Page 5 of 10 FirstFirst 123456789 ... LastLast
Results 101 to 125 of 230

Thread: Brothers' Bond (PG-13)

  1. #101
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    a really nice chair
    Posts
    3,920

    Default

    Alright, here I am for the Review Game! I read all the way from the Prologue to Chapter 7, so here I am. Yay? YAY.

    I'm going to begin with, well, the beginning. I thought you captured that extremely well; the beginning gave a really good introduction to Sam, Tommy, their father and introduced us to Sam's early concerns with Bree. I'm taking this opportunity to also say you really flesh out your characters and right from their introduction they have distinct personalities.

    Speaking of which, the characters. Loved them. They were really well thought out and just seemed so natural. Barry's interactions are ones I could see coming right from the game, as are Rowan's. Sammy and Tommy's, too, though not a canon characters, they are both so alive and seamless. It just made an already great story that much better.

    Also, the story. It is clear and apparent that you have invested a great deal of time and thought into this, and it really shows. From the seven (eight if you count the prologue) chapters I read, you managed to leave me constantly wondering, "What's going to happen next?" "Where will this go?" "Who's these guys and what are they doing?" and all sorts of things that make me enthusiastic for the next read.

    Overall,it's also very much enjoyable. It has a fun yet descriptive writing style that is very pleasing to the eye and makes the reading natural and fun. There were very few, if any discernible, grammatical mistakes, of which I applaud you for. You have a very distinctive writing style, and I hope you keep it up.

    Other than the sole nitpick I had (with moves being uncapitalized), this is pretty much flawless. I will be finishing up what is currently posted shortly when I have more time, but until then, I'm going to finish the review by asking to be on the PM list.

  2. #102
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    939

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by katiekitten View Post
    ...What a twist! x33 I feel like I should've seen it coming, with Barry insisting they immediately move on to follow the corporation people rather than continuing the search, but it caught me completely by surprise! x3 Lovely to have you back, by the way - hope the wife-y is good! x3

    The exposition was really interesting, as well! x3 I really enjoyed your interpretation of the history. :3

    And the battle in the next chapter - very well written, the confrontation between Sam and Barry especially. Was almost poignant, for despite how little actual time they've spent together, it's been some jam packed days...! I quite like the ambiguity, as well, of exactly where Sam stands in the more typical 'good-evil' struggle between the corporation and Barry-Elm - the moral ambiguity of all sides, really. x3 He really isn't on any ones side except his own - and his brothers. It leads to an intriguing and unpredictable plot. :3

    Lovely, generally, m'dear!
    Everything is going well (Hm, well-ish, at least), and thanks for your thoughts, as always. I am trying to keep everyone ambiguous (including and especially Sam), as so little in life is as cut-and-dry as "good" or "bad". If I do my job right, any reader could decide that Sam, Barry, Henrique, or none of them actually has the right idea.


    Quote Originally Posted by Zibdas View Post
    Alright, here I am for the Review Game! I read all the way from the Prologue to Chapter 7, so here I am. Yay? YAY.

    I'm going to begin with, well, the beginning. I thought you captured that extremely well; the beginning gave a really good introduction to Sam, Tommy, their father and introduced us to Sam's early concerns with Bree. I'm taking this opportunity to also say you really flesh out your characters and right from their introduction they have distinct personalities.

    Speaking of which, the characters. Loved them. They were really well thought out and just seemed so natural. Barry's interactions are ones I could see coming right from the game, as are Rowan's. Sammy and Tommy's, too, though not a canon characters, they are both so alive and seamless. It just made an already great story that much better.

    Also, the story. It is clear and apparent that you have invested a great deal of time and thought into this, and it really shows. From the seven (eight if you count the prologue) chapters I read, you managed to leave me constantly wondering, "What's going to happen next?" "Where will this go?" "Who's these guys and what are they doing?" and all sorts of things that make me enthusiastic for the next read.

    Overall,it's also very much enjoyable. It has a fun yet descriptive writing style that is very pleasing to the eye and makes the reading natural and fun. There were very few, if any discernible, grammatical mistakes, of which I applaud you for. You have a very distinctive writing style, and I hope you keep it up.

    Other than the sole nitpick I had (with moves being uncapitalized), this is pretty much flawless. I will be finishing up what is currently posted shortly when I have more time, but until then, I'm going to finish the review by asking to be on the PM list.
    I'm glad you enjoyed it, and I have added you to the PM list.


    Sid87's Gen 6 Igloo Shop!

    FC: 3823-9867-2750

  3. #103
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Saltus Valley
    Posts
    522

    Default

    I swear I’m incompetent, but here it is, the second part of my multi-part review of Brother’s Bond. Again, I’m sorry it’s taking so long to do these.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Chapter 3: Present Day
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    He’d stop it, but as soon as his mind wandered off, the appendage began gleeflully oscillating again.
    I think that’s supposed to be gleefully.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “I need them, professor. I need the legends.” He turned away from the map and stared down Rowan unflinchingly. “Azelf, Mesprit, and Uxie. I’ve come for them, and I won’t leave Sinnoh without them.”
    At least he doesn’t beat around the bush with an hidden ulterior motive, he just goes right out and says it. This was a really great piece of dialogue to end the chapter with, it’s not a request, it’s an order. Though at this point in the story we don’t know why he needs them, but it’s great how much emotion is behind those sentences. As soon as I read them, I knew he needed them for something vitally important.

    Aside from the single error, I didn’t really find too much else wrong with this chapter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Chapter 4: 10 Years Ago
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Tommy hadn’t failed his classes because he couldn’t handle them; he had failed because he simply wasn’t going often enough. He was working fifty hours a week at the department store on top of taking care of the house and helping Sam with his studying and training. He had forsaken his future in favor of providing Sam one for himself.

    Tommy had given his brother a normal life despite their parents both being dead. Sam, in return, gave him a rock. He buried the letter back in the trash where he found it and headed to his room to study Geometry.
    That was … wow. I said something about emotion earlier, but now, this plot turn. It really shows just how much Tommy cares for his little brother. Giving up his dreams so Sam could have a normal life, so selfless. And now Sam knows just how much his brother has sacrificed for him, and feels that he owes it to Tommy that he make the best of the life he has.
    Anyways, this chapter was, again, great. If for no other reason then we see how Tommy and Sam are living after their father’s death. No mistakes that I saw.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Chapter 5: Present Day
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “Now now, son. I can’t imagine how you even think this possible. First of all, no one has seen or documented any proof of the legends in decades,” Rowan stopped there and appeared to be playing with numbers in his head, “possibly centuries! Secondly, you’re hardly the first headstrong young man to come to Sinnoh with designs on capturing them. It’s a countless number of trainers that have failed; how could you think you’ll succeed? And also--”
    After the first “now” I think there needs to be a comma.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    After dinner they settled in to watch some other WPL Johto matches--Tommy was always very insistent that Sam study as much of his opponents as possible—and it was then that Sam noticed something: Tommy was trying to describe the methods of one of the trainers they were watching, but his words weren’t coming out right. It was like there was a fog hanging in front of his mouth catching the words as he made them.

    “A few seconds after that, he collapsed. He’d suffered a massive stroke,” Sam’s voice felt tiny as he finished relaying the memory to the pokemon professor. “He’s been catatonic ever since.”
    As soon as I read this, I had to go over it and read it again. That was sudden, I mean, really sudden. I know that Sam is recounting this memory to Rowen, and that he wants to get through it quickly, but wow, within a few sentences Tommy goes from being seemingly all right, to catatonic. I guess that’s realistic, so good job on that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “My brother is stuck in a bed, unable to will himself move. He’s forgotten everything about his previous life. And he can’t remember his relationships. Not with Vlam and not with me. Do you see what he’s missing? Willpower, knowledge, and emotion.”

    Rowan’s eyes widened. “Son, you’re talking about mythical abilities attributed to legendary pokemon. Not only are we not sure they still exist, but we have no way of knowing if they are truly responsible for such matters.”

    “Well what else am I going to do?” Sam’s voice grew large again. “Go see a specialist? Or a homeopathic doctor? Oh wait, I already have! More than I can count. I haven’t found a single human being alive that has an answer for the severity of stroke that Tommy suffered. And if I can’t find a human…”

    “It’s…not unheard of. There’s certainly healing abilities in the pokemon kingdom that have proven useful on human conditions. But what you are asking for…what you are expecting…”
    That’s pretty cool, I mean, going after legendary Pokemon isn’t a new plot idea or anything, but I’ve never seen a fic quite like this. Anyways, Sam has to be desperate if he’s willing to go on this quest for these legendaries all with a vague hope that they might heal his brother.

    Aside from that single comma mistake I saw, there was nothing wrong with this chapter. I feel as if I’m being redundant with the end of every chapter.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Chapter 6: Present Day
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    The newly caught Shinx bounced happily at its trainer’s left side. Occasionally Bree would float down to it and let out a sharp chirp, and the Shinx would reply by rearing up on its stubby hindlegs and swatting up at the Butterfree. Bree was too quick, however, and would always flap itself just out of reach. The Shinx would let out a few yips to let it know it wanted the butterfly pokemon to come lower so they could play together. On Sam’s right side, Vlam kept up with her trainer’s gait and ignored the other two more childish pokemon.
    I really like how Bree shares Sam’s personality, the lighter one he had before Tommy’s incident, and how Vlam has Tommy’s more serious personality. Anyways, interesting way to start the chapter, an off-screen capture.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    He was taken aback by the professor’s generosity, and asked if Rowan had any final advice for him.

    “Life is full of changes of plans.”
    I get that Rowen might be acting so nice toward Sam out of sympathy, but his last words to him make me think otherwise. And as I have read a head, this sort of fits into what comes later. Sam certainly did have a change of plans after the debacle in Snowpoint.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    For the first time, parents loved their children and rivals hated each other and people mourned the loss of family and friends. Sam thought of Tommy’s eyes that were no longer capable of even recognizing his own brother. Changes of plans, Sam thought, were simply not on the menu. Sam would find Mesprit and he would restore his brother. That was all there was to it.
    I really liked how you worded the first couple sentences of this paragraph, it shows how important emotions are to life.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “How did I know you were looking for the lake? Yeah, like I’d be such a good assistant to Professor Rowan if I wasn’t out here waiting for some dumb foreigner to miss his turn.”

    “Assistant?”

    “Yeah. You’re late, by the way. I’ve been here all day. Just for that, I’m fining you a million bucks!”

    No way, Sam thought. There’s no way Rowan was working with some overeager brat like this. Was there?
    Oh, God. Barry. The hyperactive, impulsive, rival. Good choice for someone to assist Sam on his quest. Opposites don’t attract, one of them drives the other down a swift path to insanity.
    Examples:
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “Yeah, I’m the assistant, knucklehead,” the boy replied as if reading Sam’s mind. “Name’s Barry, and I hear you’re the fool who thinks he can catch one of our legends.”
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “Old enough to beat your sorry butt in a battle!”
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “Anyway, the turn you missed is back here a ways. I uprooted some bushes and used them to cover it up. I thought it’d be funny to watch you wander on past it.”

    Sam wanted to have Vlam set this kid on fire. It was suddenly the only thing he’d ever wanted in his life.
    “Come on,” Barry continued, “I got a camp set up at the lakefront and everything. We can catch up on how much more awesome than you I am there.”[/quote]

    If Sam isn’t completely insane by the time this story reaches its conclusion, then I’ll be very impressed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Tommy’s hand shot up and grabbed Sam’s arm. Sam yelped twice: once in surprise at Tommy’s reaction, and again when his older brother twisted the arm away from his chin. “Tommy, please!” Sam shouted, his throat finally back in control. “It’s me, Sam!”

    Tommy’s face lifted to meet Sam’s; his eyes were solid black and his mouth was wretched into a scowl. As their eyes met, Tommy pulled himself out of the hospital bed. This caused Sam to fall backwards onto his rear and try to crawl away from his approaching brother. “You,” Tommy said. “Sam. You.” Sam’s arms pushed him back as rapidly as they could, but his previously crippled brother was gaining on him. “You did this.” Even worse than the accusations of his brother was the sudden beeping sound of Tommy’s hospital bed; a beeping that was growing in volume...
    Extremely vivid nightmares of a lost sibling that accuse you of being guilty of their plight? And so the insanity begins …

    I literally have nothing bad to say about this chapter, and I’m fine with that. I’d rather focus on the good aspects anyways.

    If I failed to mention it before, this a great story, and I look forward to what the future holds.
    I suppose this will suffice for now, and I promise it won’t take two weeks to get the next part up.

    Knightfall signing off …

  4. #104
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    939

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Knightfall View Post
    I swear I’m incompetent, but here it is, the second part of my multi-part review of Brother’s Bond. Again, I’m sorry it’s taking so long to do these.

    I think that’s supposed to be gleefully.
    Oy. And fixed.

    as I read this, I had to go over it and read it again. That was sudden, I mean, really sudden. I know that Sam is recounting this memory to Rowen, and that he wants to get through it quickly, but wow, within a few sentences Tommy goes from being seemingly all right, to catatonic. I guess that’s realistic, so good job on that.
    Yeah, I tend to really be in love with the sudden line of importance that catches the reader unaware and forces them to go back and make sure they read it right. I totally did what I meant to do if that was the honest reaction you had.

    pretty cool, I mean, going after legendary Pokemon isn’t a new plot idea or anything, but I’ve never seen a fic quite like this. Anyways, Sam has to be desperate if he’s willing to go on this quest for these legendaries all with a vague hope that they might heal his brother.
    Yeah, having not really READ any pokemon fic before I started this, I was hoping that this would not be a played out idea. It seems like people want the legendaries to get stronger or save the world or prove their strength...it just struck me that what if you wanted them to save one person's life?

    Oh, God. Barry. The hyperactive, impulsive, rival. Good choice for someone to assist Sam on his quest. Opposites don’t attract, one of them drives the other down a swift path to insanity.
    Honestly, I never thought one way or the other about Barry while playing the games, but I have LOVED writing him, and the reaction to him has generally been positive, so I'm glad I decided to go in that direction. To think I was initially torn between using Barry or Lucas. Pfft.

    If Sam isn’t completely insane by the time this story reaches its conclusion, then I’ll be very impressed.

    Extremely vivid nightmares of a lost sibling that accuse you of being guilty of their plight? And so the insanity begins …

    I literally have nothing bad to say about this chapter, and I’m fine with that. I’d rather focus on the good aspects anyways.

    If I failed to mention it before, this a great story, and I look forward to what the future holds.
    I suppose this will suffice for now, and I promise it won’t take two weeks to get the next part up.

    Knightfall signing off …
    I'm glad you have been enjoying it so far! Hopefully the rest floats your boat, too.


    Sid87's Gen 6 Igloo Shop!

    FC: 3823-9867-2750

  5. #105
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    939

    Default Chapter 13

    Chapter 13: 5 Years Ago

    “Hey! Buddy! Are you supposed to be in charge of this craphole? I was at the Rooftop Cafe, and the vending machine ate my money. You owe me a drink.”

    Tommy must have recognized his brother’s voice, because all he did was shrug and continue counting inventory of weight belts. “Good to know the new Rip-off Idiots feature is working then.” Tommy put his scanning gun down on the counter and finally turned to face Sam. The brothers embraced, with Tommy slapping Sam hard on the back as usual, before he continued, “Don’t you have Advanced Theories of Pokemon Psychology tonight? What are you doing here?”

    “Coach T. said he spoke with Professor Nelson about my being excused from class so I can train for my qualifying match tomorrow.”

    Tommy nodded. “Well, coming to my work and pestering me is pretty strenuous training. I’m certain you have this one all wrapped up.”

    “Man can not survive on pokemon training alone.”

    “That’s cute. Did you learn that in class?”

    “Probably. Let’s go with ‘yes’. Anyway, I was thirsty so I came out here; the machine upstairs really did eat my money.”

    “We really did install a feature to rip-off idiots.” Tommy moved back behind his counter on the fourth floor of the Goldenrod Department Store and began rooting around for something. Tommy had been department manager of that floor--hardware and sporting goods--for a few months now and was expecting a promotion any day now based on the glowing quarterly report he’d just had from his supervisor. Sam knew Tommy secretly wanted to be put in charge of the sixth and seventh floors--pokemon goods, food, and supplies--even if he wouldn’t come right out and say it. Sam had been considering calling Tommy’s boss one of these days and reminding her of all the overtime and hard work Tommy had been putting in, but he also didn’t want to embarrass his sibling or speak out of turn. As Sam mulled over the possibility of calling her some more, Tommy emerged from behind his counter with a bottle of iced tea.

    “Isn’t that yours? That’s the kind we have at home that you pack for lunch.”

    “You know me. If I don’t work through lunch, it’ll be a miracle. Better you have it than I waste it. What with all the vigorous standing around you’re doing in preparation for tomorrow, I’m sure you are working up quite the thirst.”

    Sam bobbed his head slowly, eyes down. “Yeah yeah. I’ll be working on it when I get home. I think some of my teammates are coming over to work on our training in a group.”

    Tommy’s face shined with mock amusement. “Oh, really? I love when you give me no notice whatsoever that I’ll be cooking for a dozen people.”

    “Ha! I told them to eat before they come. See? I was thinking of you.”

    “First time for everything. Hey, can you have Alison save me a seat tomorrow at the stadium? I’ll probably be running late. Opening shift. So you’re on your own for pre-match breakfast.”

    Sam flinched. He felt bad that he hadn’t told his brother yet, but due to Tommy’s heavy schedule at the department store and Sam’s own classload and involvement in the NCPA, it had just never come up until this point. “Oh. Yeah. We broke up. I’m not...we’re not seeing each other anymore.”

    “Wow, you’d been together since last semester.”

    “Yeah, it just kind of--”

    “That’s a long time for her to have just seen you naked for the first time.”

    Sam sputtered a few sounds, but nothing of consequence. Tommy was laughing so hard his eyes were wet. “I hate you,” Sam finally said.

    “I know. And I probably deserve it.” Tommy was still laughing. “So what happened?” Sam shrugged in response, causing Tommy to tilt his head. “Really, a shrug? Did you just turn fourteen again? Use your words.”

    “She thought it’d be easier to date someone who lived on campus.”

    Tommy clapped his hands together and then pointed at Sam. “Didn’t I tell you to live on campus this year? Why doesn’t anyone listen to me? I am full of unused wisdom.”

    “It’s no big deal.”

    “It is a big deal. It’s a big deal. You don’t break up with someone you dated for months and have it not be a big deal. I vaguely remember having relationships. It’s a big deal.”

    Sam was beginning to regret coming to the store after all; Tommy was making him feel worse. It had only been a week since he and Alison had broken up. Tommy was right, even if Sam was trying to downplay it. They’d been together for half of a year, and just like that, she dropped him over what Sam thought was a pretty stupid reason. Tommy may have seen that etched in his brother’s face because he suddenly shifted gears. “How many people are coming over tonight?”

    Sam did the counting in his head and came up with the answer. “Maybe eight?”

    “Are you going to clean up after yourselves?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Yeah, but really?”

    “Really!” Sam shot back. ”We‘ll take care of it.”

    “Thank god, because college-aged boys left to their own devices...I shudder to think of it,” Tommy said with a smile.

    An elbow in his side knocked Sam from his memory. As he glanced around the bus, he was unsure whether he had been sleeping or merely thinking about that day. Most likely, he imagined, he was somewhere between the conscious world and the land of his dreams. Regardless, he hadn’t thought about Alison in quite some time.

    The man next to Sam on the Arcanine Line bus across Sinnoh removed his elbow from Sam’s diaphragm, rolled back over to the opposite side of the seat, and continued his sleep. Sam looked out of the window and saw the beach of Sandgem Town in the distance; he’d finally made it. It had taken two days worth of bus rides, transfers, and waiting around in bus stations--the Oreburgh City stop was not in the most pleasant area of town, and Sam would be happy never to have to spend five hours waiting there again with rough-looking men trying to get him to wager on a card game in the corner of the building--but he’d be at Rowan’s lab in virtually no time at all. He made a mental note to never ride a bus again in his life if he could help it. Bus stations that seemed to be one sideways glance away from erupting in gang violence, cramped seats on the busses themselves that got you either elbowed by a sleeping neighbor or pestered about the health benefits of eating whole garlic by a chatty one, and air conditioning and heating that were spotty at best did not combine for convenient travel. Sam figured next time he’d just hitchhike. It couldn’t possibly be any worse.

    Whether the memory of Tommy had been a dream or just a recollection, his mind drifted back to the day that followed. Sam remembered that he’d lost his match that day, but what he most recalled was that Tommy did end up getting a seat next to Alison Parker. Apparently they chatted about her breakup with Sam and what Tommy would have to do to get her to take him back. When Sam finished his match and left the Whitney Williams Stadium to find his brother, he saw him standing with her, and the two of them were laughing at some joke he had told. Sam was a little befuddled at it all since Alison had been avoiding him since they broke up, but after whatever Tommy and she had spoken about, she kissed Sam on the cheek and assured him that they’d still be friends and that she’d still help him with Johto Agricultural History class (Sam had been having trouble staying awake, much less excelling, in that one). With that, she grabbed the university shuttle back to her dorms and stopped avoiding Sam when he saw her on campus.

    Sam jerked his head upward in attempt to make sure he did not doze off; missing his stop and spending a minute longer than he had to on this bus was the worst torture of which he could dream. He imagined a man being released from a prisoner of war camp and told he could be free if he took a bus back to his home and family across the country; the man would undoubtedly turn around and beg to be allowed back inside the camp.

    The electric sign at the front of the bus flashed “Seventh Avenue”, and Sam got to his feet and prepared to get off the bus. His feet kissed the concrete of the sidewalk, the bus behind him pulled away, and his stomach fluttered about in his chest. Two days since the incident in Snowpoint, and he still had no idea how he would react to Professor Rowan once they were face-to-face. Flipping out on Barry in the heat of the moment was one thing--and Sam was already regretting his behavior there--but confronting the professor was another entirely. Rowan knew Sam and Tommy personally, yet he deceived Sam regardless. Still, Sam knew there was a world of difference between attacking a fit young man in the heat of the moment versus doing so to an older scholar after having time to digest his rage. He walked absent-mindedly down the street, having not even decided how he would respond to the answering of Rowan’s office door when he found himself outside it. Sam shook his head and knocked.

    Rowan answered, his fingers fumbling to open the wrapper of a piece of hard candy as he saw Sam at his doorstep. “Sam Stark! How are you, son? How may I assist you?”

    Sam’s mouth curled, but he still didn’t have any idea what to say. His brain finally relented that at least he should step inside before saying anything. “Mind if I come in, professor?”

    Rowan motioned for Sam to enter as he popped the candy into his mouth. Sam walked past him into the lobby with the plant. Rowan offered a piece of the candy to Sam, but he declined. “Is Barry with you? Will he be joining us?” Sam noticed Rowan was holding the door open and glancing outside for his assistant.

    “Tell me about the Church of Cyrus.”

    Rowan’s head stopped craning to look outside, and he slowly shut his office’s front door. “I expect Barry will not be coming after all,” he said.

    “Not quite.”

    Rowan rolled his eyes slowly. “Sam, Sam. What you must think of me...”

    Sam lifted his hands. “Stop. Don’t want your pity party. Want to know why you lied to me.”

    Rowan appeared ready to scold Sam, but his face dropped and his shoulders heaved. Sam couldn’t tell if it was guilt or not, but the professor seemed to forego whatever was coming and instead began the story of the Church of Cyrus.

    “It was almost a decade ago, Sam, that a man named Cyrus first appeared. It was absolutely nothing at first; he was just some street looney who wandered from town to town with signs about it being the end times. He would stand on street corners and talk to passers-by about the coming end of the world. It got the point where he was just kind of...a thing. News stations would humorously cover where the crazy guy with the sandwich board was today. ‘He’s outside the Hearthome Contest Hall, he’s at the Floaroma Gardens, he’s in Pastoria’s Great Marsh Park’, that kind of thing. He was more of Sinnoh’s adorable mascot than anything else.

    “Then people started listening to him. He’d be in one city, and he’d have followers set up in other locations to help spread his word. His signs became pamphlets which later became small books. People weren’t just listening to him and helping him spread his word; some started donating him money. Even then, it was just a joke. ‘The Church of Cyrus’. All these people who started following around the loudmouth.”

    Rowan tugged on the end of his tie. “Like a lot of people, it was around then that I actually started listening to what Cyrus was saying. It wasn’t some doomsaying prophecy of the world’s end; he was calling for a bringing about of the end! His belief was that there was too much hatred in the world. Our entire human race had succumbed to racism and greed and pride. We as a people, according to him, could never reach our full potential, and those ‘in charge’ (whatever that was supposed to mean) were promoting disdain between the hemispheres so that they could keep all the money and power to themselves. His message was actually that the system was so corrupted from the top down, that the only solution was to literally bring about the end of the world and let our species start over. A World Without Corrupt Emotion. That was what his first book was called. It’ actually what he wanted.”

    Rowan stopped for a moment as if to grant Sam a chance to ask any questions. Sam had none; the story was mildly interesting at best, but all he wanted was for Rowan to get the part where using the legends to cure his brother’s sickness was unacceptable.

    “Yes, so. Cyrus’ plan was to use two of the historical legendary pokemon, Dialga and Palkia, to destroy the world and recreate it in his own image. Now, on this I am telling you the truth: no one has ever seen these two. I honestly have no idea if they exist or not. But Cyrus claimed they spoke to him, that they somehow whispered to him. That should tell you the caliber of man we were dealing with; he was hearing voices and attributing them to mythological pokemon. He claimed that with the power of the guardians of the lakes, he would be able to summon Dialga and Palkia. It was at this point that the Prime Minister contacted me and told me that my Department and I were charged with stopping Cyrus. So I called upon some of the most talented trainers I knew. Two of them were Barry’s parents.

    “Unfortunately,” Rowan rubbed his nose at the word, “I underestimated just how fervent Cyrus’ supporters were. There was a riot when news broke that the government had declared him a threat to national security, and... well, Barry’s parents did not make it back with us. We were able to apprehend Cyrus; he’s been remanded to the care of a psychiatric institution in Veilstone. Barry, meanwhile, I took him in with the assistance of a friend in Twinleaf. I thought I’d never have to use someone close to me in these matters before, but when Barry saw those men at Verity, I think some part of him wanted to live up to his parents’ legacy.”

    Sam crossed his arms. “And you couldn’t have told me all of this when I first came to you?”

    “With the look in your eyes and your determination? Would you have believed me? Would you have cared what I said?”

    “No.” Sam’s statement was unabashedly plain.

    “That’s why. So I figured it was safer to have you go look for yourself and figure that the legends didn’t even exist anymore.”

    Sam tightened his jaw so hard, he felt a sharp pain shoot through his molars from being ground together. “So I came to you for help, and you led me around like a dog on a leash because you think I’m no different than a psychopath who,” Sam laughed at his final words--they were just too ridiculous, “wanted to destroy the world?”

    “Sam--”

    “Oh, until Barry and I saw something strange, and then I was more than good enough to get sent out to do your dirty work.”

    “Sam, listen--”

    “So you sent me and Barry out to die just like you did his parents. I was good enough--”

    Rowan’s fist slammed down hard on his desk, knocking down pictures that had been sitting there of Rowan with various children, shaking hands with colleagues, and with his arm around a woman. “Mr. Stark! Whatever you may think of me, you will not speak to me that way in my office. I will not stand for it.”

    “Righteous indignation doesn’t fit you very well, professor. Not right now.”

    Rowan did not back down; he simply glared into Sam’s eyes. “I would never knowingly put Barry at risk. Never.”

    “Just my brother, right?”

    Rowan sighed. “And what happens with the guardians after you bring him back?”

    “What do you mean?”

    “Just what I said. Say you found them and brought them back to Johto. And say they could even cure your brother. Then what?”

    Sam paused; he had not considered this before. He rubbed his hands together as he thought about what he would do then; he had not realized how sweaty his palms had gotten since his arrival at Rowan’s office. He meant what he told Rowan earlier when they met the first time; he had no interest in the legends. He didn’t want them for himself. “I would let them go. Either let them leave them as they want or bring them back here so they’d be home.”

    “Do you honestly think it would work like that?”

    Sam narrowed his eyes. What was the professor getting at?

    “Once you’ve brought them into society and gave the world irrefutable, visual proof that they exist, do you think they could ever just go on with their lives? Everyone would want them. Crazies like Cyrus would be just the start. Every ambitious trainer in the world would be after them. Even well-meaning folks like yourself. All of you, trifling with forces mankind was never meant to control, for your own personal gain. The legends are able to keep the forces of nature in balance because they are free to do so. Without that peace, who knows what would come of things?”

    “But my brother’d be--”

    Rowan slammed his hand down again. “There is more to life than your brother, Mr. Stark!”

    Sam pursed his lips and gritted his teeth again. This conversation was clearly going nowhere, and Sam knew at that moment what he had to do next anyway. “Not to me, there isn’t”. Before Rowan could issue another word of protest, Sam walked out the front door.

    He had gotten several yards away from Rowan’s laboratory before he felt secure that the professor was not going to follow him and try to continue their discussion. Most likely, he was as exhausted from it as Sam was. Sam couldn’t help but wonder why Barry and Rowan couldn’t see how much Sam needed this. Why were they being so selfish and uncaring? There was a life at stake, and it was apparent that they would do anything in their power not to help save it. If that was the case, Sam would simply get in touch with those he knew would be on his side. As soon as he found a place to stop, he’d make a call to the Phoenix Shipping Corporation. Mr. Alonzo would have to take his call since Sam suddenly knew where to start looking for the guardians.
    Last edited by Sid87; 24th September 2012 at 4:18 PM.


    Sid87's Gen 6 Igloo Shop!

    FC: 3823-9867-2750

  6. #106
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    302

    Default

    As I mentioend early.
    Not everythiy is Black and White. (Or Diamond and Pearl)
    I feel theplot is in a way similar to BW.
    One has a noble purpoe and a pure heart, but becomes insane following his ideals.
    FYI: I think Mr. Alonzo=Cyrus.
    Deranged men pursuing a terrible reality for the hope of a better world.
    They say if you press cntrl and W you get to see the programming of a website after making a signature with 3 ws and 8qs
    Fanfics I like that are still in production: Author's Run, Pokémon emerald the better version

    This the aquabats song awesome forces:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx4sL0w3SHM
    and here is their song shark fighter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3wchrctxFo

    I NEED A BETA READER!
    Check out my fic.
    http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthr...2#post14945242

  7. #107
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    939

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rotomknight View Post
    As I mentioend early.
    Not everythiy is Black and White. (Or Diamond and Pearl)
    I feel theplot is in a way similar to BW.
    One has a noble purpoe and a pure heart, but becomes insane following his ideals.
    FYI: I think Mr. Alonzo=Cyrus.
    Deranged men pursuing a terrible reality for the hope of a better world.
    Do you mean Mr. Alonzo is correlative to to Cyrus, or do you mean he's LITERALLY Cyrus?

    I'd love to tease that along and say "Ho ho ho, I guess we'll see", but I can spoiler enough to say he assuredly is not actually Cyrus. Barry would have recognized him otherwise.


    Sid87's Gen 6 Igloo Shop!

    FC: 3823-9867-2750

  8. #108
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Somewhere in Unova...
    Posts
    950

    Default

    Well...I'm finally here.

    Really liking the story so far. Every chapter ends on either a "oh snap" note or a "what's going to happen next" note. Always important for cliffhangers.

    Barry's inclusion was also fun. Interesting that you gave him all three starters (although, given that he's Rowan's assistant, it makes sense if you think about it). Although, how is Rowan capable of hiding all the Sinnoh legendaries? I'm pretty sure that anything along the lines of Arceus would not be easy to keep captive. XD Maybe to be addressed in a future chapter?

    And now for Sam (who coincidentally shares a last name with Iron Man, although I'm fairly certain that it wasn't intentional XD). When I read that his family referred to his Pokemon as "friends" back in the prologue, my first thought was "wait, N's his father?". After further reading, this was obviously not the case. XD As for Sam himself...I think he's in for a lot more development as the story progresses. He wants to use the Lake Trio to restore his brother to life, but said Lake Trio has been hidden out of society's eyes. Given Rowan's dialogue in chapter 13, Sam appears to be playing with fire right now.

    So, now I'm caught up at chapter 13, and Sam is on his lonely quest for the Lake Trio. The plot SEEMS predictable at this point: Sam eventually finds legends, must make choice to use or not to use, etc. There's been a decent amount of twists up to this point, however (examples being Sam owning Vlam, Alonzo ratting on Rowan, etc.), so I may be completely wrong. Well, we'll all find out eventually. XD

    What will happen next in chapter 14? Hmm...given Sam's current situation, it should be interesting. I eagerly await the upcoming chapter.
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  9. #109
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    939

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Morpher01 View Post
    Really liking the story so far. Every chapter ends on either a "oh snap" note or a "what's going to happen next" note. Always important for cliffhangers.
    Yeah, I sometimes think I overdo it with those, but darn it, I enjoy ending things like that.

    Barry's inclusion was also fun. Interesting that you gave him all three starters (although, given that he's Rowan's assistant, it makes sense if you think about it). Although, how is Rowan capable of hiding all the Sinnoh legendaries? I'm pretty sure that anything along the lines of Arceus would not be easy to keep captive. XD Maybe to be addressed in a future chapter?
    It's addressed directly in the VERY NEXT chapter, which has been written for a few days. I'm just waiting in posting it since, like, NONE of my regular readers commented on last chapter. I think I drove them all away.

    And now for Sam (who coincidentally shares a last name with Iron Man, although I'm fairly certain that it wasn't intentional XD). When I read that his family referred to his Pokemon as "friends" back in the prologue, my first thought was "wait, N's his father?". After further reading, this was obviously not the case. XD As for Sam himself...I think he's in for a lot more development as the story progresses. He wants to use the Lake Trio to restore his brother to life, but said Lake Trio has been hidden out of society's eyes. Given Rowan's dialogue in chapter 13, Sam appears to be playing with fire right now.
    It actually IS intentional. I needed a last name for Sam, so I looked up at my DVD collection and saw Iron Man. Heh. Actually, I've snuck quite a few comic surnames into the story so far. A regular comic book fan would have noticed that in the chapter where I told the history of the Century War, all the Prime Ministers or Premiers referred to by name were named after Green Lanterns. [Hal] Jordan, [Kyle] Rayner, [Alan] Scott, [John] Stewart, and [Guy] Gardner.

    I actually hadn't thought about the correlation to N before. Interesting pick up, but yeah, there's nothing there.

    What will happen next in chapter 14? Hmm...given Sam's current situation, it should be interesting. I eagerly await the upcoming chapter.
    I'll probably post it this weekend. I'm several pages into chapter 15 already as it is.

    I'll be getting into Proving Grounds soon, too. It's one of two stories here I want to get a start on hopefully this weekend.


    Sid87's Gen 6 Igloo Shop!

    FC: 3823-9867-2750

  10. #110

    Default

    ive been waiting so long for the next chapter dude POST IT.
    My Firered Team: My Emerald Team:
    My Platinum Team: My Heartgold Team:
    My White Team: My (planned) White 2 Team:
    My (planned) Black 2 Team:



    Name: Fox


    Quote Originally Posted by Bsugarhigh View Post
    Emolga should evolve into MEANmolga a BIG muscular pokemon that gets dynamic punch.

  11. #111
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Saltus Valley
    Posts
    522

    Default

    Review time again. Let’s get started.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Chapter 7: Present Day
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    His feet came down so hard and so quickly, he almost trampled a family of Bidoof who weren‘t aware of his presence until nearly too late.
    I like the detail in that sentence. Poor Bidoof, they get no love.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Sam tried to imagine whatever creature was making the mechanical beeping noise being intimidated by his flannel sweatpants and white tank top, but it seemed all-too-unlikely. Somewhere in his haste, he had lost one of his knitted slippers, and he tried to calculate if having one was any more ridiculous than either having both or just being barefoot. He settled on kicking the other one off to match his bare feet; he could recover the socks when they came back around the lake.
    Again, loving the amount of detail in this, and Sam’s concerns of anything being intimidated by his pajamas are just funny.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “Professor Rowan, hey it’s me. Did you get the pictures I sent you?...Good...Yeah, they’re just here at the north side of the lake...So did you recognize the emblem on...Phoenix Shipping Corporation?...No, I never heard of it...” Sam’s eyes shot back-and-forth between Barry and the workers by their equipment. It seemed impossible that they could hear Barry at this distance, but what if they could? Were they allowed to be here while this crew was working? Barry’s conversation continued, “Well that doesn’t sound so bad...No, he’s right here with me, he doesn’t seem to know these guys...Yeah, I believe him. I am not particularly suspicious of guys who whimper in their sleep...Do we have permission to?...Awesome...Oh, you know I can, but what about--CHRIST!”
    I wonder if Barry even took a breath at all, knowing him, probably not. And subliminally making fun of Sam in that dialogue was pretty creative, I didn’t see it until a little while ago when I read it again. (when he says Sam whimpers in his sleep)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “Those idiots. Look, Sam, I know you’re here to see Mesprit or whatever, but I might need your help, and you’d be doing Professor Rowan a favor, too. You want to come help me stop some unlicensed construction?”
    Hmm, interesting way to start off the secondary conflict in the plot. That’s all I have to say about it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Barry pulled two of his pokeballs out of his pocket. They were plain red-and-white pokeballs, the cheap kind that were generally so undependable that they were used almost exclusively to catch fresh, defenseless hatchlings. “Follow my lead.”
    Hmm, well that explains why every time an egg hatches the Pokemon is always caught in a standard ball.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    He was not as thickly built as Sam imagined construction workers to be, but maybe with so many machines and explosives doing the work, he did not need to be. “Hey, kids. This is not a playground, there are dangerous stuff at work here. I am sorry if we did startle you, but you are going to have to get go from here.” The man’s imperfect speech and accent seemed to confirm what Sam already suspected.
    Hurray for broken English, or Sinnish, whatever their native language is called.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “Hey! I can’t understand that! That’s...really unfair.” Sam found that he was pointing an accusing finger at the foreigner. Sideburns shouted another mystery order, but this time, Sam had his bearings more together. “Bree, fly up! Just...stay away from it!”
    In Sideburn’s defense, Sam and Barry did just come up out of nowhere and start destroying their machines, and it’s a fight, it doesn’t have to be fair.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Hariyama’s right leg whipped around to kick Bree, but she had managed to narrowly avoid the impact by flying several feet into the air. “Yeah, you can yell all the gibberish you want now, but your fatty ninja pokemon can’t fly, so why don’t you calm down? We just asked to see your license and paperwork!” Sideburns scowled in response and let out another roar that did not sound like the friendly invitation to drink coffee and sort this all out that Sam had hoped for.
    Another scene that made me laugh. You know, for a person who’s on a quest to heal his only remaining family member, Sam’s got a decent sense of humor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “Do you yield?” Sam had no idea why he barked those words, but he had to admit to himself: it sounded really good. Sideburns recalled his Hariyama and took three hesitating steps backwards. When it seemed that Sam and Bree were not pursuing him, he turned and rushed off into the woods. Sam noticed the rest of his group must have already fled there; it was now just Sam, Barry, their pokemon, and some wrecked machinery.

    “Really? ‘Do you yield’? That’s the direction you decided to go there?”
    That is exactly the question I was thinking. Interesting choice of words, but odd at the same time.

    Nothing erroneous with this chapter that I saw. Loved all the humor that you put into the dialogue and the battle against Sideburns.
    Anyways, moving on.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Chapter 8: Six Years Ago...
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “Yeah right. And what happens while I’m gone? You sit around and talk to yourself until you go crazy? Or you finally start working the ten hours a week you don’t already and drive yourself into the ground? Face it, you don’t know where you’d be without me.”
    Even though you haven’t specified the exact cause of Tommy’s stroke, I’m going to assume it was stress or something of that nature. If it is stress, then Sam’s question is a good foreshadowing (since this is in the past).

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “I’d be neck-deep in women is where I’d be. Without the oh-so-sexy declaration of ‘No, baby. We can’t go back to my place. My kid brother is up watching pro wrestling’, I’d be solid gold.”
    Again, loving the sarcastic humor of this story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “What if I can’t do it?” He instantly felt ashamed at having to speak loudly enough for Tommy to hear him. Any of the other kids milling about campus could just have heard him, and what if he had to share classes with them this year? They’d remember him as that whiny freshman who can’t hack it.

    “Can’t do what? Stop at an intersection? I’d kind of hope that’d be a skill you’d have mastered by now...”
    Oh, Tommy, too bad you’re in a coma because I like your sense of humor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “Are you even listening? Does senility really hit this early?”
    Only when someone’s traveling with you Barry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    If Sam were to put it crudely, he figured he must have lost 5 pounds just from regurgitating into their cabin washroom.
    Lovely description. Ugh, seasickness, I can sort of relate since I have a similar problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “Really? Wuss. It’s just some water. Look,” Barry started doing jumping jacks on the deck of the ship. “See? I’m fine.” He kept going. Jumping. Up and down. Up and down. Up and--

    “Oh god, please stop that!”
    If you keep this up, this entire review will just be me pointing out all the funny parts in these chapters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “Better be. By the way, while you were ignoring me, I was trying to show you the herd of Wailmers along the side of the ferry. Too bad we aren’t allowed to catch them from here, though.”

    “Do Wailmers really come in a ‘herd’?”

    Barry shrugged. “What would it be then?”
    I’m not sure what it’d be called either. I know a group of whales are called a pod, so maybe it’s the same for Wailmer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    It was an awful town as Sam remembered it. The air constantly smelled of dead fish no matter where you went, and the boardwalk was loaded with garish, tourist-trap souvenir shops trying to sell sweatshirts with pictures of Krabby or the Olivine Lighthouse on them. The lighthouse seemed to account for all of the town’s history; apparently it was a big deal twenty years ago when it had to be physically moved backwards into the shore a few hundred yards due to the erosion of the land by water over time. It was all anyone talked about when he had visited. The ships coming in and out of the docks were loud and obnoxious, and the huge crane devices propped on the water’s edge to assist with removing cargo were a tremendous eyesore. Even thinking just these details about Olivine was enough to ball Sam’s fists, but at least he’d stopped thinking about the water.
    Marvelous description of Olivine, I can almost smell the smell of decaying fish.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Sam cursed Rowan for sending Barry on such an errand, and then then he cursed himself for not just letting them dig their own graves without involving him.
    An error? Can it really be? It’s been so long since I last saw one…. Anyways, “then” is repeated twice in a row.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    They were halfway between the ferry dock and the Phoenix building when it finally occurred to Sam to ask the most rhetorical question he imagined he’d ever ponder. “You don’t really have a plan for what to do when we get there, do you?”

    “Nope. Just gonna play this by ear.”

    “Okay, yes. Tell me, what is your ear playing right now?”

    Barry scratched his chin with his index finger. “Hm. Walk in. Find the receptionist or accountant or CEO or whoever’s at the front desk. Say ‘why were those guys performing illegal construction at Lake Verity?’ in a very menacing voice. Get answers.”

    “Yep, that’s pretty good. But how about instead of that, we do anything else?”
    That is almost exactly the response I expected. Oh course, Barry doesn’t have a plan, but luckily Sam is here to save the day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “We ask the legal team why the Phoenix Shipping Corporation would be performing illegal drilling and construction on government-protected land, and why they responded to queries about their licensing with violence.” Sam pulled his hands up to his chest in an innocent manner. “We explain that we are sure it is just a misunderstanding as to how they ended up there, and perhaps their employees were just startled by our presence, but we are required to report back to Secretary Rowan with answers on this matter regardless. We make it seem like it’s all a big inconvenience, and we want to help them clear it up as quickly as--”

    “We’re going to sneak onto a boat.”
    Interesting insight into the government structure of Sinnoh, and I never thought about the regional Professors having a government position, but that makes perfect sense.

    And I just love how Barry completely ignored Sam’s rational plan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Sam was not quite sure how he stifled his screams as he was heaved upwards and then landed on the metal deck with his back, but he had. He would have never imagined Monferno had that kind of power in him. Moments after Sam’s landing came Barry’s; it was equally graceless, but he seemed less disturbed by it than Sam had been. They both sprang up to their feet; Sam did it to look around and ensure no one saw them, while Barry did so to withdraw Monferno back to the safety of its ball from its spot on the docks. Sam saw no one, but he still didn’t want to take a chance. He pointed to an array of crates, and the two of them ran to conceal themselves in it. As they got there, they felt the cargo boat pulling away from the dock. Whether it was the superior plan or not didn’t matter now; they were on their way to Acuity.
    Pretty good ending. A drastic change in plans from what they had originally planned on doing, but it adds to the intrigue of what Phoenix Shipping Co. plans on doing at the lakes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Chapter 9: Present Day
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Sam considered that this was not a great idea given that he had no way of knowing when any of the Phoenix Corporation crew might need to come out onto the deck, and so it went that she would start moving towards the edge of the crates where Sam and Barry had concealed themselves and Sam would have to issue the most stern whisper he could muster to get the Shinx to come pouting back to his side. This would last for a few minutes at best before she would start testing his attention again by creeping towards the opening that lead to the deck.
    He’s just now considering that this plan is a bad idea?
    Sick, hungry, and cold on a cargo ship, yeah, awesome idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Was that all it was? Regardless of the reason, Barry nodded without an answer to his question and went back to making sure his energetic Monferno wasn’t about to set the crates about them on fire with his tail flame.
    Ah, the dangers of having a tail flame. Leo knows them all too well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Sam still couldn’t believe the cargo was so brazenly labeled. The Acuity Project. What would an international shipping company be doing running around the lakes of Sinnoh?
    The question of the ages.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “NO!” Sam shouted. On pure instinct, he rushed to the edge of the ship, grabbed a life vest that hung there, and threw it into the sea as close to the man as he could. “Grab it!” Sam yelled, pointing at the vest. He was as relieved as he could ever remember being in his life when he saw the shivering figure make it to the safety device. “Are you psychotic, Barry?”

    “What are you talking about? That’s basic problem-solving there.”

    “That guy could die out there! The water here’s got to be about thirty-three degrees, and who knows how close to land we are. We’ve got to try to save him.”
    Nice to see that Sam has a touch of humanity, trying to prevent that foreigner from making like the Titanic’s passagners. Hypothermia: it’s a cold-hearted killer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Barry was rash--there’s a good chance he hadn’t thought about his actions when he ordered his friend to deal with the crew member. He must have locked up when Sam presented him with the reality of what could have happened.
    He didn’t think it through? Wow, surprising. I know I’m giving Barry a lot of flack, but I really like his character.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    The man who was speaking was surprisingly clean of facial hair, and he appeared to be very large. It was hard to say if he was as big as he appeared due to all the warm layers he was wearing. Snow pants, a padded coat like the other man’s, and a ski cap added to his size. He had the same accent that Sam remembered from Sideburns.
    No facial hair? At least he’s trying to break the mold and be different.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    The Phoenix Corportation pokemon were being ordered to attack.
    Corporation, you’ve got one too many “t”s in there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Out of the corner of his eye, Sam saw Monferno rush away from the Lotad it was engaged with and knock the Lairon onto its side with right fist that ignited in a blaze upon impact. Lairon let out a shrill, metallic screech as it tried to get back to its feet; its frantic movements signified how much the fire punch had hurt it. Barry’s Monferno extended its left hand and pulled Sam back up to his feet. Monferno made a throaty, joyful noise which Sam acknowledged with a nod and then bounded back to the ground fray against Lotad. Sam glanced up to see that the avian pokemon had taken advantage of both Sam’s distraction and its speed advantage; it was striking fast with stiff shots from its wings. Butterfree was still aloft, but it was dazed and hurt. Sam decided to take a note from Lairon's playbook and give the Swellow something else to think about for a few moments.
    Again, wonderful description of the battle. There’s plenty of other examples of this, but this one I found particularly good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “Barry! This isn’t working out super well for us! Please tell me you’ve got a back-up plan.”

    Just a few feet away, Barry nodded and recalled Monferno into its pokeball. “Use a surf attack, Prinplup. As hard as you can, buddy!”
    When I first read this, I had a feeling of what a Surf in the middle of the ocean would look like.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “Oh god," he muttered in Barry's direction. "What did you do?”

    Barry turned, presumably to ask Sam what he was talking about, but he didn’t even need to get any words out; it was impossible to miss what Sam had seen. An enormous wave was barreling towards them, having formed several dozen yards out in the ocean. It had to have been the result of Prinplup’s surf attack. With the whole ocean and the force of the water and wind behind it, the wave attack had reached massive proportions. And it was bearing down on the ship. Sam figured the crew had to have seen it by that point, too, but he was too mesmerized by it to check them.
    That scene was perfect. I don’t know why when something that life threatening is about to hit, all you can do is stare. I wonder why that is.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    If he exhaled now, he was finished. A thousand lights flickered against the backdrop of his eyelids, and consciousness was becoming just a memory as the cargo box continued to ride him to the bottom of the sea.
    This has got to be the most dramatic cliffhanger yet, no doubt about it. I applaud your writing skills, the battle was great, and the back-up plan was clever.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Chapter 10
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    He set his dishtowel on the rack next to the sink and turned the knobs to the stop the water pressure, but the water didn’t let up; he tried again, but the knob just spun loosely in his hand. The water was unstoppably filling the sink, and he knew soon it would fill his home. The drain wouldn’t be able to handle the deluge, and it would overflow and fill the kitchen and then the living room and then whole house and then his lungs—
    Ah, it’s a dream sort of thing. I see.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “Hey, Tommy. You can’t do that. You’re in a coma; you have to take it easy.”

    “Am I?” Tommy asked, looking down at his hands and then up his forearms. “Am I in a coma?”

    Sam nodded.

    “I don’t feel like I’m in a coma. I think I’m dead. Is that why you can see me? Am I dead?”

    “You might be.” It did make sense to Sam. If Tommy was dead, then that would explain why he could see and talk to his older brother.
    Wait, what? I am now thoroughly confused…

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Sam agreed. Now that his brother was dead and awake, Sam could start going to school again. He would tell Miah Vanderbelt that Tommy came back to him, and no one in Miah’s family would do that for Miah. That would really get him good.
    ………………………

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87

    “Is it washing away your sin?”

    “What sin? What are you--”

    Sam’s words were cut off by Tommy’s hands around his neck. His brother’s face was flush with red now, and his pupils were tiny. His blonde hair was completely disheveled. Arched eyebrows punctuated his rage. “You forgot about me!”
    ………………………………………………………………………………

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    When Sam’s eyes opened again, he immediately realized he had no idea how long it had been since he was awake the last time. The fluorescent bulbs gave no hint of the daylight (or lack thereof, Sam pondered) outside. Another hospital room full of artificial light and artificial life; Sam’s body shuddered.
    All right, Sam has returned to the realm of the living. Wow, that dream/hallucination scene was trippy. Well done with that. When I first read that, I couldn’t really summon any kind of reaction. I didn’t know whether to be scared, or something else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87

    “Think nothing of it. Hey, did you catch that part where I oh-so-subtly hinted that my Prinplup evolved after all this? It was awesome! I mean, he did beat, like, fifteen pokemon at once. Oh, and you. He beat you, too, I guess.”
    I would think that destroying an entire cargo ship would qualify for evolution.
    I love the humor in this story, even though it’s meant to be serious.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    He found only the warm skin of his thigh, uncovered by his hospital gown under the bed sheets. “Where are my balls?”

    Barry froze, his tongue caught beneath his teeth, staring at Sam reaching downwards under his sheets. A smile spread across his lips. “... Heh heh...”

    “My friends!” Sam corrected, the thought of what he just said dawning on him. “The balls with Bree, Vlam, and Chispa. Where are those?”

    Barry pointed to a tall, narrow closet next to the restroom door. “You had them secured. They’re with your clothes in there.”
    Oh, Barry. What are we going to do with you (though I know what happens in a few chapters)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Thank god, Sam thought.
    Italics, maybe? You suggested the same thing for me, and it differentiates between the text and thoughts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    “The good thing in all this is that those guys aren’t making it to Lake Acuity. So that part turned out well, right? I guess we can let Rowan know that we put a stop to them in that regard, (let’s not tell him how, though). I wonder if we should think about heading to Lake Valor next and see what the odds are that they’ve got guys working there by now...”
    Yeah, I don’t think Rowan would be excited in knowing that you destroyed potentially millions of dollars worth of cargo.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87

    He imagined his family’s last name would be on every insurance company’s blacklist for the next three generations. We’re sorry Mr. Stark, an insurance company would tell his hypothetical son, but apparently car accidents, strokes, and falling in the ocean are all pre-existing conditions in your family.
    I laughed here; you always know when to put the funny into the story.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87
    Lawyer’s advice? What was going on here? “I’m sorry, sir; I’m a little confused. I must have missed your name...”

    The man blinked slowly and bobbed his head. “No, I’m afraid I forgot to give it. My apologies. I am Henrique Alonzo. I am the President of Phoenix Shipping Corporation.”
    In walks the man that you just cost millions of dollars in damages, what will you do now, Mr. Stark?

    Anyways, an excellent batch of chapters. I always look forward to reading the next installment, because it’s that great to read.

    Not much by way of errors in these chapters, a drastic decrease in what the earlier chapters had.
    I hope to (hopefully) be all caught up by the end of the next review, then I can spend more time on the individual chapter.

    Knightfall signing off …

  12. #112
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    939

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Knightfall View Post
    Hurray for broken English, or Sinnish, whatever their native language is called.
    I think I just recently referred to it in chapter 15 as "Kantoan". Kantoan and Hoennese are the two primary world languages.


    An error? Can it really be? It’s been so long since I last saw one…. Anyways, “then” is repeated twice in a row.
    Derp. Fixed.


    Ah, the dangers of having a tail flame. Leo knows them all too well.


    This has got to be the most dramatic cliffhanger yet, no doubt about it. I applaud your writing skills, the battle was great, and the back-up plan was clever.
    Thank you for this, as well as the rest of your kind compliments through the review. I'm glad you are enjoying the story so far. Hopefully that keeps up!

    All right, Sam has returned to the realm of the living. Wow, that dream/hallucination scene was trippy. Well done with that. When I first read that, I couldn’t really summon any kind of reaction. I didn’t know whether to be scared, or something else.
    Did you ever realize that nothing in dreams really makes sense if you think about it? The scene shifts, the very things going on change, and things that are utter nonsense make perfect sense to you in the dream? I was going for that effect.





    Being laid off from my job has led to my having a lot of extra time to write. I've been sitting on Chapter 14 for a few days now, but I figured I'd just post it. Chapter 15 is going to be HUGE by my typical standards (most of my chapters have been 5 pages in AbiWord before double-spacing the paragraphs. Chapter 15 is already about 5 pages long, and I'm less than halfway through what all I want to get done there. Woo! I really like Chapter 15 and have been looking forward to it for a long time. That said, I thought I might as well post Chapter 14 while I'm tearing through 15. Enjoy!





    Chapter 14

    Sam rubbed the bridge of his nose between his forefinger and thumb. Apparently, it was nearly impossible to call the offices of a worldwide corporation and just speak directly to the President. Receptionists were hesitant to put a call through to his phone, if they even had that ability at all. It was fast becoming Sam’s experience that they would be more than happy to transfer him. First there was another, equally-unhelpful, receptionist, then the disinterested floor manager, and then, most recently, some idiot in an office with a nonsense job title.

    “This is Alberto Rivera, Secretary of Domestic Relations and Image. How can I help you this afternoon, sir?”

    Sam sighed audibly. “Mr. Alonzo. I want to speak to Henrique Alonzo.”

    “I’m sure I can help you out, sir. Why don’t you go ahead and tell me who you are and what your concerns are with the Phoenix Shipping Corporation today?”

    I think I know where the guardians of the Sinnoh lakes are, and I was hoping Mr. Alonzo and I could go check it out so that we can save my sick brother and possibly countless other individuals all across the world, Sam thought but did not say. Instead, he suppressed a grumble in his throat. “Look, I don’t even know what 'domestic relations and image’ is. My name is Sam Stark. If you just get a hold of his cell phone and let him know I need to speak to him, that will--”

    “I’m sure Mr. Alonzo would be pleased to speak to you, sir, but he is regrettably unavailable. In the meantime, I really think I can help you out. Why don’t you go ahead and tell me what your concerns are. Did we lose a package of yours?”

    Sam smacked the receiver end of his cell phone off his forehead three times before closing his eyes and reminding himself to try to remain calm. “No, you did not lose a package,” Sam spoke very slowly, picturing Mr. Rivera as a small child who couldn’t grasp large, intricate ideas. “Mr. Alonzo knows me. We are acquaintances. He is probably even expecting my call.”

    “I’m sure he is,” Alberto Rivera replied. Sam could somehow hear the Secretary of Domestic Relations and Image rolling his eyes. “But, as I said, I can not contact him at the moment. If you feel I can not accommodate your needs in a satisfactory manner, I’ll tell you what I can do...”

    “NO!--”

    “...I will just transfer...”

    “DON’T YOU--”

    “...you down the hall to...”

    “I don’t want to be transferred again!”

    “...the head of our Communications department...”

    Sam let out a very primal yell as he pressed the End Call button on his phone as vengefully as he could. He rued modern technology for taking away the old-fashioned ability to slam a handset down into its cradle.

    Having wasted almost half an hour on the phone call to nowhere, Sam pondered his next move. His rental car was probably still parked at the ferry station across the strait from Canalave, but Sam could barely stand the idea of retrieving it. Rowan had gotten the car for him, and that last thing Sam wanted now was to depend on anything having to do with that man. It had been a few days since Snowpoint by this time, and Sam had no idea if Henrique was still there. Still, it was the only lead he had left. Sam turned his phone back on and searched for the number for Snowpoint Resort. He pressed the number when it showed on his phone’s screen.

    “Is Henrique Alonzo still available?” Sam asked the lady who answered his call. She placed Sam on hold; with any luck, Mr. Alonzo was still there. If not, Sam’s next best idea was camp out in the middle of the Phoenix Corporation office floor in Canalave until someone put him in touch with their president.

    “This is Mr. Alonzo,” the voice on the other end responded. Sam recognized it and was immediately both relieved and frustrated. He was relieved, of course, that he had gotten through; he was frustrated that he wasted so much time trying to navigate the maze of Mr. Alonzo’s employees before calling the resort.

    “Mr. Alonzo, thank goodness you are still at the resort. This is Sam, Sam Stark.”

    “Yes, Mr. Stark. Good to hear from you. And, yes, I am afraid the resort has asked me to stay until after my suite’s front door has been repaired. To make sure my security deposit covers the damages.”

    Sam swallowed and decided it best to steer the conversation away from that topic. No good could come of acknowledging that. “Yeah, hm. I was wondering if you would be able to meet me at the World Pokemon League stadium in Canalave City. There’s a match there this weekend.”

    There was a pause on the other end of the line, then finally, “I am certain I could, yes. But why would you want to meet with me there? Or even at all?”

    “I have information you might want. I think I know where the legends could be.”

    ---

    Three days later, Sam found himself getting more invested in a WPL match than he had been in over a year. On the field, a young man named Alabaster was readying his Kadabra for battle against a World Pokemon League veteran named Cornelius and his Rhydon. Both men were down to their last friend, and the battle had already been raging for over thirty minutes. Sam figured that Alabaster’s Kadabra’s psychic abilities would enable to stay out of range of the upright rhinoceros’ brutal attacks, but he also knew Rhydon probably only needed to get lucky once for the match to be over.

    Sam had long forgotten how much he enjoyed the WPL--both watching it and participating in it. Over the course of the last year, his entire life had been dedicated to caring for Tommy and finding a doctor who could offer a more promising prognosis. Sam must have forfeited dozens of matches in that time, and he certainly did not have it in him to sit down and watch a battle and let it remind him of what he was missing. This day was different, though; Sam was as close to the end of this tunnel as he had been since he began his undertaking. Nothing was set in stone, no, but he finally had a solid lead. He knew that he had been hopeful before, but that was when he was being deceived by others. This time, he had started figuring things out on his own. He just needed resources and manpower.

    That was where Henrique Alonzo came in. If anyone had not only the resources that Sam required but also the drive to help Sam achieve his goal, it was the president of the Phoenix Corporation. Sam had been feeling so giddy over the possibility that he even agreed to buy Mr. Alonzo a ticket to the matches and leave it at will-call so they would have seats together. The match between Alabaster and Cornelius was the first of the afternoon, so there was still plenty of time for Mr. Alonzo to show up. Confident in this, Sam allowed himself to keep enjoying the match.

    On the field, the orange-and-brown humanoid Kadabra twirled its spoon around in his clawed hand. It had thus far seemed content to hang back and force the gray, rock-skinned Rhydon to initiate combat. Cornelius seemed too clever for this tactic, though, and had Rhydon steadily waiting rather than attacking half-cocked. Despite the excitement of the opening minutes of the match, the crowd was growing restless at the timidity both pokemon were displaying. Sam knew firsthand that a vocal and unhappy crowd could really affect an inexperienced trainer’s concentration and ability to stay on-point. He focused his attention on Alabaster to check him for any signs of wilting under the pressure of the audience, and, sure enough, the younger trainer was wrinkling his nose and sweating hard. He was, perhaps, getting as annoyed at the crowd as they were at him. Conversely, Cornelius’ face betrayed no signs of frustration as he kept his eyes focused on the Kadabra’s movements. Sam heard Alabaster call out to Kadabra to try a psybeam attack, and Cornelius yelled back for Rhydon to dig a hole underneath its own feet. Kadabra closed its eyes in concentration and thrust out its palms while Rhydon smashed its thick fist into the ground beneath it. The battlefield beneath Rhydon erupted in a cloud of debris, dust, and rubble as the audience, Alabaster, and Kadabra all lost sight of it. As the dust faded, there was a large hole in the ground where the rhinoceros had previously been standing, and Rhydon was nowhere to be seen.

    “Oh man. Sucker,” Sam chuckled aloud.

    “Do you suppose so?”

    Sam glanced to the voice from over his right shoulder and saw Henrique standing there. Figuring it would be the proper thing to do, Sam stood and shook the man’s hand. It couldn‘t hurt to butter him up a bit.

    “Good to see you got the ticket I left you.”

    “Yes, this is interesting. I haven’t sat in the crowd in ages. I usually get box seats when I come to these.”

    “Oh,” Sam said while nodding. He felt an odd mixture of embarrassment and anger that someone would so flippantly imply the seats were not up to his usual standards, but Sam decided to swallow those feelings. He motioned back to the arena. “Do you not suppose the Kadabra just fell into the Rhydon’s trap?”

    “I think that trying to hide from a psychic is a foolish idea.”

    Sam couldn’t help but agree that it made sense, but it also came down to just how effective the psychic was. From the battlefield, Sam heard Alabaster call out for a telekinesis attack from Kadabra. The ground rumbled for several seconds before the hidden Rhydon was pulled up just feet away from Kadabra. As Rhydon emerged from the ground and was lifted into the air, it seemed to struggle against an unseen force moving it against its will. Rhydon hovered above the broken ground for a moment and then was slammed chest first into the battlefield by the invisible power. The battle was far from over, but both Sam and Cornelius had learned not to underestimate the fresh-faced trainer and his Kadabra.

    “As much as I enjoy a good pokemon league match, I do believe you called me here with,” Mr. Alonzo smacked his lips, “somewhat more pressing matters.”

    “Yeah, and I figured we should meet in public this time.”

    “Fewer doors for you to destroy?”

    “I’m sure I could find some if that would make you feel better.” Sam would let Mr. Alonzo think the meeting was public for whatever reason he wanted; Sam knew it was because he was not yet sure if he could trust Henrique.

    “I think we will have to pass on that. To the point, I am curious how you suddenly have information on where...,” Henrique looked around at the crowd. As engrossed in the match as they were, he seemed to want to ensure no one around understood the subject at hand, “...where they could be.”

    “Simple deduction, really,” Sam answered as the crowd let out a unanimous gasp around them. Rhydon had just barely missed Kadabra with a horn attack. “Rowan is incredibly forceful about protecting them, especially since the whole Cyrus thing. So he took them and hid them away, right?”

    “I already know this, Mr. Stark.”

    “But follow along here. The trio themselves... they don’t really know any better. They are just pokemon, after all. Their base instinct is always going to be to return to the lakes. That’s their homes; it’s all they know. But, as you’ve already found out, they aren’t there.”

    “So the professor put them elsewhere; I already know this.”

    “But why haven’t they returned, is what I’m saying. It’s because he had to leave them with someone. Someone who would guard them and convince them to stay. And for him to do that...”

    “It would have to be someone the professor trusts. Someone close to him.”

    Sam snapped his fingers. “That’s right. It dawned on me when I was at his office and saw his desk. There were pictures of him with his nieces and nephews and with some friends and possibly with a...,” Sam stopped as he thought about the next word. Girlfriend? Sounds immature for a man of Rowan’s stature. Lover? Sam shuddered at that thought. Finally, he came up with an alternative. “A paramour.”

    A roar erupted from the crowd, and Sam looked down at the battle to see Rhydon had finally connected with some attack; Kadabra was down on all fours and wincing in obvious agony.

    Mr. Alonzo was apparently oblivious to this excitement. “How is this helpful? We don’t know where these people are.”

    “The family shouldn’t be that hard to find. Professor Rowan is a public figure, so someone’s got to know where his sisters live. His friends, well okay; that will be a bit harder, but still workable. The ladyfriend of his, though, she’s got to live at a higher elevation. There was fog in the background of the picture, and I think I saw a pretty obvious mountainside view.”

    “Celestic Town,” Mr. Alonzo mused.

    Sam shrugged his shoulders. “If you say so. I haven’t studied the whole region.”

    “So why are you telling me this? You certainly have not seemed like my biggest fan up until now. Now that you know what I stand for, do you see I have everyone’s best interests at heart?”

    “Your ‘best interests’ can go blow,” Sam stated, shaking his head. “I came to you because you have the resources and the desire to help me meet the trio. We get their help, first thing is first, and that’s that I help my brother.” Sam was not sure Mr. Alonzo even knew anything about Tommy other than from the fit Sam had on Barry back in Snowpoint. “After that, I don’t care if you bring them back home or making everyone happy all the time or dress them up in doll clothes. Doesn’t matter to me.”

    Sam stared expectantly at Mr. Alonzo who seemed in no hurry to respond. Sam, feeling particularly proud of the posturing he had just done, turned his attention back to the field. Rhydon was shaking its head in either frustration or agony; the Kadabra was recovered and back on its feet several yards away. Sam assumed a full-on psychic attack was being executed from across the distance and wished Bree had the mental prowess to be able to unleash her psychic attack from so far away. Cornelius yelled out for Rhydon to attempt an earthquake attack, and the large, grey pokemon responded by jumping as far off the ground as it could and slamming both of its feet into the battlefield. The resulting shockwaves knocked Alabaster’s Kadabra from its feet. Sam thought that perhaps distance was overrated after all.

    “So what do you think we should do from here?”

    “Well, if you think the one place was Celestic Town, let’s start there. Set me up with one of your little excavation crews. We’ll get a sense of whether they’re there or not--hopefully with 100% less blowing-crap-up than your men have enjoyed in the past--and get in touch with you on how to proceed if they are. If they aren’t, we’ll move on to the next place he might have stashed them. While we’re searching, you can use your contacts to figure out where that next place might be.”

    Mr. Alonzo nodded. He seemed as if he were about to reply when the crowd burst out in cheers. After a hard-fought battle, Kadabra was declared by the judges to be unable to continue battling. Cornelius won the battle. Mr. Alonzo smiled at the result and turned to Sam. “A good lesson, I think. No matter how young, enthusiastic, and driven a competitor is, he’ll always lose out when he challenges someone older with more experience.”

    Sam wrinkled his nose and said nothing.

    “Come to my building tomorrow, Mr. Stark. We’ll set you up with a team and get you on your way to Celestic.” Mr. Alonzo bowed pulled himself out of the seat and bowed his head. “Have a good evening until then.”
    Last edited by Sid87; 24th September 2012 at 4:19 PM.


    Sid87's Gen 6 Igloo Shop!

    FC: 3823-9867-2750

  13. #113
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    302

    Default

    Excellent...
    Is mr. Alonzo heroic or evil, or grey.
    They say if you press cntrl and W you get to see the programming of a website after making a signature with 3 ws and 8qs
    Fanfics I like that are still in production: Author's Run, Pokémon emerald the better version

    This the aquabats song awesome forces:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx4sL0w3SHM
    and here is their song shark fighter: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3wchrctxFo

    I NEED A BETA READER!
    Check out my fic.
    http://www.serebiiforums.com/showthr...2#post14945242

  14. #114
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    a really nice chair
    Posts
    3,920

    Default

    Alrighty, caught up. I can't say anything that hasn't been said already praising your work other than it is vastly superior than anything I could hope to dream of, and that I look forward to Chapter 15~

    Noticed this in Chapter 12;
    “Bree, you have to come down and free Vlam! Use a psychic attack on Monerno!”
    and this in 13:
    nt in Snowpointe, a
    and again in 14
    It had been a few days since Snowpointe

  15. #115
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Illinois, USA
    Posts
    704

    Default

    Well I just got to this tonight since I didn't want to risk forgetting to review again.

    Chapter 14 seemed like a filler chapter, but I suppose a necessary one to get the plot rolling, so I'll look forward to what chapter 15 brings for us.

    To be honest I didn't quite see the point of the first section where Sam has to try so hard to contact Mr. Alonzo. It didn't seem to add anything to the fic or to anyone's characterization (except maybe it proved that Mr. Alonzo is a shady, busy character who is so immersed in his own business that he has to make everyone else do his less important work). Other than that, I loved the way you portrayed a battle and Sam/Mr. Alonzo's talk at the same time. The battle between a psychic and a non-psychic really corresponds with the battle between Sam and the legends and then the battle between Sam and Mr. Alonzo (which one would be psychic in this battle, I wonder? You do a good job at portraying their mysterious relationship, I must say).

    “A good lesson, I think. No matter how young, enthusiastic, and driven a competitor is, he’ll always lose out when he challenges someone older with more experience.”
    I know I didn't point out specific parts like I usually do, but this part stood out to me the most. It seems like a major piece of foreshadowing that I hope you expand on in the future.

    | 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 |


  16. #116
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    IL
    Posts
    3,130

    Default

    Hey there. I'm here from the review game. I know you were more interested in getting responses on your latest chapters than on the early stuff, but since I'm a brand-new reader I had to start at the beginning. I've gotten about halfway through what you have already, prologue-chapter 7, and I figured I'd give you my thoughts on that. I hope that's okay with you.

    Opening: To me, the prologue is probably the weakest link in the chain as far as the chapters in this story go. It has a tendency toward exposition dumps, which isn't at all unusual in prologues, but I still think it's better to avoid it. Stuff like Sam's dad's attitude about things could've been displayed more viscerally if the prologue had included a real-time scene with him. In the same way, Tommy's success and popularity could've been established better with, say, a scene involving his friends talking about his success or a girl giving him the eye or a shot of a award on the wall instead of us just hearing it second-hand from Sam.

    There's plenty of good stuff in the prologue, though. Particularly the relationship between Sam and Tommy is established very well as are their characters. Not only that, but I really loved some of Tommy's lines in the story.

    Characters:

    Sam- Sam makes for a good main character in this. His guilt-ridden drive to save his brother makes him a very sincere, relatable and likeable guy. The details filtering through his brain are very well rendered and he has a sort of ironic humor that crops up occasionally to very good effect.

    Tommy- I more or less instantly liked Tommy when I read the prologue just because I immediately connected with his teasing tone toward his brother. It's just the right balance and never loses its fondness. The moments when he's giving out teasing lines like that are the moments when Tommy feels the most real to me.

    Unfortunately Tommy has felt less and less real to me as I go forward reading this. Some of this was present in the prologue, but there just reaches a point where he starts feeling too perfect. Succesful, popular, good work ethic, nurturing... the guy's got it all. The closest he comes to a "flaw" is that he's too self-sacrificing... and that's really so admirable that it hardly seems to count. Nobody, particularly someone as put-upon as a older sibling who is forced to take the role of a parent, is that saintly all the time. I understand that the main drive of this story is Sam's love for the brother who did everything for him, so it's important that Tommy is someone that Sam can idolize. But I don't think Tommy showing a moment of weakness would take away from that. I think it would ultimately make him more human and make me, the reader, care more about getting him back.

    Dad- As of chapter 7, we don't have any actual scenes with him interacting with the characters. Since he's dead, I'm not holding out much hope that he will in later chapters, though a flashback is certainly possible. He seems like a "my way or the highway" kind of guy, but still very admirable in his way. But because I only hear about him second-hand, I really have no connection to him, which was why his death had little to no effect on me.

    Barry- I LOVE BARRY IN THIS. You do a great job at portraying him with such high energy, quirk, and good-natured obnoxiousness (which I love in him. I'm not saying obnoxiousness as an insult. It's just his way). I feel like he hops on screen and suddenly the pacing just quickens so nicely and every page he's on feels lively.

    Bree & Vlam- I'll just stop to say that I think these two make great character foils. Bree's vigor and curiosity is a great match for Vlam's more patient, focused attitude.

    Relationships: I may have had a few complaints about Tommy, but I think the relationship between Sam and Tommy is wonderful strong in this. I think that familial bond is something that a lot of people can relate to and you pull it off with aplomb. Sam's willingness to do anything to get the Tommy he knows back is a driving force here, and it functions excellently as one.

    Writing: You have a great flair for detail because you seem to think so specifically. The details about bug catchers getting teased, or Sammy's childhood flights of fancy, or the governmental insistance on holding his Pokemon to make sure they weren't carrying diseases, or even the magazines in Rowan's lobby (Pontya Dressage Today was my favorite). You write a lot of concrete details into this that not only help me visualize what's going on, but help to build the world of the story.

    Technical Issues: I didn't really see any major spelling/grammar/punctuation problems. Aside from maybe a few comma splices in the prologue and a few typos, you're solid. It's clear you know what you're doing here. If I were to give one recommendation, though, and this is not really a mistake just something I think could be improved: I'd break up some of your longer paragraphs. It's the kind of thing that improves readability, flow, and helps maintain focus (for both your reader and you). Some of your paragraphs do feel a little long and like they're dealing with multiple things, so I think chopping them up would improve matters.

    Pace: Prior to about chapter five, pacing would've been the number one thing I wanted to talk about here. You have a lot of very short chapters early on where the bulk of what happens is concentrated in the last couple of paragraphs. The effect is that by the time I feel like the action in a chapter has started, it's ended. Combine this with the back-and-forth of flashback and present time and it felt very choppy and slow to come together to me. I never felt that I was in one context for long enought to really feel invested in it, and once I started to care, I was whisked off somewhere else. The upside to this was that I initially always had a great reason to read on, since you're really good at ending chapter stings. But after awhile, that wore thin, and I honestly began to get a little frustrated with the slow pace and the lack of answers. There's a compliment in there, I swear, because I did want to know. But the frustration at the pacing did end up eroding away at my desire to read on at certain points.

    A lot of this has more or less evaporated in the last couple of chapters I read. By chapter 5 we get to the real premise of the story and things feel like they're gearing up more. In chapter 6 Barry appears and livens things up. Not only that, but the task is begun in earnest. I believe the chapter length has increased too, which makes the chapters feel more whole and complete.

    So... it does look like you ironed out the pacing problem. Which makes me really happy! I do think, however, that it would be worthwhile go back and iron out the pacing problems prior to chapter 5. There are a lot of ways you could do it and expanding content is one of them. Though, if I were to do it (and I obviously can't tell you how to deal with it, or to even deal with it at all and this would be a big edit) I would honestly combine a lot of the earlier chapters and cut some of the exposition (or turn it into an extra scene). I think with the amount of material you had to cover for the beginning of the story, the "premise chapter" could've come earlier than all the way at chapter 5. But that's one chick's opinion.

    All in all, a few wrinkles, but I enjoyed myself and it's nice to read a piece with so much earnest feeling in it. I'm really sorry that I couldn't give you the review of the latter chapters right now, but hopefully I'll be along to read them later (particularly if the pacing continues it's newly quickened status). Good luck as you continue!

  17. #117
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    939

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rotomknight View Post
    Excellent...
    Is mr. Alonzo heroic or evil, or grey.
    He is...Mr. Alonzo.


    Quote Originally Posted by Zibdas View Post
    Alrighty, caught up. I can't say anything that hasn't been said already praising your work other than it is vastly superior than anything I could hope to dream of, and that I look forward to Chapter 15~

    Noticed this in Chapter 12;

    and this in 13:

    and again in 14

    Thanks. For some reason, I could have sworn that Snowpoint had an E at the end. I'll fix those.

    BTW, I've been meaning to tell you: I've had Zub opened in a tab for literally 2-3 weeks. I have been meaning to get to it for a while, and eventually I will.


    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    Well I just got to this tonight since I didn't want to risk forgetting to review again.

    Chapter 14 seemed like a filler chapter, but I suppose a necessary one to get the plot rolling, so I'll look forward to what chapter 15 brings for us.

    To be honest I didn't quite see the point of the first section where Sam has to try so hard to contact Mr. Alonzo. It didn't seem to add anything to the fic or to anyone's characterization (except maybe it proved that Mr. Alonzo is a shady, busy character who is so immersed in his own business that he has to make everyone else do his less important work). Other than that, I loved the way you portrayed a battle and Sam/Mr. Alonzo's talk at the same time. The battle between a psychic and a non-psychic really corresponds with the battle between Sam and the legends and then the battle between Sam and Mr. Alonzo (which one would be psychic in this battle, I wonder? You do a good job at portraying their mysterious relationship, I must say).

    I know I didn't point out specific parts like I usually do, but this part stood out to me the most. It seems like a major piece of foreshadowing that I hope you expand on in the future.
    Originally, I had started the chapter at the Canalave Arena, but I ended up thinking it needed an intro other than "Sam had called Mr. Alonzo", just to explain why Alonzo would even agree to meet Sam. But when I wrote the beginning part...it ended up having almost nothing to do with that. I was worried that the story was going to border on melodramatic since the falling out with Barry, so I wanted to inject some levity into it. Maybe I was reaching too hard there.



    Quote Originally Posted by Skiyomi View Post
    Hey there. I'm here from the review game. I know you were more interested in getting responses on your latest chapters than on the early stuff, but since I'm a brand-new reader I had to start at the beginning. I've gotten about halfway through what you have already, prologue-chapter 7, and I figured I'd give you my thoughts on that. I hope that's okay with you.
    Yeah, that's fine. I was hoping, yes, to get stuff for later, but...que sera sera.

    Opening: To me, the prologue is probably the weakest link in the chain as far as the chapters in this story go. It has a tendency toward exposition dumps, which isn't at all unusual in prologues, but I still think it's better to avoid it. Stuff like Sam's dad's attitude about things could've been displayed more viscerally if the prologue had included a real-time scene with him. In the same way, Tommy's success and popularity could've been established better with, say, a scene involving his friends talking about his success or a girl giving him the eye or a shot of a award on the wall instead of us just hearing it second-hand from Sam.
    Okay, I can see the possible need for those things to show Tommy. I actually am shocked because I think most people told me they liked the prologue as much as anything else. Heh. Ah well, can't please everyone. I certainly see and agree with your point, though.

    Tommy- I more or less instantly liked Tommy when I read the prologue just because I immediately connected with his teasing tone toward his brother. It's just the right balance and never loses its fondness. The moments when he's giving out teasing lines like that are the moments when Tommy feels the most real to me.

    Unfortunately Tommy has felt less and less real to me as I go forward reading this. Some of this was present in the prologue, but there just reaches a point where he starts feeling too perfect. Succesful, popular, good work ethic, nurturing... the guy's got it all. The closest he comes to a "flaw" is that he's too self-sacrificing... and that's really so admirable that it hardly seems to count. Nobody, particularly someone as put-upon as a older sibling who is forced to take the role of a parent, is that saintly all the time. I understand that the main drive of this story is Sam's love for the brother who did everything for him, so it's important that Tommy is someone that Sam can idolize. But I don't think Tommy showing a moment of weakness would take away from that. I think it would ultimately make him more human and make me, the reader, care more about getting him back.
    I don't disagree at all, but my thought on the matter are that the narration is strictly attached to Sam, maybe just a step removed from first-person. So it has not made too much sense to me just yet for Sam to be thinking of Tommy in a negative light. But it is certainly an understood and taken point.

    Technical Issues: I didn't really see any major spelling/grammar/punctuation problems. Aside from maybe a few comma splices in the prologue and a few typos, you're solid. It's clear you know what you're doing here. If I were to give one recommendation, though, and this is not really a mistake just something I think could be improved: I'd break up some of your longer paragraphs. It's the kind of thing that improves readability, flow, and helps maintain focus (for both your reader and you). Some of your paragraphs do feel a little long and like they're dealing with multiple things, so I think chopping them up would improve matters.
    I tend to meander on at times, yes. I've always been so concerned that my paragraphs are too short and choppy, that sometimes I go a bit too far the other way. Still working on finding a balance there. I will endeavor to continue progress on that!

    Pace: Prior to about chapter five, pacing would've been the number one thing I wanted to talk about here. You have a lot of very short chapters early on where the bulk of what happens is concentrated in the last couple of paragraphs. The effect is that by the time I feel like the action in a chapter has started, it's ended. Combine this with the back-and-forth of flashback and present time and it felt very choppy and slow to come together to me. I never felt that I was in one context for long enough to really feel invested in it, and once I started to care, I was whisked off somewhere else. The upside to this was that I initially always had a great reason to read on, since you're really good at ending chapter stings. But after awhile, that wore thin, and I honestly began to get a little frustrated with the slow pace and the lack of answers. There's a compliment in there, I swear, because I did want to know. But the frustration at the pacing did end up eroding away at my desire to read on at certain points.
    Yeah, those first few chapters were very short, and if I re-write them, I'll probably mash up chapters 2-5 and recombine them into 2 separate chapters. Admittedly, I've been winging and ad libbing this story as an exercise to see if I am better at keeping my motivation up when I'm doing that (long story short: my motivation tends to die on stories that I have plotted out long in advance, so I thought I'd go in the complete opposite direction for this exercise). The major problem with that (besides a few plot points I'm SURE I forgot to bring back up) is that the early chapters was a LOT of brief, me-feeling-things-out. And it wasn't necessarily pretty. Already, just a few months later, I am really disappointed in the length (and some other details) of chapters 2-5. But I think it's gotten better. Better-ish. Anyway, I completely agree with your assessment, and it's been something I've been intentionally improving.

    So... it does look like you ironed out the pacing problem. Which makes me really happy! I do think, however, that it would be worthwhile go back and iron out the pacing problems prior to chapter 5. There are a lot of ways you could do it and expanding content is one of them. Though, if I were to do it (and I obviously can't tell you how to deal with it, or to even deal with it at all and this would be a big edit) I would honestly combine a lot of the earlier chapters and cut some of the exposition (or turn it into an extra scene). I think with the amount of material you had to cover for the beginning of the story, the "premise chapter" could've come earlier than all the way at chapter 5. But that's one chick's opinion.
    I'm admittedly AWFUL at going back and revising older chapters (whereas I'm annoyingly willing to scrap entire stories and start writing them from scratch; that's a terrible solution). Maybe I should use this story as an exercise to do that (especially after chapter 15 where I think I might be hitting a lull [not in the story! Just in my free time]).

    All in all, a few wrinkles, but I enjoyed myself and it's nice to read a piece with so much earnest feeling in it. I'm really sorry that I couldn't give you the review of the latter chapters right now, but hopefully I'll be along to read them later (particularly if the pacing continues it's newly quickened status). Good luck as you continue!
    Thank you VERY MUCH for the amazing, insightful, and well-done review. I certainly hope to see you back sometime!


    Sid87's Gen 6 Igloo Shop!

    FC: 3823-9867-2750

  18. #118
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    1,594

    Default

    Hey there! Just started reading this fic and it was already 14 chapters in at the time I began, so I’ll just try to stick with the more interesting points I think of for a few chapters at a time until I catch up. Sorry it took so long to get around to this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Prologue: 15 Years Ago

    Sammy Stark stared down at the yellow-and-green orb in his hand. The boy had never held an actual pokeball before in his life, he had only seen them used by others: trainers, his dad, his brother Tommy...but never was he allowed to handle one. His father had always been adamant that Sammy would not be allowed to touch a ball until the day he was given his own and sent to catch his first pokemon. Sammy’s freckled cheeks blushed, his dad wouldn’t have approved of that, either; dad always called them “friends”.
    I like the use of a pokéball other than the standard red-and-white model early on – especially since more specialized types like Nest or Dusk Balls would make sense for new trainers’ first captures when they wouldn’t have anything to weaken a target with. One nitpick, though. I had to reread the last bit a few times to realize that it was the use of the term “pokémon” instead of friend that caused him to blush. Maybe it was just me.
    Sammy had never previously cared when his dad told stories of acquaintances and co-workers of his who let their own kids use pokemon. Dad had been trying to teach him a lesson about maturity and earning a privilege, but all Sammy ever thought about were the other kids in Goldenrod Elementary who got to go out on the weekend and play with their parents’ pokemon.
    I guess the “previously never cared” part refers to before he was in school? Maybe this could be stated a bit more neatly, as it sounds like he never cared about other kids having pokémon at the same time as it was all he thought about.
    But that was when he was eight. Sammy was ten now, and felt like he was much more mature. Would he be able to appreciate this moment as much if he’d been allowed to play with dad’s friends when he was younger? Would the ball in his hand feel so heavy? Would his chest feel like it was about to collapse every time he breathed out? He was there in Ilex Forest about to catch his first pokemon; his first friend.
    I like how his excitement and nervousness are both captured by this phrasing. I also like his daydreaming about what his pokémon would be – and his worries about how classmates will react to a Caterpie. The way the daydreams are handled helps him seem like a real kid.

    I also noticed that the e’s are missing the accent mark in pokéball, pokémon, and pokéathelon. If you’re not sure where to find the é symbol on your writing program (as it can be different from program to program), you can also copy and paste it in.
    “All right, fine. I’m going back home and telling dad you went all catatonic. No friend for you.”
    Foreshadowing?
    It had been five years since Tommy was ten and allowed to catch a friend of his own, and ever since then, Tommy was the guy that Sammy aspired to be. In his first year of high school, Tommy was Trainer of the Year, beating out kids four years older than himself! Tommy was already almost six feet tall, and his styled, sandy hair would never have to be buzzed down because it always stuck up. When Tommy’s friends came over, they always talked about what girls in Goldenrod High wanted to go out with him that week, but Tommy would just laugh them off. On the weekends when they were at home playing video games while dad was at work, Sammy would ask why he didn’t just go out on a date with one of those girls instead, but Tommy’s answer was always just to laugh and say the same thing. ‘Sammy, you’d burn the house down if I wasn’t here!’.
    I wonder just how much of this is the real Tommy and how much is Sammy’s respect-inflated idea of his brother. Tommy’s teasing seems relatively good natured, at least.
    “It’s a Nest Ball, Sammy. That’s why dad gave it to you to start. It’s designed to catch weaker pokemon. He wanted you to earn your first friend by proving you wouldn’t blow that ball on something too strong for you to handle.” Tommy looked back up at the Caterpie in the tree. “I’m pretty sure anyone could handle that little bug.”
    The teasing (anyone could use a Caterpie) seems a little meaner here, especially in the context of his dad thinking he can’t handle as much while giving Tommy a chance to catch a Vulpix. Is it just parental favoritism, or is the difference in their talents really that great? I know you later say this is because he’s trying to teach Sammy a lesson because he was more worried about his image than doing things the right way at that point, but without more context it looks like neither of his family members has much faith in him.
    Tommy’s outburst of laughter disrupted the thought. “Oh man, you caught a Caterpie. You’re going to be such a bug catcher!” Yes, Sammy thought, that’s apparently what I have to look forward to. “Listen,” Tommy continued, “it’s not so bad. I mean, that little guy wasn’t scared of us, so maybe he knows something we don’t know. But the only way for us to figure that out...”
    Since we see Sammy’s first-person thoughts here, you might want to put them in italics.
    “A battle?” Sammy cried, having realized where Tommy was going. “But I just caught it! I don’t know anything about it yet!”

    “Well how do you think you get to know it? Take it out on a date?”
    This was pretty funny here! So was pretty much the entire scene when he realizes just how young a Caterpie he caught and the use of Caterpie’s defensive stink.
    As Vlam struggled against the silk already there, even more piled on, creating a burgeoning cocoon. Tommy was chuckling. “Not giving me a chance to catch my breath, huh? All right, little brother, let’s put an end to this silliness. Vlam, use ember to burn away the string shot.” Vlam turned its head down to its paws and legs that were now coated in fine Caterpie silk. More burning ash erupted from its mouth. Sammy felt a lump catch in his throat that he couldn’t swallow away as the ash effortlessly disintegrated the string. But then something strange happened: Vlam cried out in agony!
    I’m not sure that the exclamation point is really necessary at the end here. Also, I’m not sure why Vlam is referred to with it throughout this scene when Sammy and Tommy call her a she just a bit after this. Sammy obviously already knows Vlam’s female.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Chapter 1: Present Day
    Others have already commented on the touch of realism added by the customs and hotel outlets, but I thought I’d just leave a short agreement. Nice detail. I also like how the medical experts line is added in innocuously here rather than just telling the reader what the problem is immediately.
    As of eight o’clock, Sam had never managed to get any more sleep when his hotel phone rang. It was the customs office verifying that his pokemon (the lady on the other end of the line seemed disaffected when Sam corrected her to call them his “friends”) were medically cleared for arrival in Sinnoh. Sam was still frustrated to have had to wait even this long, and she must have heard the annoyance in his voice because she seemed to be compelled to tell him about the lady several years ago who brought a Delcatty from Hoenn without having it medically cleared. Apparently, according to the attendant, Sinnoh’s Glameow community is only now recovering to its previous numbers after a leukemia variant swept through them. Sam thanked her for this information in an effort to get her off the phone, and she reminded him that their doors open at nine.
    I like how this paragraph captures both sides of the miniature conflict here, showing both Sam’s frustration and the reasons the policy exists in the first place in as few words as needed.
    With a gentle squeeze of the ball, a Butterfree appeared in the air, stoically beating its wings to stay aloft. The black spots in the veins of its wings marked it as a female of its species; its long, black antennae zipped back and forth, helping her take in the brand new environment.
    You switch between saying “it(s)” and “her” when referring to the Butterfree here and in some of the following paragraph as well. You might want to change those to female pronouns. I think this was mentioned by others too, so sorry if I sound like I’m nitpicking. It’s just that it’s sort of noticeable when it occurs within the same sentence.
    The orange fox creature looked up at the tall buildings around it, decided the busy city was not worth the attention, then leaned down to licks its front paws to keep them as elegantly groomed as the rest of its fur. Its lengthy tails flopped about slowly, each in order. Sam bit down on the inside of his bottom lip as he watched his friend enjoy its freedom.

    “Does it feel good to be out of your ball, Vlam?”
    Just noticed one major thing here: licks should be lick. I like how much personality this simple action shows, likewise with Bree’s excited humming from seeing her trainer again.

    Just a question: should you use she/her when describing the Ninetales? I think that you’re using “it” to make it a surprise that this Ninetales is Vlam, but I don’t think it would hurt to reveal her gender before her name.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Chapter 2: Twelve Years Ago

    Sammy, from his seat in section P row 12, let out the loudest cheer of all. Tommy had done great so far in making it to the Johto Regional Quarterfinals of his first year in the World Pokemon League, but the competition this round had stiffened dramatically. Tommy and his opponent, a tall, pale man from Olivine with tattoos sleeving his arms, had been battling for twenty minutes already. Tommy’s Crobat, Magneton, and Pidgeotto had all already fallen, and the opponent--Sammy looked up at the scoreboard to recall that his name was Thurmond--still had this Machoke and something else unrevealed in play. Tommy was down to just Vlam in this four-on-four quaterfinal. Sammy’s excitement at Vlam’s grabbing the upper-hand temporarily made him forget the empty seat next to him; the seat he’d been expecting his dad to show up and claim for the last hour.
    Minor thing here: the two hyphens didn’t turn into a dash in the actual story. Some writing programs do this automatically, others don’t.
    Sammy was so into the moment, he never paid any mind to the man who finally came down the aisle and took the seat next to him. Sammy’s senses were ensnared by the battle; Vlam was lining up her enemy for a flamethrower, and Machoke was certainly about to go down.

    “Samuel Stark?” the man next to Sammy said, oddly enough like it was a question.

    “It’s about time you got here, dad. You’ve been missing Tommy’s first ever quarterfinals. You’re lucky he didn’t realize you were late. Even luckier that I’m not going to break his heart and tell him.”

    The man’s arm reached out to Sammy’s shoulder. “I’m sorry, son. I’m not your father.”
    Yeah, you can tell things aren’t going to go well from that sort of introduction.
    Sammy was numb. Without a word, he got up and followed the officer to the concession area. At least he wasn’t handcuffing him in front of the crowd...in front of Tommy. Sammy couldn’t help but think that if Tommy looked up into the crowd and saw his little brother getting arrested, he’d forfeit the quarterfinals to rush the stands and save him. It was better this way, Sammy thought. His older brother shouldn’t pay for Sammy’s dumb joke on a classmate.

    ”Why don‘t you take a seat on this bench?”

    Sammy thought it odd that this cop wanted to arrest him while he was sitting down, but maybe it was harder to resist if you were sitting. He put himself down on the bench outside Taco Barn to which Officer Trufant had pointed.
    As heartbreaking as this is, knowing what’s coming, I do like how you had Sammy’s somewhat naďve ideas about what was happening take hold of him because it shows how he thinks at that age.
    A hundred bees swarmed inside his brain, and before he knew what he was doing, he was at the railing over the battlefield screaming his brother’s name.
    This seems to be a trend with young Sammy, as he also threw the Nest Ball before consciously deciding to. I haven’t gotten very far past my current review yet, but I’d expect the “acting on instinct with his conscious thoughts catching up a bit later” pattern to continue into his adult personality. So far, it already seems to have transitioned nicely into his adult impatience (i.e. being willing to dance the Hokey Pokey if it would get him to his pokémon faster).
    Since the day they caught Sammy’s first friend, Tommy had continued to grow, and his one-arm embrace engulfed the little brother who was clearly the runt of the family.
    I think this would sound better if the bolded part was written more concisely, perhaps as “engulfed the clear runt of the family.”
    “He didn’t make it, I’m sorry. He passed just a few minutes ago.”

    Sammy’s initial thought--a thought he would regret countless times over the next several months--was that he cost his brother the tournament for nothing. It was immediately replaced with the realization that he and his brother were alone now. Mom died of cancer when Sammy was three, and now dad was gone, too. Tommy was all he had left.
    As others have pointed out (sorry for being horribly repetitive) the fact that both parents are written off before the reader sees them doesn’t leave a large impact. I guess it’s excusable with his mother, as Sammy wasn’t old enough himself and this is mostly from his perspective. However his dad had enough time to leave an impression in Sammy, so he should leave an impression on the readers as well. Considering you were able to show a lot of Vlam’s personality in a small space, I don’t think we’d even need to see him for long so long as we saw him in person. (Of course, I also haven’t read too far beyond the point my review stops, so you may have already added this in a later flashback).
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Odd coincidence I noticed this chapter: I unwittingly gave my brothers a family name that is also the name of the mountain in Sinnoh. That wasn't on purpose, but now I feel like I should throw in a subplot about their ancestors climbing that mountain or something. Heh.
    Or they could have had some relation to Heatran.
    Chapter 3: Present Day

    Every few minutes, he’d catch the fact that the foot crossing over his opposite leg was swaying rapidly. He’d stop it, but as soon as his mind wandered off, the appendage began gleefully oscillating again. After several tries of stopping it only to find it swaying again on its own soon after, he placed his right hand on it in an attempt to hold it in place. He nodded as if to motion that this would teach his errant foot for its impudence, and he went back to rooting through the magazines for something to catch his eye. He passed a men’s fashion periodical and again cursed himself for nixing the full suit.
    Again, you’re really good at capturing a person in a hurry who ends up having to wait. You can feel the alternating boredom and irritation he feels without having to actually use those words.
    Bree never seemed to mind her losses to her sister much, anyway. Despite the Butterfree’s innocent veneer, she and Sam had become a potent duo not unlike Tommy and Vlam. Sam’s youthful fear of being referred to as ‘Bug Catcher’ by his classmates quickly dissipated when the two of them were constantly near the top of his class rankings. In the corner of the room, Bree had again found herself assaulted by the plant and was now buzzing at it furiously. Vlam--perhaps weary of her sister’s noise or perhaps wanting to comfort her--disengaged herself from Sam’s leg and took patient steps towards the plant. Bree studied her as Vlam buried her own head in the plant, shook its leaves, and then emerged. Bree chirped a response, Vlam cooed back, and that seemed to be the end of her great interest in the plant for the moment.
    I like the use of the term “sisters” for these two as well as the rest of the ways their trainers’ traits rubbed off on them.
    Sam wiped his palms on the inside of his khakis pocket before extending his right arm. “Yes, it’s nice to meet you, professor. I’m Sam--wait, you already said...I’m sorry.” Sam shook his head and chided himself internally. “Let me start over, Professor Rowan: it’s very nice to meet you. My father spoke of you when I was younger.”

    Rowan’s eyes narrowed, then shot open. “You’re Evander’s son! Little Sammy Stark!” Sam again nodded at this more colloquial introduction. “Heavens! You wouldn’t actually remember this, but you and I have met before. When you were just a pup.”
    I like this being one of the reasons he decided to come to Rowan (rather than just the location of a certain legendary trio) as it looks less like he’s just chasing myths but rather like he’s chasing myths with a tangible anchor to reality to go on. In all honesty, it sort of reminds me of the search for the philosopher’s stone in FullMetal Alchemist, in which Ed and Al start looking for something that may not exist but have a concrete reason for choosing it over some other mythical device.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Chapter 4: 10 Years Ago

    He barged into the kitchen to see Tommy stuffing junk mail into the garbage next to their countertop. “Tommy! Guess what?”

    Tommy studied him. Sam knew Tommy could tell how imperative this was by the gusto with which he’d asked him to guess, and he knew that Tommy was pretending to put careful thought into his reply when he was really just dragging it out even longer.

    “You finally got an A in Geometry?”

    Sam let out a laugh at the improbability of that. “No, stupid! I--”

    “You can’t get an A in Geometry, and I’m the stupid one. That’s fair.”

    Sam ignored him. “I got top seed in the freshman class!”
    These little conversations work to show the brothers’ personalities pretty well, as well as give the reader a reason to care about what happened to Tommy. The use of back-and-forth between the present and the past at this point keeps the reader as invested in Tommy’s wellbeing as Sam is while telling the first few chapters chronologically might lead Tommy’s personality to be forgotten after his active participation in the story comes to an end.
    And since dad worked at a university-owned hospital, Tommy (and eventually Sam, too) had their tuition paid for at the school, as well. That assistance only went so far, however, and Tommy did the best that he could to cover all the bases, working as many hours as he could grab when it wasn’t absolutely necessary for him to be in class.
    Minor nitpick time again! I seem to remember one of my English teachers saying that you shouldn’t start sentences with “and”.
    He was barely a few words in when the shock of the letter hit him. Tommy had failed out of the university!
    I know I mentioned it before, but I don’t like seeing exclamation points in narration – they seem like emphasis someone would have in their thoughts, not in an otherwise objective description of the events as they unfold.
    Tommy had given his brother a normal life despite their parents both being dead. Sam, in return, gave him a rock. He buried the letter back in the trash where he found it and headed to his room to study Geometry.
    This makes the attempted gift of the fire stone even more depressing because it’s the point where the reader also realizes that the fire stone is just one more reminder of the training career Tommy gave up to help pay the bills at home. I’m not sure I buy how oblivious Sammy was to his brother struggling to keep up with jobs and school, though.

    So far I like what I see (and what I’ve skimmed ahead to and will read properly soon). Sam’s personality is very believable even as he ages, with childhood impulsiveness turning into adult impatience. Vlam and Bree are also depicted clearly, as is the side of Tommy he lets his brother see. I do think it might help to expand on the flaws Tommy had to keep the reader invested, as this will help them see Tommy-the-person Sam wants to save rather than Tommy-the-ideal Sam looks up to (unless the fact that Tommy is unobtainable both literally and figuratively is the point). I also agree with the suggestion that some of the earlier chapters might be better off longer, but am unsure about the best way to mash them up. I would suggest keeping the non-chronological approach, as this keeps Tommy fresh in the readers’ thoughts longer. I’m looking forward to catching up.
    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.

  19. #119
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    939

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ememew View Post
    Hey there! Just started reading this fic and it was already 14 chapters in at the time I began, so I’ll just try to stick with the more interesting points I think of for a few chapters at a time until I catch up. Sorry it took so long to get around to this.
    Happy to have you along!

    One nitpick, though. I had to reread the last bit a few times to realize that it was the use of the term “pokémon” instead of friend that caused him to blush. Maybe it was just me.
    I guess the “previously never cared” part refers to before he was in school? Maybe this could be stated a bit more neatly, as it sounds like he never cared about other kids having pokémon at the same time as it was all he thought about.
    Yeah, I never noticed any problems with those until you pointed them, and then I didn't like them, either. I changed both of those lines to, hopefully, be a little clearer.

    I also noticed that the e’s are missing the accent mark in pokéball, pokémon, and pokéathelon. If you’re not sure where to find the é symbol on your writing program (as it can be different from program to program), you can also copy and paste it in.
    I went ahead and figured out how to do that in Abiword. It's a bit tedious, so I can't promise I'll ever actually follow through (I have to go through and Insert > Symbol and then find the accented E), but at least now I know. I'll try to see about doing so.

    Foreshadowing?
    Honestly, that was just a happy accident.

    The teasing (anyone could use a Caterpie) seems a little meaner here, especially in the context of his dad thinking he can’t handle as much while giving Tommy a chance to catch a Vulpix. Is it just parental favoritism, or is the difference in their talents really that great? I know you later say this is because he’s trying to teach Sammy a lesson because he was more worried about his image than doing things the right way at that point, but without more context it looks like neither of his family members has much faith in him.
    I wouldn't say Tommy didn't have faith him in; Tommy was just kind of an obnoxious 15-year old big brother here, picking on his sibling. That said, yeah, their dad obviously saw more potential and maturity in Tommy than Sammy.

    Since we see Sammy’s first-person thoughts here, you might want to put them in italics.
    I actually was just talking to Skiyomi about this in my review of her prologue to a story. I, personally, hate italics in the middle of a story. I think it's distracting to eye and detracts from all the words around it by drawing the reader's attention straight to the italicized words. I totally get the points of italics and why people use it, but I almost never, ever will. Just a personal preference.

    I’m not sure that the exclamation point is really necessary at the end here. Also, I’m not sure why Vlam is referred to with it throughout this scene when Sammy and Tommy call her a she just a bit after this. Sammy obviously already knows Vlam’s female.
    On the whole, I totally agree. I don't often use exclamations in third-person narration, but this narration is extremely closely attached to Sam, and when I let it drift closer to his personal thoughts and feelings, sometimes the exclamation point feels "right". I usually default to the period, but sometimes, like this time here, I read it and think "No, that's more of a reaction from Sam, so that needs to be more emphasized".

    Also, I fixed the "it"s. I don't know why I did that, but it was a stupid oversight. Thanks!

    Others have already commented on the touch of realism added by the customs and hotel outlets, but I thought I’d just leave a short agreement. Nice detail. I also like how the medical experts line is added in innocuously here rather than just telling the reader what the problem is immediately.

    I like how this paragraph captures both sides of the miniature conflict here, showing both Sam’s frustration and the reasons the policy exists in the first place in as few words as needed.
    Than you

    You switch between saying “it(s)” and “her” when referring to the Butterfree here and in some of the following paragraph as well. You might want to change those to female pronouns. I think this was mentioned by others too, so sorry if I sound like I’m nitpicking. It’s just that it’s sort of noticeable when it occurs within the same sentence.
    No, you're right, and I can't believe that happened twice. I fixed that.

    Minor thing here: the two hyphens didn’t turn into a dash in the actual story. Some writing programs do this automatically, others don’t.
    Yeah, I wonder why that is. Stupid Abiword.

    This seems to be a trend with young Sammy, as he also threw the Nest Ball before consciously deciding to. I haven’t gotten very far past my current review yet, but I’d expect the “acting on instinct with his conscious thoughts catching up a bit later” pattern to continue into his adult personality. So far, it already seems to have transitioned nicely into his adult impatience (i.e. being willing to dance the Hokey Pokey if it would get him to his pokémon faster).
    Yeah, this is consistent with Sam. He only has shown improvement when he's absolutely HAD to (later on when paired with an even more instinct-driven partner). But it's a defining trait.

    I think this would sound better if the bolded part was written more concisely, perhaps as “engulfed the clear runt of the family.”
    I agree that that might not be ideal. I'll fix that shortly.

    In all honesty, it sort of reminds me of the search for the philosopher’s stone in FullMetal Alchemist, in which Ed and Al start looking for something that may not exist but have a concrete reason for choosing it over some other mythical device.
    I've never actually read/seen FMA. Is it good?

    Minor nitpick time again! I seem to remember one of my English teachers saying that you shouldn’t start sentences with “and”.
    Yeah, it's not ideal. For as adamant as I get when people end sentences in prepositions or don't treat gerunds as nouns or use "alright", you'd think I'd be more stringent about starting sentences with conjunctions. It's just one of those rules that never bothered me as much. But I should still change it since it is improper.

    -I accidentally erased the other point I wanted to discuss and that was your saying you weren't sure you bought Sam's obliviousness to Tommy's plight. Oops. Anyway, I don't necessarily think it was obliviousness: I think Sam knew how much Tommy was doing for him, he just didn't realize Tommy was failing out of college over it, and since it's not something Tommy would advertise, I think that makes sense. Plus, teenagers are inherently self-centered. They are experiencing hormones and new challenges and, in Sam's case, extra-curricular activities and classes, so it's easy at that age to get lost in all that and not fully realize or question things going on around you. But maybe that's just my interpretation. I'll keep your thoughts in mind for the future, though.

    -Anyway, thank you very much again for the time and the advice and the opinions. I greatly appreciate it and look forward to seeing what else you have to offer!


    Sid87's Gen 6 Igloo Shop!

    FC: 3823-9867-2750

  20. #120
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    On a Mars bar. :)
    Posts
    1,583

    Default

    Catching up again on the latest two chapters - it's been a heck of a summer! Lovely as always, although I'm sorry to hear you've been laid off! D: Wish you the best.

    Sam’s mouth curled, but he still didn’t have any idea what to say. His brain finally relented that at least he should step inside before saying anything. “Mind if I come in, professor?”
    - Just a little tidbit of detail that summed up the delightfulness of the characterisation in chapter 13. x3 The opening flashback was wonderful.

    A World Without Corrupt Emotion. That was what his first book was called. It’ actually what he wanted.”
    - Little typo - It's.

    I'm also a fan of the foreshadowing. <3 Looking forward to the next update! x3


    Floating over your rocky spine
    The glaciers made you and now you're mine


    Pair: duncan | Lyrics: Great Lake Swimmers

  21. #121
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    939

    Default Chapter 15

    Chapter 15

    Of course it had to be Sideburns.

    His name was apparently, as it turned out, not actually “Sideburns”; it was Carlos. And he had been sitting next to Sam for several hours as they navigated the mountainous route 210. The route was unpleasant enough by itself--much of the road crawled around the exterior of Mount Coronet and was protected with guardrails that looked as though they would surrender to the force of a speeding bicycle--but the fog was an absolute nightmare. What fog he had noticed in the background of the picture on Rowan’s desk was merely the malnourished little sister of this mist on the mountainside. This haze around the road up the mountain was very proactive in its enveloping of the truck Carlos was driving; it clung tightly to the hood of their vehicle and gave up little more than a few feet of visibility at best. With every overcorrection of the steering wheel that Carlos had to make to ensure they rounded a curve that they could barely see coming, Sam felt his head grow lighter and lighter.

    Carlos (Sam was still struggling not to call him Sideburns, even in his own head) seemed as annoyed to be with Sam as Sam was to be with him. Still, it was less awkward than it would have been if Sam had been forced to travel with anyone that had been on the cargo ship. Sam probably had not helped the situation when, upon seeing a sign on the merge ramp to the highway instructing them to yield to traffic, he asked Carlos, “Do you yield? At this sign, I mean?" and then giggled at his own joke. Carlos had barely said a word to Sam, and he seemed to be just pouting in his seat. Sam felt like reminding him of the time Bree kicked his Hariyama’s butt, but it did not seem wise to instigate further than he already had. Carlos was a foreman on the Phoenix Corporation crew, and that was probably why he had been one of the few to learn Kantoan. Almost no one else on the crew that Sam had been sent to Celestic with spoke a word of it, and it made Sam really uncomfortable when they were all around him speaking a language he could not understand while occasionally shooting glances his way. For all Sam knew, they were planning what the best way to cook him was (Sam immediately scolded himself for the potentially racist thought that all Hoennese were barbaric cannibals; still, he could not help but think they were discussing things that had to do with him, even if he knew that was just paranoia). Sam could understand Carlos’ frustration, though; Sam knew he would not enjoy it if he were a supervisor of a crew and was then told by his boss to take some non-employee along and do whatever he says. Armed with that thought, he’d previously tried to make conversation with his new truckmate, but to little avail.

    So it was that they rode the foggy, narrow path to Celestic Town in relative silence until Sam’s cell phone rang out from his pocket. Sam fumbled to retrieve the phone as his seatbelt resisted him; the call had to come from Mr. Alonzo since no one back home in Johto knew this number. While Sam was stuck waiting on customs in Jubilife, he picked up a disposable cell phone just for calls he might need to make in Sinnoh due to the international rate on his regular service being so astronomical. He finally managed to defeat his seatbelt and pull out the phone to see the screen flashing the caller’s identity. Professor Rowan. Sam pounded the “Ignore” button with his thumb and stuffed the phone back into his pocket.

    “You are not to answer that?” Carlos asked, looking over at Sam. Perhaps, for as little as he seemed to want to talk to Sam, he wanted some voice to break the silence. Or perhaps he just liked eavesdropping on phone calls.

    “No, I am not. Keep your eyes on the road.” If he had taken a moment to compose himself, he’d not have been so sour to the man he was now working with, but seeing that Rowan was attempting to contact him had hampered his mood. It was possible that Rowan figured out what Sam was up to and was calling to dissuade him, but it was too late now; the crew would be in Celestic shortly. Sam tried to allow himself to get excited at the prospect, but the triple beeps from his phone alerting him to a new voicemail gloomed his spirits anew.

    Carlos twisted the steering wheel to make it around another mountain curve he barely saw coming through the fog, and Sam felt the remnants of an egg and bagel sandwich he’d eaten two hours ago at a truck stop lurch in his stomach. Convenience store food was never a wise choice on its own, but to combine it with essentially riding a roller coaster seemed to bode ill for Sam. He tried to repeating in his head that at least it wasn’t a boat, but he really wanted little else than to get out of that truck. That was when he saw the marker sign: two more miles to Celestic Town.

    “Hey, did you see that? Two more miles.”

    Carlos nodded without speaking (perhaps he was upset that Sam had scolded him) and pressed the red button on the walkie-talkie affixed to the dashboard. He spoke into it with Sam still incapable of deciphering what he was saying and then turned the device off. Most likely he was telling the crew in the other trucks behind them what Sam had just seen in case they missed it, but it still frustrated Sam to feel so excluded.

    As the fog started to thin out, Sam could make out a few buildings in the distance. They certainly did not seem to be much, just a few houses and maybe a storefront or two, but it was still a good thought that he’d be free of the terror of route 210 soon. From what Sam saw at the distance, to even call Celestic a town might have been an exaggeration. It was, at best in Sam’s view, a simple rural mountain community.

    “Whoa, hold up. Stop the truck, stop the truck.”

    Carlos lifted an eyebrow at Sam, but did as he was told and brought the truck to a halt about a quarter of a mile from the town. “What is this?”

    “What is this? I can tell you what it’s not. Stealthy. We’re just--” More foreign words came with a burst of static from the dashboard walkie-talkie. Sam reached over and pressed the button. “The adults are having a discussion. Sit quietly and think about what you’ve done for a while.” Sam flipped the device to off and returned his attention to Carlos. “We’re just going to roll up into their town with six flatbed trucks and a bunch of heavy equipment? You think that won’t get attention?”

    “You can to deal with this attention.”

    “What? No! I can not to deal with this attention! Think about it. If the trio is here and the town sees us coming, they’re going to try to save them somehow before we even have an idea where in the town they’re hidden. Not only would we be going in blind, but we’d be flashing our arrival as extremely suspect. At best.”

    “There is a cave in the back of the town. If the pokemon are here, they are probably to be hiding in it.”

    “What? A cave? I didn’t know about that.”

    Carlos grinned and started the truck back up. “We know about it.”

    Sam cursed under his breath; why hadn’t he been told about this? “Fine, you know about it, great. We’re still playing this my way. Mr. Alonzo said I’m in charge, so keep the truck turned off and radio the rest of the crew. We’re walking in from here.”

    “What about our equipment?”

    “Leave it here in our little pull-off. If we need it, we come back and get it. But how about instead of going in and dynamiting the hell out of everything, we start off with some old fashioned looking around?”

    Carlos huffed and turned the truck back off. As Sam undid his seatbelt and opened the passenger door, he heard Carlos barking angrily into the walkie talkie. No doubt the rest of the crew would not have liked this tactic, either, but Sam just figured that was too bad. He was put in charge of this search, and they were just the hired muscle. It was only a quarter of a mile to Celestic, so that could be covered in a few minutes on foot, but it should also provide security for their vehicles. They were not so close to civilization that people would start messing with them. As Sam predicted, the rest of the crew did not look thrilled to be exiting their trucks. He wanted to say something to them that would reassure them, but then he realized he’d forgotten most of their names. Instead, he just turned to Carlos.

    “Everybody ready? Let’s go.”

    Celestic Town was no more impressive up close than it had been at a distance. It seemed as though someone had once wanted to build a settlement, but thought that clearing trees or establishing infrastructure was too much work. Route 210 cut through town, but it was the only thing Sam would really call a road; the homes that were not right on the main route were only accessible by barely-paved, one-lane paths. The storefront that Sam had seen from the distance was just a market and the only business he noticed until he caught site of a medical center closer to the middle of town. Those two were apparently it for Celestic commerce. Sam’s decision to leave the trucks and equipment behind was beginning to seem like a terrible idea; this was clearly not a place that received many visitors, and every eye in town seemed to be on Sam and the crew from the minute they entered. He’d seen enough horror movies growing up to immediately think that this was the kind of place where strangers got chained up in leaky basements and tortured by people who made boots out of human flesh.

    “Before I soil myself, please tell me you guys know where the cave is,” Sam whispered to Carlos. Yes, because clearly the place we want to be is a dark mystery cave in the middle of Jason Vorhees-ville, his own brain mocked him.

    “It is in back of the town,” Carlos answered as he glanced back and forth before pointing to his right. “North. It should to be that direction.”

    Sam nodded. “Well let’s to be going there then.”

    As Sam and the crew cut into a cross-town path that headed in the direction Carlos thought the cave would be, Sam noticed several members of town pulling out cell phones and either sending messages or making calls. This only served to heighten his already prevalent fear of the town even as he wondered how such a backwater village had cell service. Luckily, none of these people approached his group; Sam thought maybe they were as primitive as bears and were as scared of him as he was of them. With that thought, he straightened his back to add to his posture since he read once that if confronted by a bear, you are supposed to make yourself look larger.

    As they followed the road to the north past the houses that made up the bulk of Celestic Town, the path became less of a street and more of a lackadaisical, weed-covered guideline of where to go. Sam was growing less convinced by the moment that Carlos had picked the right direction. He started thinking that maybe it was not the residents of Celestic Town he should be afraid of; maybe good old Sideburns was luring him into the woods for a revenge beating. Sam bent over to fidget with his already-tied shoes just to let the Phoenix crew all get ahead of him so that no one was at his back when he started walking again.

    “Celestic Ruins.”

    Sam had been so involved in looking around for danger, he had not been looking ahead, and sure enough, Carlos was pointing to an opening in the hillside.

    “So that’s the cave,” Sam said rhetorically as he scratched his chin. “All right. We’ve got our pokemon with us, and we’ve got lamps. I guess we should--”

    “Excuse me!”

    Sam turned around at the stranger’s voice to see a pair of people coming down the path behind them on an all-terrain vehicle. Sam, Carlos, and the crew exchanged confused glances as the couple pulled their ATV up to them and came to a stop. They removed their helmets, and Sam recognized one of them immediately: it was the lady Professor Rowan had been holding close to him in the photo. She was older, right around Rowan’s age, and had straight, gray hair that did not quite reach her shoulders and wrinkles marking her face. She was certainly spry for her age, however, especially given that she had been driving the ATV, and now that she was on her feet, she moved quickly and steadily. She had not been dressed for her vehicle; she was clothed in a white lab coat and khakis. Her partner was significantly younger, and Sam found her to be one of the most attractive young women he had ever laid eyes on. Her wavy blonde hair hung just below her waist, and she was dressed in all black: black pants, a black blouse, and a black, fur-rimmed jacket. Her features were soft, and she was probably right around Sam’s age, if not maybe a year or two younger. Sam found that seeing her before him was the most pleasant thing Sinnoh had given him yet.

    “I’m sorry, but the Celestic Ruins are quite dangerous and are off-limits to everyone,” the older lady stated. It was her voice that had yelled out to them moments before.

    Sam heard grumbling behind him from the crew, but he quickly held up his hand to silence them. Situations like this were why he was with them, after all. “I appreciate your concern, Ms...?” He left the word dangling in the air as an invitation for her to fill in the blank.

    “Professor, not Ms. And it is Professor Carolina, young man.”

    Sam took slow steps towards her and extended his hand. “I apologize then. And it’s a pleasure to meet you, professor. My name is Samuel Stark.” He found himself hoping the young woman with Professor Carolina was noting his gentlemanly nature. “We appreciate the hazards of these ruins, of course; it’s actually why we’re here. We are studying ancient areas of Sinnoh. My compatriots here are from the south, and we’re doing research on how the northern regions’ geology varies from that of the southern regions.”

    The blonde whose name Sam did not yet know spoke up. “That may be--”

    “Hogwash,” Professor Carolina interrupted. “What are you really doing here?”

    “I just said, we’re here for research. Honestly.” It was honest, even if what they were there to research was the legendary guardians.

    “Young man, we will stop you from entering that cave if we have to.”

    “Gram, we don’t know yet--”

    “You know why they’re here, Cynthia. Don’t defend them.”

    Sam enjoyed briefly imagining that she was defending him from the lady who must have been her grandmother because she thought he was charming, but he realized it was a wasted thought. She probably would not be too impressed with him shortly. “Carlos,” he said, turning to his reluctant partner but keeping one eye of Carolina, “get going. You know what you need to find.”

    “I told you, Cynthia.”

    “We’re not here to hurt anybody or anything. It’s just research. I certainly don’t want to be upsetting anyone.”

    “Mr. Stark, we really can’t have anyone in that cave.”

    “I understand that, Cynthia, but we really need to get in there.”

    “Cynthia, there’s no more time for talk! Those men are in the cave already!”

    Cynthia frowned and pulled a ball from inside her coat. Sam recognized it as an Ultra Ball from its yellow-and-black design. “Please stand aside and allow us to get those gentlemen out of the cave, Samuel. It is imperative.”

    Sam chewed the inside of his lip in frustration and pulled Chispa’s Friend Ball from his pocket. “I can’t do that. I’m sorry.” He squeezed the Friend Ball, and crimson energy shot forth from the ball’s outlet, releasing the blue-and-black cub onto the grassy floor of the Celestic woods. As usual, sparks danced off of her yellow, star-like tail in her own personal display of happiness to be out. The rest of the world outside her ball was seemingly irrelevant to her as she intertwined Sam’s legs, rubbing her head on his shins. If Sam had any designs on intimidating Cynthia and Professor Carolina into submission, those were clearly just nixed.

    Cynthia’s Ultra Ball released a burst of concentrated energy, as well. Sam braced himself for the appearance of her friend; he had no idea what it could be or what it was capable of. The energy coalesced on the ground and formed a rock. It did not appear to be a rock-typed pokemon--at least not one Sam had ever heard of living in the Sinnoh region--it was merely a cone-like, gray rock with a crack in its top. Sam waited a few seconds that felt significantly longer for the stone to do something, but it did not.

    “What is this?” He asked.

    “This is your last chance. I don’t want to have to do this, Samuel.”

    Sam really wanted to ask her to call him Sam, but this did not seem the time or place. “Neither do I.”

    Cynthia shook her head slowly, as if in pity, it occurred to Sam. Still, the rock just sat there, and she did not give it an order. Sam continued studying it, but he could not discern anything of note. It was a rock, and much more than he would describe a Geodude as a rock. It was a blank, cracked stone. It didn’t move. Still, it was impossible to just catch a plain rock in a pokeball, so it had to be some kind of pokemon. Sam nudged Chispa out from between his legs. “Be careful, but investigate that for me, Chispa. Can you investigate the rock for me?”

    Chispa yipped back in happy reply, her tongue sticking out the side of her smiling mouth. She sneaked up on the rock, but given that neither she nor Sam could know where its eyes--if it even had any--were, it seemed futile. The earnest Shinx got within mere feet of the stone, and it still had not moved.

    “Shadow ball!” Cynthia cried out, causing Chispa to flinch when the trainer’s words broke her silent concentration.

    From out of the crack in the stone emerged something Sam could only describe as a colorful, jaggedly round shadow. It was mostly a deep violet, but there were lightning-like flashes of green energy inside it. While most of the flashes swirled about in the shadowy body, two remained steadily in place. They were crescent-shaped and floated in the middle of the strange form like the crooked eyes of a jack-o-lantern. Sam recognized it immediately as a pokemon he’d heard of but thought was only an urban legend.

    “A Spiritomb?” He cried in alarm. “Chispa, get out of the way!”

    An orb of violet energy split off from the ethereal body of the Spiritomb and propelled towards Sam’s Shinx. She barely managed to roll out of the way of the spiritual attack. The ball of energy dissipated as it hit the ground where she had stood, and it left no sign that it had ever been there at all.

    Sam was stunned; he still never imagined he’d see a pokemon as fantastic as a Spiritomb. He knew he had no choice but to shake himself out of his awe, however; Chispa was counting on him to guide her through this battle.

    “Chispa,” Sam called out before sputtering. He was not even sure what would work against that thing. “Use a spark attack!”

    In the space between Cynthia and Sam, Chispa growled her agreement. Her tail, radiating more brightly than Sam had seen it glow before, began shooting off sparks of electricity, and Chispa charged her shadowy foe. Spiritomb--perhaps because it thought it had nothing to fear; perhaps because it was anchored motionlessly to its rock--held its ground. With the distance between them closed, Chispa jumped towards the Spiritomb and twisted her body mid-leap to smack it with her tail. It passed harmlessly through Spiritomb’s cloud-like body, and the Shinx landed on her side, though she easily rolled through onto her paws. The Spiritomb seemed to be completely unaffected.

    Sam was undaunted; somehow, Chispa had to have just missed the attack. It was the only thing that made sense. “Bite it, Chispa!”

    Chispa shook her head as if to clear out the cobwebs from her confusion at missing the Spiritomb before lunging again. This time she dove straight into the heart of the creature with her mouth wide, but as before, she passed harmlessly through its incorporeal body as her jaws snapped shut. She landed on her feet after this attempt, but was still as befuddled as she had been after her first failed strike. Sam, however, started putting it together; if Spiritomb’s body was barely physical to begin with, physical attacks were not going to work particularly well on it. He needed to come up with a different strategy.

    Cynthia took advantage of the time it was taking Sam to come up with a plan against her pokemon. “Use your shadow sneak, Mouri!”

    Mouri--apparently, Sam realized, the name of her Spiritomb--hissed in reply to her command; its green flashes started popping more rapidly and then began erupting with energy inside the Spiritomb’s spiritual form. With a rush of unexpected speed, its body stretched out as far as it could while still anchored to its rock home. Chispa screeched in pain as Mouri’s body overtook her.

    “Chispa, come back,” Sam said, wincing at his friend’s agony as her held up her Friend Ball and squeezed it twice. The ball made an electronic humming sound as Chispa reverted to her kinetic energy transport form and was absorbed back to safety. If physical attacks were not going to cut it against Spiritomb, he’d try another path. He grabbed another of the balls in his pocket and released Vlam.

    “Mr. Stark, my granddaughter defeated your Shinx fair and square! Stand aside and let us into the cave to get your friends out of there.”

    “I’m not defeated yet,” Sam replied. “Vlam, use your flamethrower!”

    “Mouri, withdraw from it,” Cynthia said to her Spiritomb in response to Sam’s command. She did not seem interested in backing up her grandmother’s request that he give up; perhaps she was as into the battle as Sam found himself.

    Vlam’s mouth opened, and an uninterrupted stream of fire burst forth from it. Sam was eager to see if Vlam’s attack was any more effective than Chispa’s physical assault had been. The instant before the flaming attack could hit, however, Mouri vanished. The flamethrower passed through the air where the Spiritomb had previously been floating. When Vlam’s attack subsided, there was simply the odd stone on the ground with no sign of Mouri.

    “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me,” Sam mumbled. Mouri even had a way around non-physical attacks.

    “You can’t hurt Mouri, Sam. Please let us pass.”

    Sam ignored Cynthia’s plea. Carlos and his men had been in the cave for several minutes now; he just needed to buy them a little more time. “All right, Vlam. If it wants to hide in the rock, we’ll just knock it clear out of the forest. Use a double kick on it!” Vlam rushed forward. Sam may not have been able to hurt the Spiritomb, but as long as it was bound to the rock, he could at least get rid of it.

    “Shadow sneak!”

    As Vlam approached, Mouri emerged from its crack and shot its anchored, spiritual body towards her. As with Chispa earlier, the crackling energy that made up the Spiritomb caused Vlam great agony as it enveloped her. Sam considered taking her out of the battle, too, but she was much more durable than the little Shinx and was able to fight her way out of Mouri’s attack. Free from the shadow sneak, she carefully backed away from Mouri’s range; Sam noticed she was shivering slightly as she did so, but she still appeared to have some fight in her. He also noticed she was still much closer to the Spiritomb than she had been when he first brought her into the battle.

    “Flamethrower!” He called out. Again, she shot a stream of fire towards her enemy. Sam heard Cynthia cry for Mouri to withdraw, but this time it was too close, and the defensive order came too late. The flames tore through the shadowy body, and Mouri let out a piercing, echoing shriek. The sound was so inhuman and loud, Sam instinctively cupped his hands over his ears. “Keep it up, Vlam!” He yelled over the wail. “You’ve got it on the ropes!”

    Vlam continued her onslaught of fire, but Mouri must have regained its composure from the initial pain of the attack because it did finally withdraw itself into its stone. Sam cursed; while Mouri had the option of retreat, he and his friends were at its mercy. It could attack when it wanted to attack and hide when it wanted to hide. He was going to have to find a way to work in the windows Cynthia gave him. If he tried an attack in close while it was withdrawn, he risked putting Vlam in line for another shadow sneak.

    “Mouri, use your psybeam now,” Cynthia ordered. Mouri again revealed itself and this time released an invisible psychic attack. Vlam yelped and howled, shaking her head violently. Sam knew he had no choice but to bring her out of battle like he had with Chispa. He held out her Dusk Ball and squeezed it twice.

    “I’m sorry, Vlam,” he said as she was absorbed safely into the ball, “I thought you could do it.” He had only one option left, but this time he also had a plan. “I know you can, though.” With a squeeze of the Nest Ball, Bree appeared in the clearing. Sam expected another demand of surrender from Carolina, but none ever came. Perhaps she was acquiescing to her daughter’s apparent desire for the match to continue, or perhaps she just thought Sam did not have a chance and was not worth bothering with. That was fine by Sam; people had been underestimating Bree his entire life.

    Cynthia seemed hesitant; she did not call out any attacks or instructions at all. Sam thought about the cave for a moment and what Carlos and the crew were doing in there, but he knew he could not allow himself the mental distraction.

    “Bree, I want you to use your bug buzz attack on that Spiritomb. All right?” Bree bobbed in the air in reply and beat her wings so she could zip towards her foe. As she closed the gap between them, she began vibrating her wings rapidly and letting out a disorienting buzzing sound. As she had done with the larger, less mobile Torterra previously, she would begin circling around Mouri too fast for it strike back, and then...

    “Mouri, withdraw again until the moment is right.”

    “Jackpot,” Sam whispered to himself. Before Bree even really got to begin her bug buzz, the Spiritomb pulled away into its protective rock, just as Sam had wanted.

    “Bree, that’s what we needed, girl. I want you to cover that rock in sleep powder now!” In the air above Mouri’s stone, Bree shook her wings fervently. Powder-fine scales broke loose and fell to the area below. With nothing to interrupt her, Bree let the scales fall for several seconds until everything below was covered in them. “That’s good, Bree. Come back over to me.” Sam looked across the field and saw Cynthia grimacing; she must have figured it out. “That’s right. Your Spiritomb’s protective home just became its prison. Bring it out now, and it’s going to absorb all the sleep powder.”

    “Well played then, Mr. Stark. But enough fooling around, I suppose.” Cynthia withdrew Mouri back into is ball and placed it inside her coat. As her hand went in with one ball, it returned with another. “Your turn, Perang,” she said calmly.

    Sam felt every muscle in his body tense. That Spiritomb had been dynamite, and it was just what she used to feel him out. Cynthia was clearly a very capable and experienced trainer. There was no telling what else she might have, but Sam already doubted Bree’s ability to handle it alone. He looked back towards the entrance to the Celestic Ruins; all he had to do was keep buying time. What was taking Carlos so long?

    He was shocked back to attention on the battle by a roar that made the blood in his veins feel chilled. Before Cynthia was standing a creature several feet taller than she or Sam. It was a dull purple on most of its body except for its underbelly which was half yellow and half red. On either side of its shark-like head were two appendages that looked to Sam like mini torpedoes. Its forearms ended as pectoral fins, and its upper arms and thighs were lined with bony spikes. Behind its stout legs and clawed feet was a tail that ended with a caudal fin. It was a monstrosity Sam recognized as a Garchomp, an extremely powerful, and equally as rare, dragon-type pokemon. Sam and his butterfly pokemon were both in awe.

    “Last chance, Mr. Stark,” Cynthia offered. There was an edge to her voice that Sam had not picked up on before. Maybe she really was just fooling around at first. “Give up and let us go get those gentlemen.”

    Sam continued looking at the Garchomp. Almost as if on cue to emphasize its trainer’s point, the dragon licked its lips. Sam swallowed and turned his gaze to Bree. “Well, girl. You ready to really see what you can do?”

    Bree did a forward somersault in the air and buzzed intently. She was, as ever in the face of a challenge, undaunted. Sam knew that Cynthia could put five Garchomps on the field, and Bree would still be dead certain she could win. He silently hoped that after this fight, that was the only kind of dead she would be. Sam dug his feet into the ground and thought of what he’d need to do just for her to survive this.

    “Bree, go--”

    An explosion behind him stole the rest of his command. The concussive force of the blast barreled out the opening of the cave and knocked Sam off of his feet. He rolled over onto his back to steal a glance upwards; thankfully, Bree was still aloft, albeit shakily. For her own safety, he quickly withdrew her back into her ball. Looking over, he saw that Cynthia had grabbed her grandmother to hold her up, but both were still on their feet due to being further from the opening than Sam had been. Other than an obnoxious humming in his ears and a pair of bloody forearms from impact with the ground, everyone appeared to be all right.

    “What was that?” He found himself shouting in unison with Cynthia. The look on her face revealed she must have been surprised that he did not already know.

    “They weren’t supposed to do anything like that!” Sam shouted over the squeal in his eardrums. “I promise, this wasn’t my intention at all!”

    Cynthia began rushing to the entrance of the cave, and Sam instinctively decided to follow her. He had no idea what had just happened; he did not even think anybody on the crew brought anything capable of such a blast. They were just as reckless and foolhardy as they had been at Verity lakefront and on the cargo ship. Before Sam and Cynthia could enter the cave, they were stunned to see three small figures exit it in a blur. They stopped for just a second as they met the sunlight before shooting upwards into the sky.

    They were the legendary guardians of the lake.

    Sam only got a full view of them for a moment, but he’d immediately recognized them from the sketches he’d studied. They were small, none of the three could possibly have been much more than a foot tall, and from the neck-down, they were identical: gray bodies with proportional arms and tiny nubs for legs and twin, three-pronged tails. It was their heads that distinguished the trio; they each had a unique crest on their head, and while Mesprit and Azelf had large, yellow eyes, Uxie’s eyes were closed. Uxie, the Being of Knowledge, also had a thick, yellow crest that rounded back around its skull like a bicycle helmet with vertical ridges. Azelf, the Being of Willpower, had a blue crest protruding upwards from its head like a soft pyramid. Mesprit, the Being of Emotion, had a light purple crest that hung down from its head in the form of four tendril-like appendages. Sam did not care how tiny they were in person, at that moment, they were the most brilliant pokemon he’d ever seen in his life.

    From near him, he heard Cynthia give an order. “Perang, Kelaparan, block the entrance to the cave so the guardians can escape!

    A new pokemon stood next to Cynthia’s Garchomp, and it was one that Sam had seen back home near Johto. The Snorlax was huge--about as tall as Garchomp, but much more rotund--green with a white underbelly, and had pointed, feline ears. It partnered with the dragon to guard the cavern hole and keep the crew from following the legends. Sam did not care; all that he knew is now that he finally found them, they were using their immense telekinetic power to soar away.

    “Please!” He called out them, just hoping they’d hear him. “Please, I won’t let them hurt you, I promise! I need you! I’ve come so far, and without you, my brother will die! Please don’t leave now! He needs you. I need you.”

    In the distance of the sky, one of them came to a halt. Sam could faintly make out the crest that marked it as Mesprit. Perhaps something in his voice got through to the small guardian. “Please, I will do anything--anything--for my brother! I would never hurt you or try to catch you, but he means everything to me and nothing will stop me from saving him. Please come back!” With those words, he saw a second stop; this time it was Azelf. As Azelf floated down to its brother Mesprit, Uxie also came to a stop, if only due to curiosity as to what had gotten the attention of the other two. They hovered in the air far from Sam and stared at him. “Please...,” Sam muttered, as he fell to his knees. “Help me.”

    Much slower and more cautiously than the trio had flown into the sky, they began coming back down. Above the ruckus from the entryway to the ruins where the crew must have been trying to get past the Garchomp and Snorlax, Sam heard Professor Carolina let out a startled gasp; she obviously did not expect the guardians to stop their flight to freedom. Sam felt her approach his side, but he did not care. All that mattered was convincing the guardians that he meant what he said. The professor put a hand on Sam’s shoulders, but there was no anger in her grip. She was merely lightly comforting him.

    Mesprit reached Sam first, and it had gotten much closer than Sam thought it would. He could have reached out and touched it if he wanted, but he refused to entertain the thought. He needed them to trust him not fear him; it was Tommy’s only chance. The red gem in the middle of Mesprit’s head shone, and Sam could not tell whether it was reflecting the noon sun or if it was Mesprit’s own doing. The spritely pokemon bobbed in the air from right to left, but never took its eye off of Sam. It made a short, songlike hum that seemed to cue Azelf and Uxie, their gems sparkling as well, to come nearer to him. Uxie simply hovered in place, its eyes still tightly closed, but Azelf zipped around Sam’s head and hummed in a low grumble. Mesprit cooed in reply to its brother’s grouchy tone, and Azelf quieted down and settled into one spot in the air across from Sam and along with Mesprit and Uxie.

    “Do you know I’m telling the truth?”

    Mesprit looked to its left at Uxie, and the Being of Knowledge squeaked; Mesprit then glanced to Azelf, who simply huffed. Mesprit let out a sound Sam could only interpret as a giggle and then turned back to Sam. Mesprit’s large, amber eyes locked onto his, and the legendary guardian nodded slowly. It trusted him!

    The din of mayhem disturbed the moment, and Sam turned to see that a gang of pokemon--led by Carlos’ Hariyama--had battled their way past Cynthia’s Garchomp and Snorlax and had cleared the way of the ruins’ entrance. Carlos himself was right behind the pokemon, and he pointed at the legends and yelled something in Hoennese back to the crew.

    “No!” Sam yelled. He knew they would ruin everything, but it was too late. The battle spilling outside the cave, the frantic yelling of the Phoenix workers, and the sight of them charging towards Sam were all too much for the legends. They took back off into the sky as swiftly as they had fled the cave. Well before Carlos and the others reached Sam, the guardians were out of sight.





    Author's Notes (I KNOW! I don't usually do these!)

    -First of all, big ups to Rayquaza The First (link to his profile is in my O.P.) for the new banner! I wanted something that showed Chispa and Sinnoh itself, so here it is. I hope you all think it is as snazzy as I do.

    -Second of all, I like to think of this as Brothers' Bond's mid-season finale or intermission. A lot of the first half of the story was driving to this point, and here it is. I'm not saying that this is exactly halfway--I have no idea how long the second act will be--but it feels like this where I'd want to draw a median in the story. There will [hopefully] be big surprises in store for everyone as the story goes forward as Sam continues battling with his own morality in the face of what he feels needs to be done.

    -Cynthia appeared! I was fairly sure she would at some point, and I was glad to get to work with her. She allowed me to write one of my favorite pokemon ever, too: Spiritomb. By the way: +5 internets to the first person who can tell me why Cynthia's pokemon are named what they are.

    -Sideburns came back! He'll be around for a bit now, actually...

    -And the legendary trio is real! So close, Sammy. So close... Unlike Cynthia and Sideburns, no promises on whether they'll make any more appearances...

    -MOST IMPORTANTLY: Thank every single one of you for bearing with this story. I really, honestly appreciate everything you've all said and all the advice you've given me. In just the 15 chapters I've written so far, I feel like I have improved and gotten better ideas because of your feedback. I know I'm prone to defending some of the choices I've made, but I've cataloged all your words of wisdom as I've carried on and tried to use it to improve every aspect of this and other stories of mine. I've totally had moments in my chapters where I've thought "Aurea thought I should do this..." or "diamondpearl mentioned doing this this way..." among several other examples. You're all terrific, and I thank you for the time and attention you've given my little fan fiction.
    Last edited by Sid87; 24th September 2012 at 4:22 PM.


    Sid87's Gen 6 Igloo Shop!

    FC: 3823-9867-2750

  22. #122
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Illinois, USA
    Posts
    704

    Default

    Her wavy blonde hair hung just below her waist, and she was dressed in all black: black pants, a black blouse, and a black, fur-rimmed jacket. Her features were soft, and she was probably right around Sam’s age, if not maybe a year or two younger. Sam found that seeing her before him was the pleasant thing Sinnoh had given him yet.
    Sam having a crush on Cynthia sounds really amusing. Not sure why, but it does.

    Sam recognized it immediately as a pokemon he’d heard of but thought was only an urban legend.
    Tsk, tsk. If anyone Sam should know better by now than to think something is improbable.

    Sam was stunned; He still never imagined he’d see a pokemon as fantastic as a Spiritomb.
    “He” shouldn’t be capitalized after the semi-colon.

    Chispa shook her head as if to clear out the cobwebs from her confusion at missing the Spiritomb before lunging again. This time she dove straight into the heart of the creature with her mouth wide, but as before, she passed harmlessly through its incorporeal body as her jaws snapped shut. She landed on her feet after this attempt, but was still as befuddled as she had been after her first failed strike. Sam, however, started putting it together; if Spiritomb’s body was barely physical to begin with, physical attacks were not going to work particularly well on it. He needed to come up with a different strategy.
    I was going to make some remark about how electric and dark type attacks should work against the Spiritomb, but I quite like the idea of physical attacks not effecting him at all. It seems more realistic for a ghost-type pokémon, one that wouldn’t work for the games, but is interesting to see in a fic. Kudos to you.

    Perhaps she was acquiescing to her daughter’s apparent desire for the match to continue, or perhaps she just thought Sam did not have a chance and was not worth bothering with. That was fine by Sam; people had been underestimating Bree his entire life.
    Seems a bit uncharacteristic of Sam to lets others think so ill of his friend. Maybe it’s just me, though. You could just say that Sam planned to prove Cynthia and everyone else wrong about Bree’s abilities. As it stands, though, it seems like Sam is just letting the judgment pass and that doesn’t sit right with me.

    “Jackpot,” Sam whispered to itself.
    “itself” should be “himself”

    Powder-fine scales broke loose and fell the area below.
    Should be “fell to the area below.”

    He looked back towards the entrance to the Celestic Ruins; all he had to do was keep buying time. What was taking Carlos so long?
    Also seems a little odd to me that Sam would be trusting Carlos to get done what exactly needs to be done.

    He needed them to trust him not fear him,; it was Tommy’s only chance.
    Pick one: semi-colon or comma!

    The din of mayhem disturbed the moment, and Sam turned to see that a gang of pokemon--led by Carlos’ Hariyama--had battled their way past Cynthia’s Garchomp and Snorlax and had cleared the way of the ruins’ extrance.
    “entrance” not “extrance”

    All in all it was another good chapter. I found it a bit odd that Sam put so much faith in Carlos and the crew after so clearly showing his disdain for them, but that was it, really. The battle was well described and well balanced (I wasn’t expecting Sam to do spectacularly against the champion, after all) and the scene between the trio/Sam was bittersweet and hopeful, and fleeting, gone just as quickly as it came. I look forward to how Sam reacts to this situation and whether or not anything changes for him.

    | 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 |


  23. #123
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    1,594

    Default

    Unfortunately this doesn’t cover up to your most recent chapters yet, but here’s my next round of comments.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Chapter 5: Present Day

    “Vlam and Bree,” Sam answered, his voice as lifeless as the room. He made no attempt to differentiate which was the Ninetales or the Butterfree. His brain was busy being shuffled back through countless rooms like this one, where he received disheartening word after disheartening word for more than 12 months now. The image of Vlam curling around Rowan’s feet and the hopefulness that her analysis of his character provided felt like they had happened to someone else he might have read about in a story. All he could think of was his rage at useless so-called medical experts. And his brother’s black, emotionless eyes.
    Here’s another sentence that starts with “And.” That said, even though the sentence is incomplete, I think in this case it helps the tone and importance of this bit stand out.
    “You seem discomforted here. I apologize, Sam. I merely hoped we could speak in private. Speaking of going after our continent’s legendary pokemon...that is obviously a sensitive matter. I wouldn’t want just anyone to hear you talking like that.

    “I don’t care who hears me, professor,” Sam barked. Rowan’s words had stirred something inside him, and now his spine felt prickly. “I am going to catch them.”

    “Now now, son. I can’t imagine how you even think this possible. First of all, no one has seen or documented any proof of the legends in decades,” Rowan stopped there and appeared to be playing with numbers in his head, “possibly centuries! Secondly, you’re hardly the first headstrong young man to come to Sinnoh with designs on capturing them. It’s a countless number of trainers that have failed; how could you think you’ll succeed? And also--”
    I’m a little confused by this bit, to be honest. If there’s no proof such pokémon exist, then why is it such a sensitive matter to discuss? I would guess it wouldn’t be seen as a taboo to look for something that might just be a myth, so is it because he’s afraid Sam would sound like a crazy person for looking for them?
    “Well I don’t want the legends, Professor Rowan. I don’t want to train them, I don’t want to battle with them, and I don’t want their secrets. I need them to save my brother’s life. Or give him one back,” his voice began failing with uncertainty. “I don’t know...I don’t know what I need them to do, but I...I need it...”
    Should that be “them” instead of “it” since he’s referring to the trio?

    I do like how you integrated in the kinds of jobs and degrees the pokémon world would have into Sam’s job-hunting. They’re mentioned as though they’re just normal things in the Pokémon world rather than like you’re just adding “Poké” to the front of things (one of the things I tend to worry about when creating things for my non-trainers to do). Well done.
    They sat at the table, and Tommy began telling Sam that he thought there was going to be an opening at the Pokemon Center soon. One of the resident pokemon therapists was apparently interviewing in Azaela for a head counselor position, so Sam would have a possible foot in the door in the coming weeks.

    After dinner they settled in to watch some other WPL Johto matches--Tommy was always very insistent that Sam study as much of his opponents as possible—and it was then that Sam noticed something: Tommy was trying to describe the methods of one of the trainers they were watching, but his words weren’t coming out right. It was like there was a fog hanging in front of his mouth catching the words as he made them.

    “A few seconds after that, he collapsed. He’d suffered a massive stroke,” Sam’s voice felt tiny as he finished relaying the memory to the pokemon professor. “He’s been catatonic ever since.”
    Wow. I like the casual, and even hopeful (considering a possible job opening for Sam) tone being interrupted by Tommy’s symptoms (from subtle signs to the full on stroke). The tragedy coming during the midst of an otherwise ordinary day is chillingly realistic.

    A stroke was a good choice, considering what Sam wants to use to reverse the situation, but it does seem a little unusual for a 24-year-old to suffer one.
    “My brother is stuck in a bed, unable to will himself move. He’s forgotten everything about his previous life. And he can’t remember his relationships. Not with Vlam and not with me. Do you see what he’s missing? Willpower, knowledge, and emotion.”

    Rowan’s eyes widened. “Son, you’re talking about mythical abilities attributed to legendary pokemon. Not only are we not sure they still exist, but we have no way of knowing if they are truly responsible for such matters.”

    “Well what else am I going to do?” Sam’s voice grew large again. “Go see a specialist? Or a homeopathic doctor? Oh wait, I already have! More than I can count. I haven’t found a single human being alive that has an answer for the severity of stroke that Tommy suffered. And if I can’t find a human…”

    “It’s…not unheard of. There’s certainly healing abilities in the pokemon kingdom that have proven useful on human conditions. But what you are asking for…what you are expecting…”

    “Professor, I’m going to do this. I’m going to at least look for them. I don’t know what else to do. It’s the only shot I have left.”

    Again, Rowan was silent. Sam knew he was carefully considering his response. He probably didn’t believe in what Sam needed to do, but perhaps he would at least empathize with it. Finally he replied, “I can’t leave my lab or my offices. I simply have too many people that depend on me. But if this is something you truly want to do, I can send an assistant to guide you around Sinnoh. I will be honest, Sam, I think you’d have a better chance chasing the end of a rainbow; I honestly do. But as a favor to your family, I’ll help you as much as I can within reason.
    Sam’s desperation and Rowan’s skepticism really show through here. I’m not sure about the last sentence, though, as it seems a little wordy. I’m not sure what would improve it, however.

    I’m also not sure why Sam would necessarily need Rowan’s blessing to pursue the legends. Surely they’re associated with the lakes enough in mythology that he could choose explore those areas without a guide.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Chapter 6: Present Day

    The newly caught Shinx bounced happily at its trainer’s left side. Occasionally Bree would float down to it and let out a sharp chirp, and the Shinx would reply by rearing up on its stubby hindlegs and swatting up at the Butterfree. Bree was too quick, however, and would always flap itself just out of reach. The Shinx would let out a few yips to let it know it wanted the butterfly pokemon to come lower so they could play together. On Sam’s right side, Vlam kept up with her trainer’s gait and ignored the other two more childish pokemon.
    Once again, you’re switching between her and it for Bree. Figured I’d point it out since it can be hard to find all of these individually.
    Sam couldn’t rationalize in his head why he felt compelled to capture the Shinx. He had already left most of his friends behind, in the comfort of neighbors and friends who pitied Sam and were happy to do what they could while he did what he had to do. Secretly, he suspected they all thought he was losing his mind, so perhaps they felt they were doing right by the pokemon to keep them out of their trainer’s mad hands. Whatever the reason, he left many of them behind and had decided only on bringing the two. Waiting two weeks for customs to clear just Vlam and Bree could have turned into an indeterminable wait if he had brought even more of his friends, and besides that, it felt right to just bring the Ninetales and Butterfree. But if that was the case, he wondered, why stop in the woods to catch the black and blue creature?
    While I do like the background and information provided here, parts of this segment seem a bit repetitive. Maybe this could be condensed a bit?
    But when he saw this underfed Shinx, it barely registered Sam’s existence. It had its head buried in an berry bush, live electric sparks snapping off of its tail as it crunched away.
    A, not an.
    The Shinx was now swatting Vlam’s paws and barking back-and-forth, from Vlam to Bree; sparks were radiating from its tail just as it had been when he cam across it.
    “came” is missing an e.
    “Halt! These are my woods, and if you want to pass, you’ll have to battle me!”

    Sam had been so entranced in the thought of having Mesprit’s gifts bring Tommy back, he had allowed himself to be come upon from behind. He turned to see a teenage boy--not quite yet an adult--with wild blonde hair curling upwards on either side of his head. Fiery orange eyes stared into Sam’s, and the young man flung the arms of his scarf back dramatically. The weather certainly was not calling for a scarf, so Sam thought the boy must have been wearing it ironically. Shinx clawed at Sam‘s leg, clearly startled at the boy‘s booming voice, and even Vlam‘s tails had stiffened at the sound of it.

    “Excuse me?”

    “Don’t play dumb. You heard me. Battle me for the rights to walk in my woods!”
    Probably one of the best ways possible to introduce Barry! This was cool. It really shows Barry’s personality.

    “Anyway, the turn you missed is back here a ways. I uprooted some bushes and used them to cover it up. I thought it’d be funny to watch you wander on past it.”

    Sam wanted to have Vlam set this kid on fire. It was suddenly the only thing he’d ever wanted in his life.

    “Come on,” Barry continued, “I got a camp set up at the lakefront and everything. We can catch up on how much more awesome than you I am there.”

    Vlam, use flamethrower. Those words tasted better in Sam’s mouth than any cake he’d ever eaten. But he swallowed them and followed the teen.
    This exchange continues to be amusing.

    The first time we see Sam’s nightmares is pretty intense. The way you start it makes it seem like it could either be a memory or a dream, then it establishes itself as a dream just before turning into a nightmare. I think it’s the “calm before the storm” aspect of the beginning that makes it work so well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Chapter 7: Present Day

    Sam had no time at all to be indecisive, and he knew it. If he paused to consider his actions for even a moment, Barry would be out of sight. With that realization, Sam increased his speed in an effort to stay just behind Barry’s trail of dust. He still had no idea why Barry was running so fervently, but it was obvious that the sound from the other side of the lake had awoken something dire within the young man. It was a side of Barry that Sam had seen no sign of yesterday.
    I think it might help maintain the pace of the scene if you combine the bolded phrases into one, as saying both slows the action while you’re actively trying to speed it up. Perhaps “Sam knew that if he paused to make his decision for even a moment, Barry would be out of sight” or something similar would work better?
    Somewhere in his haste, he had lost one of his knitted slippers, and he tried to calculate if having one was any more ridiculous than either having both or just being barefoot. He settled on kicking the other one off to match his bare feet; he could recover the socks when they came back around the lake.
    This was a nice little detail.
    “Professor Rowan, hey it’s me. Did you get the pictures I sent you?...Good...Yeah, they’re just here at the north side of the lake...So did you recognize the emblem on...Phoenix Shipping Corporation?...No, I never heard of it...” Sam’s eyes shot back-and-forth between Barry and the workers by their equipment. It seemed impossible that they could hear Barry at this distance, but what if they could? Were they allowed to be here while this crew was working? Barry’s conversation continued, “Well that doesn’t sound so bad...No, he’s right here with me, he doesn’t seem to know these guys...Yeah, I believe him. I am not particularly suspicious of guys who whimper in their sleep...Do we have permission to?...Awesome...Oh, you know I can, but what about--CHRIST!”
    Someone seems to have an ulterior motive . . . I’m not clear on why he (and Rowan as well, apparently) keeps checking to make sure Sam wasn’t involved with them at this point though. I’m guessing this will be cleared up as I go.
    Sideburns yelled something back to his crew while he unhooked his Great Ball. Sam braced for them to rush forward to help him, but they instead turned towards the heavy equipment and raced for them. Energy was just emerging from Sideburns’ ball when Barry yelled to Sam.

    “You deal with whatever he’s got! I’m going to stop those guys! Torterra, fissure away those vehicles!”
    I’m guessing this is going to be typical Barry behavior. If you’re not in on his plan, you’d better hurry up and improvise!
    Sam was familiar with it as a Hariyama on only a rudimentary level from the studying he did when he was still active in the World Pokemon League.
    I had to reread the beginning of this sentence to make sure of what you were saying. Maybe “Sam recognized it as . . .” would work better?
    “Hey! I can’t understand that! That’s...really unfair.” Sam found that he was pointing an accusing finger at the foreigner. Sideburns shouted another mystery order, but this time, Sam had his bearings more together. “Bree, fly up! Just...stay away from it!”
    Yep, Sam’s out of his element on this one.
    Hariyama’s right leg whipped around to kick Bree, but she had managed to narrowly avoid the impact by flying several feet into the air. “Yeah, you can yell all the gibberish you want now, but your fatty ninja pokemon can’t fly, so why don’t you calm down? We just asked to see your license and paperwork!”
    while barefoot and in pajamas. Nothing suspicious here! I enjoyed how the battle was written, too. Well paced. I always hate writing battle scenes (for Pokémon-based stories or otherwise), so I respect people who can pull them off well.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sid87 View Post
    Chapter 8: Six Years Ago...

    Sam sputtered a few words, but nothing pointed was coming to him as he tried to imagine his brother meeting women. It was a disturbing thought, broken up by Tommy’s laughter. “Oh man, you need to see your own face, Sammy. I think I just broke your brain.” Tommy patted his brother between the shoulders. “Like I have time to date? Wishful thinking. But man...you are so gullible, kiddo.”
    These interactions are great, and keep Tommy in the story so the reader gets to see what Sam’s fighting for rather than just hearing about him.
    They moved away from Ilex Hall so that Tommy could show him the Banner Memorial Library that was on Sitrus Avenue, the main road through campus. Every so often, Sam would notice Tommy take a deep breath and just stare off at a building or a university transit bus or a bench on the lawn outside of a building. It would only last a moment, but there was definitely something there. A memory, Sam thought, or perhaps a regret? If Tommy felt bad about his failing out of UGC, he’d never let Sam know it. He still remembered the day the letter came and his questioning his brother over it. Tommy just chuckled and replied, “College is hard, kiddo. You better get your grades up so you can see just how hard some day.” And then he effortlessly changed the subject to using his new Fire Stone to evolve Vlam. As Sam thought of it like that, college was the only thing that Tommy didn’t make seem effortless.
    I like the lighthearted, if guilt-tinged, interactions, but they can also be problematic for reasons previously stated. Maybe Sam catching Tommy in a moment of weakness (examples could be snapping when he’s annoyed enough or just venting his frustration when he doesn’t think Sam’s looking) and that might make him seem more rounded? Yes, we see how the situation affects him by his college grades and forlorn looks while he’s giving Sam the tour of the campus, but always shrugging it off positively until he can’t anymore just doesn’t seem realistic to me.
    “Really? Wuss. It’s just some water. Look,” Barry started doing jumping jacks on the deck of the ship. “See? I’m fine.” He kept going. Jumping. Up and down. Up and down. Up and--

    “Oh god, please stop that!”

    “What?”

    “The jumping and the moving all the time!” Sam exclaimed while pressing his palm to the side of his head. “Stop it!”
    You have “annoying kid” down to a T with Barry. Well done. He may not be a character I’d want to spend any length of time stuck on a boat with, but he’s still a great character. I think it’s Sam’s realistic reactions to him that really cement him as fun to read about, though.
    They were halfway between the ferry dock and the Phoenix building when it finally occurred to Sam to ask the most rhetorical question he imagined he’d ever ponder. “You don’t really have a plan for what to do when we get there, do you?”

    “Nope. Just gonna play this by ear.”

    “Okay, yes. Tell me, what is your ear playing right now?”

    Barry scratched his chin with his index finger. “Hm. Walk in. Find the receptionist or accountant or CEO or whoever’s at the front desk. Say ‘why were those guys performing illegal construction at Lake Verity?’ in a very menacing voice. Get answers.”

    “Yep, that’s pretty good. But how about instead of that, we do anything else?”

    “I like the sound of that, too. What have you got?”
    This really captures the “make it up as you go along” attitude I imagine the game-verse Barry has.
    Sam grabbed Barry’s shoulder to stop their progress down the boardwalk. Getting to the building before the plan was fully fleshed out seemed unwise. “Okay. You work for Professor Rowan. Professor Rowan is the legally authorized Pokemon Professor of Sinnoh, right?”

    “Right.”

    “Okay. I’m going to assume that, just like in Johto, Regional Pokemon Professor is a cabinet position, yes? Rowan was appointed by and serves under your Minister Benicini. Am I right so far?”

    “As rain.”

    “Then you--and by extension, I--are legally representing not just the Pokemon Professor Rowan, but Secretary Rowan. We greet the receptionist as such, prove our credentials by contacting the professor, and ask to speak to Phoenix Corporation’s legal advisory team regarding some--and we won’t say what kind--but some kind of ‘sketchy legal matters’. Still with me?”
    Good way of incorporating some of your world-building details in.

    “We ask the legal team why the Phoenix Shipping Corporation would be performing illegal drilling and construction on government-protected land, and why they responded to queries about their licensing with violence.” Sam pulled his hands up to his chest in an innocent manner. “We explain that we are sure it is just a misunderstanding as to how they ended up there, and perhaps their employees were just startled by our presence, but we are required to report back to Secretary Rowan with answers on this matter regardless. We make it seem like it’s all a big inconvenience, and we want to help them clear it up as quickly as--”

    “We’re going to sneak onto a boat.”

    Sam smacked his lips in response to Barry’s latest interruption. He sighed, “Yes, that is also a robust plan. Detailed plan of action filled with subterfuge and tact, vis a vis sneaking on a boat. Dilemmas like this keep men up at night...”
    I laughed. It’s also good that Barry’s not just being impulsive here and actually has reasons for the jump to “sneak onto a boat.”
    If that vessel made it to Lake Acuity while Sam and Barry were busy pussy-footing with a bunch of lawyers, who knows what its crew could do?
    I think “knows” should be “knew” here, as the rest of the statement is all in past tense.
    Sam was not quite sure how he stifled his screams as he was heaved upwards and then landed on the metal deck with his back, but he had. He would have never imagined Monferno had that kind of power in him. Moments after Sam’s landing came Barry’s; it was equally graceless, but he seemed less disturbed by it than Sam had been. They both sprang up to their feet; Sam did it to look around and ensure no one saw them, while Barry did so to withdraw Monferno back to the safety of its ball from its spot on the docks. Sam saw no one, but he still didn’t want to take a chance. He pointed to an array of crates, and the two of them ran to conceal themselves in it. As they got there, they felt the cargo boat pulling away from the dock. Whether it was the superior plan or not didn’t matter now; they were on their way to Acuity.
    Poor Sam, back at sea again.

    Yeah, that’s all I have at the moment. Chapters 9 and beyond will be coming soon (probably). So far, I like how fleshed out the characters are, but I’m not sure on certain points, such as why Sam felt the need to ask Rowan to let him search for the legends beyond having someone else reassure him he’s not crazy for trying (which, I’ll admit, seems like a good reason for wanting to ask Rowan for help, it just could be better).

    Now that I think about it, teenage self-centeredness probably would be enough to keep Sam from noticing a lot of his brother’s struggling (along with Tommy’s tendency to try to hide this from his brother). I was referring more to his not realizing that Tommy was being overwhelmed at all by the situation rather than him going out of his way to provide for the pair. As for FullMetal Alchemist, I liked it/them (there are two anime series, one that follows the manga more closely than the first) for the most part.

    9 – 15 will be reviewed soon.
    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.

  24. #124
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    a really nice chair
    Posts
    3,920

    Default

    Finally found the time to read this! Sorry it's rather late, I'm unfortunately busy with school in a few days....
    And now we're at the climax. I just felt a chill. I'm not too good with words that ahven't been used, but keep it up!
    In regards to your PM, I personally rather like Brothers' Bond. Also, Boots of Human Flesh sounds like an old 80's horror movie.

    "You can to deal with this attention."
    This bit confused me though.

  25. #125
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Kalos
    Posts
    4,740

    Default

    Chapter 8

    Hm.....not much to say. Not much of anything happened this chapter. Though we do find out a bit more about Tommy and Sam's past and we also learn about the shady group's actions back at Lake Verity. I wish I could say more but not much of anything happened significantly. I once again enjoyed Tommy and Sam's interactions and how you showed off how unselfish Tommy is. Dialogue flowed nicely and I'm getting the feeling of Cresselia or Darkrai appearing for some reason.

Page 5 of 10 FirstFirst 123456789 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •