bad to get this result might have come off as cliché or predictable. The hints that things might not be over yet also keep this from seeming too easy for the most part (at least, after I actually noticed the foreshadowing).
    Yep, still stuff to come, and the stuff you've picked up on is the crux of it...


    Thanks for the great, thoughtful review as always which has given me stuff to think on (as you always do). I appreciate it!
    Last edited by Sid87; 11th April 2013 at 4:25 PM.


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  15. #215
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    Chapter 23

    Sam eyed the Victreebel before him. It balanced precariously on the bottom of its pear-shaped body which opened at the top in a large, vicious, fanged mouth. From the sides of the bottom of its torso, the color of which reminded Sam of an aging banana, two large, sturdy leaves propped themselves against the ground to stabilize its bellish body. It swayed as the breeze blew around them, but the deceptively powerful leaves kept the pokemon upright. A third leaf, even larger than the two the plant creature used to brace itself and maple-shaped, hung over its top in an attempt to obscure it’s gaping mouth and lure in insect prey.

    Miah Vandeberbelt had always been a student of pokemon history, and in his youth he would go on-and-on to Sam about the World Pokemon League of a bygone generation. He would talk of a time before the sponsors and the television contracts and the multi-billion dollar business of it all, when the league was much smaller, and one of the intricacies was that each large city would be home to a specialized trainer who would master one type of pokemon. They would dole out collectible baubles to passer-by trainers who were able to best them and their single type friends in battle. Miah found this all to be very nostalgic and comforting even when Sam was asking how a specialized trainer could possibly defeat a challenger who might be able to counter anything that was thrown at him. Miah would shrug and say “They were really good to get where they were, and they managed to bring out the best in their partners”, as if that really explained away how someone who decided to dedicate her life to training only psychic-type friends could defeat a trainer with a dark-type or two. But Sam would shrug; the whole notion was very romantic to his classmate.

    The Victreebel positioned between Sam and Miah reminded the former of the latter’s undying devotion to grass-type pokemon. He caught, raised, bred, and trained grass-types almost exclusively, perhaps in the hopes that he would be united one day with the era of training for which he had such passion. It was, Sam thought, actually very admirable and sincere. Sam also thought it was not particularly wise in that instance given which pokemon he had befriended.

    With a squeeze of his Dusk Ball, Vlam emerged between Sam and the Victreebel. With a fluffing of her luxurious tails, she caught sight of the large plant-type between them and crouched low in an attacking posture.

    “Hey, don’t get her hurt!”

    Sam’s head turned to find his brother sitting on the trunk of the limousine and taking in the start of the battle. The car had pulled over just south of Jubilife City, and Sandgem Town was imminent. Knowing their cross-Sinnoh journey was coming to a close, the trio decided they needed to get the blood flowing in their legs for the home-stretch. While Tommy had been absorbed in the flock of Wingulls overhead that signified the beach was near—Tommy had always been much more enamored of the water than Sam—Miah had reminded Sam of how long it had been since they last had a match. The rest-stop off Highway 202 fortuitously had an unused court for battles, and that was all the prompting Sam needed. Tommy seemed to care little about the battle since he was deciding to sit on the car and squawk at the ‘gulls, but the use of Vlam must have gotten his attention.

    Sam stammered and huffed air when he couldn’t initially find the words to respond to his brother. “I know what I’m doing. I’m kinda good at this,” he finally shot back.

    “Not with choices like that.”

    “Like what? I haven’t even—“

    “Solarbeam, Victreebel!”

    Sam’s attention was pulled back to the battle at Miah’s command, and he found a large blast of luminous energy shooting from the Victreebel’s mouth. Vlam was caught in the attack and yelped as its force bowled her over. Sam called out to her when the attack dissipated, and she bound back to her feet, seemingly only slightly the worse for wear. She shook her head quickly and let out a huff.

    “See? Bad choices,” Sam heard Tommy call out to him.

    Miah smiled with just one side of his mouth as he apparently saw an opening to teach Sam something. “Certain Ninetales, like Vlam, radiate an inherent solar energy at all times. It perpetually powers her up and keeps her energized, yeah, but grass-types like it, too.” The smugness in his voice turned Sam’s stomach.

    “’Grass-types like it, too’,” Sam mocked in a dopey voice under his breath while bobbing his head slightly back-and-forth. “Okay, great. You got your shot in. Vlam’s still upright. Will your Victreebel be able to say the same? Vlam, use your overheat attack!”

    The fox pokemon spread her legs wide to the ground to brace herself and lowered her head. Sam could see her body, most notably in her neck and tails, quiver in tension as she built up the most intense attack of heated energy she could muster. Across the field, Sam grinned to see Victrebel frantically wobble side-to-side. Like the Spiritomb he had battled several days ago, dodging was not its strong suit considering it had no appendages to carry it; unlike the former foe, it had no rock in which to hide from such attacks.

    Vlam’s body began releasing steam as she became surrounded by a flamey aura of blue-and-orange. She motioned her head upwards with a jerk and let out a howl as her body erupted with energy channeled forward, directly at Miah’s plant-type. Victreebel jiggled more desperately, almost knocking itself completely over, but its effort was futile. The pokemon let out an eerie, high-pitched shriek in agony that Sam found to be both surprising and disconcerting as the burst engulfed it. The attack seemed to last an eternity as Sam, Tommy, and Miah watched Vlam’s most potent, concentrated attack burn through the Victreebel, which could only cry out in response. When the flames finally subsided, the Vicreebel was no longer upright, as its sturdy leaves had easily given way. The overripe yellow bulb of the plant had charred from the assault, and the battle was clearly over. Miah withdrew his friend to the healing stasis of the pokeball with a scowl.

    “Who says vegetarianism is cruelty free?” Sam said.

    “That joke’s bad! Don’t use bad jokes in battle! More poor choices.”

    Sam mentally cursed Tommy.

    The smarminess had apparently been incinerated out of Miah, and he wordlessly summoned his second pokemon from a blue pokeball with a yellow x-pattern. A matted mess of blue vines appeared on the battlefield, and Sam recognized it right away as Miah’s Tangrowth. Unlike the Victreebel, Tangrowth did have legs, but they were tiny little stubs hidden at the bottom of the knot of thick strands that made up his body; he was only slightly more mobile than Miah’s previous friend had been. Sam had always been somewhat curious about the Tangrowth; did he have a body under those vines? From deep within them, there were two bright, bulbous eyes peering out, but Sam genuinely had no idea if they were even attached to anything. The slithering of Tangrowth’s tendrils constantly repositioning reminded Sam of a thousand insidious snakes crawling over a dead meal. It turned his stomach as he recalled Vlam to her Dusk Ball.

    “You got this, Bree,” Sam whispered as he embraced her Nest Ball. The butterfly pokemon came forth with a chipper hum. “Hey, you remember this thing, right?” Sam called to her as her attention was drawn to the Tangrowth. “We used to kick this thing’s butt for fun. You got this.”

    “Liukua!” Miah shouted so loudly that it caused both Bree and the Tangrowth to flinch. Sam had long since forgotten the Tangrowth’s name, but hearing it then emboldened him. It harkened to a more innocent time. “Vine whip!”

    From Liukua’s right side, three intertwined vines separated from the rest and shot forth. With the whipping motion they made in the air, it was easy to mistake them for an arm. Sam remained nonplussed; he had grown used to, and bored by, Tangrowth’s tactics.

    “Fly up, Bree!” He did not even need to say it, as his friend was already climbing several feet in the air; she was clearly used to this from their school days. Liukua’s vines snapped taut as they came short of their target.

    “Oh no your Butterfree is in the air whatever shall I oh wait,” Miah said, the first several words in a monotone, bored voice before the last two erupted with much more force. “Ancient power, Liukua.”

    The Tangrowth settled into a calm as it closed its sunken eyes, and the tendrils ceased their perpetual shifting. Bree turned her head to Sam in awaiting his next suggestion; Liukua had never tried anything like this in their previous battles. It had usually been all-but settled once Bree established herself as out of his range. He knew he had to press their advantage.

    “Use your stun spores, Bree.”

    “Nope,” Tommy said bluntly in response to Sam’s move. Sam began to ask back what was wrong with that play, but he was drawn back to the battle by a shifting beneath his feet. Cracks were forming in the dirt ground on which they were battling, and even as Bree began shedding the scales from her wings, soccerball-sized rocks were shooting upwards from the ground. The stones varied in color; most were dark gray or black, but some were quite colorful in greens and yellows. He had no time to marvel at them, though, as they blistered past Bree. She had been mostly stationary in the air as she fluttered just enough to stay afloat while she shook the spores free, so when the rocks began charging her, she did not have the momentum needed to swoop away from them. One of the black ones caught her flush in the belly, and she began dropping from the sky. With little control over herself, several other stones battered her on their way up as she fell. A final, small, greenish rock smacked her left wing as the parade of attacks ended, and her gentle, purple body hit the ground hard with a thud.

    Sam bit the inside of his mouth in disgust that he had allowed Bree to take such an assault. She whimpered on the ground and struggled to get back to her tiny feet. Her red, spherical eyes still showed signs of life. Even if she still had any fight in her, the damage had been done to her wings, so staying out of Liukua’s range was no longer an option. Sam mouthed an apology as he recalled her to the pokeball. He pressed her ball to his head and hoped she could hear his thoughts; he’d seen many of his friends defeated in battles over the year, but seeing Bree hurt always hit him the hardest. He thought over and over that he was sorry, hoping to send her a mental apology for each rock that slammed her.

    “Do you think you have a tie-breaker left in you?” Sam looked up to acknowledge Miah’s question only to see him palming a third ball in his hand. This one was blue with two red arches looping around the top—a Great Ball—and Sam immediately knew what was coming. He remembered how he had just minutes ago thought of Miah as “almost exclusively” a trainer of grass-type pokemon. This ball was where the “almost” kicked in.

    Sam pulled the third pokeball from his pocket and made an unspoken wish for luck. “Let's go, Chispa.”

    Chispa emerged from her ball, proceeded to walk in a circle several times, and then settled down and closed her eyes. Sam heard a noise that he could only classify as a chortle come from Tommy’s direction, followed by the static buzz of Miah’s friend coming out of its Great Ball.

    The pokemon across from Chispa was plump in shape with short, thick arms and legs, but Sam knew that to be deceptive; he was actually one of the faster and nimbler pokemon Sam had ever battled. The creature was a deep, oily purple, so dark Sam wouldn’t blame someone from just considering it to be black. Its face—nefarious red eyes and a huge, plastered-on grin—seemed to take up the pokemon’s whole body. Skadelig, the ghost-type Gengar that was caught years ago near Ecruteak City, was Miah’s non-grass-type friend of choice.

    Chispa must have sensed Skadelig’s presence, because momentarily she was pushing herself up from the ground. She seemed more lethargic than Sam had seen her act since he caught her, but it appeared to be just a brief state; when she was on all fours, she shook herself back to normal, causing angry sparks to fly off her coat. She yipped furiously at the Gengar as both trainers seemed to wait on the other. Sam figured Miah must have been playing it cautiously—he’d never seen Chispa in action and could not yet be aware of what she could do. That gave Sam the opening he needed to take the Gengar unaware.

    “Chispa, tackle that ghost pokemon!”

    Chispa yipped in response and drove forward. When she was almost upon Skadelig, she lunged forward, paws first, into his torso. His body dissipated like smoke as she passed harmlessly through him. Chispa landed on her feet as the Gengar’s body began reforming behind her.

    “Damn ghost-types, right?” Miah smirked. “They’re just so hard to pin-down with those kinds of full-on attacks.”

    “Yeah, funny that,” Sam said, tapping his temple with his good hand. “She and I just played this game a few weeks back and the same thing happened. Got me to thinking how I’d do it next time.”

    As Miah’s face crinkled in confusion, Sam’s electric-type cub pokemon snapped around and opened her mouth. A stream of concentrated electrical energy shot forth, ripping through the Gengar. Chispa’s charge beam attack discorporated Skadelig again, but this time, not of its own choice. The ghost-type shrieked in its tenor as its body ripped apart into tufts of smoke. Its red eyes and Cheshire grin hung in the air for a moment sans body, but then they vanished as well.

    Miah frowned. “All right, so you had a plan for one good attack. And it worked, too, so even better. But you know it will take more than that to do much to Skadelig.”

    Sam nodded; that was true. Miah did not have a slouch friend in his group, and Skadelig was certainly no exception. Even as Chispa was alertly waiting for her foe to reappear, Sam realized he was taking an inordinate length of time to do so. Miah and his Gengar were preparing something…

    “Shadow punch!”

    Skadelig was immediately behind Chispa, with no sign he’d been there previously. His short arm jutted out and slammed Chispa in her ribs. She was knocked over by the quick punch and rolled back from it, and by the time she righted herself, she was breathing hard. Sam rushed forward to get closer to her.

    “Are you okay, Chis? I’m going to go ahead and end it, all right? I don’t want you getting hurt.”

    His friend turned to him, still panting hard, but staring up at him with her large, yellow pupils. She yipped at him, with as much heart as she could muster through the pain that must have been affecting her ribs, and then she reverted to energy and vanished into her ball to Sam's surprise.

    “I wasn’t sure that was going to be the end of it,” Miah stated across the field, “but that was a great battle, Sam. I—“

    Sam glanced up at him. “I didn’t withdraw her. She returned to her ball on her own.”

    “What? She returned on—oh, come on. I can’t just have one nice thing!”

    Sam wanted to rebut that Miah actually had almost all of the nice things, but his attention was drawn to the side of the battle area. Tommy pushed himself off the trunk of the limo and let out joyous shout. “Nice! I got here just in time to see everything good!” He took several steps closer to the battle field while Miah moved himself back and motioned to Skadelig with his hand.

    “We’re not done yet, buddy. Steel yourself.”

    Sam pointed his Friend Ball forward and squeezed it once more. “Come on out, Chispa.”

    As always, red energy splashed forth from the conduit on the ball. And, as always, it concentrated on the ground in front of Sam. This time was different, however, as the friend that appeared before him was not the tiny, big-eyed Shinx he’d been caring for; she was similar, yet altogether different. Mostly, she was larger, a good two feet taller on all-fours than she had been previously. The blue, short fur that enveloped her head previously was now restricted to her face, and the rest of her head was covered in a bushier, tufty black mane. Hey sulfur eyes were still large, but more narrowed now at her brow, giving her a somewhat more menacing glare. She had evolved to her next form, a Luxio.

    If Miah was impressed, he was not showing it. He ignored the transformation and ordered Skadelig to attempt another shadow punch. Seeing the powerful Gengar charging Chispa, Sam called out his own instruction, telling Chispa to use a biting attack.

    Skadelig swung its arm, but Chispa pulled herself out of the way with more agility than she had previously displayed. She snarled as she sunk her face into the Gengar’s ephemeral body. As before, he was unaffected by her physical strike, and merely warped himself around her bite.

    “Still a ghost-type, Sam,” Miah noted.

    Sam could barely contain his growing smile. This was exactly as he’d planned. “Still an electric-type, Miah. Chispa, discharge your electricity!”

    Chispa and Skadelig were lost in the flash of energy as the former’s body gushed lightning. Stray bolts zapped all around them, causing Miah and Sam to both dive to the ground to avoid getting shocked. Almost as quickly as the attack started, however, it was over; Chispa stood tall in her new body. Skadelig lay next to her, ambiguous smoke rising from it that Sam could fully discern neither as electrical burns or its losing control over its physical form. Before he could investigate it further, Miah had withdrawn Skadelig into his ball.

    “Not the first time you’ve gotten lucky against me, Stark.”

    “I’m sure it won’t be the last.” With that, Sam turned his attention to Chispa. “Hey, we’re going to work on that last attack, okay? You almost beat Skadelig, Miah, and me.” Chispa mewed happily, either not understanding Sam’s words or just not caring, and then pounced up to her hind legs and pressed her paws on his shoulders. She rubbed her cheek forcefully against Sam’s head. “I take it being a Luxio isn’t uncomfortable or anything?” Her only response was to rub her cheek faster against him.

    Tommy, away from the safe confines of the car, knelt down to pet Chispa with his brother. “Sometimes the best strategy is luck, huh?”

    “I take what I can get.”

    “Did you know she was about to evolve?”

    “Chispa?” Sam almost laughed at the notion. “God, no. I really just thought she was going to stay a cub forever. I mean, she’d been getting a lot of exercise with a Monferno before the whole prison thing, but…”

    “’Prison thing’. I like that. Like it was a minor inconvenience along the lines of a small headache or a shelf falling down from the wall. You had your prison thing; I had my coma thing. Negligible stuff like that.”

    “Yeah, coma thing. That’s really all gone, right?”

    “Are you asking me if I’m in a coma right now? Because I think a small amount of investigating will lead you to find that I am, in fact, quite conscious and talking to you.”

    “Yeah,” Sam said, “but you’re not feeling… relapsey or anything, are you?”
    “I don’t feel re—I don’t feel that, no. But I don’t remember feeling particularly lapsey in the first place.”

    Sam pulled himself from looking at his brother’s face and put his head down. “I remember that day… there were signs…”

    “So are there signs now?”

    Sam genuinely thought about it for a moment. His brother’s speech sounded fine. He didn’t appear to be having any problems or shakes in his movement. “I don’t see any.”

    “Then I would imagine I am fairly relapse-resistant.”

    Sam agreed, but he did not know what else to say. The seconds turned into minutes as they knelt there and continued rewarding Chispa for her hard work. Without Sam’s even noticing, she had plopped herself on the ground for both brothers to rub her chest and belly. She enjoyed both of their full attentions in full bliss as neither seemed to have the words to say anything else to each other. Sam’s mind had begun to wander before he heard Miah’s voice pull him back to the moment.

    “Yes, I’m sure she’s just the very best girl that ever was. Can we get back on the road now, please?”

    Tommy raised his eyebrows at Sam and stood up first while the latter brother recalled his friend. “Of course we can, sorry about that, Miah. May I say that you sound like you are handling that defeat with aplomb.”

    Miah winced and moved his hand through his hair. “Yeah, I guess I don’t…” His hand moved from his hair to scratch the side of his ear. “I don’t thoroughly enjoy losing, in battles, business, or life. And it happens so infrequently that I don’t get to practice my grace as much as I could.”

    Tommy slapped Miah’s shoulder. “Well, at least you’re humble.”

    Miah lowered his head and nodded and laughed as if he knew he deserved that. When Sam pulled himself to his feet, he found Miah extending his hand.

    “Good match, Stark.”

    Sam gripped his palm. “All this time in Sinnoh, I was starting to forget that most battles are for fun and involve, you know, sportsmanship. Good match, Vanderbelt.”

    The match had been good, and he meant that more than in a competitive sense; it had allowed the world around Sam to melt away into something more simple. For a few moments, he forgot about having to see Rowan again so soon. He forgot about his injured arm and the aching in his skull and his time in jail. He forgot about Henrique Alonzo and the Phoenix Corporation. For a few minutes on the side of the road in Sinnoh, it was just Sammy trying to beat Miah with Tommy there to watch over him. For a few minutes on the side of the road in Sinnoh, everything was normal again.

    And then they loaded themselves into the rent limousine and continued to Sandgem.





    AUTHOR'S NOTES
    I barely ever do this, but I felt the need to point some things out here. Nothing important, but just some details.

    THIS was not supposed to be chapter 23 AT ALL. Chapter 23 was all decided in my head and plotted out, and then I sat down to write and just decided ON A WHIM that it should start with a brief two-to-three page casual battle between Sam and Miah (which is why the Vlam/Victreebel fight is so brief). Well, that battle extended to 6+ pages, and by the time I was done, I realized it was its OWN chapter. So chapter 23 is now going to be chapter 24, and in exchange, we get this scene with Miah, Sam, and Tommy. It feels to me more like an interlude, but I guess I still like it.

    Also, note how awful I am at ending chapters that AREN'T cliffhangers! That must be why I do it. When I got to the end of this and already knew it was its own chapter, I honestly was struggling with how to end it. And that's, like, two chapters in a row that weren't cliffhangers! Gads! Well don't worry... that will end next chapter.

    Well, anyway. I'm bad at meandering on like this. I hope you enjoyed this little side-quest of a chapter. I know folks have been wanting more of the pokeys in action, and I aim to give the people what they want.

    OH! And I apologize for going about a MONTH AND A HALF between updates! Bad me!
    Last edited by Sid87; 14th April 2013 at 1:49 AM.


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  16. #216
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    Miah Vandeberbelt had always been a student of pokemon history, and in his youth he would go on-and-on to Sam about the World Pokemon League of a bygone generation. He would talk of a time before the sponsors and the television contracts and the multi-billion dollar business of it all, when the league was much smaller, and one of the intricacies was that each large city would be home to a specialized trainer who would master one type of pokemon. They would dole out collectible baubles to passer-by trainers who were able to best them and their single type friends in battle. Miah found this all to be very nostalgic and comforting even when Sam was asking how a specialized trainer could possibly defeat a challenger who might be able to counter anything that was thrown at him. Miah would shrug and say “They were really good to get where they were, and they managed to bring out the best in their partners”, as if that really explained away how someone who decided to dedicate her life to training only psychic-type friends could defeat a trainer with a dark-type or two. But Sam would shrug; the whole notion was very romantic to his classmate.
    Interesting look at gym leaders. I like Miah reflecting on this romantic view. Sam’s views are very realistic, too, but I guess he’d just have to see a gym battle before his own eyes to see a gym leader’s true power, eh?


    “Solarbeam, Victreebel!”
    Interesting that Miah would choose such a powerful attack right off the bat.

    The fox pokemon spread her legs wide to the ground to brace herself and lowered her head. Sam could see her body, most notablly in her neck and tails, quiver in tension as she built up the most intense attack of heated energy she could muster.
    “notablly” should be “notably”

    “Oh no you’re Butterfree is in the air whatever shall I oh wait,” Miah said, the first several words in a monotone, bored voice before the last two erupted with much more force. “Ancient power, Liukua.”
    “you’re” should be “your”

    Also that first bit of dialogue just seemed hard to read without any punctuation.

    Her red, spherical eyes still showed signs of life.
    I don’t like this “signs of life” part because it suggests that Miah’s attack was meant to literally kill Bree, you know?

    Overall, the chapter was cute. I especially liked the witty dialogue between all 3 characters, particularly the parts where Tommy was criticizing Sam for all of his misdoings during the battle. The battle itself, though, seemed lacking. It seemed that 1 attack was exchanged between each pokémon, and then the battle was over. There could have been more substance to it, though the way you described the attacks they DID do, was very good.

    | 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 |


  17. #217
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    Well, in the face of the first round of exams next week, I'm going to finish this now before I have next to no time left for reviewing.
    I do hope you won't mind me not using too many quotes for this review as time is growing precious for me.

    So, here we go.

    First of all, a battle is not what I was expecting. Not to say it isn't a good thing to see, as it's been a long while since we've seen a proper battle in this story, but I thought we would get to Sandgem Town this chapter.
    However, if I held that against you, I'd be the worst hypocrite in the world. Half of my story is the result of being written on a whim and not entirely directed towards plot development.

    Kinda a low punch by Miah using Solarbeam before Sam is fully ready, but at least it wasn't particularly powerful attack to Vlam. And, did I catch a description of the Drought ability from Miah? I thought that's what he was implying when he says that Vlam emits a type of solar energy that keeps her powered up at all times. If it isn't, than it fits that ability pretty well regardless.

    That was a lovely description of a Tangrowth. Bulbous eyes, slithering tendrils, snakes crawling over a dead body, yep, all wonderful things. And to see that thing beat down Bree ... I didn't like it. I mean, Bree, along with Chispa, are like the final remaining "innocent" characters in this story. Their upbeat attitude, something about it resonates quite well within all the darkened themes in this.

    In speaking of Chispa, I enjoyed her taking on the Gengar. It was neat to watch her finally utilizing her electric abilities in a battle. And, obviously her evolving, that was pretty cool too. I've got to agree with Sam and Tommy, though. I just didn't expect Chispa to evolve anytime soon. I thought that she was honestly going to remain, in Tommy's words, a cub. I wonder if we'll see any subtle personality or attitude shifts from her now that she is a Luxio and slightly more grown up.

    So yeah, in conclusion, this was a filler chapter. But, it was a good filler chapter. I enjoyed seeing the battle and some feelings of rivalry arise between Miah and Sam again. Tommy's remarks from the sidelines were humorous as usual, and I liked seeing Sam's Pokemon again.

    But now, it's been too long since we've seen Barry. I feel as if I'm on withdrawal and I need a fix otherwise I'm going to lose it. *twitch*
    Anyways, yeah, I hope we see him again in the next chapter.

    And don't be upset about going a month and a half without updating. I mean, I went three months without updating. It happens to all of us occasionally. Life gets in the way of writing.

    Well, again, I'm sorry for the lack of a detailed review like I usually give with quotes and all, but I've got my back pressed against a wall time-wise. Good chapter, and I can't wait for the next one.

    Knightfall signing off...

  18. #218
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    1) People leukemia and feline leukemia are two very different things, and feline leukemia is highly contagious.
    Mmm, well, the "leukemia" part is pretty similar, but I didn't realize that there's a virus that often causes it in cats. Gomen.

    Hmm, well, I certainly agree that if Cynthia had just tried to walk around Sam or any other trainer, they could potentially have had their pokémon attack her directly. Since she has her own pokémon, though, she could simply send them out to intercept the attack, and leave them to fight off the opposition while she kept going towards her actual destination. I was bothered by the fact that she seemed content to stand there and battle him when he was pretty clearly not the person she should be worrying about, and he wasn't actively doing anything to bar her way save offering battle--there are certainly ways you could have forced her into conflict with him, rather than having her go after the construction workers, but I didn't think the way that it was presented made him a credible enough threat that Cynthia would allow him to get in her way.

    As for the general thoughts at large, there is one thing I've done with this story as an exercise, and that has been to NOT plot things out too far in advance.
    No worries. I don't plan either, so I'm well aware that things can creep up unexpectedly. I just thought I would point out some areas where I thought a lack of planning (or something else) had caused problems, so perhaps you could head that kind of thing off in the future. Take it or leave it.

    Hmm, yes, it's certainly true that people will do weird things in the heat of the moment, police officers as much as anybody. The police brutality wasn't really the crux of the issue, though--even once everyone had more or less calmed down, they held Sam in prison for several days, without even telling him why, despite the fact that he wasn't the guy they were looking for. Their entire treatment of his case was very weird and possibly illegal.

    In any case, best of luck with the rest of the story.

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  19. #219
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    I wanted to go ahead and announce here that Brothers' Bond is officially no longer going to be updated.

    Over the course of the story, I received a lot of advice and a lot of replies, and I genuinely appreciate every single bit of it. I've taken it all to heart and used it going forward in this work and others. I am amazingly humbled that people thought enough of this story to take the time to read it and let me know their thoughts, emotions, feelings, and concerns on it. It has, honestly, meant a lot to me. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

    And to those of you with your own stories... I have read a great many of them, and greatly enjoyed them, as well. I have learned as much, if not more, from your works as I have from the considerations you left on my own. So thank you for that, as well. I've gotten so many new ideas and learned new things from experiencing your works, and I want you all to know that I thank you for sharing your talents with the rest of us.

    Thank you all once again. I've appreciated everything; I can't stress that enough.


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  20. #220
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    Hey, Sid? Any particular reason this won't be finished? While I have been too busy to read the latest chapters, I still enjoyed it, I'd like to know why it's being discontinued.
    If it's something you can't say here, shoot me a PM, or a VM.

    I hope I didn't miss anything that would explain this seemingly sudden occurence.


    Credit to Brutaka for the amazing banner and user bar. Yeah, having 2 is redundant, but it shows you guys my favorite pokemon, what story I had planned and my position in the WoJ.

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  21. #221
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    I wanted to go ahead and announce here that Brothers' Bond is officially no longer going to be updated.

    Over the course of the story, I received a lot of advice and a lot of replies, and I genuinely appreciate every single bit of it. I've taken it all to heart and used it going forward in this work and others. I am amazingly humbled that people thought enough of this story to take the time to read it and let me know their thoughts, emotions, feelings, and concerns on it. It has, honestly, meant a lot to me. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you.

    And to those of you with your own stories... I have read a great many of them, and greatly enjoyed them, as well. I have learned as much, if not more, from your works as I have from the considerations you left on my own. So thank you for that, as well. I've gotten so many new ideas and learned new things from experiencing your works, and I want you all to know that I thank you for sharing your talents with the rest of us.

    Thank you all once again. I've appreciated everything; I can't stress that enough.
    You're welcome. Best of luck for the future.


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  22. #222
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    I just finally came back to finish what I started with this fic and just finished and was super excited to tell you all my thoughts...and read your closing notice. I hope you aren't done with these forums forever??
    I am not worried, Harry. I am with you.



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

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

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

  23. #223
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    Okay.... so I'm going back on my word.

    Back in May, when I said what I said about this story not getting completed, I was admittedly in a rather dark place in regards to Serebii. I had gone through a lot of bad experiences in a few months on this site since the year started. Some of it was completely out-of-my-hands and not my fault, others I certainly did have a hand in and I made worse than they needed to be. There are several people who know about these goings-on, and I have no interest in rehashing them here. I've been working on making peace with the people I needed to make peace with, and just ignoring the situations that grated on me.

    I still don't feel completely "back" when it comes to everything. I guess these things take time. I'm not sure I'll ever get back to being a full and productive member of the writing community here (or really, any community on Serebii outside of the Trading forum... I don't mean to imply that my problems came entirely from the writing area of the site because that would be untrue). But I did feel an urge to finish this story.

    It's not for any review exchanges or review games or anything else. It's for me. I have a bad habit of not completing things I have started writing, and I don't want to let other things allow me to continue that. It's not approriate, and I am, if nothing else, striving to be a better, more complete person these days. Call it my Mid-Year Resolution, I suppose.

    As it stands, I owe all of you who DID read and enjoy this story a massive apology. I know this story is not some huge treat or anything, but it was not right of me to discontinue it after some readers had possibly gotten invested in it. I certainly don't expect or need any comments or reviews going forward, but I DO want to at least complete this work. For me.





    Chapter 24

    As Sam stood outside Rowan’s laboratory in Sandgem Town and stared through it, he couldn’t help but imagine it a cold, stone castle on a jagged mountainside. Despite the typically Sandgemian beautiful day of sunshine and blue skies, Sam could have sworn he saw a malevolent lightning bolt crack behind the lab and silhouette it in shadows. Tommy and Miah emerged from the limousine with him, and while Miah stepped aside to leave instructions with the driver, Tommy approached the door to the building clearly not sensing the same terror as Sam.

    “It’s not going to eat you,” Tommy said in a gentle tone. The smart edge of a jab was gone from his words, and he clearly must have understood Sam’s trepidation. Even with Tommy at his side, Sam found his feet to feel as heavy as though a Donphan were lying on them. They simply did not want to move.

    “So this is the home of Professor Rowan,” Miah mused as he came to Sam’s side. “Not bad. Professor Elm’s lab back home is nicer. But still… a lab right off of beachside property? There is something to be said for that. I’m surprised any of this guy’s interns ever make any progress on studying pokemon not found in the ocean. Or in a bikini…” His voice trailed off as he squinted towards where the ocean would be found.

    “It’s gotta be cleaner than the Arcean Bay, at least,” Tommy said, referring to the large body of sea just outside Goldenrod City back home. Why weren’t they home yet, Sam wondered. What was really the point in coming here? Sam knew the answer deep down—he had bring himself to thank Rowan for providing the evidence that released Sam from prison—but his angst blocked him from accepting that. Tommy was better now, and it was time to go home; that was all there was, right? The ethereal thought that Sam couldn’t place picked at the back of his mind again before Tommy interrupted it.

    “Well, I’m a-knockin’, Sam. You can either man-up and get on the doorstep with us, or you can go hide behind a bush.

    His mind scrambled to process whether or not that was truly an option—and his eyes darted to see if there was a nearby shrub—before he joined his brother in front of the door. Tommy pressed the button, and Sam knew with great finality that there was nowhere left to run.

    Professor Rowan open the door, and a smile could be seen behind his great bushy moustache. The crow’s feet at the corners of his eyes softened.

    “Professor,” Tommy acknowledged him with an extended arm.

    “Tommy, son, good to see you again. I take it your last few days have gone well? You didn’t have any complications at the prison, did you?”

    “No, everything was delivered and in-order. Not even a delay.”

    Rowan nodded. “Good, good.” He turned toward Sam who braced as if he were about to be punched. He had to fight an urge to lift his arms to guard his face.

    “Samuel. I’m hoping you are well now.”

    Sam felt his cheeks flush with guilt as the memories of Sandgem Town and Celestic Town rushed to him. “I… yeah. No, I’m—“

    “I’m sorry, Sam,” Rowan interrupted him with a sharp nod. “Which is not to say that I ever thought my actions were in the wrong, but… I allowed my self-righteousness to blind me to the fact that you were hurting. I… there had to be a better way to have equipped myself. You were agonizing over what you thought had to be done for the life of your brother, and I treated you like a child trying to steal candy. It simply was not warranted.”

    Sam felt his mouth hanging somewhat agape and forced it closed. It certainly wasn’t the reaction he’d anticipated. “Yeah, that. I didn’t… I mean, I know you—“

    Rowan waved a hand in the air as if to wipe the whole subject away. “Please, come in. You, too, Mr. Vanderbelt. We’ll all catch the sun poison standing out here; it’s much nicer in my offices.”

    They walked through the lobby with Miah and Rowan exchanging comments on the beach town, and Sam saw the plant from where he first visited. His mind brought back images of Bree assailing it; the memories felt like a lifetime ago already. Sam was happy when the professor opened a door that did not lead to the sterile laboratory rooms, and as they walked through, he saw there were others waiting for him in a much more vibrant and lively room.

    Cynthia smiled and greeted Sam and his brother first as they entered the room together. Her head tilted to one side and her eyes partially closed, and Sam felt that the smile was genuine. Next to her and several inches shorter, Professor Carolina nodded at his presence and merely said his name as way of a greeting. Their reactions could not have contrasted any more widely to Sam. It seemed that to Cynthia, Celestic Town may as well never have happened; to Carolina, it could well have been five minutes ago. Sam tried to make a mental note to ask Cynthia how would be best to go about winning her grandmother’s forgiveness, but effort was almost immediately forgotten when he saw the third person in the room waiting for him.

    Barry bounded out of his seat and began to say something that Sam did not even register—he was too busy grabbing the young man and pulling him in for an embrace. The last time he’d seen Barry was in the alley in Veilstone, on the ground, with guns going off all around them. Sam remembered thinking for what seemed like forever following that Barry may have been shot and injured—or worse. Even as he’d been informed by the guards at Solaceon Prison that Barry was alive, the fact that he had no proof of it gnawed at him. He finally had the evidence he needed.

    “I tried to tell you they were going to shoot at you if you didn’t shut up!”

    If Barry was taken aback by Sam’s immediate reaction, he did not show it. “Well why didn’t you just say that?”

    “Because you wouldn’t shut up!” Sam slapped Barry on the back of the head to emphasize his words. “God, you were really asking for that, you know? You attacked a cop and then you just goaded the rest on like an idiot! And you got the absolute crap beaten out of me. Ever since I met you, I’ve spent half my time either getting shot at or drowning because of your absolute lack of impulse control! You’re going to get me killed if I don’t get off this damn continent.”

    “So you missed me?”

    “I’m pretty sure I hate you, but yes. Extraordinarily. I assume that means I’m going mad.”

    “Eh, we’re all mad here. Oh, how was prison?”

    “Prisony. I’m sure you had the same thing, right?”

    Barry pushed air through his lips with a sharp sound. “I wish! They literally put a bag over my head for, like, ever. Like, an actual potato sack or something. I thought they just did that in movies.” Barry shrugged at the words. “When they finally took it off, I was handcuffed to a table in some black room. They just rotated a bunch of dudes in every few hours and asked me about where other bombs might be and why I attacked the prison. It was crazy!”

    Sam imagined Barry in a room with a bunch of detectives or government spooks tasked with interrogating him for hours in a small, locked room; he genuinely could not decide who he felt worse for in the scenario. “How long did that last?”

    “No idea. An hour? A day? Twenty days? It’s not like they let me sleep or anything. They had a Pachirisu there shock me if I started dozing off. It felt like forever, and yet… strangely invigorating. Also, I think the attacks started cooking me after a while…”

    “Well, at least they got you out. Were your friends okay?”

    Barry nodded. “Yeah, they just confiscated them. No real sense in questioning them, right? So they just locked ’em in a cabinet or whatever while they had me. So what happened with you?”

    Sam explained his detainment as a person of interest in the prison in as much detail as he could recall. His ordeal certainly couldn’t compare to the experience Barry had in the room, but he did want to stress that he was taken care of just in case Barry had worried about him. During the recalling of the events, Barry expressed an interest in taking Sam back and getting introduced to Officer Clarke; Sam retaliated with an even stronger interest in never going to prison ever again, even as a visitor. Sam lost track of the time while the two talked until it finally dawned on him to look around at the others.

    Rowan and Carolina were gone from the room, and Sam registered that he smelled the fragrance of some sort of beef in the air. He deduced they were getting dinner ready. Tommy and Miah were talking with Cynthia—well, Tommy was talking. Miah, with his leaning forward and a deeper inflection in his voice, seemed to be flirting. If Cynthia was taken with it at all, there was no sign. Mostly she seemed to be laughing at whatever Tommy was saying. Sam turned back to Barry and motioned that the two of them should join the others.

    “Hey,” Tommy said as they approached, “I thought you guys were going to chat through dinner.” Sam’s heart sank at having ignored everyone else in his concern for Barry. “Cynthia was just telling me about the time she wrecked your whole team. So do you just lose battles all the time now, is that it?”

    “Did she tell you how Bree was about to take down her Garchomp—what was its name?—right before I got distracted?”

    Cynthia crossed her arms playfully. “Perang. And the day Perang can’t hang with a cute little Butterfree is the day I hang up my pokeballs for good.”

    Sam put his palm out. “Then hand them over, because that day has come. Barry’ll tell you.”

    Barry snorted. “Yeah, okay, Sam. Bree wouldn’t even know what hit her. Which is probably for the best.”

    The five of them shared a laugh. Miah tried to inject some of his manliness into the situation by pointing out he just defeated Bree on the way to Sandgem, but Sam deflated his tires by immediately clarifying that it was he who won the match overall. The group of them laughed again, and Sam realized he finally beginning to feel good. Relaxed, even. There was no longer anything to fear or any imperative urge to get anywhere or help anyone. There was just a cheerful room with walls painted cyan, soft lighting from the chandelier, and berber carpeting beneath their feet while five friends shared a good time in conversation. It had been far too long since Sam had known such peace, and the realization of that jabbed him.

    Rowan came back into the room from around the corner of an entryway. “Dinner will be arriving momentarily. Carolina is busy trying not to burn the carrots and potatoes.”

    “Bullocks, old man!” Sam heard Carolina’s voice from the other room. “You never know how long to prepare anything.”

    Rowan raised a finger to signify the meal would be a minute and vanished around the corner.

    “Oh, I didn’t realize it was so close to dinner time,” Sam said. “We better get going so you guys can eat in peace.”

    Cynthia grabbed his shoulder lightly. “Sam, you’re of course—“

    “A dummy!” Barry interjected. “We’re all eating together, obviously. Not like we’re kicking you out on the street. They made, like, a whole cow’s worth of roast in there. It’s for all of us.”

    “Oh!” Sam started. “I wasn’t aware…”

    “Which is pretty much his normal state; don’t mind him,” Tommy followed up with a scruff to Sam’s hair. “Thank you again for the invitation. Sorry we cut it so close to dinner getting here.”

    Miah began commenting, mostly to Cynthia, about the finer cuts and preparations of roast he was accustomed to back home, but Sam was distracted as Barry approached him again.

    “Honestly, it’d probably be for the best if you ran. Rowan and Carolina aren’t bad cooks individually, but together? Man, no one has any idea what’s going on. It’s a madhouse. I can make a distraction if you want.”

    Sam heard indistinguishable sounds of bickering coming from the kitchen. It might not have been a terrible idea if Barry had been right. “No, I think they might notice if I was gone. There are only seven of us; I’m not that much of a face in the crowd.”

    “No, you are. Until you guys pulled up, I had really forgotten all about you.”

    Sam chuckled, and as he turned his head, he noticed Tommy putting out the place settings while Miah continued chatting Cynthia’s ear off. In all his talking with Barry, he had almost forgotten about Tommy again. The realization ate at his stomach.

    “I can get some of that. You should be relaxing,” Sam said as he grabbed at the utensils in Tommy’s hands.

    “Because I’m so fragile, right? Says the guy with the clipped wing and broken brain. I got it, Sammy.”

    Sam wanted to protest, but Rowan and Carolina emerged from the kitchen carrying an assortment of trays and bowls. Rowan began describing the meal only to have Carolina curtly cut him off, but their words were barely registering as Sam began realizing he’d almost spoken more to Barry in the last few minutes than he had to Tommy for hours in the car beforehand. He searched himself for a reason for that as he mechanically sat himself down in the chair Cynthia pointed out for him.
    There was more talking about the food in front of them—Sam heard Tommy, seated next to him, say he certainly smelled better than the hospital food he choked down before coming to Sinnoh—but Sam was mostly lost in his own thoughts. Why had he been so uncomfortable around his own brother after having spent more than a year reaching for this dream? Didn’t he have everything he wanted now? What was that the problem, he wondered—was Tommy being back…

    “Sam!” Barry yelled from across the table. “Clean out your ears, buddy. Corn. Pass it. Now.”

    Sam straightened himself in his chair. “Right! Sorry,” he mumbled as he grabbed the plate of bread-and-butter ears of corn set next to him and passed it across to Barry. He made a small nod at himself; this was a dinner of celebration and he was being sullen for no discernible reason. Sam elbowed his brother in the ribs and made an uninspired joke about Tommy’s own cooking. His brother jibed him back about barely knowing how to set the timer on the oven, and the thoughts slowly faded away as he allowed himself to be immersed in the flow of conversation instead.

    After dinner, Rowan insisted that Sam, Tommy, and Miah spend the night. In the morning, he suggested, the brothers could work out their return flight to Johto or if they wanted to stay and see more of Sinnoh. He even volunteered Cynthia as a guide around the region, leading Miah to note that he had no pressing business back home. Sam was not sure how much more of Sinnoh he even wanted to see, but he silently decided to leave the matter up to his brother.

    Sam was finding himself shocked by Rowan’s behavior as the night wore on. Not just that he had been welcoming and apologetic to Sam after what they’d been through, but that he just seemed so at peace. He was a man who had just lost his job under extreme and unusual circumstances, but he appeared to be completely pleased that evening amidst friends and family. Perhaps all that mattered to him was that Barry was safe and healthy; as long as he had the boy in his life, nothing else was quite as important. Sam wondered, could it really be that simple?

    Sam glanced over at Tommy. His older brother was smiling and charming Professor Carolina. He was whole and healthy again, and Sam could have his life—their lives—back again. With that being true, why was he so uneasy? Professor Rowan was seemingly content just with his family safe and sound, so why couldn’t Sam accept the same when he had not even lost anything? His mind pressed harder as he searched himself for an answer.

    It washed over him, a wave he never even saw coming. His brother was cured, made complete again by the legendary guardians. It was not that Sam could not accept that or that he did not trust it. He was uncomfortable with the truth that Tommy’s health represented.

    It meant Henrique Alonzo was right all along.


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  24. #224
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Saltus Valley
    Posts
    522

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    Well, I'm very pleased to see this back! And what are you talking about? Of course this story is a huge treat! I always look forward to new chapters.

    Anyways, to the chapter.

    I've noticed that the last two chapters have been very calm in nearly every aspect. We see Sam still trying to adjust to Tommy's recovery and their journey to confront Rowan. Aside from the battle in the last chapter, not much action. But, that's hardly a bad thing.

    I quite liked to see Sam's massive anxiety about meeting up with Rowan again. It's nice to see him thinking about something that's not about healing his brother or the Pheonix Corporation, just being nervous about seeing the professor and the others.

    Sandgemian? I understand what it is, but it's a word I've never seen before, even remotely. XD

    Seeing Rowan and Tommy's conversation concerning the last few days makes me wonder just how Rowan reacted when Tommy first contacted him. That would have for an interesting piece of dialogue, but it wouldn't have gone with Sam's pov of the story, so yeah... Wishful thinking. XD

    Now, I already have mentioned the relaxed tone of the chapter, but I really do like how it shows a whole new side of Sam and the characters. Just having them conversing about dinner, making jokes about recent events, and not thinking about infiltrating cargo ships or construction zones says a lot. I mean, the small details such as Rowan and Carolina's attempts at dinner and Barry's experiences in prison is the stuff that I really love about this story. It's very refreshing.

    Wow. That line at the end. The story hasn't focused on that in a while, so I nearly forgot about it with Tommy's arrival and Sam's release from prison. There's still a lot left in this story: the bombing in Veilstone, Phoenix Co., and the general mystery that still resides.

    Great job, man. Once again, I'm very happy that this is up and will eventually be completed.

    Also, since I did vote him for Best Minor Character, I've got to ask: Will we be seeing Carlos again anytime soon?

    Knightfall signing off...

  25. #225
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Illinois, USA
    Posts
    703

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    Tommy was better now, and it was time to go home; that was all there was, right? The ethereal thought that Sam couldn’t place picked at the back of his mind again before Tommy interrupted it.
    Seems like Sam’s still living in a dream world. Guess I can’t blame him, since what happened to him was practically unreal.

    “Well, I’m a-knockin’, Sam. You can either man-up and get on the doorstep with us, or you can go hide behind a bush.
    Forgot quotation mark at the end there.

    “I’m sorry, Sam,” Rowan interrupted him with a sharp nod. “Which is not to say that I ever thought my actions were in the wrong, but… I allowed my self-righteousness to blind me to the fact that you were hurting. I… there had to be a better way to have equipped myself. You were agonizing over what you thought had to be done for the life of your brother, and I treated you like a child trying to steal candy. It simply was not warranted.”
    Thought this was a cute apology. Not what I was expecting, either. Was expecting some tension. There’s a sign of the tension there, though, with him saying he didn’t think he was in the wrong.

    They walked through the lobby with Miah and Rowan exchanging comments on the beach town, and Sam saw the plant from where he first visited.
    Would make more sense if you said “when he first visited.”

    “No idea. An hour? A day? Twenty days? It’s not like they let me sleep or anything. They had a Pachirisu there shock me if I started dozing off. It felt like forever, and yet… strangely invigorating. Also, I think the attacks started cooking me after a while…”

    “Well, at least they got you out. Were your friends okay?”
    It’s just like Barry to turn a serious situation into such a joke. And it’s so cute that they’re treating each other like they never separated. SIGH

    It washed over him, a wave he never even saw coming. His brother was cured, made complete again by the legendary guardians. It was not that Sam could not accept that or that he did not trust it. He was uncomfortable with the truth that Tommy’s health represented.

    It meant Henrique Alonzo was right all along.
    I thought this was a good touch to the story, Sam’s feeling guilty and questioning over Tommy’s return. Sam talking to Barry more was especially great. Overall, good chapter. I’m glad to see this back.

    | 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 |


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