Page 2 of 9 FirstFirst 123456 ... LastLast
Results 26 to 50 of 215

Thread: Operation GEAR: The Angel of Reckoning (R)

  1. #26
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri.
    Posts
    259

    Default

    I probably should've done this review a long time ago, but I hope that this will suffice:

    Seriously, Olivia? Could she possibly be any less mature? Wait, never mind, she probably could, which is pretty scary to think about. The way she's treating Oshawott leads me to believe that future neglect is more of a "when" than an "if". Sooner or later, Oshawott is going to realize that Olivia isn't the same way with him as she is with Roselia and Minccino. When that happens, it's going to create a huge amount of resentment and/or guilt on Oshawott's part - both of which could badly stunt his emotional growth. If the three adults have any sense whatsoever, they should put their foot down right now before it has a chance to get to that point.

    Look at Ash's Charizard when it evolved. Then think of the worst-case scenario of an emotionally-underdeveloped Dewott/Samurott in their midst. You'll understand my concerns.

    Doughnuts and whiskey?! Ariana is awesome. Enough said. And thank fate that the trio stopped using that awful motto. You'd think that it would've gotten stale after all the episodes they used it in...

    Renzo...I see that he's just as batshit insane and obsessed as ever. The guy really does have problems (if one could dismiss whatever raging insanity he has as merely a problem). Hell, it wouldn't surprise me if he turned to stalking them because of his fixating behavior, but it also wouldn't surprise me if he knew more details than he should about Rich's death.

    It worries me what his motives are, but what he might do after he completes his goal worries me even more. Renzo does not seem like the type to move on. It's a scary thought, but I think that even if he does manage to reveal whatever he thinks is the truth about Rich, he'll still stalk and harass his family and friends, not to gloat about his victory, but because he simply doesn't know how to do anything else.

    The first thing I noticed about the Sacred Helix was that Archer had joined them. One of two options popped into my head: either he's upset at Giovanni for taking back control or he's there to spy on the Sacred Helix for TR. Either way, I love how you portrayed him: calm and completely in control of his surroundings. He's probably the only character I truly like out of that entire group. Still, I thought that Archer had blue hair...

    Geminus is a very interesting name to take. In Ancient Greek history, Geminus was one of the forefathers of mathematics and astronomy. Not many people would've thought of him before such names like Plato or Aristotle. I'm impressed.

    As for this story's Geminus...I have all sorts of theories about him, but if any of them are close to being right...well, he could very well be the most powerful person in that room. And now I'm hearing legends being referred to as "angels".

    Now I don't just hate Polaris beyond all reason. I'm also extremely frightened about what they might be capable of if they had one of those legends in their grasp... Fate, just imagine a terrorist cult going for total control of a whole group of monsters that are on a god-like level. They're already more scary than any villain I've seen in your fics - which I had thought impossible. Major, major kudos to you for establishing that in the second chapter of your story.

    Overall, I don't think you could've played it out better than you did. Even Olivia's brattiness looked like it had a place in the chapter. This was excellently done. I'm excited to see what the next chapter will hold, whenever it comes out.

    Sincerely,

    Mem.
    Last edited by SilentMemento; 19th June 2012 at 2:30 AM.
    CURRENT STORY

    A Time for Everything - Kalos has lived peacefully for far too long, following the ideals of the corrupt. It's time to change that... An AU of X/Y.

  2. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    New Tork City
    Posts
    7,738

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SilentMemento View Post
    Seriously, Olivia? Could she possibly be any less mature? Wait, never mind, she probably could, which is pretty scary to think about. The way she's treating Oshawott leads me to believe that future neglect is more of a "when" than an "if". Sooner or later, Oshawott is going to realize that Olivia isn't the same way with him as she is with Roselia and Minccino. When that happens, it's going to create a huge amount of resentment and/or guilt on Oshawott's part - both of which could badly stunt his emotional growth. If the three adults have any sense whatsoever, they should put their foot down right now before it has a chance to get to that point.

    Look at Ash's Charizard when it evolved. Then think of the worst-case scenario of an emotionally-underdeveloped Dewott/Samurott in their midst. You'll understand my concerns.
    Well, I'm certainly seeing the track you're on, but that's not the way I'm going to go, really. I'm reluctant to say more for fear of spoilers.

    Doughnuts and whiskey?! Ariana is awesome. Enough said. And thank fate that the trio stopped using that awful motto. You'd think that it would've gotten stale after all the episodes they used it in...
    Yeah, Ariana is awesome, isn't she? All the Executives have their own crazy personalities, but Ariana's the fun-loving one. Especially when she doesn't have to do anything because she can force Zager to do it instead.

    And yeah, the motto was just something I felt had to go. I couldn't do it, having them actually doing things while still reciting it.

    Renzo...I see that he's just as batshit insane and obsessed as ever. The guy really does have problems (if one could dismiss whatever raging insanity he has as merely a problem). Hell, it wouldn't surprise me if he turned to stalking them because of his fixating behavior, but it also wouldn't surprise me if he knew more details than he should about Rich's death.
    You're on the right track, insofar as how much he knows.

    And stalking them? Maybe a little later, but for now he's got something to do.

    It worries me what his motives are, but what he might do after he completes his goal worries me even more. Renzo does not seem like the type to move on. It's a scary thought, but I think that even if he does manage to reveal whatever he thinks is the truth about Rich, he'll still stalk and harass his family and friends, not to gloat about his victory, but because he simply doesn't know how to do anything else.
    That's actually a really astute observation. I think you're going to be surprised, though, because believe it or not, there is more to him than this. I think as a bigger picture comes into focus, you'll suddenly understand him.

    The first thing I noticed about the Sacred Helix was that Archer had joined them. One of two options popped into my head: either he's upset at Giovanni for taking back control or he's there to spy on the Sacred Helix for TR. Either way, I love how you portrayed him: calm and completely in control of his surroundings. He's probably the only character I truly like out of that entire group. Still, I thought that Archer had blue hair...
    It's the first option.

    Him being in control also reflects his position, I think. He's sitting in for the entire cult's leader, so naturally he has to be control.

    And his hair looked gray to me, but whatever, it still worked.

    Geminus is a very interesting name to take. In Ancient Greek history, Geminus was one of the forefathers of mathematics and astronomy. Not many people would've thought of him before such names like Plato or Aristotle. I'm impressed.
    That's actually not what my motivation for choosing his name was, but it still fits him very well.

    You might be onto a track worth thinking about, though.

    As for this story's Geminus...I have all sorts of theories about him, but if any of them are close to being right...well, he could very well be the most powerful person in that room.
    I think having a suit that can generate bolts of electricity from its hands is what makes him the most powerful person in the room. XD;

    But yeah, he's not someone you want to meet in a dark alley. Boy, are you ever going to find that out.

    And now I'm hearing legends being referred to as "angels".

    Now I don't just hate Polaris beyond all reason. I'm also extremely frightened about what they might be capable of if they had one of those legends in their grasp... Fate, just imagine a terrorist cult going for total control of a whole group of monsters that are on a god-like level. They're already more scary than any villain I've seen in your fics - which I had thought impossible. Major, major kudos to you for establishing that in the second chapter of your story.
    Clarification: while Polaris wants Legendaries, and lots of them, them and the Angels are two separate things. The Angels aren't Pokemon.

    Thanks, though. I suppose that maybe the mystery surrounding them is helping to produce the sense of menace right now? I mean, they're clearly doing some kind of shady genetic experimentation, have plans that are on a huge scale with the capability of actually carrying them out, and even look threatening - and yet, you don't even really know what they're doing or going to do just yet! Let me assure you, you're going to end up thinking it wasn't so bad at this point when you actually know things about them.

    Overall, I don't think you could've played it out better than you did. Even Olivia's brattiness looked like it had a place in the chapter. This was excellently done. I'm excited to see what the next chapter will hold, whenever it comes out.
    Thanks! It really means a lot.

    I don't think the next chapter is going to be as big as this one in terms of events; it's mostly to bring us from New Bark Town to Cherrygrove City. Though, on the other hand, some stuff of importance will happen, so I suppose it's still going to be good.

    I'll try to do my best on getting it out as soon as I can.

    (Banner by Matori)
    Beyond all ideals, the truth shall set you free...
    Most Recent: 18: Winter of Discontent
    Next: The Weight of the World (Part 1)

    The steps on the road to the truth.
    The Firestorm Rebellion
    The Victory Star of Fate


    Glacidia Network - The Home for Fanworks
    Best Wishes appreciation blog

  3. #28
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Nowwhere and everywhere
    Posts
    942

    Default

    ( I would like to not that I have not read either of the other stories relating to this, so some of my comments might be due to lack of knowledge that could be gained from those stories)

    Hmm…..Since I did go ahead and read both chapters, I think I will go ahead and cover them as one entity.

    As someone who has not read anything that precludes this story, the very first thing that comes to mind is the amount of information that these first two chapters throw at you. The story opens in a mysterious laboratory, in which as child is being born. We are introduced to the first character, one Gabriel Zager, who appears to be in charge of whatever is happening. However, before we find out to much about Zager, a new person barges in, spouting about how they should never have played God.

    That certainly gets my attention, and makes me wonder just what exactly these people are doing. I can figure it has something to do with the baby, which provides a good way to keep readers hooked onto your story.

    This Scene raps up by introducing a new character, someone named Father, who mentions Polaris, whatever that is, and the Azrael Project, which obviously has something to do with whatever was begin done in the lab.

    This opening is great, providing just enough detail to keep your readers interested without making any plot detail obvious.

    --------------

    The next scene throws quite a bit right into the readers face. First off, the focus of the opening scene, Dr. Zager has mysteriously vanished, fourteen years after the events of the opening, which provides a sort of ominous overtone to this experiment, a fact further backed up by the comments about other members of the team vanishing, or quitting.

    This time, the team, whose leader is called insane by his underlings, appears to be communicating with something, indicated to be a brain synapse, referred to as Project J, which they are revealed to be trying to restore to life. The mysterious Father is mentioned again, along with Polaris.

    As a reader, this is about when I started to have trouble keeping up with the information thrown around. Within this short little scene, the reader is told that Azrael, whatever that was, failed, Dr. Zager, who appeared to be important, has vanished, a person who is simply addressed as Father seems to be running the show, until this Sacred Helix is mentioned. A lot of things to try and keep track of.

    ------------

    This time, the scene break introduces a new cast of characters, firstly a pair named Anthea and Concordia, who remark about the day of reckoning, which sounds like some kind of Apocalypse. Next, is a man who you go to great detail to provide a description of, but his name doesn’t come for a while. However, we do learn that this man, and everyone else in the room, is part of the Sacred Helix, but no more details about them is forthcoming, leaving the reader with more questions that answers.

    I will agree with Avenger Angel that your depiction of Ghetsis’s character is excellent; I can literally imagine him saying things like that.

    The cast of characters is then expanded to include Jeunes, the insane leader of Project J, Finansielle who we know nothing about, besides a brief mention in the previous scene, a man in a seat numbered two wearing a Darkrai mask. But after a few line of dialogue, that do little but show a small bit of a power hierarchy, the scene cuts off.

    As a reader, I am now left with more questions than answers. The cast of characters is fairly large by this point, especially for the amount of text used to introduce them, but which ones are actually important? Right now, I feel like I have to remember every single character you present, along with details about the Sacred Helix, Project J and Azrael, which are obviously important.

    ------------

    The new scene begins with some italic print talking about a Meteor of some sort, but then, instead of elaborating, moves on to the Pewter City Museum. Quickly file away the detail about the Meteor, that obviously is important, and then move on with the story.

    Once again, I find myself with questions galore, but answers do not seem forth coming. A thief is stealing the Adamant and Lustrous Orbs, so Dialga and Palkia will no doubt have some part in the story. This thief appears to be able to wield lightning, but I do not see any explanation of this unique phenomenon. You then make a passing reference to the Kami Trio, and some island or another. The thief approaches a locked capsule which they claim contains Zoroark.

    At this point, my only thought is: Slow down, and fill in a few blanks please. Zoroark is not a legendary Pokémon, so more than one should logically exist, but from the thief’s remark, I gather that only one Zoroark exists and it is in the capsule. Also, with the mention of the Kami Trio, and an island, that just adds more things for the reader to remember, and more questions.

    ----------

    Yet again a new scene. By this point, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little apprehensive about what other information that can be thrown my way. I have to say my fears are somewhat justified.

    With this scene Team Rocket makes an appearance, with Jessie, James, and Mewoth, along with a mysterious fellow who goes by the name of Pierce. After a short conversation, Pierce snaps his fingers and blows up the building that the Rocket Trio had been living in, and tells them that Code Black Seven has been activated, whatever that is.

    I would like to take a second to point out that I don’t really feel like Jessie/James/Mewoth’s reactions to having their home blown up are completely realistic. If someone just blows up your house, by snapping his fingers no less, I really doubt that a person is just going to accept the excuse that their Boss has issued some order. That whole sequence feels rushed, and prefabricated to me.

    ----------

    The last sequence of the chapter brings to the forefront a host of new characters. Before this scene, we had the following as characters I felt like I needed to remember (i.e. characters that I feel are either vital to the plot, or can be called main characters).

    Dr. Zager
    Azrael
    ‘Father’
    Ghetsis,
    Jeunes
    Finansielle
    The man in the Darkrai mask
    Anthea
    Concordia
    The Thief
    Apparently Zoroark
    Jessie
    James
    Mewoth
    Pierce
    Project J

    Sixteen characters that can be considered highly important or plot relevant, and all of them in one chapter. This seems rather rushed, introducing that many characters in such a short time, and it makes it rather hard to keep track of what is happening.

    -----------

    The final scene is real dozy. We start off with three new characters, named Olivia, who is described as a young girl, who apparently is looking for her father, is apprenticed to some dude named Matt, and also will be getting her starter Pokémon. Next we have Bunny and Nekou, who seem to dislike this Matt character.

    Then come a news report about a serial killer, called the Kiss of Death killer, Okay, so we now have potentially important serial killer, and four new characters, but not too many questions yet. However, it is worth noting that Olivia’s age is hard to work out.

    Then we have this Matt fellow, who the others seem to think is a total douche. Whoever he is, we find out several new characters from him, namely, Rich, Anabel, Eleanor, and Agenta, who he swears to bring to justice. This entire sequence with Matt seems rather flat to me, and lacking in emotion. You mention he is sorrowful, but what kind of sorrow, and why?

    The next part of this scene reveals some missing links surrounding Olivia, namely the fact that her father is dead, but she doesn’t know that because Matt doesn’t want to tell her. Olivia seems determined to find her father, apparently feeling abandoned or something like that.

    The chapter raps up on a strange note, introducing professor Juniper.
    -----

    First chapter: Your first chapter was well written, but the constant jumps made it hard for me to follow, and determine which characters I actually need to remember a lot of detail about and who I can sort of gloss over. A lot of information is thrown at the reader very quickly, making it hard to process.

    Some of the scenes, the one with Team Rocket, and the Sacred Helix one, seemed somewhat forced, or choppy, but overall, each little segment was fairly interesting.

    --------

    Second Chapter:

    This chapter adds a rather quick twist to things, with Professor Elm missing, and no one knowing his where abouts. The bit about the group being Heroes of WhiteGold city was confusing, but you explained that rather nicely, without boring the reader to death later on.

    Being uncertain of Olivia’s age, I find it hard to decide how to judge her reactions to the events, but considering she seems to be at least ten, but younger than fifteen, I would think she is being a little bit immature.

    ------------

    Now Dr. Zager makes his reappearance. This scene is nice, since it provides some answers to questions raised in chapter one, but still holds the readers attention. Polaris is explained further, and Team Rocket is shown to be in opposition to them. That certainly makes things interesting.

    Jessie, James, and Mewoth again feel a bit like cardboard cut outs in this chapter. That might just be me, but they feel as though they were sort of shoved into the story, and don’t really belong here.

    --------

    The next section reveals that Olivia’s goal is to become famous so her father will come back and love her again. She feels that he left because she didn’t’ live up to his expectations. This provides her excellent motivation to get better, and fleshes out her character some more, so kudos on that.

    I am not really sure what to think of Matt. The other three treat him like dirt, but so far, he doesn’t appear to deserve that treatment.

    The explanation of the Whitegold City events is well done, providing all the right information without being boring.

    Once again, Olivia appears to simply be acting childish and petulant in relation to choosing a starter Pokémon. Compared to the maturity that she has supposedly shown, it seems very out of place.

    Nothing really to say about the Team Rocket scene in the middle here, so I will keep going with Olivia and Co.

    I am not sure what to make of the douche bag who you introduced by having him battle Olivia. I am guessing that he has a serious reason to hate Olivia’s father, otherwise he wouldn’t go so far, without knowing more I can’t really comment. I would guess however that he is associated with Polaris.

    --------

    This story seems to have a lot of potential, however I found it hard to really just sit back and enjoy because I was constantly having to either remember who characters are, pick out plot details, or trying to remember everything that is thrown at the reader. The second chapter did a better job of not overwhelming me with information and I was able to sit back and enjoy it a lot more.

    Most of the interactions between the characters are well done, except for the Team Rocket bits. My only serious quibble with them is I don’t’ really see any grounds in Matt’s personality for the girls to treat him like garbage.

    The Sacred Helix is quite interesting, and I get the feeling with start the ball rolling for real on your plot. The only thing the reader really knows about what is coming is that Polaris is planning something big, but nothing beyond that, so you have to come back to find out more, nicely done.

    Overall, this story has a lot of potential, and I look forward to seeing how everything develops.
    Take a moment to consider just how nothing nothing really is....If you understand this, then you just solved the universe.

    The truth that each person...each soul...is a book. And when we lay our feelings out in the open...and we give them no name...and we give them no author....and we give them no description.....who will actually read them..........?"

    Credit to Eevee for the amazing banner.
    Current fanfiction project: Pokemon: Absolution

  4. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    New Tork City
    Posts
    7,738

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SoulMuse View Post
    ( I would like to not that I have not read either of the other stories relating to this, so some of my comments might be due to lack of knowledge that could be gained from those stories)
    I think you've got a pretty good grasp of things, actually. So, thumbs up already!

    Hmm…..Since I did go ahead and read both chapters, I think I will go ahead and cover them as one entity.
    Very good, that's what I was hoping for.

    As someone who has not read anything that precludes this story, the very first thing that comes to mind is the amount of information that these first two chapters throw at you.
    I apologize for that. In hindsight, I see very clearly that I presented far too much upfront, so I can definitely understand your feelings here. That said, however, I think that things should become more streamlined starting with the next chapter.[/quote]

    The story opens in a mysterious laboratory, in which as child is being born. We are introduced to the first character, one Gabriel Zager, who appears to be in charge of whatever is happening. However, before we find out to much about Zager, a new person barges in, spouting about how they should never have played God.

    That certainly gets my attention, and makes me wonder just what exactly these people are doing. I can figure it has something to do with the baby, which provides a good way to keep readers hooked onto your story.
    Good thinking so far. You're definitely on target.

    I will get around to Zager's backstory eventually. It just didn't have any purpose being placed here.

    This Scene raps up by introducing a new character, someone named Father, who mentions Polaris, whatever that is, and the Azrael Project, which obviously has something to do with whatever was begin done in the lab.

    This opening is great, providing just enough detail to keep your readers interested without making any plot detail obvious.
    I'd say you got exactly what I wanted to convey in the first scene, so thank you.

    The next scene throws quite a bit right into the readers face.
    Again, sorry about that. ^^; I'll definitely work on not doing that as much.

    First off, the focus of the opening scene, Dr. Zager has mysteriously vanished, fourteen years after the events of the opening, which provides a sort of ominous overtone to this experiment, a fact further backed up by the comments about other members of the team vanishing, or quitting.

    This time, the team, whose leader is called insane by his underlings, appears to be communicating with something, indicated to be a brain synapse, referred to as Project J, which they are revealed to be trying to restore to life. The mysterious Father is mentioned again, along with Polaris.

    As a reader, this is about when I started to have trouble keeping up with the information thrown around. Within this short little scene, the reader is told that Azrael, whatever that was, failed, Dr. Zager, who appeared to be important, has vanished, a person who is simply addressed as Father seems to be running the show, until this Sacred Helix is mentioned. A lot of things to try and keep track of.
    Hmmm... looking back over it, I can definitely see exactly where I presented too much information. Your summing it up for me really did help.

    This time, the scene break introduces a new cast of characters, firstly a pair named Anthea and Concordia, who remark about the day of reckoning, which sounds like some kind of Apocalypse. Next, is a man who you go to great detail to provide a description of, but his name doesn’t come for a while. However, we do learn that this man, and everyone else in the room, is part of the Sacred Helix, but no more details about them is forthcoming, leaving the reader with more questions that answers.
    That was actually my intention. I definitely respect it if you don't care for the whole "left with more questions than answers" thing right now, but that's the tone I wanted to set.

    I will agree with Avenger Angel that your depiction of Ghetsis’s character is excellent; I can literally imagine him saying things like that.
    Thank you!

    I think this is a good time to mention that I went back and edited Ghetsis's appearance to reflect his new design from Black & White 2.

    The cast of characters is then expanded to include Jeunes, the insane leader of Project J, Finansielle who we know nothing about, besides a brief mention in the previous scene, a man in a seat numbered two wearing a Darkrai mask. But after a few line of dialogue, that do little but show a small bit of a power hierarchy, the scene cuts off.

    As a reader, I am now left with more questions than answers. The cast of characters is fairly large by this point, especially for the amount of text used to introduce them, but which ones are actually important? Right now, I feel like I have to remember every single character you present, along with details about the Sacred Helix, Project J and Azrael, which are obviously important.
    Well, my intention was to present information that will be important later now, then streamline the chapters into focusing on the relevant parts bit-by-bit. Based on feedback and my own hindsight, I can now see where that wasn't the best idea. That problem should be vastly scaled back going forward from here.

    The new scene begins with some italic print talking about a Meteor of some sort, but then, instead of elaborating, moves on to the Pewter City Museum. Quickly file away the detail about the Meteor, that obviously is important, and then move on with the story.
    Right, actually. Just something to file away for a little later that will be very relevant soon. In fact, it's relevant immediately enough that mentioning it here fits, I think.

    Once again, I find myself with questions galore, but answers do not seem forth coming. A thief is stealing the Adamant and Lustrous Orbs, so Dialga and Palkia will no doubt have some part in the story. This thief appears to be able to wield lightning, but I do not see any explanation of this unique phenomenon. You then make a passing reference to the Kami Trio, and some island or another. The thief approaches a locked capsule which they claim contains Zoroark.
    I think I did mention at some point that he was wearing a suit that could generate his lightning bolts? If I didn't mention that, I made a mistake.

    At this point, my only thought is: Slow down, and fill in a few blanks please. Zoroark is not a legendary Pokémon, so more than one should logically exist, but from the thief’s remark, I gather that only one Zoroark exists and it is in the capsule. Also, with the mention of the Kami Trio, and an island, that just adds more things for the reader to remember, and more questions.

    ----------

    Yet again a new scene. By this point, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little apprehensive about what other information that can be thrown my way. I have to say my fears are somewhat justified.
    On Zoroark: This is a case of me getting broadsided by canon. I had a significant part of the rough storyline planned out before Zoroark was revealed to not be a Legendary Pokemon or one-of-a-kind. Because of that, I couldn't easily change it when that information became known. In order to work around it, this particular Zoroark is a unique and important one.

    I think I know what happened that caused me to put so much into these two chapters. I think I just got too caught up in all the ideas I had and in my haste to get them all out, I put far too much out at once.

    With this scene Team Rocket makes an appearance, with Jessie, James, and Mewoth, along with a mysterious fellow who goes by the name of Pierce. After a short conversation, Pierce snaps his fingers and blows up the building that the Rocket Trio had been living in, and tells them that Code Black Seven has been activated, whatever that is.

    I would like to take a second to point out that I don’t really feel like Jessie/James/Mewoth’s reactions to having their home blown up are completely realistic. If someone just blows up your house, by snapping his fingers no less, I really doubt that a person is just going to accept the excuse that their Boss has issued some order. That whole sequence feels rushed, and prefabricated to me.
    I realized that you may not be aware of some of the changes the most recent series of the anime has brought on, so allow me to bring you up to date on them: Jessie, James and Meowth got a promotion and had their characters changed to make them more like serious secret agent-types. At first they worked directly under Giovanni but right now they work for Dr. Zager (that's where he came from) doing jobs to please Giovanni. For that reason, I feel like Jessie, James and Meowth have become characters who would understand drastic actions if Giovanni ordered them to take place; also, the implication in the scene's context was that they recognized the mission that was activated as something extremely serious, and understood the situation based on that.

    Pierce is an anime-original character who was another operative assisting Jessie, James, Meowth and Dr. Zager during the first 24 episodes of Best Wishes!. He hasn't appeared since the infamous skipped episodes in March of 2011 and his current status is unknown.

    The final scene is real dozy. We start off with three new characters, named Olivia, who is described as a young girl, who apparently is looking for her father, is apprenticed to some dude named Matt, and also will be getting her starter Pokémon. Next we have Bunny and Nekou, who seem to dislike this Matt character.
    I think I might have failed to communicate their group dynamics as I wished to. Bunny and Nekou don't actually dislike him - Nekou is just a sarcastic, blunt person, while Bunny is a sort of "tough love" type who doesn't hesitate to put her foot down when she feels she needs to.

    Then we have this Matt fellow, who the others seem to think is a total douche. Whoever he is, we find out several new characters from him, namely, Rich, Anabel, Eleanor, and Agenta, who he swears to bring to justice. This entire sequence with Matt seems rather flat to me, and lacking in emotion. You mention he is sorrowful, but what kind of sorrow, and why?
    Actually, he's not going to bring them to justice, he's going to get justice for them. I agree that the scene isn't what it could be, though, in hindsight.

    The next part of this scene reveals some missing links surrounding Olivia, namely the fact that her father is dead, but she doesn’t know that because Matt doesn’t want to tell her. Olivia seems determined to find her father, apparently feeling abandoned or something like that.
    First chapter: Your first chapter was well written, but the constant jumps made it hard for me to follow, and determine which characters I actually need to remember a lot of detail about and who I can sort of gloss over. A lot of information is thrown at the reader very quickly, making it hard to process.

    Some of the scenes, the one with Team Rocket, and the Sacred Helix one, seemed somewhat forced, or choppy, but overall, each little segment was fairly interesting.
    I agree with many of your thoughts, and I'll do my best to remedy them moving forward. Thank you for your kind words, as well.

    Moving on...

    Being uncertain of Olivia’s age, I find it hard to decide how to judge her reactions to the events, but considering she seems to be at least ten, but younger than fifteen, I would think she is being a little bit immature.
    She's fourteen, so your estimate is right on the money. And she absolutely is immature. That was entirely what I wanted to establish, because now I can focus on her developing and growing out of it.

    Now Dr. Zager makes his reappearance. This scene is nice, since it provides some answers to questions raised in chapter one, but still holds the readers attention. Polaris is explained further, and Team Rocket is shown to be in opposition to them. That certainly makes things interesting.
    Thank you.

    Jessie, James, and Mewoth again feel a bit like cardboard cut outs in this chapter. That might just be me, but they feel as though they were sort of shoved into the story, and don’t really belong here.
    I'm still feeling out how to best write them, so any input I can get is definitely appreciated. Thanks again.

    The next section reveals that Olivia’s goal is to become famous so her father will come back and love her again. She feels that he left because she didn’t’ live up to his expectations. This provides her excellent motivation to get better, and fleshes out her character some more, so kudos on that.
    That was something that was really important to me to establish. I wanted the goals being pursued by the protagonists to differ from the typical "catch 'em all and be the best" thing, so I created things like this to show that not everybody wants to succeed in the Pokemon world without a deeper goal assigned to it.

    I am not really sure what to think of Matt. The other three treat him like dirt, but so far, he doesn’t appear to deserve that treatment.
    Again, I think a little further explanation might be necessary on my part. None of them really "dislike" him per se.

    Olivia's just a bratty teenage girl, so on the surface her acting out is just what you'd expect of someone her age. It's then exaggerated by the issues she has that have been highlighted already.

    Bunny is an old friend of Matt's, which is something I probably should have established a little more clearly. She doesn't like to see him being as hard on himself as he has been, so she's tough on him to try and snap him out of it. That's actually a pretty good approximation of her in general - she's the proverbial "straightman" in this group. Where the others have their own exaggerated quirks, Bunny is more "normal" and serious.

    Nekou is... a complicated case. She's loud, rude and profane, but she really does mean well. There's going to be a scene in the next chapter to elaborate on her some more.

    The explanation of the Whitegold City events is well done, providing all the right information without being boring.
    That was tough to write well. Good to know I pulled it off.

    Once again, Olivia appears to simply be acting childish and petulant in relation to choosing a starter Pokémon. Compared to the maturity that she has supposedly shown, it seems very out of place.
    That dissonance is something I think works, actually. She's capable of maturity but then acts like this; that allows her to develop past her issues and grow up over the course of the story.

    Of course, that's just my opinion, so take it as you will.

    I am not sure what to make of the douche bag who you introduced by having him battle Olivia. I am guessing that he has a serious reason to hate Olivia’s father, otherwise he wouldn’t go so far, without knowing more I can’t really comment. I would guess however that he is associated with Polaris.
    I don't want to say too much about him yet, but yes, he has a very legitimate problem with Olivia's father that drives him.

    This story seems to have a lot of potential, however I found it hard to really just sit back and enjoy because I was constantly having to either remember who characters are, pick out plot details, or trying to remember everything that is thrown at the reader. The second chapter did a better job of not overwhelming me with information and I was able to sit back and enjoy it a lot more.
    Then in that case, I think the third chapter will be even better.

    Most of the interactions between the characters are well done, except for the Team Rocket bits. My only serious quibble with them is I don’t’ really see any grounds in Matt’s personality for the girls to treat him like garbage.
    I'll take what you've said under my hat, but I do think that it is at least in part due to a failure of communication on my part that Matt appears to be getting treated seriously poorly. Like I mentioned earlier, though, there will be a scene expanding on his relationship to Nekou in the next chapter, and I'll try to make the meaning of their interactions all more clear.

    The Sacred Helix is quite interesting, and I get the feeling with start the ball rolling for real on your plot. The only thing the reader really knows about what is coming is that Polaris is planning something big, but nothing beyond that, so you have to come back to find out more, nicely done.
    As intended.

    Overall, this story has a lot of potential, and I look forward to seeing how everything develops.
    Thank you very much! I appreciate you taking the time to write this very generous review, and I hope you'll stick around to see more.

    A note: I'm going to try to have the next chapter up by next weekend. That's my target timeframe for it.

    (Banner by Matori)
    Beyond all ideals, the truth shall set you free...
    Most Recent: 18: Winter of Discontent
    Next: The Weight of the World (Part 1)

    The steps on the road to the truth.
    The Firestorm Rebellion
    The Victory Star of Fate


    Glacidia Network - The Home for Fanworks
    Best Wishes appreciation blog

  5. #30
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Here. There. Everywhere.
    Posts
    349

    Default

    One word: Wow.

    From the get go you threw us into a fully-active, dynamic world, quickly filling us in with our character's past adventures to give us some background. The thief at the beginning fascinates me - but I must ask: what of the Griseos Orb? Never mind, it will probably be answered soon.

    I'm not one for commenting every two seconds, so I'll go on what I noticed the most:

    The secret organisation (Helix) seems interesting, although their objectives are a mystery. I'm confused as to why the organisation has 10 chromosomes and makes such a big deal of it - after all, humans have 46. I suppose, though, it'd be fairly boring to have them all cast a vote and for you to name them all. Anyway, I can't wait to see this mysterious organisation develop.

    I very nearly pointed out you spelt 'Meteorite' incorrectly, until I backtracked and saw an explanation.

    I think this may be a bit over-the-top-dramatic, but I suppose if this is meant to be a movie then maybe, yes it seems good.

    “Nekou, shut up,” Matt sighed, readjusting his hat; the yellow feather tucked into it trembled slightly as he did so. “To make the very long story very short, she wasn’t who she said she was and we split on very bad terms. Anyway, Enigma Shadow was trying to take over the world with Pokémon whose hearts were sealed, rendering them soulless battling machines. Olivia’s parents were leading the charge to stop Enigma Shadow from realizing their plans using these Shadow Pokémon. Eventually, the person that was manipulating the organization, a woman named Judy, managed to call forth Arceus. She lost control of it, though, and in the confusion Rich saved us all before disappearing.

    But yes, I was there the last time any of us saw Rich. I think he knew something was going to happen, though, because he left instructions for me to take Olivia under my wing, which is what I’ve been doing for the past five years.”
    May I say, the second paragraph should shart with speech marks to show it is a continuation of speech. That's all the mistakes I found, really.

    I can't get over how different our writing styles are - you do so much perfect description and I do so little. I guess it must be fairly boring for you to read my work, eh?

    Anyway, put me on the PM list if possible, and tell me what you think of my proposal I will PM you.

    Keep up the good work!
    Every story has an ending. Nothing lasts forever. Not any more.
    Read My Epic Fanfic -

        Spoiler:- Thanks to DeadlyBraviary!:

  6. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    New Tork City
    Posts
    7,738

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Scaldaver View Post
    One word: Wow.

    From the get go you threw us into a fully-active, dynamic world, quickly filling us in with our character's past adventures to give us some background. The thief at the beginning fascinates me - but I must ask: what of the Griseos Orb? Never mind, it will probably be answered soon.
    The Griseous Orb really isn't relevant right now, but yeah, it will be brought up soon enough. Its situation was different than the other two Orbs.

    The secret organisation (Helix) seems interesting, although their objectives are a mystery. I'm confused as to why the organisation has 10 chromosomes and makes such a big deal of it - after all, humans have 46. I suppose, though, it'd be fairly boring to have them all cast a vote and for you to name them all. Anyway, I can't wait to see this mysterious organisation develop.
    Ten is certainly a much more manageable number than forty-six XD; Really, though, the council members are named Chromosomes simply because I needed a name that fit into the theme of DNA.

    I very nearly pointed out you spelt 'Meteorite' incorrectly, until I backtracked and saw an explanation.
    It's something primarily people familiar with the anime series would understand, but to sum it up, "Meteonite" is the name of the element comprising the meteorite, and it is used to refer to the meteorite itself mainly to distinguish it from an ordinary one.

    I think this may be a bit over-the-top-dramatic, but I suppose if this is meant to be a movie then maybe, yes it seems good.
    What are you referring to with this part, exactly? I can't quite tell.

    May I say, the second paragraph should shart with speech marks to show it is a continuation of speech. That's all the mistakes I found, really.
    I did that deliberately. I am of the opinion that using new quotation marks indicates a new person is speaking, so when I break paragraphs up but the same person is speaking, I don't re-establish the quotation marks.

    I can't get over how different our writing styles are - you do so much perfect description and I do so little. I guess it must be fairly boring for you to read my work, eh?
    Aw, you shouldn't sell yourself short. My description really isn't all that great, and yours isn't bad either. Your story is far from boring, too. The only real difference is that we have different but equally valid styles.

    Anyway, put me on the PM list if possible, and tell me what you think of my proposal I will PM you.

    Keep up the good work!
    See my reply.

    Thank you!

    To everyone: I'm sorry I'm behind schedule. I want to have the next chapter up as soon as possible, hopefully within this week.

    (Banner by Matori)
    Beyond all ideals, the truth shall set you free...
    Most Recent: 18: Winter of Discontent
    Next: The Weight of the World (Part 1)

    The steps on the road to the truth.
    The Firestorm Rebellion
    The Victory Star of Fate


    Glacidia Network - The Home for Fanworks
    Best Wishes appreciation blog

  7. #32
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    New Tork City
    Posts
    7,738

    Default

    Hopefully, this chapter will be a bit more streamlined and easy to digest. There’s not as much going on in this one, so let’s see how it goes.

    -:-

    CHAPTER 3: Opening Moves on Fate’s Board

    -:-

    The dark clouds that covered the sky over Route 29 into Cherrygrove City and New Bark Town cast ominous shadows over the cliff-laden road, and rumbles of thunder could be heard approaching.

    Beneath the cover provided by the thick trees just off the main path, Jessie, James, Meowth and Pierce were meeting to finalize their plans. James was holding in his hands a rectangular black tablet computer with ten buttons, a plus-shaped control pad and two thumb pads surrounding its screen; on its back and just below the bottom-left corner of its screen was the stylized script ‘R’ logo of Team Rocket. Meanwhile, in Jessie’s hand was a heavy briefcase.

    “As you were made aware of,” Pierce instructed, “the energy signature associated with Meteonite was detected just south of our current position. Your mission is to find the source of that signal and recover the Meteonite piece. At that point, contact me for extraction.”

    “So we’re doing all the work and you’re just going to sit around and wait to get us out,” Jessie complained, sighing. “Good to know.”

    “You might think you need me, but the boss thinks otherwise. Besides, I have my own job to do.”

    “What? Where would you be going?” Meowth wondered.

    “There have been reports of unusual activity in Cherrygrove City that I’ve been ordered to investigate, so if there are no further questions about your mission, I will be going.”

    Pierce turned sharply, causing the tails of his trench coat to flap up behind him. As he walked off, fallen twigs and leaves cracked beneath his heavy boots.

    “Jessie, I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” James whimpered. “We’re not cut out for this. Team Aqua, Team Magma, Team Galactic, Hunter J… Polaris is bigger and stronger than they all were.”

    “Oh, be quiet!” his hot-tempered female companion snapped back. “The boss wouldn’t have selected us for this mission if he didn’t trust us to get it done.”

    “And in addition, the good old fluffy-headed doctor said we were picked because we did a good job taking out those liberation knight guys in Unova. That means we’ve got some skills, you two, even if we don’t know them all yet! Now…” Snatching the computer out of James’s hands, Meowth touched the screen with his paw. “We have to find out where that chunk of space rock is.”

    After displaying the stylized script ‘R’ logo, the screen displayed a menu of several options. Meowth touched one of them, activating a radar system with the map of Route 29 loaded into it. As the system scanned the route, it returned a faint signal coming from very near the entrance of Cherrygrove City.

    “There we go, it looks like it’s in the west of Route 29,” James observed. “Let’s get moving.”

    -:-

    The humble yet busy streets of New Bark Town gradually disappeared behind Matt, Olivia, Nekou and Bunny as they headed west into Route 29, giving way to a curving, cliff-laden road framed by long blades of fragrant grass. Off in the distance on all sides, tall trees provided boundary lines appropriate to the concept of a road through the woods.

    “I’m not liking the looks of this weather,” Matt said, his eyes locked on the rumbling sky overhead. “Do you guys think we should have stayed in New Bark Town until this storm passes? Sure looks like one’s coming.”

    “What’s the matter, afraid of a little thunder?” Nekou was so preoccupied with taking another bite off the croissant in her hand that she didn’t notice Matt shrink back slightly from her remark. “There’s nothing for us to be afraid of if there’s a storm. That’s why we were given trees.”

    “Olivia, don’t you think we should try to get some training in?” suggested Bunny. “Violet City will come up faster than you expect. I think it would be a good idea to start getting Minccino, Roselia and Oshawott up to speed now.”

    Olivia was walking slightly ahead of the others, but she stopped and turned after listening to Bunny’s proposal. “That sounds pretty good, actually. Can one of you help me out?”

    “You two stand aside,” Nekou bossed Matt and Bunny, stepping past them with her mobile arm out. “I’ll be glad to help you train, Olivia. I’ve got just the Pokémon you need to see right now. Zorua, prepare yourself!”

    Having reached into her blouse and produced a Poké Ball, Nekou opened it to free her Zorua. The black-and-red fox Pokémon shook herself off after entering the fresh air, then looked up at Olivia and barked.

    “You’re going to use Zorua?” Bunny questioned.

    “Yeah, so? She’s ready for something resembling a real battle, and besides, getting her some training too means this is a win-win for both me and Olivia.” Facing forward again, Nekou said to Olivia, “Use Oshawott. He’s the one who needs the training, if he’s to catch up to Minccino and Roselia.”

    “Do I have to?” Olivia sighed. “Fine, I guess we’ll see how it goes. Oshawott, let’s play!”

    Almost immediately upon materializing, Oshawott proudly held up his shell, only flinching slightly when he realized that Zorua was staring at him. He realized that this would be his first chance to prove himself to his trainer, so he intended to make the best of it.

    “Okay, Olivia, we can’t even have a practice battle if you don’t know what moves Oshawott has. I think the Pokédex should be able to tell you about that.”

    “Really?” Fumbling out her Pokédex, Olivia activated it and scanned Oshawott.

    “Oshawott, the sea otter Pokémon. Type is Water. It fights using the scalchop on its stomach. In response to an attack, it retaliates immediately by slashing. The scalchop on its stomach is made from the same element as claws. It detaches the scalchop for use as a blade.”

    “Wait, that’s not what I wanted…” Visibly flustered, Olivia clicked through several more screens until she finally arrived at what she wanted. “So Oshawott’s beginning moves are Water Gun and Tackle. Okay…”

    “You’ll do fine, Olivia, just don’t lose your nerve!” Matt called out from the sidelines, where he was standing alongside Bunny and watching the training.

    “Don’t break my concentration!” both Olivia and Nekou snapped at exactly the same time, prompting all four to laugh.

    “Now, Olivia, I’ll let you attack first,” Nekou instructed. “Just try to get Oshawott to land a hit first.”

    “ Okay then… Oshawott, use Water Gun on Zorua!”

    “Zorua, get ready! Brace yourself!”

    After taking a deep breath, Oshawott expelled a steady stream of water from his mouth. Zorua made no significant effort to evade the wave, instead choosing to simply plant her feet firmly into the ground.

    The attack’s impact range was split between Zorua’s legs and the ground, and the force from below her feet threw Zorua into the air.

    Nekou was ready with an improvised tactic, though. “It’s fine, Zorua. Go for Dig!”

    Shaking off the small amount of injury she’d received – which amounted to little more than being shaken up at most – Zorua barked and flipped over in the air, drilling downward until she disappeared beneath the ground.

    “Now, Olivia, don’t panic just yet,” Nekou gently advised, noting that both her opponent and the girl’s Oshawott seemed surprised by Zorua’s move. “I know you’re good at straight, all-out attacking, but from watching you beat that caped guy before, I know you can be pretty analytic too. Just try to calm down and assess the situation. What would be a good way to get me now?”

    Olivia stared at the space between herself and Nekou and squinted in an attempt to increase her focus. She took stock of what was present – she was there herself, and directly opposite her was Nekou. Between the two of them stood Oshawott, waiting for a direction on what to do, and a hole where Zorua had punctured the earth to get underground. These factors were the tools she had to work with, Olivia realized.

    Herself, Nekou, Oshawott, the hole leading to Zorua’s tunnel; Olivia ran through all of the available factors again in her mind, and something suddenly hit her. “Oshawott, fire Water Gun into the hole!”

    Seeing Oshawott excitedly jumping toward Zorua’s burrow on Olivia’s command made Nekou smile. It meant that the lesson she was trying to teach the younger girl was getting through, a meaning that wasn’t lost on Matt and Bunny, who were both enthralled themselves.

    With the force of Oshawott’s Water Gun pushing her, Zorua burst up out of the ground. She was just a little too far away from Oshawott to attack him directly, so Nekou was forced to come up with an alternate tactic.

    “Zorua, use Snarl!”

    “Zorooooo!” Zorua cried, her shrill voice causing Oshawott to hold his ears and shudder in pain. He felt his muscles weakening as well, a side effect of the attack Zorua was leveling against him.

    Understanding that she couldn’t let this go on, Olivia raised her hand and called out, “Stop Zorua using Tackle, Oshawott!”

    “Show Oshawott your Foul Play!”

    Oshawott and Zorua ran at each other, both beginning to become tired from their exchanging blows. Zorua was glowing with a black light, so when the two Pokémon collided with each other, a shower of luminescent black sparks showered out. A few seconds later, Oshawott and Zorua were pushed apart by their own strength.

    “That’s enough,” Nekou declared, seeing the two Pokémon breathing heavily. “We don’t want to overextend our Pokémon, otherwise we’ll do more harm than good.”

    “How was I?” Olivia asked, somewhat demandingly. “Did I do well?”

    “I’d say you did,” complimented her training partner. “You more than satisfied my expectations. Of course, a lot of credit has to go to Oshawott too.”

    “I guess. I can’t say he did badly…”

    “Oshawott…” uttered the Water-type Pokémon, relieved that Olivia was pleased with his performance even somewhat.

    “That was some good work, Olivia,” Matt complimented as he and Bunny made their way over to the others.

    “I think you’re already starting to bond with Oshawott, you know,” Bunny added, smiling. “Maybe you two really were made for each other.”

    “Don’t get the wrong idea!” fumed Olivia, her face turning red. Matt couldn’t help but chuckle under his breath, but she failed to notice his subtle action and quickly calmed down. “So, now what?”

    “Let’s keep going,” he proposed. “Maybe we can get right to Cherrygrove City, before a storm blows in if we’re lucky.”

    Nekou, Olivia and Bunny all nodded in agreement with Matt’s suggestion, so with Oshawott and Zorua walking alongside them, they resumed their westward trek down the cliff-laden road.

    Little did they realize they were being watched. At least a dozen pairs of yellow eyes glistened in the darkness within the foliage just off the main road, carefully observing the movements of the new invaders in their territory. Behind them, a single pair of larger, triangular white eyes watched as well.

    -:-

    Jessie, James and Meowth had moved south, just as Pierce had directed them, and now had a makeshift encampment set up in the woods just off of Route 29.

    While Jessie was busy spying on the small house they could see from their hideout, James was using his black tablet computer to survey data being collected from both Jessie’s high-tech binoculars and the satellite dish held by her Wobbuffet. Meowth, meanwhile, had headphones specially designed for his head by Dr. Zager on.

    “There’s no mistaking it, the Meteonite shard is inside that house,” observed James as he used his finger to slide through the data on his screen. “It’s where the readings are strongest.”

    “What else is there to do, then?” Jessie asked rhetorically. “Break in, collect the rock, get out of there, and profit when the boss rewards us!”

    “That’s right!” both James and Meowth exclaimed.

    Wobbuffet shared their enthusiasm, but he cried out his name far too loudly, prompting Jessie to abruptly shush him. The quartet then turned back to the house, and Meowth’s expression darkened slightly.

    “We gotta watch out for that old man who’s living there, though,” the cat Pokémon explained. “He looks like he’s got a lot of treasure on him, but that Pokémon with him ain’t something we want to cross. He might come back at any time.”

    “Let’s just hold back for now,” Jessie suggested. “An opening might appear so we can swoop in and grab it.”

    -:-

    “So what do we do now?” Olivia wondered, directing her complaints at anyone who would listen. “Surely traveling is more exciting than this.”

    “Well, Olivia, most trainers who start out tend to try catching a Pokémon right away,” Matt explained, before gently and carefully adding, “but you’ve got three already. I don’t think it’s a great idea to get more before you can at least get used to Oshawott.”

    “Aw, seriously? I could find one I want to capture at any time, you know!”

    Amused by Olivia’s reckless enthusiasm, Nekou smiled, a soft laugh escaping her lips. When Matt saw her expression, he instinctively prepared himself for her to provoke Olivia further, in turn leading to an even bigger disagreement. He was accordingly surprised, then, when that was not what Nekou did.

    “You know, Olivia, for once he has a point,” she advised. “You have plenty of time before your first Gym battle, so there’s no need to rush to catch more Pokémon.”

    “Oh, fine,” Olivia responded, pouting.

    Nekou’s relatively cheery mood abruptly disappeared, giving her three companions pause. She stopped speaking and began wearily looking around, sniffing at the air while doing so.

    “Nekou, what’s wrong?” Matt asked.

    “Something’s not right, I can sense it,” she replied, continuing to crinkle her nose in an attempt to identify the scent. “We’re being watched.”

    In a single sudden, incredibly fast motion, Nekou pulled a switchblade from the inside of her blouse with her right hand; she used it to cut the sling restraining her left arm, leaving it to fall away as her arm was freed.

    Dumbfounded by what she was seeing, especially when Nekou moved her left arm freely without pain, Bunny stammered, “You were still injured just yesterday! How are you moving like that already?!”

    “How I’m moving is not important right now. Get ready,” Nekou warned, brandishing her switchblade in a battle-ready stance. As if a switch had been thrown, Nekou’s personality was now completely serious. “Something’s watching us…”

    Almost on cue, a nearby bush started rustling, causing Matt, Olivia and Bunny to jump nervously. Nekou, meanwhile, simply tensed up in preparation for combat, expecting a threat to come jumping out of the brush at any moment. Her instincts weren’t without merit, either, as mere seconds later something did indeed emerge.

    However, what appeared was not the fearsome monster they were expecting; in fact, it was vastly different. The small, tan-bodied canine Pokémon looked up at them with wide eyes, twitching the large ears that rose up from behind the shock of light-colored fur covering his face.

    “That Pokémon is adorable!” Olivia exclaimed excitedly, clasping her hands together and speaking loudly.

    “It’s Lillipup, a Pokémon from Unova,” Nekou informed the others. “Olivia, you should scan it.”

    On Nekou’s encouragement, Olivia took out her Pokédex and scanned Lillipup as he stared apprehensively at them.

    “Lillipup, the puppy Pokémon. Type is Normal. It is a brave Pokémon, but it also has the intelligence to judge an enemy’s strength and avoid battles.”

    “I don’t want to underestimate it, but…” Bunny shifted uncomfortably before finishing, “…this was what we were supposed to be afraid of?”

    Lillipup barked weakly and began slowly moving toward the group, making his injured right hind leg become apparent.

    “It’s hurt!” Matt exclaimed, putting words to what all of them were feeling. While he was the one to verbalize their thoughts, though, it was Olivia putting those emotions to action, rushing over to the injured Pokémon.

    “It’s okay, Lillipup, there’s nothing to be afraid of.” As she tried to speak soothingly to Lillipup, Olivia could feel a light coating of blood stuck onto the blue fur on his back. “I think something might have attacked it,” she nervously said to her friends, looking for guidance on what to do.

    She would not receive it, as Nekou suddenly snapped her head back up toward the underbrush and called out, “Zorua, use Incinerate now!”

    Having remained next to her trainer the entire time, Zorua was in perfect position to release a thin jet of fire aimed at the as-yet-unknown threat, hitting it with enough force to cause a small explosion.

    “Pawnia!” a high-pitched voice shrilled upon impact.

    From the cloud of smoke a Pokémon fell. She had a humanoid body colored primarily red and gray, with two hooks protruding from her torso. Her arms each ended in a sharp knife blade, and another blade stuck out from her helmet between her two yellow eyes.

    The blast generated by the collision of Zorua’s Incinerate and the Pokémon was so close to Olivia that she was knocked over by its force. Screaming, she picked up the injured Lillipup in her arms and fled behind Nekou and Matt.

    “What’s that thing?!” she screeched in fear.

    Before anyone could answer, a second Pokémon identical to the first jumped from a nearby tree and attempted to cut Nekou with his knife arms, but she dispelled the assault by swinging her switchblade to knock him away. She then identified him by speaking the Pokémon’s name while Olivia fumbled for her Pokédex.

    “Pawniard. Another Unova Pokémon…”

    “Pawniard, the Sharp Blade Pokémon. Type is Dark/Steel. Even if it gets injured, it doesn’t care. It attacks its prey in a group, using the blades all over its body.”

    “A group?!” Olivia nervously breathed. “Does that mean there are even more of them?”

    She received an answer to her question almost immediately. Repeating their species name like a chant, more Pawniard emerged from the bushes until their ranks numbered a total of twelve. They were then joined by a thirteenth Pokémon, one that resembled a taller, more mature Pawniard whose body had grown to have sharp blades for ankles and feet, arms with retractable blades in them, and a golden axe blade bisecting her head from between her white, triangular eyes.

    “Shit, a Bisharp!” Nekou spat, her worst fears realized.

    As it had never left her hands, Olivia was able to quickly scan the Bisharp with her Pokédex.

    “Bisharp, the Sword Blade Pokémon. Type is Dark/Steel. Evolved form of Pawniard. A scary Pokémon that will take the injured, immobile prey that battled a group of Pawniard and portion it out.”

    “I don’t like that thing,” Olivia whimpered while shivering nervously.

    “You’re not wrong to feel that way,” Nekou said to support the younger girl. “I’ve seen what these Pokémon can do. Marie, prepare yourself for battle! Join Zorua!”

    “Balin, come out! I need your help!”

    Marie jumped down from Nekou’s back to stand alongside Zorua, and joining the two of them was Bunny’s Ninetales, Balin, who appeared in a flash of light from his Poké Ball. Almost immediately upon materializing, he growled at the pack of Pawniard and their Bisharp leader, correctly picking up on the threat they posed.

    The Bisharp cried out, thrusting her right arm forward. Accordingly following her orders, three Pawniard lunged forward at Bunny, Olivia and Nekou, all baring the knives on their arms.

    “Zorua, get out of the way so Marie can use Low Sweep!”

    “Balin, Flame Burst now!”

    Nekou’s Zorua barely managed to get out of the way of two of the charging Pawniard before they could cut her, opening up space for Marie to come in and trip one by undercutting his legs. The second Pawniard, however, reached Nekou, forcing her to parry its blow with her switchblade and send him barreling off several feet away.

    Finally, Balin suffered a small gash on his cheek when the Pawniard that attacked him slipped through, but he managed to strike back swiftly by spitting out an explosive fireball.

    Just as the third Pawniard was driven back, a rumble of thunder passed through Route 29 and a light but steady rain began to fall.

    “Sharrr!!” the Bisharp roared in anger, refusing to let her prey defeat her. Responding to her rage, seven more of the Pawniard lined up in preparation to attack Bunny, Nekou and Olivia, while the final two teamed up with their leader and set their sights on Matt.

    “Zorua, Marie, get ready!” Nekou shouted, feeling her muscles tensing as the situation spun out of control.

    Matt couldn’t focus on the attack that commenced against his companions, however, as the Bisharp rushed him as well. He hastily raised up his arms to protect himself, resulting in a loud crashing sound when Bisharp’s steel blades hit the metal of his prosthetic limbs. While the Dark-and-Steel-type Pokémon stepped back, puzzled that her attack failed to significantly injure him, Matt tried to fight back by grabbing her arms and shoving her away.

    However, her two bodyguards were more than ready to take up the slack. One of her two Pawniard crossed his arms and charged up purple light to create a Psycho Cut, while the other used his own power to pull up a cluster of small rocks. They both used their attacks together, hitting the ground right in front of Matt; this resulted in him stumbling backward and falling down.

    Hastily, he took a Poké Ball from his bag. This Poké Ball was a special type – it was colored in varying shades of blue in a wave pattern. Matt threw this Dive Ball with a flick of his wrist and called out to the Pokémon inside.

    “Patrick, make your mark!”

    A tall, bulky toad Pokémon materialized from Matt’s Dive Ball. His blue body had a number of black-and-cream-colored bumps on it, matching the colors adorning his front.

    Flexing his body, which in turn caused the bumps to vibrate slightly, he gurgled, “Seismitoad…”

    “I know this is sudden for your first battle with me, Patrick, but I need your help! Use Scald!”

    Patrick moved his lazy red eyes to the two Pawniard and the Bisharp, and after glaring at them for a short while, he spit a stream of boiling water at them. Moving to protect their mistress, the two Pawniard attempted to deflect the Scald with cutting moves, but failed and were thrown back. One of them – the one who had used Psycho Cut – collided with one of the hooks protruding from Bisharp’s torso, visibly cutting his helmet.

    Enraged even further by her minions’ failure, Bisharp snarled viciously and discharged a stream of electricity from the axe blade in her head; this Thunder Wave failed, however, when Patrick stood in the way to block it from hitting Matt, as his part-Ground type nullified electricity. She then aligned her arms and formed a vortex of dark energy between her claws, loosing a Dark Pulse that managed to hurt Patrick enough to force him to close his eyes and groan.

    “Don’t take that!” Matt shouted while stumbling back to his feet. “Go for a knockout! Drain Punch!”

    Patrick clenched the three fingers on his right hand to form a fist, which then took on a shining, crackling glow. He threw his hulking body in Bisharp’s direction, intending to hit her with a punch that would surely knock her out instantly, however, the struggle would not be resolved that easily. Shaking off their own injuries, the two Pawniard once again leapt to their leader’s defense, attempting to hold Patrick back with resistance formed from their respective Psycho Cut and Metal Claw.

    Their attempt failed to stop Patrick’s Drain Punch, but they did succeed in redirecting it away from Bisharp by taking the hit themselves. Frames of light in the same greenish color as the glow of Drain Punch broke away from the two Pawniard and were absorbed by the Seismitoad, restoring some of his health.

    From the frustration steadily building inside of him, Matt was forced to grit his teeth. The two Pawniard were most likely down for good, but they had successfully guarded Bisharp for as long as possible, and without taking her down, the other seven Pawniard would be nearly impossible to easily dispel.

    “Oh no!” he suddenly thought, the realization that he’d forgotten completely about Olivia, Nekou and Bunny and their own fight crashing violently into his mind.

    He turned in just enough time to see one of the seven Pawniard leap past Olivia’s Oshawott’s Water Gun and slash her on the cheek, while another one was knocked to the ground by Nekou’s Zorua’s Incinerate. The swarm of Pokémon had broken through the initial line of defense presented by Matt’s allies, and now were splitting them up with their relentless attacking.

    With the shivering, injured Lillipup still in her arms, Olivia attempted to flee in Matt’s direction. Tears were running down her face, which was contorted into a look of nightmarish torment.

    “This wasn’t supposed to happen… make it stop…” she was mumbling hysterically to herself. “Make it stop, make it stop!!”

    Right after she passed by Matt, however, Olivia’s luck ran out. Bisharp – who had renewed her hand-to-hand struggle with Patrick – spotted the girl trying to escape. She first pushed her opponent away by striking him harshly with her hand – an Assurance attack that was made more potent by their previous combat – then directed a Thunder Wave in Olivia’s direction.

    The electric pulse fired from Bisharp’s helmet did not hit Olivia, but it came close enough to her feet that it made her trip and fall. She rolled over and hastily stood back up, clutching Lillipup all the while, only to find herself being menacingly approached by Bisharp and the remaining Pawniard.

    Olivia slowly backed up, while the others decided to do what they could to protect her.

    “Patrick, attack the Pawniard with Scald!”

    “Marie, herd them together using Low Sweep, then Zorua, you **** them up with Incinerate!”

    “Balin, once they’re all together, take all those Pawniard out with Flame Burst!”

    Marie was the first to act, swiftly running in a circle around the cluster of seven Pawniard to hit them in their legs, thus pushing them closer together. Once they were collected, Patrick washed a blast of hot water over them, which Oshawott complimented by using his Water Gun again. This was closely followed by Zorua exhaling a small stream of flames, and finally Balin choking up a huge fireball that exploded on impact, consuming all the Pawniard and leaving them to faint.

    “Well, we got the foot soldiers,” Bunny said in relief. “Now for the commander.”

    Either ignorant of or completely uncaring about the defeat of her followers, Bisharp was still slowly approaching Olivia, who had backed herself onto one of the taller cliffs on Route 29. With rain, tears and blood dripping down her face, she took a slow, deep breath, her head trembling and moving backward bit by bit, causing her to stare down her nose at Bisharp.

    “What the hell do you think you’re doing, you monster?!” she screamed, all her pent-up fear and frustration coming up at once.

    Bisharp paused her advance and slowly raised her right arm. The iron blades protruding from that arm lengthened, then took on a bright metallic sheen as light from the air nearby flowed into it.

    “Stop it!” Quickly recognizing that his plea was useless and that Bisharp would not cease preparing her Metal Claw, Matt turned to Patrick and ordered, “Take Bisharp out with Drain Punch before this gets worse!”

    The lumbering toad pulled himself back up onto his feet, then pulled back his first and moved in toward his foe.

    What happened next, however, caught everyone – Matt’s group, Bisharp and Patrick – unprepared.

    With the power for her Metal Claw fully charged, Bisharp lifted her arm even higher and took one last step toward Olivia. Accordingly, Olivia stepped slightly backward to try and stay away from the terrifying Pokémon – and as soon as she did, her foot came down on a spot halfway over the rain-soaked cliff. Her footing vanished almost instantly, leaving her to helplessly struggle to hold herself up using only her legs as she teetered on the land’s edge.

    For Matt, time seemed to slow to a halt. Patrick’s Drain Punch was no longer going to make any difference; whether or not Bisharp was knocked out almost did not matter. He started to rush to Olivia with his arm outstretched, and behind him, Nekou and Bunny also were moving forward in a panic, but it was all for naught. After what seemed like an endless ordeal that in actuality was less than thirty seconds, Olivia’s balance completely gave way and she slipped over the cliff, screaming at the top of her lungs as she disappeared from sight.

    Matt, Nekou and Bunny all froze. For the latter, her thoughts were primarily on Olivia’s safety. Bunny had faith that Olivia would come out of this incident relatively fine; it was obvious that things were bad, but she hoped that it wouldn’t come out as a full-fledged disaster.

    Nekou handled it significantly more poorly. Even though she had only known Olivia for a little over a week, Nekou was already developing both sisterly and maternal instincts toward the girl, and an aggressive creature causing Olivia direct harm deeply violated those bonds. She flew into a screaming rage, viciously rushing Bisharp with her switchblade; however, she was unable to inflict much damage due to Bisharp fighting back.

    “You ****er!” she cursed the Dark-and-Steel-type Pokémon during her assault. “You’re ****ing answering to me for hurting her!”

    Matt’s paralysis was entirely mental, caused by the deluge of crushing thoughts that hit him instantaneously upon Olivia falling.

    “You failure!” the one even slightly clear voice screamed at him through the chaos in his head. “All you had to do was protect her and make her dream come true, and you couldn’t even manage that! Now you let another one die!!”

    Extending his arms straight out in front of him, Matt finally broke his silence by snarling, “Destroy Bisharp with Drain Punch NOW!!” As he issued this order, Matt’s hands were trembling as if slowly gripping something until he spread his arms at the end of the sentence.

    Bisharp barely had time to turn herself around before she realized Patrick was already within very close range. Now the tables were turned, and she was the one backing up.

    Being caught off-guard by Patrick’s movements was what did in Bisharp in the end. With nowhere to escape to, she received a devastating blow right to her torso, delivered with such force that she was thrown off the cliff and far into the distance, disappearing into the thick trees beyond the well-traversed road. Sensing their leader’s distress, the horde of Pawniard immediately jumped up from their own injuries and pursued her, vanishing from sight as well.

    Matt couldn’t care less about the wild Pokémon. Stumbling past Nekou, who was breathing deeply as a result of directly fighting Bisharp, he threw himself onto the ground and looked over the cliff.

    Nothing beyond a canopy of trees was visible below.

    “Olivia!” he screamed downward, the color running from his face as his heartbeat became shallow. “OLIVIA!!”

    “If she’s hurt down there, she’s not going to be able to answer you,” Nekou flatly stated.

    “Then if she can’t call up to me to let me know she’s okay…” Though Nekou and Bunny could not see his face as he rose back up to his full height and therefore could not see the empty look in his uncovered eye, they could tell by his body language that he was about to call for something irrational. “…I’ll go down there myself!”

    The instant Matt made to jump over the cliff, however, a powerful grip on his right shoulder stopped him. He gasped, having not expected such an abrupt interruption, then turned around to see Nekou casting an icy pout in his direction.

    “Don’t be an idiot,” she said, pulling her arm back. “Even with your body, if you jump over that cliff and hit branches on your way down, you’ll only end up hurting yourself. The road crosses that area further down, so we should follow it.”

    “If that fall would bang me up, though, think of what it would do to Olivia!”

    Matt shifted his panicked glare to Bunny, making her shift uncomfortably. She thought that both he and Nekou had made good points, but her own thoughts guided her in the direction of caution, so she answered the silent question by saying, “Take the road, but let’s hurry.”

    Without another word, Matt pulled the brim of his hat down slightly to cover his eyes and started walking in the direction of the cleared path again. Patrick and Oshawott followed him, while Balin, Zorua and Marie all stayed with Bunny and Nekou, who walked with each other.

    “Do you really think this is the best course of action, though?” Bunny questioned, a feeling of nervousness overtaking her.

    “Yeah, I do. Olivia’s tough. A little fall might rough her up a bit, but she will get back up and move forward. I know she can do it.”

    -:-

    Unfortunately, Nekou was only half right.

    At the bottom of the cliff, below the cover of the trees that had obscured Matt’s view from above, Olivia lay on the ground, broken in more ways than one. Lillipup, who had suffered no further injuries thanks to her intervention, worriedly sniffed at her face, but she was so detached from reality that she didn’t even notice.

    “This is all you can do,” a voice in her head told her. “Do you still wonder why he abandoned you?”

    “No, I understand now…” she answered, barely aware of the fact she was speaking to a disembodied voice in her head. “Day one and look at me already…”

    In the fall, the curls of hair she had on the sides of her head had come undone, leaving it to drape down to her back at its full length as it draped her prone body. Olivia shuddered as she hopelessly tried to move, but with her left leg snapped completely around at an unnatural angle, there was no way she could possibly walk. A slow but steady stream of blood was trickling out of her broken leg, mixing with the rain flowing across the rocks.

    Water was streaming down her face now, but she continued to not be bothered by it. “Dad,” she whispered as her vision began to become clouded, “I messed up. Don’t be mad at me…”

    A slight, accepting smile appeared on Olivia’s face just as she closed her eyes and blacked out.

    Mere seconds later, the sound of footsteps indicated the presence of someone else in the area. A golden-bodied, reptilian Pokémon with blade-like tusks protruding from her mouth stomped into the vicinity, followed by her trainer, an elderly man wearing round spectacles and a heavy brown coat.

    The man did not notice Olivia lying unconscious on the ground at first, but when his Pokémon alerted him to her, he walked over on his cane and leaned down to examine her. Recognizing her injures, he motioned to his Pokémon to help carry her somewhere.

    -:-

    It took Matt, Nekou and Bunny well over an hour to work their way down the road to the area where Olivia had fallen. Part of it was due to the fact that the path actually looped back a significant distance to circumvent the cliff, but the weather had worsened significantly as well. By the time they finally reached the area at the bottom of the cliff, the rain had forced Bunny to recall Balin, while Zorua and Marie each rode on one of Nekou’s shoulders. Matt, meanwhile, had sent out a Pokémon whose light, child-like body was contained within a simple form of green jelly that granted her arms and ears. She was floating above her trainer and his allies, using her Magic Guard ability to shield them from the rain.

    “Reuniclus, do you see Olivia anywhere?” When the Pokémon responded by shaking her head, Matt cupped his hands around his mouth and called out into the distance, “Olivia, where are you? I know you’re okay! You have to be!”

    “Osha!” Oshawott cried, mimicking Matt’s actions as he walked along.

    “This should be about where she fell,” Nekou pondered, “so where is she?”

    “I can’t imagine that she simply got up and walked off,” added Bunny, “not after a fall like that.”

    After that, the conversation between the three died out, and they went back to calling out in differing directions in the hope that Olivia would hear them while they walked. All they managed to garner for their efforts was an assortment of Pokémon, though, things like Pidgey, Sentret, Rattata and even the odd Shinx and Exeggcute. It seemed like most of the Pokémon the group passed were in hiding, likely from the Pawniard gang.

    None of the three were aware of how much time had passed or how far they had walked. They simply were so focused on finding Olivia that they didn’t care to notice. They were beginning to become fearful of what might have happened to her when Bunny spotted something.

    “Matt, Nekou, look over there!”

    Following the direction in which Bunny was pointing, Matt and Nekou could see a house a short distance down the road.

    “The lights are on, so someone must be home,” Nekou mumbled sarcastically. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

    “Yeah,” Matt answered, “whoever’s in there might have seen Olivia. Let’s hurry! Reuniclus, return!”

    With a quick movement, Matt pointed a Poké Ball up at Reuniclus, drawing her back inside using the sphere’s red laser. As soon as she disappeared, the rain was able to pour down on the group unchecked, so they ran for the house as fast as they could.

    As soon as they were at the house, they went up to the front door and Matt rang the doorbell. There was a certain amount of disconnect in the design of the dwelling; for example, while the door was simply a plain, heavy piece of wood, the doorbell’s button was surrounded by an intricately-shaped, gold-plated frame. Another example was reflected in the windows, which had twisted, empty iron flower rows hanging off of actual windows that were quite modern and stately.

    “I’m coming, just hold your horses there for a minute!” a voice shouted from behind the door. A shuffling sound could be heard, followed by some kind of banging on the door as whoever was there tried to unlock it.

    Once the door finally opened, the occupant of the house came into view. It was the same elderly gentleman who had picked up Olivia earlier, though he had dispensed with his heavy brown coat. He had a very plain appearance, being simply dressed in a sky-blue dress shirt and black trousers; his main distinguishing characteristics were his glasses, his thick white beard that filled out his otherwise thin face, and his double helix-printed necktie.

    “More guests?” he sighed. “What a bother, having one unexpected visitor is enough for a single night. What can I help you with?”

    “We’re looking for a girl, sir,” Matt replied with a hint of desperation. “She got lost on Route 29 earlier and we haven’t been able to track her down.”

    “Oh, do you mean Olivia? I picked her up after I found her. She’s right inside.”

    “That’s such a relief… okay, you guys, come o…”

    (Banner by Matori)
    Beyond all ideals, the truth shall set you free...
    Most Recent: 18: Winter of Discontent
    Next: The Weight of the World (Part 1)

    The steps on the road to the truth.
    The Firestorm Rebellion
    The Victory Star of Fate


    Glacidia Network - The Home for Fanworks
    Best Wishes appreciation blog

  8. #33
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    New Tork City
    Posts
    7,738

    Default

    “Holy ****!” Matt’s sentence got cut off when Nekou, having suddenly realized something, shoved him out of the way to face the old man directly. “I know who you are! I can’t believe I get to meet you!”

    “Who is he, then?” Matt growled, picking himself off the wet ground and squeezing the water out of his hat.

    “He does look kind of familiar…” Bunny commented.

    “Why, this is only the most famous scientist in the ****ing history of science itself!” Nekou excitedly explained. “Meet Doctor Dante Fantomos, the man whose work made modern science itself possible!”

    “Wait, you’re Dante Fantomos?” Matt recognized the name once he heard it, and could only stare with wide eyes at Dante once he realized what it meant. “I didn’t even know you were still alive!”

    “I’m flattered to have fooled you, then,” Dante remarked, playing off Matt’s accidentally insensitive comment with a bit of sarcasm. “Come in out of the rain. I’ll prepare some tea.”

    Stepping away from the door, Dante ushered his guests inside. After peering outside and looking around in suspicion, he then closed it.

    Back in the bushes, Jessie, James and Meowth all shared a sigh of relief that they hadn’t been caught. Wobbuffet, meanwhile, simply stood still and stared ahead while holding onto the satellite. All four of them were hiding under a tarp they had put up from their supplies to shield themselves from the rain.

    “That was too close. I don’t want to fight that old man.”

    “You’re telling me, Jessie,” an overly dramatic James complained. “What do we do now?”

    “I’m gonna call Pierce,” Meowth announced, taking the R-Pad computer into his paws again. “We ain’t getting that rock from him if we just go for it.”

    -:-

    After ushering his guests into the foyer of his house so they could dry off, Dante guided them through a corridor toward his study.

    Matt took a moment to think about just how strange a day it had been as he walked behind Dante but in front of Nekou, Bunny and the Pokémon. Everything had started with Professor Elm’s disappearance and the meeting with Professor Juniper, then they had run into Renzo and heard his ranting. After that, they moved into Route 29, were attacked by a group of bloodthirsty wild Pokémon, and finally were separated from Olivia. Yet, he still couldn’t believe that he was now about to sit down for tea with one of the most important scientists in history, a man who he had long believed to have died years earlier.

    “Olivia!” Dante called out as he reached the doorway of the study. “I’ve got someone here to see you!”

    The study was a large room, dimly lit using candles and a fireplace. A border of brown wood reached three feet up the walls, and where it cut off, cream-colored wallpaper patterned with curved white lines picked up. Four dark bookcases towered from floor to ceiling against the wall opposite the fireplace, and as the four stepped into the room, their feet pushed down into the plush, pale yellow carpet.

    A long coffee table sat in the middle of the room, surrounded by three red couches. Olivia was sitting on the one facing the fireplace, reading a book with a dejected expression of boredom. Lillipup, his leg and body bandaged, sat next to her.

    “Olivia!” Matt exclaimed, both pleased and horrified at what he saw. Olivia, changed into hospital scrubs, had her left leg propped up on the couch in a thick cast. He felt at once both happy that she was alive and guilty for letting her get injured.

    “You’re lucky I found her out there, Matt Chiaki,” Dante said. He started walking to a tea cabinet in the corner of the room, his cane leaving small circles in the carpet with each step. “She might have bled out and died or developed an infection.”

    “I owe you some thanks, then, Dr. Fantomos… wait, how do you know my name?”

    Reaching the tea cabinet, Dante simply laughed and waved his hand at Matt. “In due time, my friend. Please, make yourselves at home. Everything will become clear.”

    “How are you doing, Olivia?” Nekou sincerely asked the girl, flopping down on the couch next to her. Zorua and Marie popped out from beneath Nekou’s hair to see Olivia, and Oshawott jumped up onto his trainer’s lap as well, attempting to soothe her.

    “Hey, you guys, Zorua, Marie... and Oshawott too…” Olivia’s voice was the voice of a broken human being. Her thoughts were haunting her – if this was how her first day as an official trainer would be, Olivia was unsure if she could face the future and whatever challenges lie ahead. It just all felt like far too much.

    “Olivia, please...” In an attempt to further prove her sincerity, Bunny put her hand on Olivia’s shoulder. “Don’t give up yet. Things will only get better from here. This was just an accident.”

    “If you say so…” Olivia sniffed.

    Perhaps unconsciously, Matt was detaching himself from the others, instead opting to examine the pair of framed pictures adorning the mantle of Dante’s fireplace. The photograph on the left was a black-and-white image of a much younger Dante; he had no cane then, his hair was jet-black and slicked back, and his beard was significantly thinner and neater. At the time of the picture he was wearing a white lab coat and extremely thick glasses.

    “Aye, pretty impressive, eh?” the elderly doctor said over his shoulder while preparing the tea. “That one you’re looking at now, that was the photo of me that ran in all the papers back when I first published my documentation of the structure of DNA, fifty-five years ago. One of the proudest moments of my life, I say.”

    “I sure can understand that. Six years ago, I had the opportunity to finish the life work of my grandfather, the great archeologist Sutter Chiaki, by finding the lost Golden City of La Ciudad Dorada. I lost a lot pursuing that goal, but in the end, finding it made me feel good because it validated what my grandfather stood for.”

    Once he finished speaking, Matt shifted his gaze to the second photo, the one on the right. It was monochrome like the first and appeared to be from around the same time period, but Dante was not alone in it. Alongside him was a woman who had her hair done up in a beehive style, and between them, a young girl with long black hair and a summer dress sat on a chair.

    Matt was intrigued by the picture, and rubbed his chin while looking closely at it for a moment before turning around. “Dr. Fantomos, forgive me if I shouldn’t ask this, but what’s the other picture of?”

    Dante, who by this time was just putting the completed tea serving on the table before Olivia, Nekou and Bunny, could only sigh. He sat down on the couch at the head of the table, picked up one of the teacups, and said, “That… that is the other proudest moment of my life thus far. In that photograph with me are my late wife, Clara, and our daughter, Amina.”

    “Where does Amina live now?” inquired Bunny, who had actually begun getting drawn into the conversation herself.

    “My heart,” Dante sadly replied. “Amina died of an illness when she was just fourteen years of age, despite my best efforts to cure her.”

    Immediately realizing that he’d made Dante go down the path that led to talking about this, Matt gasped and said, “I’m sorry! I shouldn’t have…”

    “Don’t you worry about it. I’ve taken steps to make sure her memory is preserved.” Indeed, by the way Dante was speaking, Matt could tell he was not terribly disturbed by discussing these things. “Now, Matt, why don’t you join us for some tea? Olivia was telling me earlier about some of the rare Pokémon you have seen, such as Heatran and Dialga.”

    “Well, I can tell you about Heatran, anyway,” Matt spiritlessly spoke while putting himself down on the seat facing Dante’s. “I don’t remember much about meeting Dialga.”

    Dante’s eyes widened when he heard Matt’s claim, which was something he couldn’t understand. “How do you not remember an occasion as momentous as meeting Dialga?”

    “I’ll get to that. First, let me tell you about Heatran. She was at the center of what happened in La Ciudad Dorada. The count of the kingdom was planning to seize control by killing his parents and sister and earning the right to the throne by making the people feel gratitude toward him, so he obtained a Magma Stone somewhere and used it to force Heatran to create a drought. He then contacted me and my so-called ex-girlfriend Cassy to go there and complete my grandfather’s work to save the city. We fell for his trap... well, at least I did, because Cassy was actually in on it. We found the lost Golden City, but the count appeared and set Heatran on us while he took control of the Golden City’s power. Thankfully, though, we managed to defeat Heatran and I captured her, and she went a long way to finally stopping him. I still have her with me today, and she is one of my most trusted Pokémon. On the other hand, though, that was also when Eleanor died…”

    “Eleanor?” Dante questioned, blinking from behind his glasses.

    Matt sighed. Unlike Dante and the story of Clara and Amina, he didn’t feel so comfortable with recounting the fate of Eleanor. Against his better judgment, however, he closed his visible eye and told the story.

    “Eleanor Laplace was a young woman I met in La Ciudad Dorada after being invited there by the villainous Count Fernando the Eighth. She was only on a vacation… so she was entirely innocent and never should have gotten caught up in what happened there. Needless to say, she ended up working with me, and during the final battle against Fernando she perished for my own cowardice.” Opening his eye, Matt glared at Dante, who had a rather dramatic backdrop for himself with the rain battering the window behind his chair. “Sure, we found the Golden City. But I was never the same person after I left La Ciudad Dorada. That was where my life started to change.”

    Just talking about La Ciudad Dorada and the death of Eleanor Laplace brought memories flooding back to Matt. He could still see everything as if it had just happened, including Eleanor getting ahead of him while trying to encourage him to be more positive. Horribly, she walked into a palace tower that collapsed seconds later, right before Matt’s eyes. He watched her last moments and sudden end, an image that was ingrained in his consciousness along with the knowledge that her last thoughts were mainly centered on trying to help him.

    This time, it was Dante’s turn to sigh. “You may be unable to accept this, but I can truly sympathize with the feeling of losing someone and feeling like you did nothing to help. I already told you about Amina’s terminal illness and my failure to find a cure and save her, but Clara died as the result of religious extremists deciding they didn’t like the idea of what my discovery could mean and bombing our home. They didn’t like the idea of the building blocks of life being known to the minds of mankind.”

    Nekou, Bunny and Olivia had been drinking their tea and listening to the conversation as it went back and forth between Matt and Dante. All three were engrossed by it, even Nekou, who otherwise would have been talking about how much she was enjoying the tea Dante had prepared. Bunny, on the other hand, decided to say something.

    “Is that why you’ve kept out of the public eye for so long? And if it is, why resurface now?”

    “To your first question, yes. I decided to dedicate myself to studying everything I could and perfecting my theories on DNA. Unfortunately, my work attracted a bit of an odd crowd… is it true that, from what I understand, you had a run-in with a cult called Polaris in Whitegold City?”

    “How do you…” The realization hit Nekou relatively fast, interrupting her original sentence. “Oh, that’s right, it was on the news. You and the rest of the world got to see me kick their asses.”

    “Polaris is no laughing matter,” Dante warned. “They were attracted to me because of the potential applications of my work. I didn’t see eye-to-eye with them, though. They believe that DNA is the key to unlocking something profound in our world, and they’re really serious about that, so I would strongly advise you to not get involved with them.”

    “You know,” Matt groaned, “I’ve seen so much ****ed up **** in my life already that they sound tame by comparison. I have no reason to concern myself with the dealings of a cult like that. All I’m after is the truth behind the fates of Eleanor and others.”

    “I see. Well, let me answer your second question, Bunny… actually, wait, I’ll show you what I’ve been working on in a moment. I forgot to find out about what happened with you and Dialga, Matt.”

    “I told you, I don’t remember much.” Punctuating his response with another sigh, Matt continued, “I don’t remember much because, from what others have reminded me, I used to have a split personality contained within me.”

    Olivia was the only one of Matt’s audience that did not react in surprise to this news. Nekou, Bunny and Dante all gasped and looked at him in varying degrees of shock, but none of them spoke, allowing Matt to go on.

    “People who knew what happened when my other personality appeared told me that his name was Janus, and he was violent, cruel and consumed by unchecked ambition. He was born of my attempts to rid myself of the pain caused by my sister and I being abused by our parents, and would appear in moments with enough stress to trigger it. The reason why I am telling you this is because for the majority of the time I was around Dialga, Janus was in control.”

    “He kidnapped me from my mom and dad and took me aboard Team Galactic’s UFO,” Olivia added. “My dad beat him, but he accidentally spilled this nasty red stuff on me.”

    “Once I snapped back into reality, I volunteered to stay behind on the exploding aircraft so Rich and Olivia could escape with my sister. That is why I have this body now.” To show what he meant, Matt rolled up his sleeves, then removed his light-blue silk gloves, revealing that his hands were visibly made of metal. He then made a blade emerge from his right wrist, proving that the rest of both arms was also artificial. “That’s not all. My left leg is cybernetic too, and I have some internalized modifications so my body doesn’t rip itself apart. All of this was made necessary by being trapped in the exploding UFO. During the extensive procedures I had to undergo, by my own request I had Janus removed from my subconscious. That’s why I don’t remember Dialga much – a lot of memories of things that happened while he was in control have disappeared for me.”

    “I’d like to take you apart,” Nekou wryly commented at the exact moment Matt finished speaking. “Your insides sound fascinating.”

    The mood in the room immediately changed – Dante visibly had to lower his head and fight off a chuckle, while Olivia fell back against Bunny’s shoulder in a laughing fit. Bunny herself, meanwhile, put her hand against her face.

    Matt could only stare at Nekou in complete exasperation as she stared back with a troublesome smirk on her face. “I was trying to tell Dr. Fantomos a story, you know. Did you have to do that?”

    “I was bored,” Nekou immediately snarked back without skipping a beat. “And if my brain was bored, his surely was too.”

    “Now, now, I got the gist of it, don’t worry.” Rising slowly from his seat, Dante looked down at Bunny and Olivia. At his full height he actually was rather tall, so they had to look up at him. “Allow me to show you what I’ve been working on now.”

    While his guests watched, Dante made his way to the other side of the room, where he picked up a cube-shaped case. He then carefully brought it back and set it on the table before opening it, revealing a small piece of rock covered in burn marks. Matt, Bunny and Nekou all looked at it with great curiosity.

    “This is a fragment that fell from one of the meteors ahead of Persephone-2213 as it approaches Earth,” Dante explained. “It is made of what is called Meteonite, a recently-discovered element that still has much mystery surrounding it.”

    “Meteonite,” Nekou repeated, lowering her eyelids until her eyes were half-closed and staring coldly at the rock.

    “Yes. I was asked by the Angel Corporation to study this Meteonite and try to determine some of its properties, because we have reason to believe that its resonance has some kind of effect on Pokémon. Olivia told me about the pack of wild Pawniard and the Bisharp that attacked you earlier today, and I think that my research on the Meteonite may have triggered their violent rampage, so please accept my apology for that.”

    “I’m not concerned about that anymore besides how it affects Olivia,” Matt responded. He then turned his view halfway toward the girl. “Olivia, how are you doing? You’re still looking forward to your first badge, right?”

    “I don’t want to talk about it. I want to go to bed.”

    Matt, Nekou and Bunny were all confused by Olivia’s demand, and looked at her before turning to Dante. Understanding their unspoken question, he said, “I already told Olivia that once her friends caught up to her, you could all stay here for the night. My home is your home, as they say. The spare rooms are just upstairs.”

    “Come on, Olivia, I’ll go with you.”

    Olivia nodded her acquiescence to Bunny’s idea, so the older of the two young women rose to her feet and scooped up her younger friend in her arms. Once Dante pointed in the direction of the staircase, they left the room with Oshawott and Lillipup following them.

    “So…” As he spoke, Dante closed the case containing the Meteonite. “Matt, you are someone who is seeking truth, is that correct?”

    “Right. What I’m after is the truth behind the deaths of Eleanor and a couple of other people that didn’t have to die. Everything has a deeper truth behind it, and I will discover it. For that reason, I’m looking for the Legendary Pokémon Reshiram, whose flames are said to burn to reveal the truth.”

    “I see. As men of science, that pursuit of the truth makes us similar.”

    “Don’t forget me, I’m a woman of science,” Nekou piped up, before slyly adding, “Just because my science is a lot madder doesn’t disqualify me.”

    Dante chuckled, but did not speak again until he laid out a large map of the Johto Region on the table before Matt and Nekou. “If you’re pursuing the truth of Reshiram, you will be looking for a lost item known as the Light Stone. They say that the Light Stone only appears before an individual who has put in overwhelming effort into finding the truth, so you should go through the longest path through Johto.”

    Putting his finger on the map at Cherrygrove City, right next to their current location, Dante traced the trail up north, slightly west, and south around a loop. He then elaborated, “Go from Cherrygrove City north to Violet City. From there, move into the loop that will take you south to Union Cave and Azalea Town, then north through Goldenrod City and eventually back to Violet City.”

    “Thanks, I guess, Dr. Fantomos.”

    Dante repaid Matt’s gratitude with a dark expression. “Let me warn you of one thing, though, Matt Chiaki. As men of science we both pursue truth, but what you must recognize is that truth is a beast that cannot be tamed. If you decide to pursue it, you must be fully prepared to find that the truth is far more terrible than you ever thought it could be.”

    Nekou did not have much of a visible reaction to Dante’s warning, but Matt noticeably shrunk back and tensed up. He didn’t need any reminders of how difficult or risky his goal was, and even though Dante meant well, the comments he’d made only served to unnerve Matt even further.

    -:-

    Jessie, James and Meowth had quite a bit of space in their makeshift camp underneath the heavy tarp that shielded them from the rain. In fact, there was enough space for James and Meowth to prepare a pot of beef stew on a small hotplate while Jessie spoke to Pierce using the R-Pad.

    “What are you saying, exactly?” Pierce could be heard questioning from wherever he was. “You can’t get the Meteonite?”

    “Pierce, it’s currently in the possession of an old man who is keeping Matt Chiaki’s little group at his home tonight,” Jessie explained. “He’s also got this powerful-looking Haxorus that we can’t possibly defeat. Attacking him now would be foolish.”

    “Hmm... I agree. Listen, continue to monitor the situation for now. I have some business to finish
    wrapping up here in Cherrygrove City. Over and out.”

    With Pierce gone, Jessie turned back to her teammates just in time for them to finish their cooking.

    “Dinner’s done!” James exclaimed, taking three spoons from their supplies and passing them out.

    “Let’s dig in!” Meowth added. “Before a big mission, a big meal does the trick!”

    -:-

    Much later that night, Matt was alone in the room he’d borrowed from Dante, sitting on the bed and reading by lamp light while wearing his light sleeping clothes. The novel in his hands was clearly aged, with some of its pages gnarled and yellowing at the edges. His silver flask, meanwhile, rested on the night table next to him, periodically being picked up to provide refreshment.

    The pouring rain and occasional thunder put Matt on edge enough, so when his door creaked open, he jumped in a fit of nerves. However, he realized it was nothing to worry about when a slightly drunk Nekou stumbled in. She was quite a sight, wearing a faded yellow tank top that was one size too small for her and short shorts.

    “What are you doing in here? Is that always how you dress at night?” Dropping that line of questioning when he saw the bottle in her hand, Matt instead asked, “You’re drinking at this time of night?”

    “Shut up,” she countered, her voice slightly slurred. “The only thing on all twelve numbers of a clock is time to drink. I can’t sleep.”

    “What I don’t get is, I’ve seen you put away a dozen cans of beer without effort, but you haven’t even finished one bottle tonight and you’re clearly wasted. What is that?”

    “It’s not stuff I usually drink. I borrowed some vodka from the old man.”

    “You stole Dr. Fantomos’s vodka, didn’t you.”

    “I stole Dr. Fantomos’s vodka, yeah,” Nekou confessed, although she didn’t seem all that remorseful about it. “What are you doing up this late?”

    “I’ve got a good mind to ask you the same thing, why you’re up so late getting drunk.”

    “Have as much a mind as you want, but just don’t say it, because it’s wrong to ask a lady why she drinks.” Stepping closer to the bed, Nekou leaned over and scrunched up her face as she stared at the book Matt was reading. She could make out the drawing on the book’s cover, which depicted an old man in sailor garb standing in a small boat and brandishing a harpoon directed at a giant, white Wailord. “Interesting choice of a bedtime story. I hadn’t thought of you as the type.”

    “Consider what it’s about, though. A man obsessed with getting vengeance against something that wronged him, requiring him to pursue a great white beast… especially since I learned about Reshiram’s existence, I feel like I can identify with that. Of course, that’s just the most superficial layer, but still.”

    As she listened to Matt’s almost indifferent explanation of his interest in the book, Nekou’s inebriated cheer vanished and was replaced with a cold disgust that grew with each word he spoke. Once he was done, she immediately responded, “You’re looking at that story completely wrong if it’s the captain who you identify with. I thought you were going to say that you identified with Ishmael, who quite frankly suits you more, but the captain? Did you even read to the end? I don’t care if this is a spoiler to you or not, but the captain’s obsession with his revenge gets all but one person on his ship killed! If you see yourself in him, what does that say about how you see us?”

    “Well, obviously I don’t want you or the others to die,” Matt was now speaking in an empty, almost haunting voice, “but quite honestly, it would not bother me at all to fall in such a way for myself. Captain Ahab dies having successfully speared the whale that antagonized him for so long, and even if he did not kill the creature, he succeeded in accomplishing as much as he was capable of. I have two simple goals – I want to see Olivia up on her feet with a shot in the world, and I want to know the truth behind who provoked the events of the past six years. Once I accomplish those things, I simply have no concern for what awaits me next.”

    There was a beat of silence, but suddenly, Nekou delivered a backhanded slap across Matt’s face, tears of anger welling up in her eyes. He just looked blankly at her and held his face as his book fell onto the bed.

    “Do you even care about how your attitude could affect others? You say you want Olivia up on her feet, but how do you think it would make her feel to lose someone else she cares about and relies upon? How do you think Bunny would take losing someone she clearly considers a friend? And me… I have no home to go back to. If you go away, I don’t know what would happen to me.”

    “I don’t know if you can possibly understand all the things I’ve seen. Nobody deserves to have a harsh life like mine. I just feel tired… you can only rely on yourself for so long.”

    “You don’t know the half of what I’ve seen, but anyway, nobody ever said that you had to rely only on yourself.” Nekou suddenly climbed onto the bed and crawled on all fours toward Matt, sticking her face just inches away from his. He did not react at all. “Listen. I became your bodyguard, right? You know that you can rely on me when you need it.”

    “Thanks, I guess… I don’t really know what I’m going to do right now.”

    -:-

    The next morning, Matt, Bunny and Olivia gathered together with Dante in the foyer of his house. Dante, once again having donned his brown coat, had the case with the Meteonite shard sitting next to him.

    “You lot are heading to Cherrygrove City, correct?” he asked.

    “Right. The Battle Arcade is there,” Matt explained, “and that is where I am going to begin my search for the truth.”

    “Please allow me to accompany you for a time, then,” requested the doctor. “I need to deliver the Meteonite to an acquaintance of mine, the scientist who’s called Mr. Pokémon, who lives on Route 30.”

    “Feel free to come along with us, Dr. Fantomos,” Bunny agreed, making sure to glance to Matt and Olivia for confirmation first.

    “Where’s Nekou? We can’t leave without her.”

    There was truth to what Olivia said – Nekou was nowhere to be seen. Matt coughed, then said, “She must have gotten so drunk last night she passed out. Let me go get her.”

    Matt turned away from the others and headed back up the staircase, then quickly walked toward the one spare room that still had its door pitched slightly open. When he entered, he found Nekou out cold, sprawled across her bed with the vodka bottle lying empty on the floor and a trail of drool dripping from her mouth, which was contorted into an expression of bizarre pleasure.

    “Hey, wake up.” When he got no response, Matt repeated himself but spoke a little louder; however, this failed too. He started to reach down to shake her, but he then spotted her earbud-style headphones in her ears and the cord to her music player. “Figures,” he mumbled to himself, realizing she couldn’t hear him. Instead of shaking her, he decided to simply remove the headphones from her ears.

    That was where he went totally wrong, for as soon as he lifted one of the earbuds out, the music started blasting through the whole house.

    “It’s a cruel, cruel summer, leaving me here on my own… It’s a cruel, cruel summer, now you’re gone…”

    “What the **** are you doing…?” Drowsily smacking her hand against her side, Nekou finally found the music player and shut it off.

    “Waking you up, obviously. You were sleeping with it that loud?”

    “None of your business.”

    “Well, go get dressed. We’re going to Cherrygrove City and Dr. Fantomos is coming with us.”






    END of CHAPTER 3

    (Banner by Matori)
    Beyond all ideals, the truth shall set you free...
    Most Recent: 18: Winter of Discontent
    Next: The Weight of the World (Part 1)

    The steps on the road to the truth.
    The Firestorm Rebellion
    The Victory Star of Fate


    Glacidia Network - The Home for Fanworks
    Best Wishes appreciation blog

  9. #34

    Default

    Chapter three! I've been waiting for this chapter and you didn't disappoint at all with it. First thing- I'm really enjoying watching Olivia grow and learn on her journey. In three chapters you've managed to accomplish that very well, and I don't think many writers can pull off developing characters that much in three chapters, even as long as yours are.

    That's why Olivia's attack by the the Bisharp and her army and her accident at the end of the battle absolutely shocked me- because poor Olivia had no idea what she was in for going on this journey. She expected an easy time of it but found herself in mortal danger instead. It's great you're reflecting just how dangerous the Pokemon world really is and how brutal and terrifying some of the Pokemon are.

    The moments when she was reflecting upon how disappointed her dad would be were also an excellent psychological study, as was Matt's reaction to the incident. I appreciate your ability to create psychologically complex characters and show them struggling with their life issues. It's part of what makes them feel truly alive.

    The Bisharp battle itself was extremely exciting. It honestly took me by surprise when I reached it and it was easily one of the most tense and action-packed battles I've seen, partly because it's so out of the ordinary. You don't normally see trainers forced to battle not for training or to win a battle, but for their very life, and I will never see the Bisharp line the same way again. Poor Lillipup, he didn't do anything wrong.

    Nekou was awesome this chapter and I adore how you're developing her. I had to laugh when she got caught with the bottle of vodka and happily admitted to stealing Dante's booze- flawless and perfect-, the way she has no concept of social graces, knows, and has zero ****s to give, and her general attitude towards life in general. She's a little **** and she loves every minute of it. The looks at her serious side were touching and the complexity you give her is fantastic. It's good to see Matt with someone like her to have his back. She's also the best sis Olivia could ever have.

    Also, the discussion about Moby-Dick was very thoughtful and that story is an amazing metaphor for Matt's life. Nekou dropping all those truthbombs on him was a very strong thing for her to do, and why I love her. She's not afraid to tell people to check their **** and get back on a good path. It might seem *****y but if she does that stuff you know she's looking out for you.

    Matt's backstory with Janus is also chilling and I really feel for him and how part of his memory is now gone. He's gone through a lot of pain, and I feel bad for him.

    Bunny also is developing into an interesting character and it's nice to have a straight woman role to offset how dysfunctional a group Matt, Olivia, and Nekou are. She really seems knowledgeable and I think you're doing her justice.

    Dante- what's gonna go down with him? I can tell he's going to be an interesting figure in this story since he's such a mysterious doctor and apparently quite renowned. Waiting to see where you're going to take him because it's going to be an interesting ride, I bet. You made him seem somewhat warm and eccentric but I can't help but wonder if that's not all there is to him.

    Dante repaid Matt’s gratitude with a dark expression. “Let me warn you of one thing, though, Matt Chiaki. As men of science we both pursue truth, but what you must recognize is that truth is a beast that cannot be tamed. If you decide to pursue it, you must be fully prepared to find that the truth is far more terrible than you ever thought it could be.”
    This gave me chills. It's very true, and I think it shows your skill for character development through dialogue.

    The Team Rocket scenes were done beautifully in this chapter. You really do a better job of getting the Trio's personalities perfect than even a longtime TR writer like myself could, and I'm impressed.


    “Let’s dig in!” Meowth added. “Before a big mission, a big meal does the trick!”
    This made me smile, as well as James doing the cooking.


    Keep up the awesome work. I look forward to what's coming in Chapter 4.

    "Poe was the first writer to write about main characters who were bad guys or who were mad guys, and those are some of my favorite stories."
    -Stephen King

    I write odd slice of life stories about Team Rocket. If that's your thing, give them a look:

    Alpha Male- behind every friendship is a story. Perspective contest fourth place winner.
    Secretary- A short and cynical tale of paperwork and sadism
    Survival- A novella about the unbreakable bonds between one man and his feline friend. 2011 Pokemon Big Bang story.


  10. #35
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    St. Louis, Missouri.
    Posts
    259

    Default

    Incoming review. Impact in three, two, one:

    Hmm...I'd say that you captured the personalities of the trio almost perfectly. I still wonder why Meteonite is so important, but that's probably because I've rarely watched the anime.

    I immediately noticed that Matt looked more than a little nervous about the storm and the thunder in particular. Potential phobia?

    Olivia's proving to be a very smart trainer, and that's going to help her out in the long run; she won't be able to win with brute strength forever. For a girl as young as she is, she's already shown me that she's inherited the skills of both her father and mother.

    Oh, hell. A Bisharp...with twelve Pawniard. Those are not things that I would want to mess with; I'm of the opinion that Bisharp can't be tamed by most trainers. Quite frankly, I'm shocked that the Lillipup is even alive. It also seems suspicious for a couple of reasons:

    For one thing, why didn't the Bisharp and her pack finish off the Lillipup? Even one of the Pawniard would have made short work of an injured Lillipup, so I'm thinking that they held back and used it as bait for Matt's group. It still doesn't make much sense, though; why attack the larger, more powerful group of trainers when they could've killed the Lillipup (or any wild Pokemon in the area, for that matter) with ridiculous ease? Packs of predators don't work in that fashion; they specifically target the weak while avoiding the strong, and since the Bisharp went directly for Olivia, it shows that the pack mentality is there. And how in the hell did the Bisharp know Thunder Wave when it can only be learned via TM?

    That brings one logical conclusion to my mind: these were not wild Pokemon that targeted Matt's group. Someone ordered them to attack, most likely a member of Polaris.

    It's a good thing that the man and his Haxorus got to Olivia in time, but that scene showed me something else. As much as Olivia hates her father for supposedly leaving her, she still wants to make him proud by becoming a better trainer than he was. That's a lot of pressure to put on a child's shoulders. I feel a bit sorry for her.

        Spoiler:- Wild theory and speculation:


    Matt's backstory is rather interesting, and it's a good way to get people involved in this story when they may not know much about your other series (like myself).

    Otherwise, there really isn't much to note. This was a fine chapter, and I'm truly excited to see what you have in store for your readers.

    Sincerely,

    Mem.
    CURRENT STORY

    A Time for Everything - Kalos has lived peacefully for far too long, following the ideals of the corrupt. It's time to change that... An AU of X/Y.

  11. #36
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Training at Sootopolis City
    Posts
    1,698

    Default

    All they managed to garner for their efforts was an assortment of Pokémon, though, things like Pidgey, Sentret, Rattata and even the odd Shinx and Exeggcute.
    Hm, calling Pokemon “things” sounds very awkward to me. Perhaps “creatures” or just get rid of “thing” all together will sound better.

    Another thing is I probably miss something and could be totally wrong, but the part with Nekou able to move her injured arm makes me think

        Spoiler:- spoilers I guess:


    Anyways, I like this chapter very much. Yay for more Team Rocket being featured. Looking forward to how you’ll develop them more. Thoughts over Olivia’s battle with Nekou is pretty much the same as Silent Memento, so I won’t add anything else to that, LOL.

    Dang over the gang having to deal with Pawniard and the Bisharp leader, but glad Olivia is okay. Feel sorry for her having doubts about her journey and feeling pressured trying to be as good as her father, but I'm sure she'll be motivated to journey and battle again soon.

    I enjoyed the group talking with Dr. Fantomos, especially the mention of seeking truth. Man, I remember Janus quite well and like Dawn I too feel bad for one part of Matt's memory being gone. The references to Moby Dick is great too, and I agree Ishmael fits him more (though it’s been so long since I read some of the novel, LOL). Shall be interesting how Dr. Fantomos will fit in the group, if only temporarily.

    A couple other mentions. So far in this story I think you're doing Bunny just fine. Would be totally her to ask Dr. Fantomos about why he's hiding himself from the public. Hopefully he'll answer Bunny's second question soon (or did I miss that?). Also, LOL over Nekou stealing vodka. Nice.

    So yeah, nothing else much to say but looking forward to the next chapter!
    Last edited by Bay; 20th July 2012 at 5:05 AM.


    Tumblr | FFnet | Author's Profile| Archive of Our Own | Banner: Umi Mizuno
    I'm still writing, but probably not much Pokemon stuff at the moment. HAM!


  12. #37
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    New Tork City
    Posts
    7,738

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rokettololi View Post
    Chapter three! I've been waiting for this chapter and you didn't disappoint at all with it. First thing- I'm really enjoying watching Olivia grow and learn on her journey. In three chapters you've managed to accomplish that very well, and I don't think many writers can pull off developing characters that much in three chapters, even as long as yours are.
    I want to agree; I would like to believe I showed her going through quite an array of things in rapid succession and depicted her well as she went through them.

    That's why Olivia's attack by the the Bisharp and her army and her accident at the end of the battle absolutely shocked me- because poor Olivia had no idea what she was in for going on this journey. She expected an easy time of it but found herself in mortal danger instead. It's great you're reflecting just how dangerous the Pokemon world really is and how brutal and terrifying some of the Pokemon are.
    That's exactly what I wanted to show - this world isn't as pretty as it seems. Stay tuned for that theme, it'll be back.

    The moments when she was reflecting upon how disappointed her dad would be were also an excellent psychological study, as was Matt's reaction to the incident. I appreciate your ability to create psychologically complex characters and show them struggling with their life issues. It's part of what makes them feel truly alive.
    Thank you! I certainly tried my best to pull this off.

    The Bisharp battle itself was extremely exciting. It honestly took me by surprise when I reached it and it was easily one of the most tense and action-packed battles I've seen, partly because it's so out of the ordinary. You don't normally see trainers forced to battle not for training or to win a battle, but for their very life, and I will never see the Bisharp line the same way again. Poor Lillipup, he didn't do anything wrong.
    If I got you to think differently of a Pokemon or line of Pokemon, then I really don't think I could ask for anything more.

    Nekou was awesome this chapter and I adore how you're developing her. I had to laugh when she got caught with the bottle of vodka and happily admitted to stealing Dante's booze- flawless and perfect-, the way she has no concept of social graces, knows, and has zero ****s to give, and her general attitude towards life in general. She's a little **** and she loves every minute of it. The looks at her serious side were touching and the complexity you give her is fantastic. It's good to see Matt with someone like her to have his back. She's also the best sis Olivia could ever have.
    I think you've got her down quite perfectly, actually.

    I want to use Nekou to kind of deconstruct the typical Pokemon protagonist character, who is always unflinchingly polite, generous and eager to take on challenges. Nekou, on the other hand, is rude, profane and follows no rules but her own, yet she also does have her side that cares about others. I think you'll like her going forward, because she actually is quite complex.

    Also, the discussion about Moby-Dick was very thoughtful and that story is an amazing metaphor for Matt's life. Nekou dropping all those truthbombs on him was a very strong thing for her to do, and why I love her. She's not afraid to tell people to check their **** and get back on a good path. It might seem *****y but if she does that stuff you know she's looking out for you.
    Ah, I was worried that that scene might come off as pretentious, but I really thought I could get a good, intelligent scene out of using the book as a vehicle to explore and contrast Matt's actual character, the way he views himself, and the way Nekou views him.

    And yes, that is Nekou in a nutshell.

    Matt's backstory with Janus is also chilling and I really feel for him and how part of his memory is now gone. He's gone through a lot of pain, and I feel bad for him.
    But are they all memories he actually wants to still have?

    Bunny also is developing into an interesting character and it's nice to have a straight woman role to offset how dysfunctional a group Matt, Olivia, and Nekou are. She really seems knowledgeable and I think you're doing her justice.

    Dante- what's gonna go down with him? I can tell he's going to be an interesting figure in this story since he's such a mysterious doctor and apparently quite renowned. Waiting to see where you're going to take him because it's going to be an interesting ride, I bet. You made him seem somewhat warm and eccentric but I can't help but wonder if that's not all there is to him.
    I know some had criticized Bunny's lack of much of a significant role in some of my previous stories featuring her, so I've been making a conscious effort to develop her further. I rather like the group mechanic that's developing between the four of them.

    This gave me chills. It's very true, and I think it shows your skill for character development through dialogue.
    Those are very important words you should definitely remember.

    The Team Rocket scenes were done beautifully in this chapter. You really do a better job of getting the Trio's personalities perfect than even a longtime TR writer like myself could, and I'm impressed.

    This made me smile, as well as James doing the cooking.
    I really am feeling more comfortable with writing them the more I do with them. I've figured out that the key to writing them the way they should be done is to give them somewhat silly personalities, but not have the situations they get into be as absurd as the situations got in the anime.

    Keep up the awesome work. I look forward to what's coming in Chapter 4.
    Thank you. I think you will enjoy what's in store.

    Quote Originally Posted by SilentMemento View Post
    Incoming review. Impact in three, two, one:

    Hmm...I'd say that you captured the personalities of the trio almost perfectly. I still wonder why Meteonite is so important, but that's probably because I've rarely watched the anime.
    We were never actually told much about it in canon. All that was said was that it was an energy source, it was shown to be able to give off massive energy blasts, and it was implied to have some kind of effect on Pokemon around it. I'm working with that but largely giving it my own spin.

    I immediately noticed that Matt looked more than a little nervous about the storm and the thunder in particular. Potential phobia?
    Good eye, that's correct.

    Olivia's proving to be a very smart trainer, and that's going to help her out in the long run; she won't be able to win with brute strength forever. For a girl as young as she is, she's already shown me that she's inherited the skills of both her father and mother.
    That's what I was hoping to show - she's got a lot of problems (as we saw regarding the starter debacle and her overall brattiness) but when she calms down and actually focuses, she's actually fairly capable. Of course, we'll have to wait until Violet City's Gym to really see how that stacks up.

    Oh, hell. A Bisharp...with twelve Pawniard. Those are not things that I would want to mess with; I'm of the opinion that Bisharp can't be tamed by most trainers. Quite frankly, I'm shocked that the Lillipup is even alive. It also seems suspicious for a couple of reasons:

    For one thing, why didn't the Bisharp and her pack finish off the Lillipup? Even one of the Pawniard would have made short work of an injured Lillipup, so I'm thinking that they held back and used it as bait for Matt's group. It still doesn't make much sense, though; why attack the larger, more powerful group of trainers when they could've killed the Lillipup (or any wild Pokemon in the area, for that matter) with ridiculous ease? Packs of predators don't work in that fashion; they specifically target the weak while avoiding the strong, and since the Bisharp went directly for Olivia, it shows that the pack mentality is there. And how in the hell did the Bisharp know Thunder Wave when it can only be learned via TM?

    That brings one logical conclusion to my mind: these were not wild Pokemon that targeted Matt's group. Someone ordered them to attack, most likely a member of Polaris.
    You could interpret the scene in one of a number of ways. The concept that the pack used the Lillipup for bait is one potential way to look at it. Another possibility, I'd say, is that they were attacking the Lillipup off-screen and Olivia and the others just happened to stumble into it. I'll leave the real answer up to each reader to decide, because one, it's not really all that terribly important (they were wild, not Polaris-sent) and two, I don't even really know what the 'true' answer is myself. XD; Another thing to keep in mind, though, is that as was mentioned later, the pack was rampaging abnormally due to Dante messing with the Meteonite shard in the area. More of this will be explained soon.

    Bisharp and the Pawniard had the moves they did because otherwise, they'd all have the same moves. I did this for two reasons: to diversify the moves used so the scene itself would be more interesting, and to distinguish each of the pack from the others through their used moves.

    It's a good thing that the man and his Haxorus got to Olivia in time, but that scene showed me something else. As much as Olivia hates her father for supposedly leaving her, she still wants to make him proud by becoming a better trainer than he was. That's a lot of pressure to put on a child's shoulders. I feel a bit sorry for her.
    A very astute assessment. Olivia very much has complicated feelings regarding her father, who she simultaneously idolizes and despises. In terms of the pressure on her, some of it is coming from society identifying her as Rich and Anabel's daughter, but some of it is also her own harsh judgment upon herself and her situation.

        Spoiler:- Wild theory and speculation:
    Oh, I'm not saying anything right now. When it comes to him, just pay attention to what he says and does. What fun would it be if I tell you everything now, after all?

    Matt's backstory is rather interesting, and it's a good way to get people involved in this story when they may not know much about your other series (like myself).
    Good, it served its purpose then. Thankfully, this should be the last infodumping conversation between characters for at least a few chapters, and probably the biggest one for a very long while.

    Otherwise, there really isn't much to note. This was a fine chapter, and I'm truly excited to see what you have in store for your readers.
    Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bay View Post
    Hm, calling Pokemon “things” sounds very awkward to me. Perhaps “creatures” or just get rid of “thing” all together will sound better.
    Hmm, that makes sense. Good advice, thank you.

    Another thing is I probably miss something and could be totally wrong, but the part with Nekou able to move her injured arm makes me think

        Spoiler:- spoilers I guess:
    At least one of the statements in this quote is exactly correct.

    Anyways, I like this chapter very much. Yay for more Team Rocket being featured. Looking forward to how you’ll develop them more. Thoughts over Olivia’s battle with Nekou is pretty much the same as Silent Memento, so I won’t add anything else to that, LOL.
    Jessie, James and Meowth are going to take a little bit of a backseat next chapter. Instead, it will be Pierce who gets to play an on-screen role.

    Dang over the gang having to deal with Pawniard and the Bisharp leader, but glad Olivia is okay. Feel sorry for her having doubts about her journey and feeling pressured trying to be as good as her father, but I'm sure she'll be motivated to journey and battle again soon.
    Accordingly, she won't need to be under too much pressure for a couple of chapters, because some focus on Matt's goal is next.

    I enjoyed the group talking with Dr. Fantomos, especially the mention of seeking truth. Man, I remember Janus quite well and like Dawn I too feel bad for one part of Matt's memory being gone. The references to Moby Dick is great too, and I agree Ishmael fits him more (though it’s been so long since I read some of the novel, LOL). Shall be interesting how Dr. Fantomos will fit in the group, if only temporarily.
    I'm glad you enjoyed all of that. I worked very hard on it.

    A couple other mentions. So far in this story I think you're doing Bunny just fine. Would be totally her to ask Dr. Fantomos about why he's hiding himself from the public. Hopefully he'll answer Bunny's second question soon (or did I miss that?). Also, LOL over Nekou stealing vodka. Nice.
    I'm glad you like how I'm writing Bunny now, too. He did answer her question, albeit indirectly: he's making a comeback because the Angel Corporation has hired him to study the Meteonite. Again, the Meteonite and some of what Dante's studying will be revealed in a few chapters from now.

    Get used to Nekou, because she's here to stay. XD

    So yeah, nothing else much to say but looking forward to the next chapter!
    Thank you! I hope you won't be disappointed!

    (Banner by Matori)
    Beyond all ideals, the truth shall set you free...
    Most Recent: 18: Winter of Discontent
    Next: The Weight of the World (Part 1)

    The steps on the road to the truth.
    The Firestorm Rebellion
    The Victory Star of Fate


    Glacidia Network - The Home for Fanworks
    Best Wishes appreciation blog

  13. #38
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Somewhere in Unova...
    Posts
    950

    Default

    And now it is time for review.

    So which one is the recurring wild Pokemon: Bisharp (and/or cronies) or Lillipup? I'm guessing Lillipup, considering that it's both in Olivia's care and has an injured leg (although Olivia does already have Minccino on her team...eh, that's more my opinion, though).

    Speaking of Bisharp, I initially agreed with SilentMemento on the topic of why she and her Pawniard crones were there. And then I read this:

    I'll leave the real answer up to each reader to decide, because one, it's not really all that terribly important (they were wild, not Polaris-sent) and two, I don't even really know what the 'true' answer is myself. XD
    Ah, the sound of a theory being shot right out of the water. Gotta love it.

    Olivia's battle with Nekou's Zorua was pretty well-done. Olivia may be somewhat of a brat, but she's definitely no slouch where battling is concerned. I would say more, but pretty much everything has been covered by everyone else. XD

    Also, some quotations:

    “Patrick, make your mark!”

    A tall, bulky toad Pokémon materialized from Matt’s Dive Ball. His blue body had a number of black-and-cream-colored bumps on it, matching the colors adorning his front.

    Flexing his body, which in turn caused the bumps to vibrate slightly, he gurgled, “Seismitoad…”
    Ah, here's an old friend from Victory Star of Fate. I'm assuming Patrick's nickname and species are a reference of some kind?

    Patrick moved his lazy red eyes to the two Pawniard and the Bisharp, and after glaring at them for a short while, he spit a stream of boiling water at them. Moving to protect their mistress, the two Pawniard attempted to deflect the Scald with cutting moves, but failed and were thrown back. One of them – the one who had used Psycho Cut – collided with one of the hooks protruding from Bisharp’s torso, visibly cutting his helmet.
    There has to be a reason that a specific Pawniard was mentioned getting an identifying mark in that sort of manner. Our recurring wild Pokemon, perhaps?

    With the shivering, injured Lillipup still in her arms, Olivia attempted to flee in Matt’s direction. Tears were running down her face, which was contorted into a look of nightmarish torment.

    “This wasn’t supposed to happen… make it stop…” she was mumbling hysterically to herself. “Make it stop, make it stop!!”
    You know, after reading this (along with the whole Bisharp attack scene), I realized how exceedingly lucky Derak has been in Proving Grounds. I'm going to need to fix that at some point...

    “Aye, pretty impressive, eh?” the elderly doctor said over his shoulder while preparing the tea. “That one you’re looking at now, that was the photo of me that ran in all the papers back when I first published my documentation of the structure of DNA, fifty-five years ago. One of the proudest moments of my life, I say.”
    The moment he said "DNA", I suspected some kind of connection to Polaris. It didn't quite turn out to be what I thought it would, but the story is just beginning...

    “I’d like to take you apart,” Nekou wryly commented at the exact moment Matt finished speaking. “Your insides sound fascinating.”
    And we can only wonder just how Nekou means that...which is one of the things that makes her so fun. XD

    There was truth to what Olivia said – Nekou was nowhere to be seen. Matt coughed, then said, “She must have gotten so drunk last night she passed out. Let me go get her.”

    Matt turned away from the others and headed back up the staircase, then quickly walked toward the one spare room that still had its door pitched slightly open. When he entered, he found Nekou out cold, sprawled across her bed with the vodka bottle lying empty on the floor and a trail of drool dripping from her mouth, which was contorted into an expression of bizarre pleasure.

    “Hey, wake up.” When he got no response, Matt repeated himself but spoke a little louder; however, this failed too. He started to reach down to shake her, but he then spotted her earbud-style headphones in her ears and the cord to her music player. “Figures,” he mumbled to himself, realizing she couldn’t hear him. Instead of shaking her, he decided to simply remove the headphones from her ears.

    That was where he went totally wrong, for as soon as he lifted one of the earbuds out, the music started blasting through the whole house.

    “It’s a cruel, cruel summer, leaving me here on my own… It’s a cruel, cruel summer, now you’re gone…”
    And that would be another one of said amusing Nekou qualities. XD

    So, Matt's heading for the Battle Arcade next chapter, is he? Wonder what Dahlia has in store for him, and just what TR's next move will be. Can't wait to find out!
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  14. #39
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    New Tork City
    Posts
    7,738

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Morpher01 View Post
    And now it is time for review.

    So which one is the recurring wild Pokemon: Bisharp (and/or cronies) or Lillipup? I'm guessing Lillipup, considering that it's both in Olivia's care and has an injured leg (although Olivia does already have Minccino on her team...eh, that's more my opinion, though).
    The correct answer is     Spoiler:- The recurring Pokemon:


    Speaking of Bisharp, I initially agreed with SilentMemento on the topic of why she and her Pawniard crones were there. And then I read this:



    Ah, the sound of a theory being shot right out of the water. Gotta love it.
    I know, right? Get used to hearing that sound.

    Olivia's battle with Nekou's Zorua was pretty well-done. Olivia may be somewhat of a brat, but she's definitely no slouch where battling is concerned. I would say more, but pretty much everything has been covered by everyone else. XD
    I was actually very pleased with how it turned out for simply a training battle.

    Also, some quotations:



    Ah, here's an old friend from Victory Star of Fate. I'm assuming Patrick's nickname and species are a reference of some kind?
    Well, there's the obvious idea you'd get from a Water-type named Patrick, which actually works as well. What was in my mind when I named him, though, was the fact that I thought Seismitoad looks somewhat similar to the infamous image of Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho which serves as the base for the "Doubles Guy" meme.

    There has to be a reason that a specific Pawniard was mentioned getting an identifying mark in that sort of manner. Our recurring wild Pokemon, perhaps?
    Oh, there sure is a reason, that's for certain.

    You know, after reading this (along with the whole Bisharp attack scene), I realized how exceedingly lucky Derak has been in Proving Grounds. I'm going to need to fix that at some point...
    Hey, as long as Derak doesn't blame me for whatever you do to him, it's all good. XD;

    The moment he said "DNA", I suspected some kind of connection to Polaris. It didn't quite turn out to be what I thought it would, but the story is just beginning...
    Yeah, I would imagine that some pretty startling theories entered your head almost immediately before he explained further, right?

    Speculate away. This will be one story where it's warranted.

    And we can only wonder just how Nekou means that...which is one of the things that makes her so fun. XD
    In ways you may not even want to imagine. /runs

    I love her for the exact same reason you do. This chapter, I think, really captures her character so extremely well.

    And that would be another one of said amusing Nekou qualities. XD
    Which? Her quality tastes in music or the fact that it helps her sleep to blast 80s girl rock straight into her ears?

    So, Matt's heading for the Battle Arcade next chapter, is he? Wonder what Dahlia has in store for him, and just what TR's next move will be. Can't wait to find out!
    There will be ... quite a few surprises in Cherrygrove City, let's say that much. The chapters are Part 1 and Part 2 for a reason, also.

    (Banner by Matori)
    Beyond all ideals, the truth shall set you free...
    Most Recent: 18: Winter of Discontent
    Next: The Weight of the World (Part 1)

    The steps on the road to the truth.
    The Firestorm Rebellion
    The Victory Star of Fate


    Glacidia Network - The Home for Fanworks
    Best Wishes appreciation blog

  15. #40
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    New Tork City
    Posts
    7,738

    Default

    Apologies, but I ran into some problems writing the next chapter that have caused it to be delayed for this long. It has become longer than I thought it would be, but rest assured, I've almost got it done. I'm in the last stretch of it now.

    (Banner by Matori)
    Beyond all ideals, the truth shall set you free...
    Most Recent: 18: Winter of Discontent
    Next: The Weight of the World (Part 1)

    The steps on the road to the truth.
    The Firestorm Rebellion
    The Victory Star of Fate


    Glacidia Network - The Home for Fanworks
    Best Wishes appreciation blog

  16. #41
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    New Tork City
    Posts
    7,738

    Default

    FINALLY! I'm sorry for the long delay.

    For the sake of caution, this chapter contains mentions of several crimes including murder and kidnapping, and a scene involving abduction victims that may be slightly disturbing to some.

    -:-

    CHAPTER 4: Reaching for the Arcade Star (Part 1)

    -:-

    Cherrygrove City was a busy city on a coastline, larger than New Bark Town but still smaller than many of the other metropolis-size cities on the continent. Few of its buildings reached comparable heights to the skyscrapers those cities had, but Cherrygrove’s buildings – both residential apartment complexes and commercial centers – were enough to pack plenty into the small area of land the city actually occupied.

    The previous night, while Matt, Olivia, Nekou and Bunny were staying at the home of Dr. Dante Fantomos, rain was buffeting Cherrygrove City much like Route 29. As a result, few were outside, and Pierce was completely fine with that fact. His mission entailed meeting a contact covertly, so as he stepped into an alley between two buildings, he appreciated the additional cover the rain provided him on top of the darkness of night.

    Pierce walked a short distance down the alley before stopping, and after a moment’s hesitation, he raised his hand and snapped his fingers four times.

    “So… you’ve come,” a woman who was hiding in the alley’s darkness said, emerging nearly immediately upon Pierce’s giving the signal. She was wearing a heavy coat that appeared to have significantly discolored over time along with a tattered blue scarf wrapped around her head and shoulders, obscuring the upper half of her face in a shadow. Though he did not voice it, what troubled Pierce about this seemingly homeless woman was that she carried a small child wrapped in a blanket in her arms. “Why has your organization sought us out?”

    Significantly unsettled by this woman for a reason he could not fully identify, Pierce struggled to maintain his rigid composure. “Polaris has made its move, which has left Team Rocket with no choice but to take all available action to counter them. We are aware that you Tenganists who are left are planning to oppose them as well, so I have come to offer you a negotiation. Team Rocket can offer your group supplies to battle Polaris in exchange for your assistance in destroying them.”

    “And why should I trust you?” the woman scoffed, though with a strange hint of fear in her voice.

    “If you’re not convinced of my sincerity,” Pierce flatly stated, extending his right hand, “then take my hand. Everything will become clear.”

    The woman haltingly placed her own right hand in Pierce’s, and the two of them abruptly froze. This lasted for several seconds before she pulled away, gasping for air.

    “I could feel it in your mind… you’re one of us, too… one of my people… but why? Why turn to Team Rocket?”

    “The circumstances of our lives are not easily controlled. My Tenganist heritage is not something I was raised in, as you were. Now, about the offer we can provide you…”

    “I cannot make that decision right now. I am merely a symbol for the horrors inflicted upon our people by Ghetsis Harmonia, a symbol to motivate what remains of our dying culture to survive by any means necessary. Our enemy is Ghetsis, not Polaris.”

    “You must not be aware that Ghetsis Harmonia is, in fact, a high-ranking member of Polaris.”

    That apparently was the case, for as soon as Pierce stated that fact, the woman stepped back and gasped. Her voice became shaky and uncertain. “If Ghetsis is a member of Polaris, than this could be my chance to… I could finally…” Looking up at Pierce, the woman said, “I can’t decide right now. What that man is responsible for doing to us… and to me… I need some time to know if I’m ready to face it.”

    “I will return here tomorrow night,” Pierce declared, turning toward the street. “I request that you make your decision by then.”

    -:-

    By the next morning, the rain had cleared up, and bright sunlight peeked through the patchwork of clouds still in the sky.

    Nekou, Bunny and Dante led the way as the group entered Cherrygrove City from Route 29. Matt trailed behind them in order to stay alongside Olivia, who had to walk on crutches with her broken left leg bent up off the ground. The leading trio halted a short distance into the city’s boundaries, causing Matt and Olivia to stop as well.

    “What is it?” he asked them. “Why did you stop?”

    “You have to know where you’re going before you can go there,” Bunny replied. “So where exactly are we going?”

    “I do say, we should head for the Pokémon Center first,” Dante proposed, switching which hand he used to hold the briefcase containing the Meteonite fragment and his cane. “We don’t want to burn out already.”

    “You’re right. Olivia looks pretty tired, too… I don’t want to force her to walk for too long.”

    “Let’s just go to the Pokémon Center,” muttered the sullen Olivia as she fell into agreement with Matt, Bunny and Dante.

    “It’s not far from here,” announced Nekou, prompting the group to begin walking again. After they had been moving for a bit, she suddenly piped up again, saying, “So, Olivia, I’d say that with four Pokémon, you should have a good shot at that first badge.”

    “Minccino, Roselia, Oshawott and Lillipup now,” Bunny reiterated. “Remember, Violet City’s Gym is a Flying-type Gym, so aside from Roselia, you have a pretty decent assortment of Pokémon to take it on. Just don’t forget to keep your team in shape, and that badge should be yours, no problem.”

    “I don’t really want to talk about it right now,” Olivia growled back at the two women, shifting her gaze downward as she carefully hobbled on her crutches. “The last thing on my mind is a Gym battle. I’m a disgrace.”

    “Don’t ever call yourself anything like that!” Nekou forcefully said, looking back over her shoulder. “You didn’t do anything wrong. This world is a ***** and the only way to beat it is to be a bigger ***** right back at it. That’s what Maman taught me, and it’s helped keep me going.”

    “I do think I owe you an apology, though, Olivia.” Unlike Nekou, Dante did not turn at all while he spoke. Instead, he simply kept walking. “It was my experiment on the Meteonite that caused the Bisharp and Pawniard to go wild. If not for my experiment, you would be perfectly fine right now. I’m sorry.”

    “I guess I forgive you, then…”

    “That was thoughtful of you, Dr. Fantomos. Thank you, I think it means a lot.”

    Just as Matt finished his sentence, the five travelers stopped again. They were standing before a red-roofed building primarily constructed of blue-tinted glass, which had a Poké Ball shape above its entrance. Nestled within the more developed buildings of Cherrygrove City, this building and the trees visible beyond it presented an anachronistic appearance.

    “Well, we’re here. The Pokémon Center,” Matt said out loud, not specifically addressing any of the others in particular. “Let’s go.”

    No objection was raised, so the group moved forward once more. The double doors representing the entrance into the Pokémon Center slid aside when Nekou stepped before them, allowing her and the others inside.

    The interior of the Pokémon Center presented a drastic contrast to the cold-feeling city outside its walls. Warmth radiated from the golden walls of the two-floored building, and the number of trainers in the facility with their Pokémon – ranging from those clustered around a large plasma-screen television to the left of the entrance, to those using a bank of public computers on the right, and still more traveling up and down between the two floors – truly made the Pokémon Center feel like a central terminal for the community.

    As the first and most pressing order of business, Matt led Olivia to the desk at the center of the first floor, nestled between the two escalators going up to and down from the second floor; Nekou, Bunny and Dante followed shortly thereafter.

    “Good morning!” the pink-haired nurse behind the desk cheerfully exclaimed in greeting. “Welcome to the Pokémon Center! What can I help you with?”

    “We’ve all got some Pokémon that need healing,” Matt explained. He noticed that Olivia refused to speak to the nurse, though he reasoned that she might have just not been paying attention, so he stepped in.

    “How many of you need healing? All five?”

    “No, just four of us,” Bunny corrected. She glanced over to Dante; the old scientist hadn’t battled the Pawniard and Bisharp like they had, so she correctly reasoned that whatever Pokémon he had wouldn’t require healing.

    “Then please place your Poké Balls in these trays one at a time,” the nurse explained, all while setting out a tray with six circles depressed into it on the brown surface of her desk. Olivia suddenly snapped back to attention and wobbled up first, carefully maintaining her balance as she placed her four Poké Balls in the tray. “Do you have a Pokédex, young lady?”

    “Huh? Oh, yeah…here.” Carefully reaching into a pocket within her cape, Olivia produced her pink Pokédex and handed it to the nurse, who promptly scanned it with an electronic device.

    “So you met up with Professor Juniper, Olivia? She’s a great person,” the nurse said, handing back the device before setting out a second empty tray. “You’re lucky to know her. Now, who’s next?”

    “I am,” Matt answered, stepping forward carefully to allow Olivia space to move aside. Without hesitation, he placed six spheres of his own into their places. “Thank you for being so kind.”

    “It’s my job, after all. May I see your Pokédex, sir?”

    “I don’t have one.”

    As soon as Matt said those words, the smile on the nurse’s face began to slowly fade. “Then in that case, the charge will be three hundred dollars.”

    “Pokémon Centers in this region charge for service?” What Matt had just learned completely stunned him. He’d never heard of such a concept before; in his home region of Sinnoh, Pokémon Centers were entirely free, so the idea of having to pay for their services caught him completely off guard. Compounding his confusion further, though, he remembered that the nurse had clearly not asked Olivia for any sort of fee.

    “Only trainers who have obtained a starter Pokémon and Pokédex receive free service at a region’s Pokémon Centers,” explained the nurse.

    This made the whole idea make more sense in Matt’s mind, for in Sinnoh he had a Chimchar and often used a Pokédex loaned to him by his grandfather for fieldwork. Even though he was still rather surprised, he resigned himself to the situation and handed over his credit card to cover the fee.

    “Transaction complete, thank you,” said the nurse, carefully returning the card to its owner.

    Stepping aside to allow Bunny to move forward in line, Matt turned around and noticed an unusual number of people clustering around the television in the Pokémon Center’s lobby. He suddenly felt rather impatient due to his intrigue in the scene.

    “Dr. Fantomos, look over there,” Matt commented, gesturing to indicate the area by the television. “What do you think is going on?”

    “Obviously there’s something being broadcasted that has them all interested. Let’s go see what it is, shall we?”

    Matt curtly nodded to the elderly scientist, indicating his agreement with the proposal. They walked side-by-side across the lobby to the viewing area with Olivia following closely behind. Once they reached the edge of the crowd, Matt tapped one of the trainers on the shoulder.

    “Yeah, what?” When the young man, who was wearing a black leather jacket, turned around, his rather pronounced brown pompadour ended up right in Matt’s face, forcing Matt to back up a step.

    “Just wanted to know, what’s going on here?”

    “Oh, they’re saying that some speech is going to be given by a representative of something called Polaris,” he answered, turning back around. “I don’t really know what that means either.”

    “Polaris… the group that tried to kill me in Whitegold City, and the ones Dr. Fantomos warned me about…” Matt thought to himself. “There must be a reason why that name keeps coming up…”

    Something was clearly going on, and whatever it was, Matt found himself deeply troubled by it. While he pushed himself to think of some sort of connection between these events, though, Bunny and Nekou arrived, having dropped off their own Pokémon.

    “So what the hell is going on here?” Nekou demanded in her typical fashion.

    “Someone from Polaris is about to give a speech.”

    Almost as soon as Matt answered her, though, the newscaster on the television attracted the attention of the entire crowd.

    “We’re now going to go live to the speech to be delivered by a representative of the Polaris group.”

    The image on the screen switched from the elderly, gray-haired newscaster at his desk to a simple, tight shot of the Polaris representative – that representative being Ghetsis, seen from the shoulders up with the oversized collar of his cape partially covering his mouth.

    Though neither of them nor anyone else noticed, both Nekou and Dante scowled when they saw him.

    “Good morning, people of the Tohjo Continent. My name is Ghetsis Harmonia, and I would like to speak to you today about a very important subject. More and more in this day and age, young trainers are suffering. The ideals we as older generations push upon our successors in this world are forcing our children to put themselves in dangerous, difficult positions. All Pokémon trainers are born equally, as are all Pokémon. It is this world, this system we have created that leads to inequality and suffering! It saddens me to the bottom of my heart to see young men and women suffer with no money on the road because they lost all of it in battles.” Ghetsis’s voice was actually losing its composure at this point, as if his sadness was sincere. “We must ask ourselves, what is the best way to help make this world a more equal and fair place? Polaris is pursuing that truth. We will find the way to bring about true equality and fairness in the world! Please, continue listening to what we have to say as we work for a better tomorrow! Thank you for your time.”

    Upon his thundering conclusion, Ghetsis disappeared from the screen, and the crowd in Cherrygrove City’s Pokémon Center descended into a loud discussion of what his speech precisely meant. Many questioned the true meaning of the rambling speech, while plenty of others intensely discussed the merits of his point about the inequality of Pokémon trainers. It was as if the crowd had become possessed.

    “What… was that?” Bunny wondered aloud, noticeably unsettled by the spectacle.

    “I don’t know, but I don’t give a **** about what that disgusting freak has to say,” Nekou immediately hissed.

    Though he was equally as disturbed by Ghetsis’s speech, Matt pondered questioning why Nekou was so overtly agitated by it. He decided against doing so, however, and instead offered, “Let’s just forget we saw that and get our Pokémon.”

    Matt, Nekou, Olivia, Bunny and Dante walked back toward the counter to retrieve their Pokémon. However, there was something else they weren’t aware of.

    The homeless Tenganist woman, the one who had met with Pierce the night before, was hiding behind a pillar in the corner of the Pokémon Center. She had seen Ghetsis’s entire speech, and saw Matt’s group as well.

    “It’s all starting to happen…” she mumbled to herself, nestling her child closely against her chest as her nerves frayed. “I didn’t want you to get involved…”

    -:-

    A short while later, Matt, Olivia, Nekou, Bunny and Dante were sitting around a table in the Pokémon Center’s dining area, discussing the events of the previous twenty-four hours over their respective meals.

    “I really cannot apologize profusely enough for the consequences of my experiment.” Dante kept tripping over himself verbally in his efforts to express just how remorseful he was. “It was never my intent for such chaos to break out.”

    “I appreciate it and all, and I’m glad you fixed my leg, but…” Olivia looked away before finishing, “…just stop apologizing.”

    The mood at the table became incredibly awkward as a result of Olivia’s dour attitude. Matt just stared into his breakfast sandwich of egg and cheese on an English muffin, while Bunny shifted uncomfortably in her seat while rapidly glancing between Olivia, Dante and Nekou.

    Perhaps fittingly, it was Nekou who broke the silence, blurting out, “Hey, Olivia, remember that pizza I promised Matt would get us? We’re still getting that!”

    “Wait, I never…”

    “Thanks, then…”

    Matt was interrupted and subdued by the forced smile Olivia showed him. He’d seen that smile before, and it was one of his primary weaknesses related to her. It wasn’t a sarcastic smile, nor a genuinely happy one; instead, she used it when she was forcing herself to find one shred of positivity in a situation, usually when it involved her father.

    “Want a newspaper?”

    While collapsing in on himself over how much Olivia’s false smile bothered him, Matt failed to notice the still-disguised Pierce approach the table until the undercover Team Rocket agent was holding a folded-up newspaper right in his face.

    “Yeah, um… I guess so? Thanks.”

    As Matt accepted the paper, Pierce sat down at the next table so that their backs would be facing and opened up one of his own. Once he had made sure that the others were occupying themselves with eating, Matt unfolded and opened the paper he’d received from Pierce.

    Almost immediately, a black file folder fell out onto Matt’s lap.

    “What is this?”

    “Open it,” Pierce instructed, not moving his head or even setting down his newspaper.

    When Matt put his newspaper on the table but hesitated to do anything more, Nekou wasted no time in chiming in, saying, “You might as well take a look inside it. What harm could it do?”

    “Eh, I guess so.”

    When Matt opened the file, he was greeted by several documents, the topmost of which bore a large picture of Ghetsis in its upper-right corner. The rest of the folder’s contents elaborated in detail upon what appeared to be criminal case files regarding him.

    “What is this?” Matt questioned, glancing back at Pierce, who still hadn’t moved. “And who are you? What’s going on?”

    “That man you saw earlier on television, Ghetsis Harmonia, is not who he appears to be,” Pierce explained, seemingly ignoring Matt’s questions. “He was once the number one criminal on the International Police’s most wanted list for an array of crimes in Unova including kidnapping, forced servitude, Pokémon abuse, child abuse, burglary, assault and murder, both attempted and successful, all as the leader of an outfit called Team Plasma.”

    Nekou and the others were listening to Pierce’s furtive explanation, too, and she gritted her teeth as he went on.

    “So yeah, this man is bad news. The reason why I said he was once the International Police’s most wanted fugitive is because a little over two years ago, he was entirely purged from their database, meaning no evidence of his crimes survives, nor does any warrant for his arrest. That’s part of why he was able to make a fresh restart here as a member of Polaris.”

    “What’s the other part?”

    “Someone in the government is shielding him, I fear. The internet and all other communication mediums have been carefully controlled to make finding out the truth about Team Plasma and Unova impossible in this country. I dread to think what could happen if Polaris has already infiltrated deeply into the highest ranks of the government here.”

    With that, Pierce rose from his seat, his newspaper tucked under his arm. Before he could leave, however, Matt spoke up again.

    “Why are you telling me this, and who are you exactly?”

    “You may call me Sam. Consider me an information broker… what I just gave you is essentially free. If you ever need my services, look for me in the one place not constrained by any rules, the place where the government cannot clamp down on the truth.”

    “What was that all about?” Bunny groaned as she watched Pierce walk away. “Why do these strange things keep happening?”

    “Don’t pay it too much mind,” Nekou abruptly answered. “He didn’t do anything to hurt us.”

    “I guess not,” Matt decided with a shrug. “Let’s finish up here, then.”

    -:-

    Ghetsis hobbled down a cold, gloomy corridor in Polaris’s base shortly after his speech. His gait was crooked and uneven, and the white cane he supported himself on crashed noisily on the metal floor with each step. The cane was itself a rather unusual item; it was topped by a hollow circle with a knob-shaped handle at its highest point. Within the circle, positioned at the nexus of two narrow rods forming a cross shape, was a shield colored half-black and half-white that bore a blue ‘P’ insignia overlaid on a backward ‘Z.’

    Approaching an iron door, Ghetsis raised the cane up and slammed it into the ground, activating a secret mechanism that opened the portal. He went inside, and the door slid shut behind him.

    A dark, gloomy chamber waited beyond the doorway. It was illuminated only by the light filtering up from flickering computer screens and the pale blue neon lights fixed in a glass enclosure within the room.

    Anthea and Concordia, the two women who Ghetsis had presented to the Sacred Helix, were contained within the transparent cage. They were still dressed shabbily in torn rags, and had loose chains connected to their wrists and ankles. Neither woman noticed Ghetsis come into the room and begin approaching their prison, as they were both more interested in the books of mythology their jailer had given them; however, when Ghetsis slammed his cane into the ground again, they immediately turned their blank eyes toward him.

    “I see you two wenches have put yourselves to some use,” he menaced, seemingly deliberately trying to taunt them. “Are those books of myth decoded yet?”

    “Lord Ghetsis, sir…”

    “Of course they are not finished yet!!” Ghetsis thundered, interrupting Concordia before she had a chance to do much more than open her mouth. Both she and Anthea flinched, but only slightly; by this point they were beyond knowing Ghetsis’s typical behavior. “In the amount of time you have had those books, only a genius could have deciphered their secrets already! Of course, we all know that that word is one of the last ones we’d use to describe you two!”

    In a fit of rage, Ghetsis swung his cane out and smashed a blown-glass flowerpot sitting nearby on the floor, leaving soil and a cluster of flowers to spread out on the ground. This outburst prompted a stronger-but-still-muted reaction from the two women, who still had enough left of their broken instincts to raise their arms over their faces; this also served the secondary purpose of hiding the tears of terror developing in their eyes.

    Once Ghetsis was done with his explosive anger, he calmed down and began breathing deeply, trying to catch his breath. “But, it’s okay. None of it matters, because in the end, you two are simply nothing more than used, broken waste with little to no use left for me! I have everything I needed from you two, but I will allow you to live to see the world I will shape from the cold flames Polaris will reduce this planet to. A perfect world, in the image of a perfect ruler… you Tenganists cannot die out completely before some of you bear witness to what the king of Harmonia will create. And do you want to know what the best part about this entire thing is? All that remains to be done simply requires that defective freak son of mine along with the woman you Tenganists consider a prophet. You two have a front-row seat to the greatest spectacle this world will ever see!”

    Though their faces remained blank, when Anthea and Concordia turned to face each other, terrible realizations came over them. Everything Ghetsis had said in his deranged rant, despite sounding like it made no sense, actually was completely true.

    A sound like a gust of wind suddenly rang out in the chamber, prompting Ghetsis to turn around.

    “Very well, you’ve returned. Report now.”

    Three identical young men stepped out from the shadows. Each one was wearing a wig of long, white hair along with sleeveless, figure-hugging gray mesh uniforms and mouth covers. Their hands were covered by heavy black gloves that matched their equally-heavy boots, and their baggy black pants were surrounded by dark skirts closed up in the fronts by gray crosses.

    “Lord Ghetsis, we have analyzed and searched Route 44 and the Ice Path,” one of the three stated.

    “Neither your son or the woman you told us to look for was present in either location.”

    “Some of the Pokémon in the areas we searched appeared to have been befriended without capture, however. This would suggest your son was in fact there at some point, Lord Ghetsis.”

    “I see,” Ghetsis said, pondering this new information as he leaned forward on his cane and tightened his grip on it. “Redouble your search and expand the area. We must find that inhuman boy and the Tenganist woman before the others do.”

    “We will meet your demands, Lord Ghetsis.”

    Another gust of wind indicated the swift disappearance of the three ninja-like young men. Ghetsis briefly turned back to Anthea and Concordia.

    “You two saw and heard nothing just now. I’m sure you both want to keep getting the amount of food you do get.”

    Disappearing back into the darkness, Ghetsis wobbled to the door and exited the chamber. Once it was silent again, Concordia crumpled down onto her back and twisted slightly in the bedding that stretched from one end of their cage to the other.

    “Anthea…” Concordia whispered, staring up at the ceiling, “…please, pray with me...”

    -:-

    “Are we heading to the Battle Arcade now, Matt?”

    Bunny’s question came as the group left the Pokémon Center to return to the streets of Cherrygrove City. She had become the one walking alongside Olivia, as Matt had taken the lead, leaving the two of them along with Dante and Nekou to carry the rear.

    “I don’t think I want to go there yet,” Matt announced, pausing his walk so the others could hear him. Putting his hands on his hips, he turned slightly and explained, “The Frontier Society facility leaders, the Frontier Brains, change their Pokémon to match the skill level of each challenger. With the Pokémon I have, it’s likely I’ll be facing a trainer at Gym Leader level or higher, so I’d like to find a place to do some training first.”

    “Then I can help you with that, youngster!”

    Having been sitting on a bench right outside the Pokémon Center, a surprisingly energetic-looking old man in a green sweater approached Matt. He had plainly overheard Matt and Bunny talking, and appeared eager to add his own contribution, his narrow eyes and thin mouth curled into expressions of genuine excitement.

    “Who’re you?” Nekou said, grimacing. “And don’t you know it’s rude to eavesdrop?”

    “You should talk…” Matt sarcastically mumbled under his breath.

    “Now, now, it’s no problem at all,” the old man hurriedly assured. “People around town call me the Guide Gent, because I give tours of Cherrygrove. What’s this I hear about you wanting to go to a place where you can train your Pokémon?”

    “Exactly that. I’m going to challenge the Battle Arcade soon, and I want to practice before I go.”

    “Well, then, you’re in luck, kid!” The Guide Gent did not notice how uncomfortable Matt looked every time ‘youngster’ and ‘kid’ were used to refer to him, but both Nekou and Olivia did, and they began whispering mischievously to each other in the background.

    The Guide Gent continued, “There’s a place in this city called a Trainer House. A lot of towns have ‘em now. Pokémon trainers gather there and have battles with each other, which should be just what you’re looking for. Interested?”

    “Well, Olivia, what do you think?” Matt asked, turning halfway around. He was intrigued by the concept, but wanted to confirm that Olivia was comfortable with such a thing first.

    “It couldn’t hurt.” Nekou suddenly whispered something in her ear, prompting Olivia to smile more broadly than she had all day and add, “Right, youngster?”

    “Oh, come on,” he sighed, exasperated and yet encouraged by Olivia’s slow return to form. After running his hand down his face, Matt looked back at the Guide Gent and said,” Show us the way, please.”

    “Will do! Come, youngsters, follow me!”

    -:-

    Before the group knew it, they found themselves standing outside of a spacious three-story building in the heart of Cherrygrove City. Aside from the Poké Ball logo on the building’s doorway, it was a rather inconspicuous structure that blended in well with the small but busy city around it.

    “Here we are, the Trainer House!” the Guide Gent declared, spreading his arms and speaking with great pride in his voice. “This is right where you’ll want to be if your goal is to train your Pokémon.”

    “Thank you very much for taking us here,” Matt said graciously. The old man’s help had definitely shaved quite a bit of time off of their trip, which in turn allowed Matt more time to dedicate to practicing for the Battle Arcade.

    “Think nothing of it. I hope what you get out of coming here is worth the price.”

    “Wait, what?” Bunny stopped the Guide Gent from walking off by putting her hand on his shoulder. She was troubled by his ominous statement and, as she was unable to put it out of her mind, Bunny resolved to clear it up. “What exactly do you mean by ‘price?’”

    “This city was not always so congested,” responded the Gent, his voice becoming poisoned by a hint of bitterness. “It used to be a small, peaceful city on the shore. But when the Battle Arcade was built, and the Trainer House along with it, things changed around here.”

    “Let the gentleman go, Bunny,” a bored-sounding Dante instructed. “There is nothing more he can offer us.”

    Dante’s advice prompted Bunny to realize that he was right, and accordingly, she released her grip on the Guide Gent, who promptly bowed slightly to them one last time before exiting the area. There was no more business to be had outside the Trainer House, so the group moved inside, passing through the automatic double doors of the facility.

    Inside was a sight much like the Pokémon Center, but different in a way that Matt and the others had trouble putting their fingers on. The facility’s vast lobby took up the entirety of the first floor; its floor, patterned with black and silver tiles alternating in a checkerboard arrangement, was polished so well that it reflected everything on it, from people to Pokémon to fixtures such as the elegant elevators and marble reception desk.

    Another similarity between the Trainer House and Pokémon Center was that a thick cluster of people were gathered around a large television not far from where Matt and the rest of the group entered. Aside from Dante, they were drawn to the scene by a natural desire to see just what was going on.

    Matt, Nekou, Bunny and Olivia discovered a battle playing out on the television, depicting a Ludicolo facing off against an unfamiliar Pokémon. This creature had an insect-like appearance, taking on the general shape of a green mantis with leaves coming from his neck and waist.

    “Another close call between Nando’s Leavanny and Dahlia’s Ludicolo!” blared the commentator of the match. “Leavanny has a distinct advantage, but the Arcade Star is powerful! She’s holding her own!”

    “It’s Mister Nando!” Olivia exclaimed, finally cheering up as she recognized one of the figures on the television. He was someone she knew from five years ago, a man who indulged in both battles and the far showier Pokémon Contests. She didn’t know him to have the Pokémon he was now using, Leavanny, but it fit in with what she knew of his preferences, which tended toward Grass-types, Bug-types and Pokémon with musical ties.

    “So he’s here too…” Matt mused, recognizing Nando as well. “This is the Battle Arcade, then?”

    -:-

    Indeed, the battlefield seen on the television was that of the Battle Arcade. A huge video screen loomed over the half-black, half-red arena floor, flanked on each side by a tall, cylindrical screen. Each of the side monitors displayed the three Pokémon designated for the battle by each trainer, while the center screen simply displayed a giant black square with several progressively smaller, outlined white squares condensing toward its middle.

    Going downward from the top, Nando’s Leavanny was his second Pokémon, as was Dahlia’s Ludicolo. Their first Pokémon – Dragonite for Nando, Togekiss for Dahlia – were grayed out, indicating that they had fainted.

    “What fabulous luck you’ve had so far!” Dahlia exclaimed, twisting around her space on the red side of the battlefield with fluid dance moves. The Arcade Star was a tall, thin woman whose skin showed a tan. Her clothing – a midriff-exposing yellow shirt and a pair of blue jeans – was so tight it left little to the imagination, and her messy, black, tendril-like hair wrapped around her as if it had a mind of its own as she danced. “But, I won’t let you leave here without a real test! Let’s see if you have enough luck to defeat me. Ludicolo, Energy Ball!”

    “Very well,” Nando calmly responded, strumming the strings of the golden, Mew-shaped harp in his hand, “I shall show you what you seek. Leavanny, please use Signal Beam.”

    Between the leafy antennae atop Leavanny’s head, a sphere of white light took shape briefly before transforming into a rainbow-colored beam aimed straight in Ludicolo’s direction. However, Ludicolo seemed to be much faster, and the glowing Energy Ball she launched had nearly connected before Leavanny intercepted it with his own attack.

    The resulting explosion not only threw Leavanny back, it also created a gust of wind that visibly disturbed Nando’s long black hair and green cape. His cape would have blown off if he didn’t have it pinned in place with the red jewel and sky blue cravat he used, in fact.

    “Those two attacks cancel each other out!” declared the announcer, to the delight of the audience gathered in the Battle Arcade. “It’s pretty clear that Leavanny is suffering under the effect of the Trick Room induced by our game board, while Ludicolo is benefitting from a boost in its speed. Can Nando overcome this to gain the upper hand against our Arcade Star?!”

    The question made Nando adjust his wide-brimmed green hat and squint with his right eye, the one that was not covered by his hair, while he pondered the situation. It was true, he knew, that the speed-inverting effect of the Trick Room created at the start of the battle was forcing his Leavanny to move more slowly than Dahlia’s Ludicolo. This made dodging and attacking far more difficult than it usually was.

    “Ludicolo, Hyper Voice!”

    Dahlia’s command made Nando realize what he had to do right away. “Leavanny, please, bear with me and take the attack!”

    Leavanny braced himself as Ludicolo began screaming, her voice taking visible form in sound waves that washed over Nando’s Pokémon. As much as he wanted to crumple before the deafening noise, Leavanny knew he had to hold fast and put as much effort as he could into doing so. Once Ludicolo’s Hyper Voice subsided slightly, Nando jumped on the opening.

    “Now, Leavanny, I call for Air Slash!”

    Jumping up into the air, Leavanny pulled his arms back. Blades of air formed around them, and with Ludicolo in his sights, he sent the blades plummeting down by swinging his limbs. Dahlia and Ludicolo were caught off guard by this sudden move and thus had little time to prepare, resulting in large pieces of Ludicolo’s grass poncho being cut off as she slipped to her knees.

    “Dahlia’s Ludicolo is down, but is it out?!”

    “Oh, not yet, honey! Try my last-ditch longshot move! Drain Punch!”

    Nando simply shut his eyes and gently smiled as Ludicolo rushed Leavanny with her right arm drawn back. He knew a close-quarters move like this had to be coming, and it had finally arrived. As soon as he heard Ludicolo’s fist connect, he instructed, “Leavanny, grab Ludicolo.”

    Much to Dahlia’s surprise, Leavanny effectively followed this direction, pinning Ludicolo in his grip. With her Grass-and-Water-type Pokémon frantically trying to escape its enemy, Dahlia exclaimed, “What?”

    “And now it is time for my finishing move~” Nando sang while again strumming his harp. “Signal Beam!”

    Another Signal Beam formed between Leavanny’s antennae and hammered Ludicolo into the ground at point-blank range with relentless force. A number of the audience members gasped at this turn of events, especially when the smoke cleared to reveal that Dahlia’s Ludicolo truly was defeated.

    “Ludicolo is unable to battle!” the referee declared as Ludicolo’s icon was grayed out on Dahlia’s side of the field. “The winner is Leavanny!”

    “Another one of Dahlia’s Pokémon is down! The challenger now has a numbers advantage, with two of his Pokémon remaining against only her last one… but it’s also Arcade Star Dahlia’s most mighty fighter! Who is going to win this battle?”

    “Well done, Ludicolo, I hope you had a good time,” Dahlia said as she drew Ludicolo back into her Net Ball, a blue Poké Ball with black lines drawn on it to simulate a net pattern. The next ball she drew out, however, was a Master Ball; two bulbous red circles framed the letter ‘M’ in white against its dark blue top. “You’ve shown me excellent luck so far, Nando. I think it might even be more than that. Even with this Trick Room condition, you’ve managed to hold your own well against the Pokémon of a Frontier Brain… but I’m not the Arcade Star for no reason, you know! Prepare for my ultimate Pokémon! Now… dance, Zapdos!!”

    The flash of light from Dahlia’s Master Ball took on the shape of a large, avian Pokémon, one with a long, pointed beak and jagged-edged wings. When its yellow-and-black coloring filled in, there could be no more doubt in any viewer’s mind that it was indeed the Legendary Pokémon, Zapdos.

    “Yes, it’s Dahlia’s Zapdos! Now, let’s see how Nando deals with fighting a legend! And remember, Trick Room is still in effect, so that could also affect the outcome!”

    “Legendary Pokémon are indeed creatures with incredible levels of power,” Nando said out loud, though the calmness in his voice now sounded rather forced. What truly betrayed his feelings, though, was the subtle shaking of his fingers as they wrapped around the base of his harp. “But… they can be beaten, and I think I may have an advantage in that regard…”

    “Do you now?!” exclaimed Dahlia, the Frontier Brain’s energy boiling over. “Zapdos, don’t hold back! Show him what you’ve got! Heat Wave!”

    “Leavanny, escape and use Air Slash!”

    Zapdos pulled its wings back, but before it could complete its attack, Leavanny shot behind it in a burst of Trick Room-fueled speed. As a result, the gust of fire that Zapdos produced was left to flow aimlessly away, and the Legendary Electric-and-Flying-type took an Air Slash to the back that it easily shrugged off.

    “Ah, that’s right, normally Zapdos would be faster,” Dahlia realized. “I must give you credit for using Trick Room to your advantage now after being hurt by it earlier. That’s not just luck, it’s taking control and making it your own. Unfortunately for you, your luck has run out! Zapdos, get behind Leavanny and use Drill Peck!”

    “What?”

    Nando was left briefly stunned when, instead of the frontal counterattack he was expected, Zapdos twirled through the air to get behind Leavanny. Even Zapdos’s movements, which were as agile and fluid as its trainer’s, exuded power.

    “It makes sense, a dancer training their Pokémon to reflect their personal style.” Nando’s voice was calm once again, but this time, it was because he was seemingly resigning himself to his fate. “Repel it with Leaf Storm, please.”

    From his own body language – particularly the steely, tense expression he wore on his face – it was clear that Leavanny also knew his fate was sealed. He knew he couldn’t run forever, even with Trick Room boosting his speed and agility, as that would never win the fight. For that he’d need to land effective strikes on his foe, and none of his moves would prove effective enough to stop Zapdos.

    Nevertheless, Leavanny turned around to courageously face his fate, which took the form of Zapdos diving toward him beak-first while spinning rapidly like a drill. The torrent of sharp leaves he called forth did little to injure or otherwise halt Zapdos, and when its Drill Peck made contact, Leavanny was hurled dozens of feet back across the stage, past Nando and into the wall at the back of the Battle Arcade.

    “Leavanny is unable to battle! The winner is Zapdos!”

    “And Nando’s Leavanny falls to Dahlia’s mighty Zapdos! It’s a stunning show of strength from our Arcade Star, and we now have a sudden death situation on our hands! One Pokémon left on each side... who will win?!!”

    “Please take a rest, Leavanny, you have more than earned it.” After returning his utterly defeated Leavanny to the safety of its Poké Ball, Nando turned back to face Dahlia and took out another sphere from his brown messenger bag. “Arcade Star Dahlia, I thank you for a most exhilarating match so far. When I entered the Battle Arcade today, I desired precisely this kind of battle, and I don’t want to let it end yet. Exploud, make your entry!”

    Unlike Leavanny, who cut an elegant and refined figure, Nando’s final Pokémon was much more homely in appearance. The most distinguishing features on her blue body were her large mouth and the yellow-tipped tubes protruding from her head and tails.

    “For his final Pokémon, Nando calls upon a master of sound, Exploud! Could he be hoping to tap into the wide array of moves Exploud can offer?”

    “I don’t think I want to take chances with this one,” Dahlia mumbled, acknowledging her gut feeling telling her that Exploud was dangerous. “Zapdos, Heat Wave!”

    Quickly running his fingers over his harp’s strings, Nando called out, “Get beneath it and use ThunderPunch!”

    Normally, Exploud would be an even slower Pokémon than any of the others, but with Trick Room in effect she was able to slide underneath Zapdos with great speed. While Zapdos’s Heat Wave went off with no effect, Exploud’s right fist became wrapped in a shroud of electricity shortly before she leapt up to try and hit the Legendary Pokémon.

    “Don’t let it!” Dahlia hastily warned. “Drill Peck!”

    Even with the effect of Trick Room slowing it down, Zapdos was able to contort itself in the air to face downward, meeting Exploud’s ThunderPunch with a Drill Peck. The electricity of Exploud’s move combined with Zapdos’s spinning motion to send sparks and bolts of lightning all over the arena for a time; not long after the two combatants were separated by the force of their respective attacks.

    “An impressive showing from both trainers creates a gorgeous combination of moves! Most exciting!”

    “A combination of moves...” Nando thought to himself. “That’s it! Maybe my Pokémon Contest techniques will help!” Thrusting his arm out, he called, “Exploud, please, use Fire Blast!”

    “Such a thing won’t put me down! Zapdos, show no fear! Drill Peck!”

    Dahlia’s words were not lost on her Zapdos, as it courageously dove right into the thick fireball that Exploud burst from her mouth. When the rapidly spinning avian Pokémon made contact with the burning blast, the fire exploded into a twisting spiral; however, by that time, Exploud had already appeared behind Zapdos.

    “Now, use Hyper Voice!” Nando commanded, pointing forwardly across the field.

    “I see what you’re up to. Thunderbolt!”

    Like Dahlia’s Ludicolo before her, Nando’s Exploud took a deep breath and let out an explosive roar that manifested as visible sound waves. However, Zapdos stopped short while still enveloped in the remnants of Fire Blast and discharged electricity from all over its body. The electricity fused with not only the fire but the sound waves of Hyper Voice as well, creating shining rings of sparkling red energy that ultimately caused a gigantic explosion.

    The bright light and gusting wind that radiated from the point of the explosion forced both Nando and Dahlia to cover their eyes. It took a full minute before the blast died down, revealing both Exploud and Zapdos, injured and breathing heavily.

    “You were trying to force this to look like a Contest battle, weren’t you?” Dahlia correctly guessed, standing confidently with her hand on her hip. “I’ve participated in plenty of Pokémon Contests myself, so if you want to go there, I’ll gladly do it.”

    Nando took a step back, clutching his harp with nervousness that also reflected in his eyes. “Both Pokémon are getting exhausted,” he thought, apprising both Exploud and Zapdos standing still on the battlefield. “I have to break through and start landing hits directly upon Zapdos, or we cannot win this…”

    “It’s time to wrap this up, Zapdos!” Dahlia shouted, as if she was reading Nando’s thoughts. She threw her hand upward into the air and yelled, “Launch Ominous Wind into the air, then Drill Peck through it!!”

    Turning completely away from Exploud, Zapdos swung its wings upward, blowing a gust of purple-hued wind into the open air. Then, in front of the stunned eyes of Nando and the crowds both in the Battle Arcade and watching on television, Zapdos initiated Drill Peck, spinning right through the Ominous Wind before aiming for Exploud.

    Staring at the purple spiral careening straight for his Pokémon, Nando came to a nervous realization. “We lose if we cannot keep up. Exploud, use ThunderPunch from below!”

    Like earlier, Exploud attempted to slide beneath Zapdos and hit it with ThunderPunch, but this time, the aura surrounding the powered-up Electric-and-Flying-type clipped and stunned her.

    “Go for the win now!” Dahlia exclaimed as Zapdos glided back to her side of the field. “Thunderbolt!”

    “Exploud, don’t give up yet! Fire Blast!”

    Exploud’s fireball and Zapdos’s lightning bolt cut past each other in midair, just barely avoiding a collision. As a result, both Pokémon suffered direct hits and were sent falling to the ground, where, burned and battered, they stared each other down with what strength they had left.

    “I’m truly impressed. It’s been a while since Zapdos has had a fight this worthwhile... but it’s about time this came to an end! Use Heat Wave and then Drill Peck!”

    As Zapdos mimicked its earlier combination move, substituting Heat Wave for Ominous Wind, Nando realized just how serious his situation was. “We’re going to have to go for the long shot, Exploud. Combine Ice Punch and ThunderPunch, I ask you!”

    On Nando’s order, Exploud’s right fist began emanating ice while her left fist became electrified. She hit them together, combining the powers of ice and electricity into both fists, then swung them both forward to intercept Zapdos’s fiery drilling attack.

    The two managed to hold even ground against each other. Neither could knock out or even force the other back. Embers from Zapdos’s body flaked over Exploud, singeing her skin, while the ice and electricity of Exploud’s punches began to nullify the force of Zapdos’s charge.

    (Banner by Matori)
    Beyond all ideals, the truth shall set you free...
    Most Recent: 18: Winter of Discontent
    Next: The Weight of the World (Part 1)

    The steps on the road to the truth.
    The Firestorm Rebellion
    The Victory Star of Fate


    Glacidia Network - The Home for Fanworks
    Best Wishes appreciation blog

  17. #42
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    New Tork City
    Posts
    7,738

    Default

    For a brief moment, Exploud and Zapdos could see into each others’ eyes within the maelstrom of their attacks. A glare of respect was exchanged between them – then they each gave their last ounce of strength into a final push forward.

    From the explosion that resulted from the powerful clash, Zapdos dropped forward past Exploud, crashing into the ground – and it did not get up. A split second later, Exploud fell down, but her opponent was already defeated.

    “Zapdos is unable to battle! The winner is Exploud, and the victory in this Battle Arcade match goes to the challenger, Nando!”

    A thunderous cheer went up among the assembled crowd at the Battle Arcade as the announcer, channeling the excitement into his voice, declared, “And there’s an outcome we rarely see! I know I never expected it today… Dahlia’s Zapdos has been beaten! Nando’s Exploud has managed to defeat it!!”

    “Hm… so that’s how my luck runs out…” A broad smile came over Dahlia’s face as she recalled Zapdos to its Master Ball. “You did great, Zapdos! The luckiest thing of all is when you get to battle all out, and I couldn’t have had such a treat without your help!”

    With that, Dahlia began walking over to Nando, who was kneeling next to his badly wounded Exploud and petting her head.

    “And I must congratulate you too, Nando!” she said happily. “A fierce battle is truly a joyous occasion, and you have the honor of being the winner! You too, Exploud, you were truly impressive!”

    “I sincerely thank you, Arcade Star Dahlia,” Nando responded, rising back to his full height. “My Pokémon thank you as well, for this most excellent battle.”

    -:-

    Having seen the conclusion of Nando and Dahlia’s battle, much of the crowd surrounding the television in the lobby of the Trainer House began to dissipate. Matt, however, remained firmly rooted where he stood, and as a result, the others in his group didn’t leave either.

    “Mister Nando’s just as amazing as always, don’t you think?” Olivia cheerfully said to him, seemingly forgetting about her crutches for a brief moment.

    However, Matt was all but oblivious to what she was saying, as his attention was fixated on what had just unfolded at the Battle Arcade. “So that’s what I’m up against?” he mumbled to himself. “I’m not sure I stand a chance…”

    “I told you, the road to the truth is not an easy one.” Seemingly having overheard Matt’s musings, Dante stood alongside him, pushing up his glasses before speaking further. “But if you cannot stand up to Zapdos, how do you hope to ever have a chance of finding Reshiram, whose power greatly eclipses it?”

    “You’ve got a point. I’ll need to prepare if I’m going to have any chance of winning, though.”

    “That means you’ll be training here, then?” Bunny chimed in, having made her way into the conversation. “The registration counter’s right over there,” she then added, gesturing to her right.

    “Let’s do it, then.”

    With a sudden spring in his step, Matt strode across the lobby, arriving at the registration desk well before the others, with Olivia and Dante bringing up the rear. A brunette woman dressed in a plain white blouse and green pencil skirt was operating the counter, and she smiled at the group when they arrived before her.

    “Welcome to the Cherrygrove City Trainer House.” Though her voice was pleasant enough, she was hoarse and spoke robotically, as if she’d said the same thing repeatedly and worn herself out on it. “We offer facilities for Pokémon trainers to develop and hone their battling skills in controlled environments. Would you like to rent one of our training rooms?”

    Disregarding what he thought was the woman’s obvious boredom with her job, Matt replied, “Yes, that’s exactly what I’d like, please.”

    After signing his name to the guest ledger that the receptionist thrust in his direction, Matt was handed a ticket that she printed out from the computer on her desk. It read “S1-R12.”

    “Your battle room is number twelve on sublevel one. Please take the elevator to your left. Thank you for using our services, Mr. Chiaki.”

    Almost immediately upon his turning around, Nekou grabbed Matt’s arm and began dragging him toward the elevator. “No time to lose! Wasted time can’t be regained!”

    Wrenching his arm free of her grip, Matt growled, “What’s gotten into you? This time, I mean.”

    “If you don’t train, you won’t beat Dahlia. And if you lose, what good are you to me?”

    “What does that mean?”

    “It means… um… ****. Did you forget about that pizza you promised me and Olivia? If you lose, you can’t keep your promises!”

    “I didn’t promise that…” Matt sighed in exasperation before turning to Bunny, Olivia and Dante. “I need a training partner, though.”

    “I’ll train with you,” Dante offered as the group resumed their trip to the elevator. “I think battling you would be a rather intriguing affair.”

    “You’ve got Pokémon of your own?” Bunny questioned, plainly surprised by Dante’s words. “I hadn’t quite expected you to be a trainer yourself.”

    “Well, not professionally like the younger generation, at least.” A wistful look filled Dante’s eyes as he spoke. “Things aren’t like how they were when I was younger.”

    “Then why are you offering to train with me exactly?”

    “I like you and your little team, Matt,” Dante confessed. “You four remind me of how things used to be, when people quested for big things. Well, that and the fact that I can just feel how badly my Alakazam and Ditto want to battle again, but do forgive this old man for making you listen to his ramblings.”

    “It’s no big deal, in fact, what you had to say was actually kind of interesting.” Matt caught Nekou grimacing in the corner of his eye and realized that she didn’t share his appreciation of Dante’s philosophizing at the time. Disregarding that, though, he realized that they had reached the elevator, and reached for the call button.

    Before Matt could press it, the doors opened in front of him. Inside the elevator was someone Matt recognized – a young man, dressed plainly in a black jacket and blue jeans but sporting shoulder-length red hair and an intense facial expression. He plainly recognized Matt too, and stepped out of the elevator before putting his hand on his hip and confronting the group.

    “Somehow I’m not surprised I ran into you here, Matt Chiaki. I knew I had to get stronger before facing you, and it looks like that time has come.”

    “Have we met before?” Bunny questioned, raising an eyebrow.

    “I remember you,” Matt said. He then tilted his head back and looked over his shoulder to Bunny. “Silver, the trainer I was going to battle at the Frontier Society tournament back on the Indigo Plateau. Remember? I was going to battle him but he decided to surrender and leave the tournament.”

    “Oh, now I remember!”

    “So what’s the matter, Silver?” Nekou mockingly asked of the young man. “Did Matt, of all people, scare you?”

    “You, be quiet.” Silver’s casual, rude dismissal of Nekou’s provocation surprised Matt far more than her original action did, leaving him to stare blankly as Silver turned an intense glare toward him. “I have unfinished business with Matt Chiaki.”

    “This young man certainly appears to mean business, Matt,” Dante advised. “I’ll politely step aside from battling you this time, because it looks like you’ve found your real opponent.”

    “I guess it makes sense, doesn’t it? Silver, if you’re serious about this, and I have no reason to think you aren’t, follow us back downstairs. Come on, Olivia.”

    With Silver now in tow, the group crowded into the ivory-walled elevator. Olivia and Dante entered first, owing to the fact that they had assistance devices for walking. Matt, Nekou, Bunny and Silver all followed them.

    On the wall next to the door was a selection of buttons, marked “1,” “2,” 3” and “S1.” Matt chose the final button and pressed it, prompting the elevator’s doors to close so the car could transport its passengers down.

    “You never really explained why you quit the tournament, Silver.”

    Silver growled; evidently he was bothered by having to think about his previous encounter with Matt’s group, even though nothing bad had happened. “I wasn’t strong enough,” he finally admitted, however. “I saw your strength and I knew I was outmatched.”

    “Why not just battle him and find out how it would go?” Olivia questioned.

    “There was no reason to. I could have, but I would not have gained anything from it. In order to get stronger, I believe that you must fight on the same level as your enemy, which meant I had to hone my skills further.” Silver thrust his finger upward, pointing right in Matt’s face, and declared, “I’ve done that, so now, consider this battle the one we didn’t have then.”

    Before Matt could say anything in regards to the challenge laid down against him, the elevator stopped and its doors opened. Beyond the threshold on sublevel one was nothing more than a wide, brightly-lit corridor. Six doors lined up next to each other on each wall, each leading to its own athletic court.

    “Tell me what number room you got,” Silver demanded.

    “Twelve,” Matt replied, fumbling for the reservation ticket in his pocket.

    “Fine. It’s this way.”

    With his hands tucked into his own pockets, Silver skulked over to the door nearest to the elevator on the right side, which had a large number ‘12’ painted on it in yellow. Silver snatched the ticket from Matt’s grasp and held it up to a sensor next to the door, prompting it to open. He then crumpled the paper up and tossed it back to Matt before abruptly entering the room.

    “Someone got their cornflakes pissed in this morning,” Nekou groaned, following behind Olivia into the room.

    “Please don’t make a scene now,” Matt pleaded with her. “Let this go as smoothly as it possibly can.”

    Surprisingly enough, Nekou listened and backed down, allowing both herself and Matt to finally enter after the others.

    Inside was an entirely blank, slate-gray room. A crude battlefield outline was drawn on the floor in chalk, and off to the side, there was a bench for spectators. Bunny, Olivia and Dante were already there, so Nekou joined them while Matt took his place on the battlefield to face Silver.

    “This is where we’re going to fight?” Matt blanched. “It’s so lifeless.”

    “That’s why they give you the opportunity to customize it,” snapped the redheaded young man. “Learn what you’re doing, or you aren’t a worthy opponent for me.”

    As if on cue, a robot in the shape of an oversized Poké Ball floated down next to the spectator bench. Nekou immediately jumped up, and using a keyboard attached to the machine, activated the program to edit the battlefield. Small, crystalline domes surrounding the battlefield space began to glow as a result.

    With only a few clicks, Nekou loaded a battlefield map, and the crystal generators shined even brighter. When their light faded, the room had been completely transformed, now resembling an artificial forest in a greenhouse. Trees and rocks were everywhere, and the rocky floor had been transformed into a cool, healthy clearing of grass.

    “So it’s true!” Bunny exclaimed. “I had heard these places could become any kind of battlefield, and it really was true!”

    “All computers and holograms,” explained Nekou. “This battlefield is for all intents and purposes solid, but it can be reverted back into data and put back into the system when we’re done with it.”

    With Matt and Silver each on their respective end of the forest arena, the battle only needed some rules put into place before it could begin, an opportunity Silver seized without hesitation.

    “We’ll make this a Single Battle with three Pokémon on each side,” he announced while pointing straight at his opponent, leaving no room for debate. “Obviously, the battle will be over when all three Pokémon on one side faint.”

    “Fine by me,” Matt agreed, grasping the front of his hat. “Do you want to use the Pokémon we used in the tournament first?”

    “I don’t care about that. The rules of that tournament were too restrictive for me to get much out of it, so I don’t care what Pokémon you go with. For myself, on the other hand…”

    Cutting himself off in the middle of his own sentence, Silver took a Poké Ball from his belt and threw it. A hulking, blue Pokémon with a muscular build and powerful jaws erupted out; he stood on a pair of firm legs as he stretched out his clawed, club-like arms.

    “I was training Feraligatr at the tournament,” Silver elaborated, “so I’ll use it here too.”

    “I see.” Still holding the front of his hat, Matt quietly pondered what he had to do. “This battle is to practice for the Battle Arcade. Dahlia uses Togekiss, Ludicolo and Zapdos, and with me now… I have Heatran, Reuniclus, Aggron, Rotom, Golurk and Salamence with me. Based on that… I know which three I’ll go with.”

    Readying a Poké Ball of his own from his bag, Matt called out, “Tony, make your mark!”

    Feraligatr’s bulk was more than matched by the Pokémon Matt sent out to face him, a dinosaur-like creature whose craggy black body had bands of silver metal around the limbs. Coming in at a height just shorter than that of his opponent, the Aggron turned his steel head upward to allow his blue eyes to meet the gaze of Silver’s Feraligatr.

    “An Aggron,” Bunny noted with a bit of apprehension, “against a Feraligatr. Aggron is Steel-and-Rock-type, while Feraligatr is Water-type. I’ve got to wonder what Matt was thinking, sending in something with such an obvious disadvantage…”

    “And Feraligatr is the final evolution of Totodile,” Olivia added, somewhat bitterly. “I wonder how much I missed out on…”

    “I don’t know what you’re trying to do, but sending in a Rock-type against a Water-type?” On his side of the battlefield, Silver was just as confused as Bunny about Matt’s choice. “Basic type logic is on my side, but I’m sure you know that already.”

    “I’m getting ready to challenge Dahlia over at the Battle Arcade,” Matt explained, “so I’m going with the Pokémon I want to use there, to warm them up.”

    “If your path to the Battle Arcade goes through me, I’ll see to it that you never get there! Feraligatr, Waterfall!”

    “Tony, I think you can outgun it! Head Smash!”

    Both Tony and Feraligatr started to charge at each other, their bodies each taking on different qualities to reflect their moves. Tony’s head took on a bright glow, while Feraligatr’s entire body was surrounded by a current of water.

    When they collided, the two Pokémon pushed against each other for several intense moments before Tony was overwhelmed and thrown back. However, his attack was not entirely a failure, as Feraligatr also stumbled backward in Silver’s direction, just in a far more subtle way.

    “So that didn’t work. Fine, I’ll try something else. Tony, give Iron Tail a shot!”

    “Hmph, how desperate can you be?” Silver sighed, as if he was annoyed by how the battle was going. “Feraligatr, you use Iron Tail as well!”

    Both Pokémon lunged at each other again, this time with their tails glowing with silvery light. They both tried to hit the other by swinging their tails, but once again, Feraligatr prevailed, pitching Tony back into a tree textured by the battlefield. The false foliage cracked under Tony’s weight, and a large portion of it faded into thin air in a cloud of binary code.

    “The reason why Aggron is an especially poor choice against Feraligatr is actually twofold,” Silver spoke before not only Matt but Nekou, Olivia, Bunny and Dante, who were all fascinated in the battle for their own reasons. “One, the reason you already know, that Water is super-effective against Rock. You already knew that, but what shocks me is that you don’t know reason number two – Steel-type moves don’t affect Water-types much. For that reason, you have no chance. Recall Aggron if you want to have any chance of defeating Feraligatr.”

    Matt stopped and stared nervously at the ground. “He’s got a point. I knew that, but it slipped my mind,” he thought, running a hand over the stubble on his face. “If my attacks can be so easily repelled, I won’t be able to win. Maybe I should recall Tony…”

    “Time’s up, your decision for Aggron is made. Feraligatr, Waterfall!”

    Seeing the water-cloaked Feraligatr charging his way again, Matt panicked and blurted out, “Block it with Double-Edge!”

    Matt hadn’t noticed yet, but Tony seemed to realize something about the battle and Feraligatr. As a result, he lowered his head and turned Double-Edge into a headbutting move instead of a tackling move. He charged ahead, right into Feraligatr’s attack, and managed to hit Feraligatr’s own head directly. Both Pokémon were affected by the collision, but Feraligatr was visibly shaken up by the force he’d been hit with.

    “Tony, what did...” Suddenly, what his Pokémon had done clicked with Matt. “Aggron as a species is far more defensive than Feraligatr! If we simply parry Feraligatr’s attacks with similar moves of our own, Feraligatr will end up defeating himself!” Undoing and opening his coat, Matt said to his Pokémon, “Good thinking, Tony! That’s how we’ll win!”

    “I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I will be the winner! Feraligatr, Iron Tail!”

    Tony’s Double-Edge had more of an effect on Feraligatr than either Matt or Silver realized, however. The hulking Water-type could not carry out his orders immediately due to the fact that he was having difficulty maintaining his balance after the blow he’d received.

    It wasn’t long before Feraligatr managed to overcome his dizziness, though, and Matt was ready for him when he did. “Hit Feraligatr’s tail with Dragon Claw!”

    As Feraligatr swung his tail around, Tony had a glowing claw ready to intercept it. Iron Tail had so much force put into it that Tony had to strain greatly for his own move to have any effect, but it paid off when he managed to reverse the pace of Feraligatr’s attack, throwing Silver’s Pokémon into a spin.

    “If that won’t work, we’ll get even closer! Feraligatr, use Ice Punch repeatedly!”

    In order to stop his spinning, Feraligatr leaned down and dug his claw into the ground, quickly halting his movement. He then rose to his full height, tensed the muscles in both of his arms and charged at Tony anew, with his claws and forearms radiating icy air.

    “I’ll gladly fight up close! Meet every one with Dragon Claw, Tony!”

    Bracing himself, Tony met every one of the punches dealt by Feraligatr by stabbing Feraligatr’s fists with his claws; both alternated their strikes, matching each other evenly.

    “Now this is a battle,” Nekou commented, still standing behind the floating computer. She seemed to be paying surprisingly close attention to the match. “Olivia, what do you think?”

    “Feraligatr’s strong, but I expected that.” Smiling, she continued, “But Matt’s doing really well. I’m actually impressed.”

    “I agree,” Bunny concurred. “Even with the bad type matchup, Matt’s figuring out ways to make it work. I’m not sure if he can actually pull off a win, though…”

    For his part, Dante simply sat still and quietly observed the events unfolding before him.

    Tony and Feraligatr were still exchanging blows when Silver suddenly smirked. “I’ve got you right where I want you,” he tauntingly hissed. “Iron Tail!”

    In the blink of an eye, Feraligatr halted his punching assault and switched back to using his tail, undercutting Tony and forcing him to fall forward. He fell right into Feraligatr’s grasp, and the Water-type Pokémon gripped Tony by wrapping his arms around the Aggron.

    “What?!” Matt gasped in disbelief, a sentiment shared by his friends on the sidelines. “How am I supposed to... use Iron Tail, I guess!”

    Tony’s tail did begin to glow, but he was unable to wriggle free of Feraligatr’s grasp and therefore was unable to use it. Feraligatr smiled; it was not a smile of happiness but one of cocky confidence, much like the one worn by his trainer.

    “Now, Feraligatr!” Silver called out, pointing directly forward. “Throw Aggron with Waterfall!”

    A veil of water erupted around the two Pokémon, putting Tony into visible distress. That wasn’t enough for Feraligatr, though; he began trying to lift his opponent, exerting all the energy he could into raising the Aggron up.

    It was Feraligatr’s clear struggle to pick up Tony that inspired Matt to continue. “I know you’ve got some more left in you, Tony. I can feel it!”

    Responding to Matt’s encouragement, Tony growled and shifted himself against both Feraligatr’s grip and the water pounding his body, making himself even heavier and thus harder for Feraligatr to lift.

    “Come on, Feraligatr, finish it!” roared Silver. Despite the resistance Tony was putting up against his Feraligatr’s advances, Silver still thought he could feel victory within his reach.

    “Dragon Claw!”

    Even though he was still trapped in Feraligatr’s grasp, Tony managed to pull his left arm free. He jabbed his glowing claws into Feraligatr’s torso, a move that finally broke the Waterfall and freed him from the Water-type.

    “Aggron got away!” Bunny exclaimed as she, Nekou, Olivia and Dante watched the two Pokémon separate in what appeared to be preparation for a final clash. “Matt just might pull this one out after all!”

    “Maybe he isn’t so bad after all,” Nekou deadpanned at the battlefield controls. “He might actually earn some credit this time.”

    “Feraligatr’s strong, but… maybe Matt and Aggron are stronger?” With her hand over her mouth, Olivia’s voice came out muffled but still reflective of the thought in her mind.

    Tony threw off the water that was still dripping down his steel armor by flicking his arms and head. After that, seeing that Feraligatr was still standing prompted to shake the room with a mighty roar.

    “Tony…” Interpreting the roar as a sign of his Aggron’s emotions toward the battle, Matt hesitated for a moment before smiling. “You want to finish this up, then? Be my guest. Head Smash!”

    Growling in frustration, Silver would have none of this. “Feraligatr, get the upper hand! Waterfall!”

    In the exact same way that the battle had begun, Tony and Feraligatr rushed each other and collided head-to-head. However, unlike the first time, Feraligatr’s body had become weak after trying to pick up Tony, and as a result he could not hold out. Tony’s Head Smash made full impact and threw Feraligatr over, and with his head reddened from the blow, the Water-type did not get up.

    “Well done, Tony,” Matt congratulated, wiping his brow. Both he and his Aggron were gasping for air after Feraligatr finally went down, exhausted for different reasons. “That was excellent work.”

    It slipped their minds for just a brief second that Feraligatr was only the first of Silver’s Pokémon to fall and that the battle was far from over. This was not a fact forgotten by Silver, though, and as he wordlessly recalled Feraligatr he already had his second Pokémon ready.

    “That was the first Pokémon I ever got that you just beat.” Holding up a Great Ball – a blue Poké Ball with two red bars on its top – in his right hand, Silver spoke in a voice that was subtly poisoned by an angry, frustrated growl. “I must have underestimated you, and that will not happen again! Mamoswine, enter the battle!”

    If Feraligatr could be called a large Pokémon, the beast that followed him as Silver’s second choice could rightfully be known as huge. Her massive body was supported by four stout legs and covered in brown fur. A white-and-blue frame surrounded her fairly small eyes, and below the smattering of cream-colored fur around her red nose, two grand tusks shaped from solid ice emerged. She stamped her foot into the ground repeatedly as she looked down on the Pokémon before her.

    “Mamoswine’s a completely different obstacle than Feraligatr,” commented Bunny, “what with being an Ice-and-Ground-type.”

    “It’s true that his Ground-type is a risk,” Matt responded, having heard Bunny speaking, “but Mamoswine is half Ice-type, too. Tony, still up for this?”

    Though he was visibly tired, Tony was enjoying the fight too much to quit. He grunted and nodded back to his trainer, so Matt adjusted his hat and steeled his stance.

    “Good luck, then, Tony. Use Iron Tail!”

    “You aren’t getting me this time!” Silver yelled out. “Mamoswine, Earthquake!”

    Long before Tony had any chance of reaching Mamoswine with his glowing tail, the towering Pokémon slammed her front legs into the ground. The resulting shockwave ravaged much of the illusionary landscape on its way to violently shaking beneath Tony’s feet. Blasts of seismic energy radiated through Tony’s body from underground, causing him to spasm sharply before falling down as soon as the attack abated.

    “To be expected,” Nekou scoffed. “Aggron would have had a hard time even without the stress from beating Feraligatr first.”

    “Good job, Tony,” Matt said to the Poké Ball in his hand after recalling his Aggron to its confines. “That wasn’t an easy fight by any means.”

    “We’re even now,” Silver called out across the field, his voice as cold as the ice composing his Mamoswine’s tusks. “Tell me that your next Pokémon is going to actually give Mamoswine a challenge. I won’t get any stronger if I just crush you.”

    “And I won’t get stronger either if that happens, so wouldn’t you say a tough battle would be good for us both?”

    “Now that’s what I wanted to hear.” A daring smile crept onto Silver’s face, breaking his usual dour attitude. It wasn’t out of happiness, though; instead, it was fueled entirely by his eagerness for a brawl. “Show me your next Pokémon!”

    “That’s fine by me! Patrick, make your mark!”

    Matt threw the Dive Ball after taking it from his bag, sending Patrick out once again. The Seismitoad briefly yawned, but when he saw Mamoswine, he realized that he was in a battle and snapped to attention.

    On the sidelines, Bunny seemed slightly alarmed by Matt’s choice. “Matt’s going with a Pokémon he only just caught recently, against a well-trained opponent no less?”

    “Well, he’s got to help get Seismitoad stronger at some point, right?” Olivia pointed out. “And Seismitoad did help us fight that nasty Bisharp, so it could work.”

    “Don’t think you’ve got this wrapped up yet,” Silver grunted, standing with his hand tucked firmly in his pocket. “Give me everything you’ve got.”

    “Gladly,” Matt quickly replied. “Patrick, if he wants to be hit hard, let’s give him just that. Scald!”

    “Mamoswine, Hail.”

    The two Pokémon maneuvered their bulky bodies in curves around the field, matching each others’ movements. Neither broke eye contact with the other, but it was Patrick who acted first, opening his wide mouth to spit up a stream of steaming-hot water into Mamoswine’s face. The Ice-and-Ground-type closed her eyes as the burning water erupted into steam against her face and singed her fur.

    A splash of red, discolored hair formed a bizarre spot on Mamoswine’s face as a residual of the attack. She did, however, manage to snap back into focus rather quickly, and once she did, she looked up to the high ceiling and howled. A soft white aura surrounded her body briefly before bursting into a thick cover of clouds that enveloped the entire chamber, within which a relentless ice storm began. Hailstones buffeted Patrick, but they had no effect on Mamoswine, who seemed to fade into the mist.

    “Matt better watch himself,” Nekou muttered to Bunny and Olivia while wiping the water off of her glasses. “If Silver’s doing what I think he is, then this is going to be quite a ride. I’m not surprised he’d use a Ground-type with such skill, though.”

    “His favorite type, like my dad with Water-types?” Olivia wondered.

    “It’s just in his blood, I guess you could say.”

    Matt was openly as bothered by the clouds in the air as Nekou was. He squinted his visible eye several times and wiped condensation off of the mask covering his other eye before saying anything.

    “So you’re going to work me down slowly with Hail?” he breathily said. “I’ll have to deal with you quickly, then. Patrick, use Scald again!”

    “Just what I wanted,” Silver mumbled with a smirk.

    What happened next was hard to describe. Patrick thought he saw Mamoswine clearly in the storm while he aimed Scald, and as far as Matt, Bunny, Nekou and Olivia all could see, there was no reason to doubt that. Just before the searing stream made contact, though, what appeared to be Mamoswine simply vanished, revealing itself to be little more than a mirage.

    “What? How did it miss?”

    “That was Mamoswine’s ability, Snow Cloak,” Nekou explained, her glasses catching the light from the fluorescent bulbs on the ceiling and glowing as a result. “It becomes more evasive in a hailstorm.”

    “So the Hail wasn’t itself what was going to wear me out, it was Mamoswine escaping my attacks…”

    “That’s right. I wanted to test this tactic out on opponents who could give it a challenge.” While offering these details, Silver remained nearly still, keeping his body stiff and his hand in his pocket. He finally moved shortly after, however, pointing at Matt as he called out the command, “Earthquake!”

    Mamoswine had completely disappeared in the murk consuming the battle, so when she roared, her disembodied voice seemed to be coming from everywhere at once. It was impossible for anyone to tell where the shockwave radiating through the ground originated from, but regardless of that fact, Patrick was shaken to his knees as a result.

    “I think it’s behind you, Patrick! Hit it with Drain Punch!”

    A gurgling sound rumbled from Patrick’s mouth, indicative of his anger as he whirled around and swung his glowing fist in a wide arc across the space previously to his back. It was all for naught, though; if Mamoswine had been there just a moment earlier, she no longer was.

    “This works better than I expected,” Silver mused. “If I’m getting this much mileage now, I can only imagine how well it’ll do against his Pokémon. It’s about time to wrap this up, so use Earthquake one more time!”

    Once more, Mamoswine bellowed from no discernible location and broke the ground with a seismic shockwave. Patrick fell from his knees onto all fours, trembling violently from the repeated spasms forced through his body. Yet, he did not faint, and that was what visibly flustered Silver while leaving Matt relieved.

    “That didn’t do it? I’ll have to admit it, then… you’re giving me just the kind of challenge I wanted.”

    “Underestimating your opponent’s a mistake,” Matt advised the younger trainer. “If you underestimate what you’re against, you won’t bring your best to the fight.”

    “That’s good and all but I wasn’t underestimating you,” Silver sneered, his façade of smug calmness beginning to crack. “You are a means to an end for me, and for that, I need you as strong as you possibly can be. You think I’m underestimating you? I’ll show you how serious I can be! Mamoswine, Ice Shard! Finish it off!”

    A glint in the churning murk of the hailstorm caught Matt’s eye, and he knew immediately what he had to do. “Ninety degrees to your right! Scald!”

    In a sudden burst of agility, Patrick deliberately fell onto his stomach and turned around by exactly the prescribed angle. The chunks of ice that Mamoswine had directed his way simply flew right over his head, having no effect on him as he spat back another burst of boiling water.

    “Mamoswine, wha…” Silver stopped his response to Mamoswine’s pained wail short when he spotted her amongst the clouds. She was now the one trembling, with some sort of injury near her mouth acting as the source of her suffering. From the bright red discoloration of her fur in that area, Silver realized that she had been inflicted with a burn. “Damn it! Stopped when I was so close... this is not over yet. Mamoswine, come back!”

    Seeing no sense in forcing Mamoswine to fight further at the moment, Silver called her back into the relative safety of her Great Ball. He then gripped another Poké Ball in his hand, but hesitated in throwing it.

    “My third and last Pokémon,” Silver thought aloud. “To call this a win for myself, I must make everything I can out of this one. Mamoswine can’t do this alone, and if I want to get strong enough to defeat him, I have to be able to win battles like this…” Finally throwing the Poké Ball, he shouted, “Gengar, enter the battle!”

    In keeping with the eclectic, random nature of Silver’s team, his third Pokémon was a roughly five-foot-tall ghost with the appearance of a black shadow. Just about the Gengar’s only distinguishing features were his sinister red eyes and wide, toothy smile.

    “A Gengar? Now I’m interested.” Stiffly pushing her glasses up on her nose, Nekou walked away from the control computer and dropped herself next to Bunny on the bench. “This might be where Silver turns it around.”

    “What’s gotten into you all the sudden?” Bunny questioned, genuinely confused regarding how Nekou’s mind had changed so fast.

    “Ghost-types fight completely differently than users of brute force like Feraligatr and Mamoswine,” Nekou explained. “I’m interested to see how Matt handles one…” She then abruptly added, “Strictly from a knowledge standpoint, of course. I just want to know what he’s capable of.”

    From his spot on the battlefield, Matt was having similar thoughts. After taking a moment to assess the situation and his chances, he thrust his hand out and called, “Patrick, use Scald again!”

    “Counter it with Shadow Ball!”

    In the haze of the continuing hailstorm, neither Patrick nor Gengar could get a clear lock on where the other was. As a result their attacks sailed within inches of each other on their way to grazing their respective targets.

    “This hailstorm has got to end soon…” Matt mumbled to himself. The weather effect laid out by Silver was indeed making it more difficult for him to strategize Patrick’s moves. “Just try another Scald for now!”

    “If you’re going to have trouble hitting me, I’ll try my luck. Gengar, Metronome!”

    Moving with great speed, Gengar pointed straight up with both hands and then waved his arms back and forth. A split second later, an orange aura surrounded him as rushed forward with his arms crossed, karate chopping Patrick in the stomach in an ‘X’ shape. Though this Cross Chop attack did knock the wind out of the Seismitoad, he was able to quickly recover and take advantage of his now-close proximity to his enemy to blast Gengar with hot water. The phantom tumbled through the air, groaning shrilly in pain.

    Much to Matt’s delight, the hailstorm finally abated at that point. The entire virtual battlefield – much of it damaged by the vicious sparring it hosted – returned to full view, and the two panting Pokémon growled while sizing up what it would take to defeat each other.

    “It’s time to put an end to this once and for all. Patrick, hit Gengar with one more Scald dead-on!”

    “That’s what you think!” Silver shouted in response. “Gengar, Toxic! Now!”

    Patrick opened his mouth in preparation to launch yet another Scald, but before he could get any water out, Gengar complicated things. Stretching his right arm out in Patrick’s direction, Gengar focused a swirl of poisonous sludge around it, ultimately using the arm as a guide to shoot the vile substance right into Patrick’s face.

    The Seismitoad’s entire visage was covered by the sludge, throwing his Scald far off target. He completely panicked, desperately trying to wipe away the thick fluid that was already sapping his last bits of endurance.

    “Patrick, is there anything I can…”

    “There’s something I can do,” Silver interrupted. “End this fight. Gengar, Venoshock!”

    Gengar stared upward and spread his arms, letting out a high-pitched cry. Four pools of similar purple sludge erupted around Patrick, and Gengar’s power caused each puddle to rise into the air in the shape of a lightning bolt. Suddenly, the four spears of poison converged on Patrick, shocking him from head to toe in brutal, agonizing pain.

    “Venoshock is a special toxin that attacks the bodies of already poisoned targets,” Silver explained while he and Matt watched Patrick writhe desperately within Gengar’s assault. “Do what you must to win, with no rules or limits… that’s the way of the world and the way I battle. Your Seismitoad’s name is Patrick, right? Patrick, thank you for being a useful training partner.”

    Silver snapped his fingers, making the Venoshock barrage finally cease. Almost instantaneously, Patrick crumbled to the ground in front of Gengar, unable to move even a centimeter more.

    “Patrick, no…” Looking up with grief in his eyes, Matt yelled to Silver, “Call the rest of the battle off! I have to take Patrick for treatment now!”

    “Don’t ****ing choke now!” Nekou suddenly called out, startling the others. “It’s just regular damage, Patrick’s no worse hurt than he’d be from any normal fight! Silver’s just trying to psych you out!”

    “Yeah!” Olivia piped up in support. “Don’t let him get inside your head!”

    “Yeah, my head is mine…” Matt chuckled, shaking it to work out a cramp in his neck. Turning back to the battle, he held up the Dive Ball and recalled Patrick, saying, “Patrick, you fought courageously. I’ll get you to the Pokémon Center soon.”

    “So what’s it going to be last?” demanded Silver. “It’s two against one now. Face it, my training here will end with my victory!”

    “Not if my old friend has anything to say about it!” Matt countered, pulling a yellow-and-black Ultra Ball from his bag and throwing it. “Nikola, make your mark!”

    As Matt’s last Pokémon took shape, its form became a rather unusual one: an orange refrigerator with a spike on top, cloaked in a blue plasma that formed a pair of lightning bolt-shaped ‘arms.’ On the refrigerator’s front, two white-and-blue eyes framed a small, smiling mouth.

    “It had to be a Rotom, something I wasn’t prepared for?!” Silver exclaimed in surprise and disgust. “I see you’re not going to make that victory easy for me. Gengar, it’s time to go all out! Toxic!”

    “Stop it with Thunderbolt, Nikola!”

    Gengar raised his arm again and started to funnel sludge around it, but Nikola cut him off. The electric blast loosed by the Rotom cut right through Gengar’s Toxic and powerfully shocked him, making him stumble onto one knee.

    “You’re not going to stop me! Not yet!” Silver swiftly pointed forward and roared in command, “Gengar, Shadow Ball!”

    Trembling, the weakened Gengar extended his arm again, this time to draw dark energy out of the air in the shape of a sphere. He locked his eyes on the floating refrigerator Rotom and flicked his finger, sending the orb of shadow at its target; Nikola, however, made no effort to dodge, instead opting to take the hit and endure it. The Electric-and-Ice-type emerged nearly unscathed.

    “Show that Gengar a Shadow Ball of your own, Nikola.” By this point, Matt’s confidence levels were rising. Barring any unforeseen turns, all Silver had left in reserve was a burned, injured Mamoswine, which would be far from enough to win him the day, a fact Matt was well aware of.

    Obliging its trainer’s direction, Nikola focused the same dark energy as Gengar between its lightning bolt arms. The resulting Shadow Ball was smaller than Gengar’s but hit its mark perfectly, dropping the Ghost-and-Poison-type completely to his knees.

    “It’s all or nothing now!!” Silver was beginning to completely lose his composure, which was something that was off-putting to Matt and the others, who were used to his normal cool, calm demeanor. In fact, he was acting with such intensity that it was almost frightening. “Put everything on the line for one last shot! Metronome!!”

    Something in Silver’s fiery voice stirred Gengar, and the Pokémon stood back up. Wearily, he waved his arms once more, but this time, the result was something unusual – overcome by a surge of energy, Gengar held his arms out, allowing them to take on the shape of large scythes.

    “That’s…” Matt gasped.

    “****!” Nekou exclaimed.

    “It’s Guillotine!” Bunny finished. “If this hits, it’s all over!”

    Olivia, meanwhile, simply sat and stared, completely silent in her fascination with the turns the battle was taking. Dante still sat next to her, carefully observing every single movement both Matt and Silver made.

    Leveling the blades that his arms had become, Gengar let out a bloodcurdling scream and leapt at Nikola. His intent plainly was to use his transformed arms like a pair of shears to critically injure and cripple Nikola all at once.

    “Get out of the way and use Shadow Ball!” Matt cried out, almost reluctant to even look at the battle any further. He didn’t think Nikola would be able to move swiftly enough to avoid the brutal attack due to the heavy appliance serving as the Pokémon’s body.

    Despite its bulk, however, Nikola managed to lift itself just enough to cause Gengar’s scythes to come together harmlessly right below it. In immediate retaliation, the Rotom dropped another Shadow Ball on its foe, slamming the screeching ghost into the ground.

    “Not yet!” A slight growl worked its way into Silver’s speech as he saw Gengar trying to stand up, but even then, he was beginning to realize that the Ghost-and-Poison-type had been pushed to his limits. “Toxic!”

    “I won’t let you!” Matt countered. “Nikola, drop a Thunderbolt and finish this!”

    With his injuries impeding his movements, Gengar was barely able to lift his arm toward Nikola before the Rotom answered by striking him with an electric blast. This was what pushed Gengar over the edge, and he crumpled back onto the floor and became still.

    Before anyone had a chance to speak, Silver swiftly and wordlessly sent Gengar back to his Poké Ball and released Mamoswine from her Great Ball again. Unlike earlier, her fur was matted and messy, and she labored for breath as a visible burn around her mouth took its toll.

    “Get ready, Nikola! It’s time to end this!” Once he saw that Nikola was ready to make its move, Matt clenched his fist. “Knock it out once and for all using Blizzard!”

    “Oh no you don’t! Mamoswine, use Superpower and aim for the rocks, then the trees!”

    Just as Nikola sent a gust of freezing air and ice at Mamoswine from its plasma coat, the great giant cloaked herself in a red aura before charging forward.

    The Blizzard missed, but Matt was more puzzled by why Mamoswine appeared to be charging at one of the virtual boulders making up the battlefield. “Keep attacking, Nikola! Keep up the pressure!”

    Nikola released blast after blast of Blizzard, but they all fell short of hitting Mamoswine. The Pokémon, despite her huge body, was actually climbing into the air by using the rocks as platforms. Faster than Matt or the spectators could process it, Mamoswine was on top of the tallest tree.

    “Now, Mamoswine! Do it!”

    With Superpower still activated, Mamoswine made a valiant leap, aiming to crush Nikola with her weight. The Rotom froze, fearing the rapidly growing shadow covering it.

    “Now’s your chance, Nikola! Finish with Blizzard!”

    Matt’s direction gave Nikola the confidence it was lacking, and spurred it to overrun Mamoswine with a massive Blizzard. The concentrated storm packed so much force that it actually flung Mamoswine out of her path and crashed her to the floor.

    Mamoswine did not stand up again.

    “He did it!” Olivia exclaimed, her excitement boiling over. Quickly propping herself up on her crutches, she hobbled over to her and threw her arms around him, a sentiment he returned by setting his own hand on her shoulder.

    “Well, well, well, what have we here?” Nekou smirked, and when combined with the light once again filling her glasses, she presented a face of obvious mischief. She and Bunny had followed Olivia to Matt. “Maybe I can get something out of this bargain after all.”

    “What does that mean?” Matt asked in confusion.

    “It… it means…” Flushing as she searched for words, Nekou finally settled on an excuse and said, “Now that pizza tonight can be for all of us! You know, to celebrate you winning today.”

    Matt sighed. “Fine. You know, sometimes I wonder if this all wouldn’t make more sense if you actually were taking advantage of me outright.”

    “Why don’t you join us, Silver?” Bunny called to the sullen young man, who was slowly making his way to the door after recalling Mamoswine.

    “Idle time is time wasted,” he grumbled in response, slowing to a stop but not turning around. “My father is powerful and ruthless, both as a person and as a trainer. I will not rest until I defeat him and put him in his place. Matt Chiaki… I took the loss this time, but it was valuable training for when I ultimately confront him. You only concern yourself with growing stronger, so you will continue to give me the challenges I need for training.”

    “Um… fine, I guess?” By that time, Silver was through the door and Matt was talking to the inner side of the portal. “How unusual.”

    “That boy, Silver…” Dante spoke up, having remained silent for some time. “He appears to be skilled, but raw emotion dominates all his functions. If he learns to control that anger for his father, he could become a truly powerful Pokémon trainer.”

    “Whatever,” Nekou sighed, “I don’t even want to worry about it anymore. I want to go relax.”

    “For once, you’ve actually got a good idea,” Matt flatly said.

    -

    The sun was high in the sky as Silver exited the Trainer House, casting a warm light over much of Cherrygrove City. He silently filtered into the street and began walking to the Pokémon Center, but he was soon distracted by the sound of a telephone ring.

    “Who’s calling me at a time like this?” he sneered, reaching into his pocket for a communication device. Colored blue with a white half- Poké Ball patterned on each side, the Pokégear continued to ring loudly in Silver’s hands until he flipped it open, revealing two screens inside. On the top screen was Looker, the thin-faced detective from the Kiss of Death case.

    “Oh, it’s you,” Silver groaned. “What do you want?”

    “Important information to pass on, yes. Still caught up at this location taking a look into and investigating the Clemens murder, but word comes back to me from the officers who are working elsewhere in the field.”

    “Spit it out already.”

    “Activity that is suspicious is taking place in Azalea Town. People wearing suits colored black, like the darkness of the night. Gathering supplies of equipment for some purpose that is obviously nefarious!”

    “So Team Rocket finally resurfaces… Thanks, then.” Abruptly hanging up and putting the Pokégear away, Silver resumed his march to the Pokémon Center, but at double the speed.

    “I’ll take out your worthless team one-by-one, I swear… and then I’m coming for you, father.”

    -

    That night, after the sun had gone down and the group retired to their room in the Pokémon Center, Matt made good on the so-called ‘promise,’ even if Nekou had entirely invented the idea. The long coffee table near the room’s television was covered by a combination of two pizza boxes and a myriad of beverages. As was becoming familiar to Matt, Bunny and Olivia, Nekou’s unstoppable appetite earned her a pizza all her own, while the second was mainly divided up between Bunny and Olivia. Matt insisted on only taking two slices for himself.

    “Aaaaaaaah!” Nekou gasped after taking a sip from the can of beer in her hand. “This is the life, you know? Pizza, some friends to share it with, and…” Nekou shook the can and glanced to the rest of the six-pack resting on the couch next to her before finishing, “my old buddy with his five brothers to keep me company. It doesn’t get better than this.”

    “It is nice to finally relax a little,” Bunny admitted. “The Pokémon look like they’re having fun, too.”

    Bunny’s assessment was completely correct. They’d set out plates of Pokémon food on the floor, inviting Marie along with Nekou’s Gothorita, Murkrow, Duskull and Zorua to eat out of two of the plates, Marie taking one all to herself. Balin was eating out of a third plate, while Olivia’s Minccino, Roselia, Oshawott and Lillipup shared two others.

    “They’re all so cute,” Olivia said, her voice devoid of its usual warm energy. “I wish I could sit with them, but this leg…”

    “Don’t you worry, Olivia, you’ll recover soon,” Nekou assured the younger girl. “Once you do, the Pokémon will still be here for you to play with all you want. I don’t want to see you stressing out over anything, so let’s just enjoy the pizza, okay?”

    Olivia nodded her head. “Yeah, good idea,” she whispered, smiling. “Thank you.”

    Off to the side, Matt was eating his own pieces of pizza while reading a book, staying away from getting too involved in the peaceful, cheerful exchange the others were having. He looked up when he heard Olivia and Nekou talking, and found himself feeling comforted by the honest connection they seemed to share.

    -

    Just like the night before, Pierce walked into the dark, dank alley and snapped his fingers four times. The signal still worked, for almost immediately, the Tenganist woman emerged from the shadows at the end of the alley.

    “You came back,” she muttered, sounding surprised in her words but not in her voice, which remained flat.

    “I did,” Pierce affirmed, “because our shared goals are precious to us both. Have you made a decision?”

    “I must go to the survivors living near Blackthorn City to fully confirm the arrangements, but I have made a decision. We accept the proposal of an alliance between our forces, with the condition that my people remain autonomous, free from taking orders from your leader.”

    “That is something I can pull some strings to arrange. For now, I can furnish you with supplies and some explosives.”

    “A fair deal,” the woman agreed while nestling her infant in her arms.

    “I’ll be going back to my base to iron out the details, then. What’s your name, if I may ask? How should I refer to you to my superiors?”

    “I am a woman with no name. It was stripped from me. Today I am merely the prophet that sustains the life of my people.”

    “Your identity was stripped from you…” Pierce turned away as his voice became shaky. “Just like me, then. Rest assured, I will do everything in my power to aid you in your battle against Ghetsis and Polaris.”


    END of CHAPTER 4
    Last edited by The Great Butler; 12th January 2013 at 11:38 AM.

    (Banner by Matori)
    Beyond all ideals, the truth shall set you free...
    Most Recent: 18: Winter of Discontent
    Next: The Weight of the World (Part 1)

    The steps on the road to the truth.
    The Firestorm Rebellion
    The Victory Star of Fate


    Glacidia Network - The Home for Fanworks
    Best Wishes appreciation blog

  18. #43

    Default

    I really love how you opened this chapter. You did an excellent job setting up a noir-ish atmosphere and I think that's the perfect atmosphere to really let Pierce's character shine, since he's so mysterious. You also did well using those scenes to show not everything is as it seems in your story's world and that there's a lot of ugliness. I also really enjoy how you bookended the rest of the chapter with those scenes- it really brought together the whole chapter. I'm hoping to learn more about the mysterious woman later- she sounds fascinating from what we know about her so far, and I'm already starting to love her even though we don't even know her name. The Pierce subplot is looking like it'll be quite the ride.

    “Don’t ever call yourself anything like that!” Nekou forcefully said, looking back over her shoulder. “You didn’t do anything wrong. This world is a ***** and the only way to beat it is to be a bigger ***** right back at it. That’s what Maman taught me, and it’s helped keep me going.”
    Good words of wisdom. The way Nekou is a role model for Olivia is really awesome and empowering and her advice might be a little on the vulgar side but it's always true. You're developing their relationship great- I think it's really realistic and it's fun to watch Olivia start taking cues from Nekou little by little. You can tell just by reading it's helping Olivia become more confident.

    The bit about the Pokemon Center services only being free to those with Pokedexes and starters is a fascinating deconstruction of the world, as well as an interesting little bit of social commentary (however unintentional it might be). I love the little touches you add in that show what happens to those other trainers we meet along the way in the games.

    Ghetsis' speech was terrifying and the fact he manages to get an entire Pokemon Center of people gathered around the television to watch it is even more so.

    I see what you did there, giving Pierce the codename Sam. I see it. I'm really wondering what it is Pierce has up his sleeve from these scenes, and I can't wait to find out in later chapters.

    Ghetsis in general... Ghetsis is TERRIFYING. It's clear he's completely unhinged and dangerous, and the way he treats Anthea and Concordia is really horrifying and messed up. Good to see you kept his cruelty completely intact.

    The Guide Gent is... odd. I'd be unsure of how to react to a man popping out of nowhere and offering to guide me around. Good work highlighting the frequent absurdity of the games.



    NANDO'S BACK! I loved reading his battle with Dahlia, and how you characterized both of them well with their dialogue and actions. Both battles in this chapter- Nando vs. Dahlia and Matt vs Silver- are excellently written and suspenseful and the action in them flows wonderfully, as well as developing the characters involved nicely.

    The way Nekou keeps nagging about the pizza throughout the chapter is adorable. She loves good food.

    Silver and his portrayal in this chapter are amazing. At first I found him an irredeemable *******, but as you developed him during his battle with Matt, I started realizing that he's not so much an ******* as he is very serious about what he does, even if it means stepping on some toes. The Matt vs Silver battle was one of the most exciting battles I've ever read, and you did really well to keep the action flowing and unpredictable. It's clear Silver is going to be a serious rival in the story and I can't wait to see more about him. I really didn't see the twist with Silver coming at the end- obviously he's not worked out his little Team Rocket issue yet, but I never expected him to be working alongside Looker or at least keeping in contact with him for information.

    “Aaaaaaaah!” Nekou gasped after taking a sip from the can of beer in her hand. “This is the life, you know? Pizza, some friends to share it with, and…” Nekou shook the can and glanced to the rest of the six-pack resting on the couch next to her before finishing, “my old buddy with his five brothers to keep me company. It doesn’t get better than this.”“Aaaaaaaah!” Nekou gasped after taking a sip from the can of beer in her hand. “This is the life, you know? Pizza, some friends to share it with, and…” Nekou shook the can and glanced to the rest of the six-pack resting on the couch next to her before finishing, “my old buddy with his five brothers to keep me company. It doesn’t get better than this.”
    Nekou has the right idea. She finally got her pizza too! Girl needs her pizza and booze.

    Overall, this was an excellent chapter, and you plotted it out really well. The action all flows naturally and the transitions are excellent, and the way you spaced scenes kept it interesting. I can't wait to see what's coming next.

    "Poe was the first writer to write about main characters who were bad guys or who were mad guys, and those are some of my favorite stories."
    -Stephen King

    I write odd slice of life stories about Team Rocket. If that's your thing, give them a look:

    Alpha Male- behind every friendship is a story. Perspective contest fourth place winner.
    Secretary- A short and cynical tale of paperwork and sadism
    Survival- A novella about the unbreakable bonds between one man and his feline friend. 2011 Pokemon Big Bang story.


  19. #44
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Training at Sootopolis City
    Posts
    1,698

    Default

    Pretty interesting you have Pierce a Tenganist. I assume you’ll get a bit more in depth over that soon?

    I admit to laughing at Matt’s reaction over the Pokemon Center’s fee (and him being called youngster later on in the chapter, lol) .I always thought it’s free considering in the games it seems it’s free for the public, but that’s just me.

    Ghetsis hobbled down a cold, gloomy corridor in Polaris’s base shortly after his speech.
    A dark, gloomy chamber waited beyond the doorway.
    You used gloomy twice within a couple paragraphs. Perhaps for second quote leave gloomy out? I do have to give you credit for describing the loud noise Ghetsis’s cane keep doing, very nice. Also, oh dear over the child and the woman from the earlier scene. D:

    Yay for Nando appearing! As much as I enjoyed the battle a lot, I feel you can leave out the first part of Nando and Dahlia’s battle, or least show the end of it, and go straight with Zapdos (considering Matt will go against Dahlia) so the plot goes at a slight faster pace, but that’s just me.

    Wrenching his arm free of her grip, Matt growled, “What’s gotten into you? This time, I mean.”
    “If you don’t train, you won’t beat Dahlia. And if you lose, what good are you to me?”
    “What does that mean?”
    “It means… um… ****. Did you forget about that pizza you promised me and Olivia? If you lose, you can’t keep your promises!”
    Awwwwww. :3

    “I like you and your little team, Matt,” Dante confessed. “You four remind me of how things used to be, when people quested for big things. Well, that and the fact that I can just feel how badly my Alakazam and Ditto want to battle again, but do forgive this old man for making you listen to his ramblings.”
    Maybe it’s just me, but confess seems to me Dante admires him a little too much, LOL. In all seriousness though, I think said or respond would be better to not give that kind of indication.

    “I see.” Still holding the front of his hat, Matt quietly pondered what he had to do. “This battle is to practice for the Battle Arcade. Dahlia uses Togekiss, Ludicolo and Zapdos, and with me now… I have Heatran, Reuniclus, Aggron, Rotom, Golurk and Salamence with me. Based on that… I know which three I’ll go with.”
    Matt stopped and stared nervously at the ground. “He’s got a point. I knew that, but it slipped my mind,” he thought, running a hand over the stubble on his face. “If my attacks can be so easily repelled, I won’t be able to win. Maybe I should recall Tony…”
    “Tony, what did...” Suddenly, what his Pokémon had done clicked with Matt. “Aggron as a species is far more defensive than Feraligatr! If we simply parry Feraligatr’s attacks with similar moves of our own, Feraligatr will end up defeating himself!” Undoing and opening his coat, Matt said to his Pokémon, “Good thinking, Tony! That’s how we’ll win!”
    I noticed the first part of the battle you have Matt keep thinking aloud to himself. I think you don’t have to keep Matt saying his thoughts over the battles. You can easily mention his feelings and such through narrating.

    What happened next was hard to describe. Patrick thought he saw Mamoswine clearly in the storm while he aimed Scald, and as far as Matt, Bunny, Nekou and Olivia all could see, there was no reason to doubt that. Just before the searing stream made contact, though, what appeared to be Mamoswine simply vanished, revealing itself to be little more than a mirage.
    The bolded part sounds awkward in relation to narrative. Could be easily fixed by taking it out. The Snow Cloak ability is pretty cool, though.

    “My third and last Pokémon,” Silver thought aloud. “To call this a win for myself, I must make everything I can out of this one. Mamoswine can’t do this alone, and if I want to get strong enough to defeat him, I have to be able to win battles like this…” Finally throwing the Poké Ball, he shouted, “Gengar, enter the battle!”
    Here you go with the thought aloud again. :x

    One other thing I noticed is you keep describing the Pokemon, which you don’t really have to considering the people reading are Pokemon fans and they already know how they look like.

    Despite those mentions, I enjoyed the battle overall. Great Matt and Silver get the battle and I wasn’t disappointed. My favorite parts have to be Tony able to stand on his own and Nikola able to barely dodge the Guillotine. It’s also nice Olivia getting excited while watching the battle after still holding a grudge at the beginning of this chapter.

    “Aaaaaaaah!” Nekou gasped after taking a sip from the can of beer in her hand. “This is the life, you know? Pizza, some friends to share it with, and…” Nekou shook the can and glanced to the rest of the six-pack resting on the couch next to her before finishing, “my old buddy with his five brothers to keep me company. It doesn’t get better than this.”
    This is why I love you Nekou. <3

    Looks like quite a few things are hinted upon this chapter, which is exciting. Looking forward to next chapter!


    Tumblr | FFnet | Author's Profile| Archive of Our Own | Banner: Umi Mizuno
    I'm still writing, but probably not much Pokemon stuff at the moment. HAM!


  20. #45
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    IL
    Posts
    3,130

    Default

    Hey there. I'm here from the review game with some comments on chapter 3. I haven't read the previous chapters, but I did read the information you offered in your post. So here I go...

    I can't really say how well the start of the chapter worked as a follow up to the end of your last chapter since I haven't read it, but just as an opening in general, it works pretty well. You use the weather neatly to set up a forboding atmosphere, not just for whatever shady things the Rockets are up to, but for the events of the chapter. However you look at it, a storm is coming.

    You've got some good description here in general, though I've noticed a few issues with it. First off, some of the details seem a little unnecessary. For example, taking the time to go over the controls on James's tablet computer--I didn't really find that the level of detail there did much. The second problem I've seen is that the description seems very localized and clumped--a new Pokemon or person will appear, there will be a paragraph explaining how they look and then we're pretty much done. I tend to find that this breaks the flow of the prose and stifles movement. I'd prefer if we just got a glimpse of description from the start, and then have further development as the scene goes on.

    “As you were made aware of,” Pierce instructed,
    I don't think you need the "of" there.

    Almost immediately upon materializing, Oshawott proudly held up his shell, only flinching slightly when he realized that Zorua was staring at him. He realized that this would be his first chance to prove himself to his trainer, so he intended to make the best of it.
    You’ve doubled up on “realized” here. In such close proximity, it would be better to use another synonym to avoid repetition.

    I would like to see a little more “stage business” from the characters during extended scenes of dialogue since it really adds more of a sense of movement and tends to embody the characters more. Tone and blocking are important, and you’re taking care of that quite conscientiously, but I think some quality of gesture would give a greater sense of completion. I'm not saying you never include gesture/stage business, because you clearly do, but I feel like you could use more of it.

    I’m kinda missing the heavy Brooklyn accent from Meowth. I suppose it’s not a necessity since it’s a dub thing, but if you’re trying to go for more of his English voice, then I’d expect more of his accent reflected his text. Otherwise you seem to be doing a really good job with his word choice and character.

    Nekou handled it significantly more poorly. Even though she had only known Olivia for a little over a week, Nekou was already developing both sisterly and maternal instincts toward the girl, and an aggressive creature causing Olivia direct harm deeply violated those bonds. She flew into a screaming rage, viciously rushing Bisharp with her switchblade; however, she was unable to inflict much damage due to Bisharp fighting back.
    I suppose for *my* benefit as a reader coming in at chapter 3 without having read any of what comes before, explaining Nekou’s regard for Olivia is helpful. But you shouldn’t need this. Her relationship with Olivia should be shown through her actions, not directly told to the reader through exposition. I can’t connect to the bond they have if you just tell me that’s what it is.

    “If that fall would bang me up, though, think of what it would do to Olivia!”
    The “though” seems unnecessary and kind of off to me here. I think you could nix it all together and not have to replace anything at all, but if you wanted to add something, I think a “then” in the place of “though” or a “But” at the beginning of the sentence would sound more natural.

    When we get to Dante’s house and he and Matt start talking there’s a lot of it that makes me kind feel like we’ve arrived at “super convenient exposition time.” Part of this seems to be to recap things from your past stories (my guess, since I only read a bit of one of them), while the other part seems to be to establish Dante’s past. I realize that these are probably things you need to do, but, well, like I said, if feels a little convenient. Maybe I’ve just read too many stories now that I can sniff out backstory summary coming. I just prefer when it gets slipped into my food, so to speak, or teased out slowly instead of dumped on me in a way that feels more convenient to the plot than natural to the moment. It honestly came as quite a relief to me when Nekou interrupted them.

    “I’d like to take you apart,” Nekou wryly commented at the exact moment Matt finished speaking. “Your insides sound fascinating.”
    ...Of course, the fact that it's a really good line made me all the happier

    “Don’t forget me, I’m a woman of science,” Nekou piped up, before slyly adding, “Just because my science is a lot madder doesn’t disqualify me.”
    And she’s two for two! I should probably stop and say that Nekou was the highlight of this for me. She's the strongest character in my estimation, gets the best lines, and keeps the reader on her toes because she can be unpredictable. Plus she keeps a switchblade in her blouse. That's, like, automatic character bonus-points right there :P

    You clearly have some very complex plotting going on here and there's no shortage of intrigue--even just getting your backstory and the events of the chapter conveys that. So, nice to see. Good luck as you continue this project.

  21. #46
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    New Tork City
    Posts
    7,738

    Default

    I'm going to split up my response into two posts because I want to have some extra space for my reply to Skiyomi.

    Quote Originally Posted by Matori View Post
    I really love how you opened this chapter. You did an excellent job setting up a noir-ish atmosphere and I think that's the perfect atmosphere to really let Pierce's character shine, since he's so mysterious. You also did well using those scenes to show not everything is as it seems in your story's world and that there's a lot of ugliness. I also really enjoy how you bookended the rest of the chapter with those scenes- it really brought together the whole chapter. I'm hoping to learn more about the mysterious woman later- she sounds fascinating from what we know about her so far, and I'm already starting to love her even though we don't even know her name. The Pierce subplot is looking like it'll be quite the ride.
    Thank you. I enjoyed writing those scenes and I think bookending the chapter with them was a good idea too. I like your comment about the scenes being "noir-ish" - I think I might use that idea for some more Pierce scenes.

    Anyway, yes, this subplot is going to be a ride indeed. I hope you've bought your safety harness.

    Good words of wisdom. The way Nekou is a role model for Olivia is really awesome and empowering and her advice might be a little on the vulgar side but it's always true. You're developing their relationship great- I think it's really realistic and it's fun to watch Olivia start taking cues from Nekou little by little. You can tell just by reading it's helping Olivia become more confident.
    I think I was actually overplaying how familiar their relationship is at this point earlier on, so I'm working to dial it back just a bit. I hope to make their relationship feel a little more natural in the upcoming chapters.

    The bit about the Pokemon Center services only being free to those with Pokedexes and starters is a fascinating deconstruction of the world, as well as an interesting little bit of social commentary (however unintentional it might be). I love the little touches you add in that show what happens to those other trainers we meet along the way in the games.
    This is actually very intentional and something I would strongly advise you keep in mind as this story goes on.

    Ghetsis' speech was terrifying and the fact he manages to get an entire Pokemon Center of people gathered around the television to watch it is even more so.
    Another important point to remember. Also, there's more here than meets the eye, maybe...

    I see what you did there, giving Pierce the codename Sam. I see it. I'm really wondering what it is Pierce has up his sleeve from these scenes, and I can't wait to find out in later chapters.
    It's also a callback to something previous that some of you might have caught. On what he has up his sleeve, though, you might be able to piece it together soon enough.

    Thanks for the interest.

    Ghetsis in general... Ghetsis is TERRIFYING. It's clear he's completely unhinged and dangerous, and the way he treats Anthea and Concordia is really horrifying and messed up. Good to see you kept his cruelty completely intact.
    I didn't just keep it intact, I think I dialed it up... what he did to Anthea and Concordia (that you've seen so far, anyway) is just the tip of the iceberg.

    The Guide Gent is... odd. I'd be unsure of how to react to a man popping out of nowhere and offering to guide me around. Good work highlighting the frequent absurdity of the games.
    Thanks. I used him because I wanted to use some less notable characters from the games, and I couldn't work in the Dude who teaches you how to catch Pokemon in the previous chapter.

    NANDO'S BACK! I loved reading his battle with Dahlia, and how you characterized both of them well with their dialogue and actions. Both battles in this chapter- Nando vs. Dahlia and Matt vs Silver- are excellently written and suspenseful and the action in them flows wonderfully, as well as developing the characters involved nicely.
    Thanks once again. It was nice to be able to write Nando again after a while. His battle with Dahlia was something I actually had in mind for a while.

    I'm glad the Matt VS. Silver battle actually worked out as I wanted. Mamoswine was surprisingly challenging to write for.

    The way Nekou keeps nagging about the pizza throughout the chapter is adorable. She loves good food.
    Yes she does.

    Silver and his portrayal in this chapter are amazing. At first I found him an irredeemable *******, but as you developed him during his battle with Matt, I started realizing that he's not so much an ******* as he is very serious about what he does, even if it means stepping on some toes. The Matt vs Silver battle was one of the most exciting battles I've ever read, and you did really well to keep the action flowing and unpredictable. It's clear Silver is going to be a serious rival in the story and I can't wait to see more about him. I really didn't see the twist with Silver coming at the end- obviously he's not worked out his little Team Rocket issue yet, but I never expected him to be working alongside Looker or at least keeping in contact with him for information.
    I'm glad you see what I tried to do with Silver. I hope his motives came across fairly clearly here.

    It should be interesting to see him going forward.

    Nekou has the right idea. She finally got her pizza too! Girl needs her pizza and booze.
    Gotta live the good life, right?

    Overall, this was an excellent chapter, and you plotted it out really well. The action all flows naturally and the transitions are excellent, and the way you spaced scenes kept it interesting. I can't wait to see what's coming next.
    Thank you very much! I think you'll continue to enjoy it, at least, I certainly hope you will.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bay View Post
    Pretty interesting you have Pierce a Tenganist. I assume you’ll get a bit more in depth over that soon?
    It's something that's going to be gradual. I don't have the progression of that plot point mapped out fully yet, but I have the basic ideas assembled.

    I admit to laughing at Matt’s reaction over the Pokemon Center’s fee (and him being called youngster later on in the chapter, lol) .I always thought it’s free considering in the games it seems it’s free for the public, but that’s just me.
    That's actually the point I was trying to raise: in almost every game, you receive a starter Pokemon and a Pokedex from a professor, meaning that you fulfill the conditions for free Center usage presented here by default. The only notable time I can think of this not being the case is in the Orre games, but Orre quite plainly doesn't follow the same customs as the other regions already.

    You used gloomy twice within a couple paragraphs. Perhaps for second quote leave gloomy out? I do have to give you credit for describing the loud noise Ghetsis’s cane keep doing, very nice. Also, oh dear over the child and the woman from the earlier scene. D:
    You're right, I didn't catch that double use of "gloomy." My mistake.

    I wanted the Ghetsis scene to be very atmospheric, so sound was just as important as visual cues there.

    You better warm up that emoticon for her subplot. You're gonna need it.

    Yay for Nando appearing! As much as I enjoyed the battle a lot, I feel you can leave out the first part of Nando and Dahlia’s battle, or least show the end of it, and go straight with Zapdos (considering Matt will go against Dahlia) so the plot goes at a slight faster pace, but that’s just me.
    Well, two points, actually. Matt may be one of the main characters, but I want the story to have a wider focus than just the main protagonists and antagonists, so I felt it appropriate to give Nando a strong establishing scene. Also, since the scoreboards in the Battle Arcade show each trainer's Pokemon in advance, the surprise about Zapdos would have been ruined if I waited; so, the reason why I used the Ludicolo battle as well was not only to establish Nando but set up and resolve the surprise of Zapdos in this chapter all at once.

    Awwwwww. :3
    Yes, that is how you should feel. ^^

    Maybe it’s just me, but confess seems to me Dante admires him a little too much, LOL. In all seriousness though, I think said or respond would be better to not give that kind of indication.
    I'm going to select my words carefully here, but it is more than a simple compliment, just not in the way you seem to be thinking. Therefore, I feel "confessed" is appropriate.

    I noticed the first part of the battle you have Matt keep thinking aloud to himself. I think you don’t have to keep Matt saying his thoughts over the battles. You can easily mention his feelings and such through narrating.
    Hmm, I suppose you have a point. I guess I still have a bit to break myself into.

    The bolded part sounds awkward in relation to narrative. Could be easily fixed by taking it out. The Snow Cloak ability is pretty cool, though.
    I had a lot of difficulty working out what to say there. I feel as if it does need some sort of wording to indicate in what direction that line is going, but I definitely agree that I could have done it better than I did...

    One other thing I noticed is you keep describing the Pokemon, which you don’t really have to considering the people reading are Pokemon fans and they already know how they look like.
    I actually have a rule that I try to follow which I developed years ago when I started writing. That rule is to always describe the Pokemon of the newest generation in more detail than older Pokemon. I do see ways I could diversify the methods of description for older Pokemon, but for Generation 5 - which has a rather divided public opinion - there's a good chance some people may not be familiar at all with the new Pokemon, which makes it a mistake to rely on assumptions for images, I think.

    Despite those mentions, I enjoyed the battle overall. Great Matt and Silver get the battle and I wasn’t disappointed. My favorite parts have to be Tony able to stand on his own and Nikola able to barely dodge the Guillotine. It’s also nice Olivia getting excited while watching the battle after still holding a grudge at the beginning of this chapter.
    Thank you, it's nice to receive praise for something I worked hard on.

    Although, I wouldn't say Olivia had a "grudge." She's just really moody right now after her first day of being a trainer ended with her falling off a cliff and breaking her leg.

    This is why I love you Nekou. <3
    Precisely. XD;

    She is not shy about liking self-indulgences.

    Looks like quite a few things are hinted upon this chapter, which is exciting. Looking forward to next chapter!
    Correct, and thank you for continuing to be interested!

    (Banner by Matori)
    Beyond all ideals, the truth shall set you free...
    Most Recent: 18: Winter of Discontent
    Next: The Weight of the World (Part 1)

    The steps on the road to the truth.
    The Firestorm Rebellion
    The Victory Star of Fate


    Glacidia Network - The Home for Fanworks
    Best Wishes appreciation blog

  22. #47
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    New Tork City
    Posts
    7,738

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Skiyomi View Post
    Hey there. I'm here from the review game with some comments on chapter 3. I haven't read the previous chapters, but I did read the information you offered in your post. So here I go...
    Welcome, then! I've seen you around for a while now, so it ought to be very interesting to see what you've got to say here.

    I can't really say how well the start of the chapter worked as a follow up to the end of your last chapter since I haven't read it, but just as an opening in general, it works pretty well. You use the weather neatly to set up a forboding atmosphere, not just for whatever shady things the Rockets are up to, but for the events of the chapter. However you look at it, a storm is coming.
    Ah, a very keen observation. There are certainly a few layers to what you see in this scene, and you've skillfully picked up on them. Well done.

    You've got some good description here in general, though I've noticed a few issues with it. First off, some of the details seem a little unnecessary. For example, taking the time to go over the controls on James's tablet computer--I didn't really find that the level of detail there did much. The second problem I've seen is that the description seems very localized and clumped--a new Pokemon or person will appear, there will be a paragraph explaining how they look and then we're pretty much done. I tend to find that this breaks the flow of the prose and stifles movement. I'd prefer if we just got a glimpse of description from the start, and then have further development as the scene goes on.
    In hindsight, I definitely see your point. It was a failed attempt at a shout-out.

    In general, description structure is something I personally identify as one of my chief weak points. I've already been trying to incorporate what you pointed out, but clearly I haven't been doing well enough. That's something I absolutely needed to hear. I know exactly what you're talking about and I'll work even harder at it.

    I don't think you need the "of" there.
    I can see your point there.

    You’ve doubled up on “realized” here. In such close proximity, it would be better to use another synonym to avoid repetition.
    That makes sense. I'm by no means anywhere near perfect, so I appreciate the input.

    I would like to see a little more “stage business” from the characters during extended scenes of dialogue since it really adds more of a sense of movement and tends to embody the characters more. Tone and blocking are important, and you’re taking care of that quite conscientiously, but I think some quality of gesture would give a greater sense of completion. I'm not saying you never include gesture/stage business, because you clearly do, but I feel like you could use more of it.
    Agreed. I've already begun trying to take this into account with the work I've done on the next chapter.

    I’m kinda missing the heavy Brooklyn accent from Meowth. I suppose it’s not a necessity since it’s a dub thing, but if you’re trying to go for more of his English voice, then I’d expect more of his accent reflected his text. Otherwise you seem to be doing a really good job with his word choice and character.
    Now, this is where it's going to wade into opinion territory, unfortunately. For one, I feel that his accent does not translate well to a text medium, which would cause the reader to see things he says as humorous or silly even when not because of how strange it looks. Second, I feel that the accent was part of what the late Maddie Blaustein really invested into to make iconic with Meowth, and I prefer to not even use the pretext of someone else trying to imitate it.

    I've tried to adapt his speaking style and speech patterns as closely as I can, and from what you say, I think I must be doing an okay job of it. I'd prefer to keep it there if possible.

    I suppose for *my* benefit as a reader coming in at chapter 3 without having read any of what comes before, explaining Nekou’s regard for Olivia is helpful. But you shouldn’t need this. Her relationship with Olivia should be shown through her actions, not directly told to the reader through exposition. I can’t connect to the bond they have if you just tell me that’s what it is.
    I already have an idea of something I can do in the next chapter to at least right this little mistake going forward, so thank you for the advice.

    The “though” seems unnecessary and kind of off to me here. I think you could nix it all together and not have to replace anything at all, but if you wanted to add something, I think a “then” in the place of “though” or a “But” at the beginning of the sentence would sound more natural.
    Looking at it now, you're exactly right.

    Word usage and description tends to be one of my weaknesses, but I'm working on it, as I've alluded to earlier.

    When we get to Dante’s house and he and Matt start talking there’s a lot of it that makes me kind feel like we’ve arrived at “super convenient exposition time.” Part of this seems to be to recap things from your past stories (my guess, since I only read a bit of one of them), while the other part seems to be to establish Dante’s past. I realize that these are probably things you need to do, but, well, like I said, if feels a little convenient. Maybe I’ve just read too many stories now that I can sniff out backstory summary coming. I just prefer when it gets slipped into my food, so to speak, or teased out slowly instead of dumped on me in a way that feels more convenient to the plot than natural to the moment. It honestly came as quite a relief to me when Nekou interrupted them.
    Now, I'm going to have to disagree with you but only halfway here. One thing I've been trying extremely hard to do is make this story accessible to readers who don't have time to read the previous stories, and I personally don't feel that most readers would be willing to wait for all the details about the previous chaos they've been wrapped up in to be described gradually while they don't understand the characters' motivations. I hope I'm not underestimating my readers and potential readers, though, because that would be very embarrassing and probably offensive to them.

    I can see how Dante's story could have been spread out over some longer period of time, though.

    ...Of course, the fact that it's a really good line made me all the happier
    Plenty more where that came from. ^^;

    And she’s two for two! I should probably stop and say that Nekou was the highlight of this for me. She's the strongest character in my estimation, gets the best lines, and keeps the reader on her toes because she can be unpredictable. Plus she keeps a switchblade in her blouse. That's, like, automatic character bonus-points right there :P
    Besides the fact that these things should make her an entertaining character, I want to go for something a little deeper here through use of her so drastically different behavior compared to just about every other character. Contrast her wild personality against the introverted, regret-ridden Matt, straight-laced Bunny and Olivia, who is still growing up and hasn't fully found a role for herself yet. In a sense, Nekou is not only a character but a catalyst for the characters around her to evolve past their initial definitions.

    You clearly have some very complex plotting going on here and there's no shortage of intrigue--even just getting your backstory and the events of the chapter conveys that. So, nice to see. Good luck as you continue this project.
    Thank you very much for this comment and for your overwhelmingly kind and generous review overall! I hope I'll see you here again sometime - your input was very informative and helpful.

    (Banner by Matori)
    Beyond all ideals, the truth shall set you free...
    Most Recent: 18: Winter of Discontent
    Next: The Weight of the World (Part 1)

    The steps on the road to the truth.
    The Firestorm Rebellion
    The Victory Star of Fate


    Glacidia Network - The Home for Fanworks
    Best Wishes appreciation blog

  23. #48
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Somewhere in Unova...
    Posts
    950

    Default

    Well, review time again.


    Pierce is definitely planning something with that homeless woman (who     Spoiler:- wildest speculation yet:
    ). That's probably just taking a stab in the dark, but it's something (weird).

    Ah, Nando's back, with a Leavanny and Exploud to boot! Quite an interesting battle he had with Dahlia, and the fact that they both made it into a Contest battle definitely added some flavor. Wonder when he'll be meeting up with the main group? Fairly soon, I'd wager.

    Silver also returns...good battle with Matt, too. I have to confess that I didn't remember that Gen V made Rotom's type change with the form it took, so I initially thought that Gengar's Metronome-spawned Guillotine wouldn't affect it. And then I looked in the Pokedex. XD Fail on my part. Interesting choice giving Silver a Mamoswine. I have to agree with Nekou and say that it fits, giving Silver's lineage. And I see he's still "working" with Looker. Have to wonder how long Silver can tolerate Looker's unique speech pattern.

    “Don’t you worry, Olivia, you’ll recover soon,” Nekou assured the younger girl. “Once you do, the Pokémon will still be here for you to play with all you want. I don’t want to see you stressing out over anything, so let’s just enjoy the pizza, okay?”
    Why do I get the feeling that the bolded part will turn out to be completely untrue? I just get that feeling when I read stuff now. XD I don't know why.


    Well, it'll be interesting to see where Matt's battle with Dahlia takes him, and how he deals with her Zapdos (and whatever other Legendaries that the remaining Frontier Brains dish out). Keep up the good work!
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  24. #49
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    New Tork City
    Posts
    7,738

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Morpher01 View Post
    Pierce is definitely planning something with that homeless woman (who     Spoiler:- wildest speculation yet:
    ). That's probably just taking a stab in the dark, but it's something (weird).
    It certainly is something, isn't it?

    I wouldn't tell you whether or not you guessed it correctly even if you did. Or would I?

    Ah, Nando's back, with a Leavanny and Exploud to boot! Quite an interesting battle he had with Dahlia, and the fact that they both made it into a Contest battle definitely added some flavor. Wonder when he'll be meeting up with the main group? Fairly soon, I'd wager.
    "Fairly soon" is about right... it'll be in a couple of chapters or so.

    Silver also returns...good battle with Matt, too. I have to confess that I didn't remember that Gen V made Rotom's type change with the form it took, so I initially thought that Gengar's Metronome-spawned Guillotine wouldn't affect it.
    Yeah, that's an important change to remember. I think it was a good choice on the part of the games, too - Rotom's become much more usable since this generation started.

    Interesting choice giving Silver a Mamoswine. I have to agree with Nekou and say that it fits, giving Silver's lineage.
        Spoiler:- spoiler:


    And I see he's still "working" with Looker. Have to wonder how long Silver can tolerate Looker's unique speech pattern.
    You're implying he ever did. XD;

    In all seriousness, though, Looker and Silver are both using each other, they're both aware of such and neither really cares. By cooperating with Looker, Silver gets to take out Team Rocket, and by exploiting Silver's desires of revenge, Looker has someone doing his dirty work mopping up the remnants of Team Rocket. They both win.

    Why do I get the feeling that the bolded part will turn out to be completely untrue? I just get that feeling when I read stuff now. XD I don't know why.
    Because I've trained you well. Heh heh heh...

    Well, it'll be interesting to see where Matt's battle with Dahlia takes him, and how he deals with her Zapdos (and whatever other Legendaries that the remaining Frontier Brains dish out). Keep up the good work!
    I think you'll enjoy the battle, definitely.

    Thanks!

    (Banner by Matori)
    Beyond all ideals, the truth shall set you free...
    Most Recent: 18: Winter of Discontent
    Next: The Weight of the World (Part 1)

    The steps on the road to the truth.
    The Firestorm Rebellion
    The Victory Star of Fate


    Glacidia Network - The Home for Fanworks
    Best Wishes appreciation blog

  25. #50
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    ████
    Posts
    1,112

    Default

    So, sort of on the same line as my other reviews, I'm just going to tackle the most recent chapter because I'd probably be here forever if I tackled every single one. Also, this is going to be more of a general/reaction-to-plot review than a nitpicking review. In general, your grammar is pretty clean, so there's not really that much to worry about in terms of that anyway.

    In any case, let's get started, shall we?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Great Butler View Post
    Cherrygrove City was a busy city on a coastline, larger than New Bark Town but still smaller than many of the other metropolis-size cities on the continent. Few of its buildings reached comparable heights to the skyscrapers those cities had, but Cherrygrove’s buildings – both residential apartment complexes and commercial centers – were enough to pack plenty into the small area of land the city actually occupied.
    One of the things I've noticed about your writing is the wordiness at times. I know it's very difficult to keep this kind of thing from happening, but try to avoid awkward wording whenever possible. If you're not reading your chapters aloud, it might help to do so.

    In this case, for example, you've got a misplaced modifier; on a first read-through, a reader might think you're saying that the coastline was larger than New Bark but smaller than many of the other metropolis-size cities. Remember that a dependent clause following a comma is often attached to the first noun before the aforementioned comma.

    The second sentence, meanwhile, is plagued by the question of "plenty of what?" It might help to think of it like this: your readers are going into your story with a blank slate, so you'll need to describe as much as possible to get your ideas across. Likewise, be very careful with how you word things as well to avoid any awkward phrasing that seems vaguer than you intended.

    “The circumstances of our lives are not easily controlled. My Tenganist heritage is not something I was raised in, as you were. Now, about the offer we can provide you…”
    Going to have to agree with what's already been said about making Pierce Tenganist. It adds a lot of depth to his character, particularly given the fact that the anime doesn't give us much in the way of characterization for him.

    In general, I love that you're using canon characters. A lot of people these days scoff at the thought of doing that, but if it's pulled off well, then it becomes a showcase of the author's talent – especially if they're writing in the anime universe. I mean, the anime does a poor job of providing backstory and personalities for characters, so to do so and to do it in a way that makes sense for what we see of the characters shows that a writer can be flexible and competent with characterization all in one go.

    That and it appeals to the fangirl side of certain folks (like yours truly). On that note, I have to say I'm really excited about seeing the actual Jessie, James, and Meowth in this fic. Not too many people include them (and most people include badly done rip-offs of them), so it'll be fun to read an actual fic with them as main characters – preferably in-character… which they are so far, by the by. (I also have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the scene where they were recruited from their flower shop. It was really cute to see them actually having a legit lifestyle – as in, attempting to make an honest living – before they were dragged right back into Rocket shenanigans. They would live like that, and besides that, that scene gave them a lot of depth for moments like this, where Jessie just wants to get it over with, James is nervous, and Meowth is completely okay with being a part of the Rockets' plan.)

    “The last thing on my mind is a Gym battle. I’m a disgrace.”
    Okay, I might have to be blunt for a bit here, and I'm really sorry to say this. I just don't really feel all that attached to Olivia. Back when we were first introduced to her in the XD series, it just felt like she was a stereotypical little kid, a kind of Scrappy Doo for the cast. She didn't really have much development past the whole cute thing.

    Now, we're on the Operation GEAR series, and I have to say she does have more depth, but I don't really know what to feel about her. There are times when she curses out Matt or mimics Nekou's vulgarity, and at those times, I'm on the fence. On the one hand, a teenager would try to emulate something she thinks is cool; on the other, it's sometimes tiring to read two characters with basically the same personality.

    Not to mention there's also the discipline issue. Olivia's still a kid, but people are completely okay with her mouthing off at her parental figure. But the parental figure bit is also a bit weird because no one's told her that her dad's dead. I'll admit I've lost track of exactly how old she is at this point, but wouldn't someone have told her, "Oh, well, your dad isn't coming back because he's sort of dead"? Her entire goal is focused on not only finding Rich but also getting his attention or at least doing the equivalent of *****slapping him. Sure, it was mentioned earlier that this gives her fuel to live, but… she's surrounded by people who care about her. She's a trainer. A professor has recruited her to help in her research. Heck, even the subjects she's studying would give her some sense of passion. The point is, she's got plenty to live for, so letting her spend a lot of effort tracking down someone who's dead (someone she's meant to love and respect, given that he's her father and a hero) seems crueler than just saying, "I'm really sorry, Olivia, but he's dead. But it's okay because he would have wanted you to live a fulfilling life, and we care about you." Also, there's the fact that she's old enough to comprehend what death is, so it's almost an insult to her intelligence that they're keeping that from her and letting her continue to work towards that particular goal.

    But the reason why I'm pulling this particular quote is because she just seems so defeatist and negative. She basically threw a temper tantrum over the fact that she wasn't able to get a Totodile, for starters. For another, when she fell and broke her leg, she was crying because she was defeated, not because, well, breaking your bones hurts like a mother. At this point, she's just berating herself. Yet all that's happened is she got an unexpected starter and nearly got killed. It was the first adventure she's had, and she made it out alive. I mean, Ash pretty much had the same situation happen to him. He got an unexpected starter and nearly got killed. Multiple times, in fact, including one instance where he had to come to terms that he was a selfish idiot (because he nearly had his Metapod killed in the process due to his stupidity). Yet, he still got up and walked onward. I'm not saying that you should have a carbon copy of Ash. (In fact, I encourage you to avoid that.) I'm just wondering why Olivia is acting like it's the end of the world and the end of her journey for her when, well, it just began. She's been through a lot already, so why does this break her? I just feel like not everyone should break down over every negative experience. Certainly, some people would, but it tends to happen a little more frequently than usual with your cast. (It certainly happened a lot with the XD series. It hasn't happened quite as often with the Operation GEAR casts, although Matt has a tendency to do it too. And, well, there's also Anabel, but anyway.)

    On the other hand, I wonder if you're trying to say something about her – like she's trying to represent someone who's not exactly typical. But that's a side thought.

    As soon as Matt said those words, the smile on the nurse’s face began to slowly fade. “Then in that case, the charge will be three hundred dollars.”
    And I love you.

    One of your stronger storytelling points is your worldbuilding abilities, definitely, and this is one of them. I like reading what people have to say about the way the Pokémon world works, and it's interesting that you're tackling the one thing pretty much no one talks about – how Pokémon centers work in terms of funding and the billing system. It's very interesting that the service is free to trainers with a 'dex and a starter. The explanation fits canon perfectly, and it's completely believable from what we've seen of the main game characters.

    There's just one little question, though, and that's, "How often do trainers get Pokédexes?" Some of the lines of dialogue in the games (especially in Gen I and FRLG) imply that the 'dex is actually a rare item, and in the animeverse, only people who met with a professor to start a journey received one. The problem lies in the fact that not everyone started their journey by meeting a professor, so you have people like Misty and Brock who might not have had a 'dex. It'd be interesting if this part would be expanded just a bit or at least if the idea could address who can receive a 'dex, who gives out 'dexes, and so forth.

    The ideals we as older generations push upon our successors in this world are forcing our children to put themselves in dangerous, difficult positions.
    Polaris is pursuing that truth.
    I see what you did there.

    He was someone she knew from five years ago, a man who indulged in both battles and the far showier Pokémon Contests. She didn’t know him to have the Pokémon he was now using, Leavanny, but it fit in with what she knew of his preferences, which tended toward Grass-types, Bug-types and Pokémon with musical ties.
    I keep going back and forth between moments like these. You do this often enough when introducing characters: you either stop the narration to describe their looks or stop the narration to describe facts like these. The information you bring up is important to know for the most part (although probably not so much if Nando isn't going to be a major character in this story), so in that sense, I'm somewhat more okay with the fact that it's brought up. On the other, I'm also not completely comfortable with the transitions. It's very difficult to pull off an info drop (that is, stopping the narration to talk about something or feed a reader information) because of the fact that you're disrupting the flow of the chapter to do so. It's usually better to integrate information like this into the story, usually whenever appropriate. (In this case, perhaps having a character bring up Nando's Pokémon preferences themselves would do it.) Otherwise, it just sticks out like a nail in the floorboards.

    That and in general, the transition could be smoothed out a bit. You go from talking about his preferences in team members to Matt's line, so there's very little to help ease the reader from topic to topic there.

    The Arcade Star was a tall, thin woman whose skin showed a tan. Her clothing – a midriff-exposing yellow shirt and a pair of blue jeans – was so tight it left little to the imagination, and her messy, black, tendril-like hair wrapped around her as if it had a mind of its own as she danced.
    This is what I meant by pausing the action to describe a person, by the by. Considering this is a very action-oriented scene (given that it's a battle), it would be better if you linked descriptions of the character to her actions. For example, instead of simply telling us that she was a tall, thin woman and so forth, you could say something along the lines of:

    The tall, lithe woman leaned back as a smirk crossed her thin, tanned face. One of her hands slipped up the leg of her tight-fitting jeans until it rested on the curve of her hip as the other pulled a black tendril of her hair out of her golden eyes. The rest of her dark hair writhed around her as she moved, brushing across the taut, yellow cotton of her top and the swarthy flesh of her midriff with each tiny shift of her body. In all ways, she looked like a snake – all to catch her opponent off-guard.

    Sure, that still pauses the action a little, but these are easier to break apart. As in, you don't have to describe her in one go. Instead, you can take one sentence of this and use it in her introduction. Then, maybe further down the line, you'll be able to use the sentence that describes her hair writhing around her when it feels more appropriate for her to move in a way that would cause it to do that. Maybe at another point, she puts her hands on her hips in frustration, which allows you to use the line about her hips. Or you could keep the paragraph intact, and it would still be a little less obvious that you're describing her because she's still doing something – as in, you're not really stopping the action just to describe her.

    The key in this case is to make it less and less obvious that you're launching into a detailed description. The more you tie each detail with an action, the more subtle it becomes until it turns into just another fragment of the story, if that makes sense.

    The resulting explosion not only threw Leavanny back, it also created a gust of wind that visibly disturbed Nando’s long black hair and green cape.
    This is more of an example of how description is best done, actually. It's integrated with action so that the story doesn't stop just to describe Nando.

    “Leavanny, grab Ludicolo.”

    Much to Dahlia’s surprise, Leavanny effectively followed this direction, pinning Ludicolo in his grip. With her Grass-and-Water-type Pokémon frantically trying to escape its enemy, Dahlia exclaimed, “What?”
    One of the many things I have to give you credit for is the way you get across creativity in battle. Not too many people remember that battles aren't just a couple of people duking it out on a generic field wherein nothing but attacks can be used to one's advantage. I know that there was an instance in the last chapter where Olivia took advantage of the layout of the field (i.e., the fact that Zorua was using Dig) to attack, and in this instance, you have Nando make a move that isn't just another attack. It makes battles more interesting because it's no longer possible to predict exactly what characters are going to do. They could very well attack directly, or they could manipulate the field or put themselves into a new strategic position or a million other different things.

    In short, battles aren't predictable or repetitive in this fic, and that's something I appreciate because not a lot of people know how to keep battles from being predictable or repetitive. It's very refreshing to see a match be something other than Pokémon A uses Move B on Pokémon C over and over again, and it keeps things suspenseful and exciting to read.

    (See, kids? Battles can be interesting to write about and read, even if they're not climactic battles. You just have to do them correctly.)

    “And now it is time for my finishing move~”
    …But shame on you for tilde abuse.

    Nando was left briefly stunned when, instead of the frontal counterattack he was expected, Zapdos twirled through the air to get behind Leavanny. Even Zapdos’s movements, which were as agile and fluid as its trainer’s, exuded power.

    “It makes sense, a dancer training their Pokémon to reflect their personal style.” Nando’s voice was calm once again, but this time, it was because he was seemingly resigning himself to his fate. “Repel it with Leaf Storm, please.”
    However, I do have to comment about pacing here. I know that Trick Room is in effect, but at the same time, it seems a bit off that Nando would have time to meditate and think about what was going on while Zapdos is launching an attack. Attacks are still fairly quick unless there happened to be a lot of distance between Zapdos and Leavanny, so I'm having some difficulty picturing exactly what's going on here.

    Just remember that it's okay to fudge game mechanics a little. That includes the turn-based system.

    Also, we were talking privately about how you might trim a chapter, and if you're still interested, this may be a good example. See, chapters should only contain enough information to drive the story forward. While Nando's battle with Dahlia does convince Matt that he needs to train, it might not have been necessary to show all of the battle. Sure, the attacks were beautifully described and the strategies were fascinating to read, but it also seemed out-of-place, considering Nando doesn't immediately have anything to do with the rest of the cast. As in, the only thing that affects Matt and company in this scene is Nando's victory; even if Matt had only seen Exploud versus Zapdos instead of Leavanny's matches, the outcome would have been the same because a sample of Nando's talent is still encapsulated in the very last match of the battle. So, you could actually distill the battle down to just the last part (Exploud vs. Zapdos) and still have it inspire Matt. That makes whatever came before it rather superfluous, and superfluous information just adds to your page count while serving as a distraction from the main point.

    Of course, if you want to keep that part of the battle in, it can probably also be left in without making the chapter feel like it's dragging on, but it's definitely an option when it comes to trimming things down.

    Tony’s Double-Edge had more of an effect on Feraligatr than either Matt or Silver realized, however. The hulking Water-type could not carry out his orders immediately due to the fact that he was having difficulty maintaining his balance after the blow he’d received.
    Be careful. Don't fall into the trap of telling instead of showing, and this is actually one case of it. Instead of showing us Feraligatr struggling to move, maybe wincing and hunching over as he steadied himself (or something along those lines to show that Feraligatr is struggling after the Double-Edge), you simply tell us that he's hesitating because of the attack. That's one thing I've noticed now and then: you say "due to" and then launch into an explanation, and that's something that you may want to phase out of your writing because it makes it easier for you to tell instead of show.

    Matt’s direction gave Nikola the confidence it was lacking, and spurred it to overrun Mamoswine with a massive Blizzard. The concentrated storm packed so much force that it actually flung Mamoswine out of her path and crashed her to the floor.

    Mamoswine did not stand up again.
    I also have to appreciate the fact that you realize a battle needs to be drawn out. Tying in with the idea that your battles aren't just Pokémon A uses Move B against Pokémon C, Pokémon don't just knock each other out with a couple of hits. That makes battles all the more exciting because it's just not something that happens in fanfiction for some reason. Maybe it's because people just don't want to spend that much time on battles, or maybe it's just because people are eager to get to the end because they already know the outcome. Either way, it's different to see a battle that's drawn out over a messload of pages, and while I had a feeling Matt would win, it was still a satisfying read.

    Now, okay, I have to say that I knew Matt would win, and it's because of something I told you in private about the XD series a long time ago. Namely, there's a definite lean towards the protagonist. As in, I think it's pretty rare to have one of your main characters lose, and when it happens, it's devastating. For example, one of the first battles we've seen in this particular fic had Olivia winning despite using low-leveled (for the most part) Pokémon. The only time she lost a fight of some kind was when she had to be given a reason to beat herself up (i.e., the fight against the Bisharp army). More recently, Nando wins against a legendary owned by a Frontier Brain – which, okay, is something Ash has been known to do, but still. Before that, I can't really think of any moments where the main characters have actually lost a battle except for one instance in XD^3.

    It's really just something I noticed, and it could just be me (as in, maybe I'm forgetting instances everywhere wherein a main protagonist loses a match). If it's not just me, though, let me just say that the story is still enjoyable either way, but it would be cool to get some variety so that it's a little bit harder to predict. That and it might be more satisfying to read about moments when a character nets a victory if their win-loss ratio was a bit more even.

    Another thing I noticed? I thought it was unusual that you were going for game portrayals of moves instead of anime portrayals (like in the case of Venoshock), but that's really just your preference. It does strike me as curious either way, though, so… there's that.


    Overall, it's really not a bad story. The pacing is well done (even though you could cut some material out if you wanted to), and the premise is pretty riveting. Not only that, but you have a knack for taking canon characters and making them deep and interesting while still being spot-on. Not to mention your battles are frequently well-described and exciting – not at all turn-based or game-like. In that sense, this is actually a pretty good fic.

    It's just that there's some bits centering around the characters that could be worked out. For example, there's the tendency to stop all narration to describe a character. For another, there's the fact that the protagonists have an inordinately high chance of winning a battle, which tends to make the fight scenes slightly predictable.

    But more than that, I have to say I'm undecided about a lot of your OCs. There are times when I really like what you do with them. (For example, Matt is one of my favorite characters right now because he feels like such an underdog despite the fact that he's pretty competent. Satsukoro was one of my favorites in the XD series because of his complex backstory.) On the other, some of your characters are also difficult for me to like. (I'm not fond of Nekou because I don't see her as badass as much as immature – like a teenage boy trying to convince me that he's awesome, and I'm not fond of Olivia because of how she used to be a childlike stereotype and is now prone to tantrums and teenage angst.) I'm not quite sure how to feel about your villains either (because almost all of them turn out to be psychotic and violent). I'm not quite sure what you can take away from this comment or how you might be able to improve on your weaker characters, given that it's pretty late in the series for all of them; I just wanted to get it out there that basically the only thing that might be affecting the quality of your fic are some of the OCs' personalities.

    Of course, this is literally the only thing. Shrugging off the typos, you've done some impressive work with canon characters, battles, and descriptions in general (and not just of characters), and that much is what a lot of writers fail to do. That's where the strong points of your fic lie, and I honestly think your story still works because in the end, that list embodies basically most of the spirit of Operation GEAR. You can still work with the OCs you've got. (And to be fair, they're a lot deeper than a number of other OCs out there; they just hit my "these kinds of people annoy the **** out of me" button. …Which may actually be a good thing because I'm annoyed because of their personalities, not because they're flat characters.) That's because in the end, you still have a story that stands up on its own.

    So in that sense, this story isn't that bad. I'll definitely keep an eye on it.

    REBOOT: Chapter fifteen now available. | Original: Chapter thirty-one now available.

    The Witch of Fic | 365+ Reviews
    Q&A's for all your writing needs. | 365 fanfic reviews in 365 days.

    The Fan Fiction Mafia | Author's Profile

Page 2 of 9 FirstFirst 123456 ... 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
  •