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Thread: Proving Grounds

  1. #26
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    The Great Butler:
    Boy, these two sure make a great match, don't they?

    You missed a period at the end of the last sentence in this part.
    I think what happened there was that I was originally going to give Derak more to say, but decided against it. It appears that I accidentally took off a period that I somehow missed when checking through the chapter...guess I just don't pay attention. XD

    Oops indeed.

    Is there a big power difference between Brute and Metapod? It would seem so, especially because, if I'm remembering correctly, Fighting-type moves shouldn't be very effective against Bug-types.
    You're remembering correctly, and there is something of a power difference between Brute and Sarah's Metapod (also, I kind of imagined Metapod as being fairly lightweight...)

    Wearing an what? I think you left out a word.
    I wasn't quite sure what the actual name of Melanie's outfit was (it was something of a red overall-thing, but I wasn't exactly sure), so I skipped a bit with the intention of coming back to it. Unfortunately, I completely forgot to return to it. XD

    Oh **** I just realized who this actually is. It's been so long since I saw her episode that I totally forgot who Melanie was. I've certainly got it now that I remember her and her village, though. She could be an interesting addition to this story...
    I kinda had to dig through Bulbapedia in order to find Kanto-related events from the anime. The place where Ash got Bulbasaur seemed like a good fit.

    Not only that, though, Bulbasaur is Pokemon #001, as in, the very first one...
    I do enjoy making Derak seem laughably pathetic at times. XD

    Oh, nice lampshading. I've asked that question myself.
    I had to bring it up at some point. XD

    What the...?! I can only guess now that whenever the answer about this kid is revealed, I'm going to really be blown away.
    Oh, you have no idea...

    And an air of mystery to wrap everything up. It's a good mystery, too, because it provokes a great deal of reader thought on what exactly it means for Garth's motives. I wonder if that freaky blue-haired ... thing ... did something to his father?
    You'll just have to see as time rolls on.



    We have arrived in Vermillion City. I took a somewhat different approach to this chapter, with the intention being to make the Gyms seem a bit less repetitive. Hopefully I succeeded to some degree.



    Chapter 11: Bitter Reunions




    A day after their encounter with Aiden in the hidden village, Derak and Garth entered Vermillion City. In this rather populated city, people passed by in personal journeys of their own. Derak paid little attention to them, however. What mattered to him was his own journey.

    “There’s supposed to be a Gym here, right?” Derak asked Garth.

    “Yes,” Garth nodded, having evidently recovered from his earlier troubles. “It is reputed as being quite difficult, however. The Gym Leader is clearly no fool.”

    “Won’t know until I see for myself, right?” Derak shrugged. “Might as well just give it a shot now. If I lose, I can just try again.”

    “Need I remind you that time is of the essence?” Garth growled. “There is no telling when Stoutland will attack again, so we should proceed through your damn Gyms as quickly as possible!”

    “Easy on the language, there’s children present,” Derak sighed. “Oh, was I putting my needs ahead of yours again? So sorry, it’ll happen another thousand or so times considering that I actually have MY OWN needs to worry about.”

    “Just go to the Gym and get it over with,” Garth groaned, bemoaning Derak’s sarcastic demeanor.

    “Whatever,” Derak said.

    As the Gym came into view, marked with a “GYM” logo, Derak wordlessly entered. Upon doing so, he found himself in a somewhat darkened room illuminated only by a slew of ceiling lights. At the opposing end of the arena was a colossal, muscular man with spiky blonde hair. His clothing consisted of a green undershirt and camouflage-patterned pants. The evident Gym Leader smirked upon seeing Derak.

    “Well, look what we have here!” the man boomed. “A little baby trainer!”

    “…excuse me?” Derak blinked.

    “Welcome to the Vermillion Gym, baby!” chuckled the man. “Name’s Lieutenant Surge, and I run the show around here. Think you can get the Thunder Badge from me, do ya? Show me what ya got in a one-on-one Pokemon battle! Unless, that is, you’re too chicken!”

    So this is what Melissa would have been like if she was born a boy, Derak thought. Making no effort to respond to Surge’s taunts, he simply removed Brute’s Pokeball and released his Machop. In response, Surge threw out a Pokeball revealing a large, orange-bodied mouse-like Pokemon with a long black tail tipped by a lightning bolt.

    “Raaaii,” the mouse growled, the yellow circles on its cheeks sparking with electricity as it narrowed its beady eyes.

    “Raichu,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Mouse Pokemon. Type is Electric. Evolved form of Pikachu. Its tail discharges electricity into the ground, protecting it from getting shocked. Pikachu evolves into Raichu upon exposure to a Thunder Stone.”

    Raichu evidently shared its trainer’s cocky demeanor. It smirked at Brute, attempting to intimidate the muscular Pokemon by lashing its tail against the ground, scattering electrical sparks on contact. Had Brute any true eyebrows to speak of, it would have raised one. This could be a tricky match, that much was for certain.

    “Ready to do this, Brute?” Derak asked, receiving an affirmative nod. “Okay, then. Use Vacuum Wave!”

    *****

    Outside, as Derak waged battle against Surge, Garth sighed. That boy was almost more trouble than he was worth. But he had to use the boy. The supreme irony of turning one relative against another was simply too delicious a dish to let pass.

    “I suppose we should begin training, then,” Garth said to his Electivire’s Pokeball, holding it up in his hand. He summoned his Electric-type, which promptly let out a frightening cry. All faces instantly turned towards Garth.

    “What’s your problem?!” one person yelled.

    “We need to train,” Garth replied. “Unless you would like to paint targets on your bodies, I suggest you all leave. Now.”

    “Vire,” Electivire added, its antennae sparking as it clenched its fists.

    The people obeyed, slowly backing into the safety of places such as nearby allies or their homes. Only one person remained, slowly applauding Garth’s display. The latter’s eyes widened upon seeing who it was.

    Nathaniel Draykus himself.

    “Bravo,” Draykus said with a smirk. “I expected no less of you.”

    “You,” Garth snarled, his every syllable containing untold amounts of loathing. He recalled his Electivire, wishing to deal with this intruder himself. “How are you still alive?”

    “The same way that you are, I’d wager,” Draykus replied. “But as much as I would love to catch up on old times, I have business to attend to. Pleasure to see you again.”

    Draykus made to leave, but Garth snatched one arm, holding Orre’s governor in place.

    “You will NOT escape this time!” Garth growled. “You need to pay for what you did to me, to my home!”

    “Is that so?” Draykus said without an ounce of concern in his voice.

    Then, in one swift motion, he grabbed his aggressor’s arm and threw him with such strength that Garth crashed into a lamppost with enough force to significantly bend it.

    “Your talk of vengeance is amusing, but pointless,” Draykus said, dusting himself off as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

    Garth bared his teeth, the flames of his rage fanned by Draykus’ words. With wrathful roar, he leapt at Draykus, who avoided Garth’s assault by somehow leaping atop a nearby roof.

    “Get back here, you coward!” Garth bellowed, his body jumping upon the roof as well.

    “Ah, I see you’ve been training yourself as much as I have,” Draykus remarked.

    “The thought of your bleeding face underneath my heel is an excellent motivator,” Garth replied bitterly, lunging for Draykus again. This time, Draykus deftly avoided his attacker’s outstretched hand and slammed his fist into Garth’s stomach, forcing the air out of the cloaked man’s lungs. Draykus followed up with a quick palm strike to Garth’s chest, knocking the cloaked trainer back to the street with a mighty roundhouse kick.

    “Is that all?” Draykus taunted, performing another superhuman leap as he came down to street level. “I thought one of your heritage would be a better fighter.”

    Another roar pierced the sky, but this one was not from Garth. The vengeful man’s eyes widened as he realized the roar’s true source. Draykus simply smirked and straightened his suit.

    “Ah, finally,” he said. “Now I can get what I truly came for.”

    “OVER MY DEAD BODY, FILTH!” Garth bellowed, lunging for Draykus. With a sigh, Draykus pulled something out of his pocket and jabbed it into Garth’s stomach. The object pierced Garth’s skin, glinting viciously as blood trickled over it.

    “Not a very fast learner, are you?” Draykus said as he withdrew the knife from Garth’s body, unceremoniously shoving him onto the pavement.

    What happened next would astound anyone who saw it. Garth’s wound stopped bleeding, and then stitched itself together. In moments, Garth’s flesh appeared as if it had never been stabbed at all. Draykus, although indeed astounded, recovered quickly with a smirk.

    “Ah, I see now,” Draykus said. “Let me test a theory I just thought of.”

    Shockingly, Draykus then thrust his knife into his own stomach, only for his own wounds to heal just as quickly upon the knife’s removal. The governor’s smirk grew wider.

    “Well, then,” Draykus smirked, “it seems that your petty revenge is indeed pointless…seeing as neither of us can ever die.”

    “I am willing to test that theory,” Garth growled. An explosion of darkness just outside Vermillion City, however, prevented Garth from attacking again.

    “That appears to be my cue,” Draykus said, removing a Pokeball from his pocket. “Conkeldurr, advance!”

    Draykus’ Pokeball revealed a beefy sepia-colored Pokemon with a body covered in purple, vein-like bulges. Its round head possessed a pointed grey beard, a spherical red nose, and a bulb of skin that emerged from the top of its head. In each of the Pokemon’s massive hands was a large concrete pillar, held in a manner similar to that of walking canes.

    “You? With a Conkeldurr?” Garth snorted.

    “An old acquaintance of mine got quite a bit of use out of a Conkeldurr,” Draykus shrugged. “I figured I may as well see for myself how good it really is. I’m proud to say that it has yet to disappoint me.”

    Another shadowy explosion, this one much closer to the city, erupted into the air. Draykus reacted by smirking yet again.

    “But enough talk,” he said. “I have an ultimate weapon to acquire.”

    “You keep your filthy hands off of—” Garth began to object, but Conkeldurr silenced him by clubbing him with one of its pillars, knocking him unconscious.

    “Thank you, Conkeldurr,” Draykus said. “Now, prepare yourself. It’s time to truly experience Stoutland’s power first-hand.”

    “Keldurr,” nodded Conkeldurr.

    One more dark explosion came, this one just inside the city. This time, a familiar blob of darkness burst from the explosion and landed a short distance away from Draykus and his Conkeldurr. The darkness faded to reveal Stoutland, slaver dripping from its fanged mouth as it snapped viciously at its newest foe.

    “At last,” Draykus whispered with a smirk. He then raised his voice for his first command. “Conkeldurr, use Fake Out!”

    Conkeldurr responded by using its pillars to propel itself into the air, looking down as it noticed Stoutland advancing on its trainer. Continuing the execution of its move, Conkeldurr threw its pillars down, aiming in such a way that the pillars would slam down in front of Stoutland. The strategy worked well, the pillars having landed with enough force to generate a small wind that slightly pushed Stoutland back. The Normal-type, however, simply gave its head a shake and growled, ready to continue.

    “Follow up with Dynamicpunch!” Draykus ordered.

    Though initially still in the air, Conkeldurr soon plummeted down rapidly, one fist becoming surrounded with a bullet-like whirlwind of red energy. To counter, Stoutland once again surrounded itself with darkness, rocketing up to meet Conkeldurr. The latter Pokemon was taken by surprise at this aggressive turn of events, but before it could turn the tables again, Stoutland’s dark blob slammed into it with devastating force, knocking Conkeldurr to the ground. To make matters worse, the blob actually barreled down towards Conkeldurr, which only had a wide-eyed gasp on its face when Stoutland crashed down into it. When the dust settled, Stoutland’s dark blob form was seen bounding away, leaving behind a defeated Conkeldurr within a large crater.

    “Incredible,” Draykus gasped. “Conkeldurr was defeated so easily…it seems I’ll need to try a different tactic.”

    A groan of anguish reached Draykus’ ears as Garth reawakened. The governor of Orre simply recalled Conkeldurr, whose concrete pillars somehow vanished along with it as it was returned to its Pokeball.

    “Now, then,” Draykus said, turning to Garth. “I assume you’ll also be pursuing that particular Stoutland. But I have no intention of letting such power run free.”

    “I will die before I let you have Stoutland!” Garth spat, struggling to get up.

    “Be careful what you wish for,” Draykus smirked. “Until our next meeting, Garth Alburus Cesslon IV.”

    With that, Draykus left, Garth still attempting in vain to rise.

    “That vile man will pay for this,” Garth growled as he got up on one knee.

    “Who are you swearing an overdramatic vengeance to now?”

    Garth’s gaze turned to Derak, who was leaning on the wall of the Gym.

    “Nothing of your concern,” Garth spat.

    “It probably would concern me, actually,” Derak retorted, “seeing as you look like you were run over by a train with feet. What happened while I was in the Gym?”

    “I will explain later,” Garth sighed. “Did you get the badge?”

    “Yep,” Derak said, opening his badge case and showing Garth a badge resembling a cartoonish sun. “I was told the next Gym was in Celadon City. The Leader here said that Celadon Gym was Grass-type.”

    “Then you may have a chance with that Chimchar of yours,” Garth nodded. “Come. We should be on our way.”

    As they began to depart Vermillion City, however, Garth silently gritted his teeth. Draykus would never get his filthy hands on Stoutland…not while he was alive.

    This was his vow.

    ****
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    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morpher01 View Post
    Chapter 11: Bitter Reunions




    A day after their encounter with Aiden in the hidden village, Derak and Garth entered Vermillion City. In this rather populated city, people passed by in personal journeys of their own. Derak paid little attention to them, however. What mattered to him was his own journey.

    “There’s supposed to be a Gym here, right?” Derak asked Garth.

    “Yes,” Garth nodded, having evidently recovered from his earlier troubles. “It is reputed as being quite difficult, however. The Gym Leader is clearly no fool.”

    “Won’t know until I see for myself, right?” Derak shrugged. “Might as well just give it a shot now. If I lose, I can just try again.”

    “Need I remind you that time is of the essence?” Garth growled. “There is no telling when Stoutland will attack again, so we should proceed through your damn Gyms as quickly as possible!”
    Well, someone sure is cranky today. I'd imagine that what happened last chapter really shook him up, though, so it's kind of understandable.

    “Easy on the language, there’s children present,” Derak sighed. “Oh, was I putting my needs ahead of yours again? So sorry, it’ll happen another thousand or so times considering that I actually have MY OWN needs to worry about.”

    “Just go to the Gym and get it over with,” Garth groaned, bemoaning Derak’s sarcastic demeanor.

    “Whatever,” Derak said.

    As the Gym came into view, marked with a “GYM” logo, Derak wordlessly entered. Upon doing so, he found himself in a somewhat darkened room illuminated only by a slew of ceiling lights. At the opposing end of the arena was a colossal, muscular man with spiky blonde hair. His clothing consisted of a green undershirt and camouflage-patterned pants. The evident Gym Leader smirked upon seeing Derak.

    “Well, look what we have here!” the man boomed. “A little baby trainer!”
    Oh boy, here we go. It's this version of Lt. Surge... ah, the nostalgia.

    “…excuse me?” Derak blinked.

    “Welcome to the Vermillion Gym, baby!” chuckled the man. “Name’s Lieutenant Surge, and I run the show around here. Think you can get the Thunder Badge from me, do ya? Show me what ya got in a one-on-one Pokemon battle! Unless, that is, you’re too chicken!”

    So this is what Melissa would have been like if she was born a boy, Derak thought. Making no effort to respond to Surge’s taunts, he simply removed Brute’s Pokeball and released his Machop. In response, Surge threw out a Pokeball revealing a large, orange-bodied mouse-like Pokemon with a long black tail tipped by a lightning bolt.

    “Raaaii,” the mouse growled, the yellow circles on its cheeks sparking with electricity as it narrowed its beady eyes.

    “Raichu,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Mouse Pokemon. Type is Electric. Evolved form of Pikachu. Its tail discharges electricity into the ground, protecting it from getting shocked. Pikachu evolves into Raichu upon exposure to a Thunder Stone.”

    Raichu evidently shared its trainer’s cocky demeanor. It smirked at Brute, attempting to intimidate the muscular Pokemon by lashing its tail against the ground, scattering electrical sparks on contact. Had Brute any true eyebrows to speak of, it would have raised one. This could be a tricky match, that much was for certain.

    “Ready to do this, Brute?” Derak asked, receiving an affirmative nod. “Okay, then. Use Vacuum Wave!”
    Judging from all the nostalgia to this point, I get the feeling we're going to see a very intense fight, if nothing else.

    Outside, as Derak waged battle against Surge, Garth sighed. That boy was almost more trouble than he was worth. But he had to use the boy. The supreme irony of turning one relative against another was simply too delicious a dish to let pass.
    I'm still not sure if Garth is someone to be trusted. Stuff like this really makes me wonder...

    I suppose we should begin training, then,” Garth said to his Electivire’s Pokeball, holding it up in his hand. He summoned his Electric-type, which promptly let out a frightening cry. All faces instantly turned towards Garth.

    “What’s your problem?!” one person yelled.

    “We need to train,” Garth replied. “Unless you would like to paint targets on your bodies, I suggest you all leave. Now.”

    “Vire,” Electivire added, its antennae sparking as it clenched its fists.

    The people obeyed, slowly backing into the safety of places such as nearby allies or their homes. Only one person remained, slowly applauding Garth’s display. The latter’s eyes widened upon seeing who it was.
    Well, that was unusual. What startled them so much?

    Nathaniel Draykus himself.

    “Bravo,” Draykus said with a smirk. “I expected no less of you.”

    “You,” Garth snarled, his every syllable containing untold amounts of loathing. He recalled his Electivire, wishing to deal with this intruder himself. “How are you still alive?”

    “The same way that you are, I’d wager,” Draykus replied. “But as much as I would love to catch up on old times, I have business to attend to. Pleasure to see you again.”

    Draykus made to leave, but Garth snatched one arm, holding Orre’s governor in place.

    “You will NOT escape this time!” Garth growled. “You need to pay for what you did to me, to my home!”
    Ooh, foreshadowing. I guess I wasn't so far off when I said Draykus seemed completely and unabashedly evil?

    “Is that so?” Draykus said without an ounce of concern in his voice.

    Then, in one swift motion, he grabbed his aggressor’s arm and threw him with such strength that Garth crashed into a lamppost with enough force to significantly bend it.

    “Your talk of vengeance is amusing, but pointless,” Draykus said, dusting himself off as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.

    Garth bared his teeth, the flames of his rage fanned by Draykus’ words. With wrathful roar, he leapt at Draykus, who avoided Garth’s assault by somehow leaping atop a nearby roof.

    “Get back here, you coward!” Garth bellowed, his body jumping upon the roof as well.

    “Ah, I see you’ve been training yourself as much as I have,” Draykus remarked.
    Neither of these two are normal, are they? Most people don't just jump up onto a roof from the street like it's nothing.

    You missed an "a" in "With a wrathful roar."

    “The thought of your bleeding face underneath my heel is an excellent motivator,” Garth replied bitterly, lunging for Draykus again. This time, Draykus deftly avoided his attacker’s outstretched hand and slammed his fist into Garth’s stomach, forcing the air out of the cloaked man’s lungs. Draykus followed up with a quick palm strike to Garth’s chest, knocking the cloaked trainer back to the street with a mighty roundhouse kick.

    “Is that all?” Draykus taunted, performing another superhuman leap as he came down to street level. “I thought one of your heritage would be a better fighter.”

    Another roar pierced the sky, but this one was not from Garth. The vengeful man’s eyes widened as he realized the roar’s true source. Draykus simply smirked and straightened his suit.

    “Ah, finally,” he said. “Now I can get what I truly came for.”

    “OVER MY DEAD BODY, FILTH!” Garth bellowed, lunging for Draykus. With a sigh, Draykus pulled something out of his pocket and jabbed it into Garth’s stomach. The object pierced Garth’s skin, glinting viciously as blood trickled over it.

    “Not a very fast learner, are you?” Draykus said as he withdrew the knife from Garth’s body, unceremoniously shoving him onto the pavement.

    What happened next would astound anyone who saw it. Garth’s wound stopped bleeding, and then stitched itself together. In moments, Garth’s flesh appeared as if it had never been stabbed at all. Draykus, although indeed astounded, recovered quickly with a smirk.
    Okay, what the **** is going on? I mean that in a good way - you completely caught me off guard with this whole thing, and it opens a whole new range of possibilities for Garth and Draykus.

    “Ah, I see now,” Draykus said. “Let me test a theory I just thought of.”

    Shockingly, Draykus then thrust his knife into his own stomach, only for his own wounds to heal just as quickly upon the knife’s removal. The governor’s smirk grew wider.

    “Well, then,” Draykus smirked, “it seems that your petty revenge is indeed pointless…seeing as neither of us can ever die.”
    Well then... my mind is certainly working on solving the mystery of these two, that's for sure.

    “I am willing to test that theory,” Garth growled. An explosion of darkness just outside Vermillion City, however, prevented Garth from attacking again.

    “That appears to be my cue,” Draykus said, removing a Pokeball from his pocket. “Conkeldurr, advance!”

    Draykus’ Pokeball revealed a beefy sepia-colored Pokemon with a body covered in purple, vein-like bulges. Its round head possessed a pointed grey beard, a spherical red nose, and a bulb of skin that emerged from the top of its head. In each of the Pokemon’s massive hands was a large concrete pillar, held in a manner similar to that of walking canes.

    “You? With a Conkeldurr?” Garth snorted.

    “An old acquaintance of mine got quite a bit of use out of a Conkeldurr,” Draykus shrugged. “I figured I may as well see for myself how good it really is. I’m proud to say that it has yet to disappoint me.”
    Conkeldurr suits hiim, but what intrigues me is just who his "old acquaintance" is. It's someone who's going to surprise me, isn't it?

    I'm also reminded of my near-flawless Conkeldurr nicknamed Bane that I bred in the game. Draykus is not kidding about how useful they are.

    Another shadowy explosion, this one much closer to the city, erupted into the air. Draykus reacted by smirking yet again.

    “But enough talk,” he said. “I have an ultimate weapon to acquire.”

    “You keep your filthy hands off of—” Garth began to object, but Conkeldurr silenced him by clubbing him with one of its pillars, knocking him unconscious.

    “Thank you, Conkeldurr,” Draykus said. “Now, prepare yourself. It’s time to truly experience Stoutland’s power first-hand.”
    Okay, so Draykus isn't behind Stoutland, but he wants to capture it, and Garth is trying to stop anyone who wants to capture Stoutland. That helps frame a few things, but it also raises more questions, namely, just who or what is behind all of this?

    “Keldurr,” nodded Conkeldurr.

    One more dark explosion came, this one just inside the city. This time, a familiar blob of darkness burst from the explosion and landed a short distance away from Draykus and his Conkeldurr. The darkness faded to reveal Stoutland, slaver dripping from its fanged mouth as it snapped viciously at its newest foe.

    “At last,” Draykus whispered with a smirk. He then raised his voice for his first command. “Conkeldurr, use Fake Out!”

    Conkeldurr responded by using its pillars to propel itself into the air, looking down as it noticed Stoutland advancing on its trainer. Continuing the execution of its move, Conkeldurr threw its pillars down, aiming in such a way that the pillars would slam down in front of Stoutland. The strategy worked well, the pillars having landed with enough force to generate a small wind that slightly pushed Stoutland back. The Normal-type, however, simply gave its head a shake and growled, ready to continue.

    “Follow up with Dynamicpunch!” Draykus ordered.

    Though initially still in the air, Conkeldurr soon plummeted down rapidly, one fist becoming surrounded with a bullet-like whirlwind of red energy. To counter, Stoutland once again surrounded itself with darkness, rocketing up to meet Conkeldurr. The latter Pokemon was taken by surprise at this aggressive turn of events, but before it could turn the tables again, Stoutland’s dark blob slammed into it with devastating force, knocking Conkeldurr to the ground. To make matters worse, the blob actually barreled down towards Conkeldurr, which only had a wide-eyed gasp on its face when Stoutland crashed down into it. When the dust settled, Stoutland’s dark blob form was seen bounding away, leaving behind a defeated Conkeldurr within a large crater.

    “Incredible,” Draykus gasped. “Conkeldurr was defeated so easily…it seems I’ll need to try a different tactic.”
    Serves you right, you creep. You had it coming.

    I do wonder how anyone can hope to stop this Stoutland thing though...

    A groan of anguish reached Draykus’ ears as Garth reawakened. The governor of Orre simply recalled Conkeldurr, whose concrete pillars somehow vanished along with it as it was returned to its Pokeball.

    “Now, then,” Draykus said, turning to Garth. “I assume you’ll also be pursuing that particular Stoutland. But I have no intention of letting such power run free.”

    “I will die before I let you have Stoutland!” Garth spat, struggling to get up.

    “Be careful what you wish for,” Draykus smirked. “Until our next meeting, Garth Alburus Cesslon IV.”

    With that, Draykus left, Garth still attempting in vain to rise.

    “That vile man will pay for this,” Garth growled as he got up on one knee.

    “Who are you swearing an overdramatic vengeance to now?”

    Garth’s gaze turned to Derak, who was leaning on the wall of the Gym.
    Somehow I get the feeling it was a good thing that Derak wasn't around for what just happened.

    Is it correct to assume that Draykus is not a well-known figure in Kanto? I mean, he is a politician, and a powerful one at that, but he can pull off things like the above incident and not seem to be terribly noticed for it.

    “Nothing of your concern,” Garth spat.

    “It probably would concern me, actually,” Derak retorted, “seeing as you look like you were run over by a train with feet. What happened while I was in the Gym?”

    “I will explain later,” Garth sighed. “Did you get the badge?”

    “Yep,” Derak said, opening his badge case and showing Garth a badge resembling a cartoonish sun. “I was told the next Gym was in Celadon City. The Leader here said that Celadon Gym was Grass-type.”

    “Then you may have a chance with that Chimchar of yours,” Garth nodded. “Come. We should be on our way.”

    As they began to depart Vermillion City, however, Garth silently gritted his teeth. Draykus would never get his filthy hands on Stoutland…not while he was alive.

    This was his vow.

    ****
    Hmmm, so the Gym battle was offscreen? I suppose that's a different way to go about it. Will we see flashbacks to it later, perhaps?

    A short chapter, but a very interesting one. Garth and Draykus having their showdown was certainly something worth seeing, and while some questions were answered about them, many other things were raised. I'm already thinking about possible explanations of just what is going on with the two of them, and also, who Draykus's associate was that got a lot of use out of a Conkeldurr.

    I'm not sure how I feel about offscreen Gym battles, though. The fight between Derak and Lt. Surge had potential to be extremely interesting, so I guess I'm a little disappointed it was skipped. What it was skipped for, on the other hand, was actually very entertaining, so I don't know.

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  3. #28
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    The Great Butler:
    Well, someone sure is cranky today. I'd imagine that what happened last chapter really shook him up, though, so it's kind of understandable.
    Also, this is Garth we're talking about...XD

    Neither of these two are normal, are they? Most people don't just jump up onto a roof from the street like it's nothing.

    You missed an "a" in "With a wrathful roar."
    You'll find out just what exactly makes Garth and Draykus so unique in due time.

    Also, noted. I think I managed to fix problems like that in the next chapter.

    Conkeldurr suits hiim, but what intrigues me is just who his "old acquaintance" is. It's someone who's going to surprise me, isn't it?

    I'm also reminded of my near-flawless Conkeldurr nicknamed Bane that I bred in the game. Draykus is not kidding about how useful they are.
    The "old aquaintance" will only be getting a mention, but is nonetheless someone who is going to surprise you.

    And why am I not surprised that you named your Conkeldurr "Bane"? XD

    Is it correct to assume that Draykus is not a well-known figure in Kanto? I mean, he is a politician, and a powerful one at that, but he can pull off things like the above incident and not seem to be terribly noticed for it.
    Pretty much. I can't really say a lot without spoiling, though. XD

    I'm not sure how I feel about offscreen Gym battles, though. The fight between Derak and Lt. Surge had potential to be extremely interesting, so I guess I'm a little disappointed it was skipped. What it was skipped for, on the other hand, was actually very entertaining, so I don't know.
    Eh...my main goal with that was to put some variety into the chapters. I felt that, if the same pattern of "go-into-town-and-battle-Gym-Leader" kept up, the story would get fairly repetitive and/or dull. So I tried to spice it up by having a Gym battle done off-screen, so to speak, and subbed in plot material like the Garth-Draykus encounter. I don't yet have any plans to skip future Gym battles, though.



    Okay, next chapter...this one introduces one of my favorite rival characters. You'll see...





    Chapter 12: Lavender Town



    Several days passed since the events of Vermillion City, where Garth encountered Governor Draykus and was made aware of the latter’s desire to capture Stoutland. Derak’s traveling companion, however, was not the only one to be aware. Due to Stoutland’s wild behavior, news footage of the encounter’s results was broadcast all across the Kanto region.

    A particular receiver of the news was a familiar figure who remained in Cerulean City, his Infernape by his side. From within the Pokemon Center, Nick Spire observed the news footage of the catastrophic damage left by Stoutland’s rampage, as well as the crater Draykus’ Conkeldurr had made upon its defeat.

    “Boy…how did we get into this mess, Infernape?” Spire groaned. “How in the world am I going to tell Anoch that his son is in such danger? There’s no way Derak would listen to me after what happened with you and his Chimchar, and I can’t force him to come back as long as he’s with that strange cloaked man.”

    “Fernape,” Infernape grunted, squatting by its trainer’s side.

    “But…I can’t give up now,” Spire said. “I can’t go back to Anoch empty-handed. I need to bring Derak back somehow, and I think I might have an idea. I just need to find out where he is.”

    *****

    Derak and Garth’s next leg of their journey was a quaint little town dubbed “Lavender Town”, filled with small wooden houses and wizened people who traversed the streets. As Derak and Garth crossed into the small town, they were in the midst of a conversation regarding their respective battles in Vermillion City. Dusk was beginning to set on them, and Bug Pokemon began to buzz and chirp as if to herald its coming.

    “Wait, back up,” Derak said, stopping for a moment. “You’re telling me that Orre’s governor is here in Kanto…looking for that crazy Stoutland?”

    “Exactly,” Garth nodded. “I expected no less of him.”

    “How do you know Governor Draykus, anyway?” Derak asked. “You talk like you’ve known him for years.”

    Garth paused, as if realizing that he had spoken too much.

    “If I told you…you would most likely not believe me,” Garth replied. “Now, come. We must reach Lavender Town’s Pokemon Center before nightfall.”

    Derak gave a shrug and accompanied Garth to the familiar “P”-bearing building, where the resident Nurse Joy greeted them with a friendly smile. Derak blinked for a moment, trying to figure out just how all the Nurse Joys looked exactly the same, but after a moment of effort he gave up. Some mysteries of the universe were simply never meant to be unraveled.

    He handed Wildfire and Brute’s Pokeballs to Nurse Joy and collapsed in a chair, attempting to piece together the facts. Governor Nathaniel Draykus had completely abandoned his office in order to capture an unusually powerful and aggressive Stoutland. Garth Cesslon somehow knew of both Draykus and Stoutland, and professed a desire to stop them. Despite already having this knowledge, Derak’s attempts to uncover the entire story were like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces.

    His thoughts were interrupted by a flash of white light from outside. Recognizing it as the signature flash caused by the opening of a Pokeball, he got up and poked his head out the door. Noticing Derak’s sudden curiosity, Garth came to investigate as well.

    Two trainers were facing each other on the street, each using a serpentine Pokemon. One trainer used a slender-bodied Pokemon with a tan front and a green back, the tail ending in a three-pronged green leaf. The Pokemon’s thin arms crossed as its large amber eyes gazed rather condescendingly at its opponent, a Pokemon resembling a purple rattlesnake with a yellow ring around its torso and a yellow rattle at the end of its tail.

    “Snivy,” Derak’s Pokedex reported upon observing the green serpent, “the Grass Snake Pokemon. Type is Grass. Snivy exposes its tail to plenty of sunlight, which makes its movements swifter. It is intelligent and calm, but if it is not feeling well, its tail droops.”

    “Ekans,” the Dex said upon being pointed at the purple snake, “the Snake Pokemon. Type is Poison. It sneaks through grass without making a sound and strikes its opponents from behind.”

    “Hey, you with the Snivy,” Derak called. “Not trying to interrupt, but your Pokemon looks kinda familiar…is it related to something called Serperior, by any chance?”

    “Yeah,” Snivy’s trainer nodded. “Snivy evolves into Serperior.”

    “Okay, just making sure,” Derak nodded. “I kinda had a hunch.”

    Ekans’ trainer was a face Derak had not yet seen: the greasy-haired boy who had observed Derak’s victory over the Pewter Gym. The boy smirked at this convenient appearance, but decided to put aside that matter until this battle was finished.

    “Wait a moment,” Garth said to Derak. “How do you, of all people, know what a Serperior is?”

    “Tell you what,” Derak replied, “you tell me your story, I might tell you mine.”

    “Okay, Snivy, let’s get on with the battle!” cried the Grass-type’s trainer. “Use Tackle!”

    Given Snivy’s rather small limbs, running was not a particularly valid option. Instead, the Grass Snake Pokemon agilely sprang forward, nimbly approaching Ekans. The greasy-haired trainer in the tattered blue suit simply smirked and waited for Snivy to approach. And then, in a cultured voice, he gave a command.

    “Ekans, use Wrap,” the boy ordered.

    Just as Snivy came near, Ekans coiled itself around the Grass-type, constricting Snivy with as much force as it could muster. Snivy did its best to avoid crying out in torment, but a few grunts of pain nonetheless escaped its clenched teeth.

    “Hey, let Snivy go!” protested the Grass-type’s trainer.

    “If you insist,” Ekans’ trainer smirked. Rather than give an order for his Poison-type to do so, however, he instead gave a snap of his fingers. Despite this unorthodox command, Ekans obeyed by rapidly uncoiling itself while simultaneously twisting its body, flinging Snivy into the air.

    “Snivy, no!” cried the Grass Snake Pokemon’s trainer.

    “And now, it is time to bring this to a close,” the greasy-haired trainer said. “Ekans, use Sludge Bomb!”

    Ekans reared up its head and spat a wad of slime at the airborne Snivy. The slime exploded in a burst of ooze upon contact with Snivy’s body, sending the Grass-type plummeting back onto the ground. The Grass Snake landed by its trainer’s feet, covered in slime and completely unconscious.

    “It would appear you have lost this battle,” Ekans’ trainer remarked. “I do thank you for the brief warm-up, however. It will most certainly aid me in future battles.”

    Snivy’s trainer did not respond, instead taking his fallen Pokemon in his arms and rushing into the Pokemon Center. Ekans’ trainer merely recalled his Pokemon, placing its Pokeball back onto his belt. Upon closer inspection, Derak noticed that, while Ekans’ Pokeball was the normal red, the greasy-haired boy had two other Pokeballs on hand. One was blue, like that of Sarah’s Squirtle, and the other was green, much like the Pokeball that contained Melissa’s Turtwig.

    “I must admit…Derak Kadir, was it?” the blue-suited boy said. “I was quite looking forward to our inevitable encounter. It appears that our journeys have finally intertwined.”

    “Uh…how do you know me?” Derak blinked. “And who the heck are you?”

    “Ah, where are my manners?” chuckled the blue-suited boy. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Elliot Trey. I am, like yourself, a Pokemon trainer. As such, I would greatly enjoy a battle between the two of us.”

    “Ugh…is battling all that anyone ever thinks about?” Derak sighed.

    “That is how the world works, I’m afraid,” Elliot shrugged. “If you win, you gain more experience. Should I emerge as the victor, then I will have more experience. Either way, this is—as they say—a ‘win-win’ situation. Now…shall we?”

    “Might as well, I guess,” Derak sighed. As he moved into position a distance away from Elliot, Garth remained on the sidelines by the Pokemon Center. “Brute, let’s go!”

    Like always, Brute emerged from his Pokeball in a flash of light. The second he materialized, however, he caught sight of Elliot. The mere sight of this mysterious trainer caused the normally-calm Brute to begin growling with rage.

    “H-hey, Brute, what’s wrong?” Derak stammered.

    “Haven’t forgotten me, have you?” Elliot smirked at Brute. “I must say, I’m quite touched.”

    “What are you talking about?” Derak asked.

    “Perhaps I should explain in detail,” Elliot said. “You found this Machop around Pewter City, correct? As I recall, that was where I…how shall I say…left it to the Mightyenas.”

    “Wait…YOU’RE the one who abandoned Brute?!” Derak snarled. Garth clenched his fist and bared his teeth, also angered by this revelation. “Why would you do that?! He was a strong Pokemon and a loyal friend, right?!”

    “True enough,” Elliot said, “but quite simply…I grew bored with it.”

    “THAT is your justification?” Garth growled. “You ‘grew bored’ with it?! And you call yourself a trainer!”

    “Ah, thank you for reminding me,” Elliot said cheerfully, preparing his blue Pokeball. “On to the battle. Piplup, fight!”

    Elliot’s blue Pokeball released a small blue penguin-like Pokemon. Its light blue body, patterned similarly to a tuxedo, stood on tiny yellow feet. Its round head was primarily a darker blue, and its white face played host to two blue eyes and a short yellow beak. The penguin proudly placed one of its small, pale blue wings on its front, puffing out its chest in a display of arrogance.

    “Piplup,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Penguin Pokemon. Type is Water. Due to being a poor walker, it often falls down. Its strong pride, however, makes it puff up its chest without a care.”

    “Now, shall we begin?” Elliot smirked. “Piplup, use Stealth Rock.”

    Piplup formed several small stars around it, which became comets that shot towards Brute. Despite this impending attack, however, the Machop did not move, instead steeling its gaze. It recognized this tactic.

    “Brute, what are you doing, get out of the way!” Derak cried, only to watch the comets swerve past Brute and embed themselves in the ground. “Uh…wait…what just happened?”

    “Do not underestimate Stealth Rock,” Garth growled. “It will—”

    “Now, now, no need to spoil the surprise,” Elliot interrupted. “Come, Derak, it’s time to make your move.”

    “Oh, we will,” Derak growled. “Brute, use Karate Chop!”

    Brute lunged forward with one arm drawn back, but Piplup somehow managed to avoid it by somersaulting backwards, evidently working around its walking problems. The Karate Chop instead struck the ground, leaving its penguin target untouched.

    “Is that unpleasant demeanor of yours really necessary?” Elliot said with a somewhat arrogant smirk.

    “Uh, yeah!” Derak snapped. “You abandoned someone who’s supposed to be your friend!”

    “As I said before, I grew bored with Machop,” Elliot explained with a shrug.

    “THAT’S NO EXCUSE!” Derak roared, drastically breaking his regular composure. “You’re supposed to make friends with Pokemon, not just throw them around like your toys! I don’t even know half of what there is to know about Pokemon, and even I know better than you!”

    Elliot’s smirk faded away, and his brown eye began to twitch.

    “Well?!” Derak yelled. “You going to try and justify being an idiot, now?!”

    “I don’t need to justify a thing for you, Kadir,” Elliot snarled, his voice becoming gruffer and losing its cultured tone.

    “WHAT DO YOU—wait, what’s…what’s up with your voice?” Derak asked.

    “Piip?” Piplup chirped as it looked up at its trainer with concern.

    “WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!” Elliot roared at his Piplup, whipping out its Pokeball and recalling his starter. “Get the hell out of my sight!”

    “What the heck are you doing?” Derak asked. “I thought you wanted to battle me?”

    “I do,” Elliot growled. “Piplup is just Elliot’s preferred starter.”

    “Uh…you ARE Elliot,” Derak said.

    “Call me Jason,” Elliot growled. “Elliot and I are a two-in-one sort of thing.”

    “A split personality?” Garth remarked.

    “What’s it to you, old man?!” the Jason personality barked. He then jerked his head back to the battlefield, preparing the green Pokeball. “Treecko, fight!”

    The Pokemon from the green Pokeball was drastically different from the Piplup Elliot had previously used. It appeared to be a bipedal green lizard with a red stomach and lower jaw, with yellow reptilian eyes that radiated a desire for battle. The Pokemon flicked its dark green tail in anticipation.

    “Treecko,” Derak’s Pokedex observed, “the Wood Gecko Pokemon. Type is Grass. The soles of its feet are covered by countless tiny spikes, enabling it to walk on walls and ceilings.”

    “How do you have two starter Pokemon, let alone two Pokemon from completely different regions?” Garth asked.

    “Less talk, more fighting!” Jason roared. “Treecko, Pound!”

    Treecko leapt forward and quickly swung its tail around, clubbing Brute in the side of the head and instantly flooring it. Brute gave its head a shake and tried to get up, only to find Treecko suddenly standing over it.

    “Pound again!” Jason yelled. “And again!”

    Shockingly, Treecko actually smirked as it complied with Jason’s orders, viciously slamming its tail into Brute’s body multiple times. Brute winced every time the Grass-type struck it, feeling an increasingly greater pain every time Treecko struck the same area. Derak’s eyes went wide at this merciless display.

    “Hey, stop it!” Derak cried. “Brute, return!”

    Fortunately, the red beam from the Pokeball withdrew Brute in time to prevent Treecko from injuring it further.

    “Okay, that was completely uncalled for!” Derak cried.

    “Tough,” Jason spat. “You can’t take the heat, you get out of the freaking kitchen.”

    At that point, however, Jason’s blue eye twitched. The confident smirk returned, signifying Elliot’s return to dominance.

    “Ah…my apologies for Jason’s behavior,” Elliot said, straightening his grimy-looking suit. “You see, we share a goal of attaining ultimate strength, and we would greatly appreciate the rapid removal of obstacles.”

    “Why do you want to be strong so badly?” Derak asked.

    “Ah-ah-ah!” Elliot smirked, waggling his finger. “That’s for me to know and for you to find out. I will give you a hint: it has nothing to do with ludicrous things like becoming a Pokemon Master or a Top Coordinator. Titles like that mean virtually nothing to me. Now…shall we continue our battle in style?”

    “In style?” Derak repeated.

    “What do you say to a double battle?” Elliot proposed. “My Piplup and Treecko against your two Pokemon. Will you accept?”

    “You really think I’m letting you get away with what you did to Brute?” Derak growled. “Wildfire, Brute, come on out!”

    Derak’s two Pokemon materialized as usual, but the moment they did so, massive rocks burst from the areas where the comets from Piplup’s Stealth Rock had landed earlier. The rocks levitated out of the ground and slammed into Wildfire’s body, greatly weakening it. Brute suffered a similar fate, albeit with less effect than Wildfire.

    “That is the effect of Stealth Rock,” Elliot explained. “Switching Pokemon becomes quite risky, as you have seen. And should a Pokemon be weak against Rock-type attacks…”

    “…the more damage Stealth Rock does, right?” Derak asked, noting that the bruises the Stealth Rock left on Wildfire were larger and darker than those on Brute.

    “Now you’re learning,” Elliot smirked. “Shall we begin? Piplup, fight!”

    Piplup reappeared, this time alongside Treecko. Though the two starter Pokemon exchanged a quick glare, they turned back to Derak’s Pokemon, evidently putting up a temporary truce.

    “Now the battle shall begin in earnest,” Elliot said, his smirk widening into a sinister grin. “Piplup, use Bubblebeam on Chimchar! Treecko, use Bullet Seed on Machop!”

    “Wildfire, use Ember!” Derak cried. “Brute, use Vacuum Wave!”

    Elliot’s two starter Pokemon spat a series of spheres at their respective targets. While Piplup fired a narrow stream of blue bubbles of energy towards Wildfire, Treecko released a wide-ranging storm of yellow orbs at Brute. The Machop fired off a Vacuum Wave that quickly sliced through Treecko’s attack, knocking the Wood Gecko Pokemon for a loop in the process. Unfortunately, Wildfire’s Ember was doused by Piplup’s Bubblebeam, and the Water-type attack began to close in on the Fire-type Chimchar.

    “Chop?” Brute grunted, noticing the attack. It then leapt between Wildfire and the Bubblebeam, taking the blow itself. “Ma-choooppp!”

    “Char?!” Wildfire cried. “Ch…char, chim-char?”

    “Ma…ma-chop,” Brute grunted, managing a reassuring smirk in spite of its pain.

    “How noble,” Elliot said with a disinterested sigh. “I suppose we should finish this now. Piplup, use Water Pledge! Treecko, you will use Grass Pledge!”

    Piplup and Treecko both folded their arms across their chests, each of their bodies taking on a bright aura. Piplup’s blue aura formed into a swirling ball of energy, while Treecko’s green aura did the same.

    “Derak, be careful!” Garth cried. “Those attacks will empower each other the moment they are launched!”

    “Aw, crap!” Derak swore. “Uh…come on, what do we do? How do we block this?!”

    Wildfire looked past Brute, watching Piplup and Treecko’s energy orbs combine into a single sphere. The two opposing starter’s raised their arms to the sky, and that sphere plunged into the ground. Wildfire watched as the spot where the sphere sank began to release blue and green pulses of energy, and its eyes bulged in fear at what happened next.

    A swirling fountain of water erupted from the ground, with vine-like energy coiling around it. The aquatic tornado hovered there for a moment, as if reveling in the terror it imposed in its foes, before lurching forward. It bore down on Brute and Wildfire, energy vines lashing out wildly in their attempts to strike.

    “Oh, man,” Derak muttered fearfully, staring in horror at the Grass Pledge-Water Pledge combination attack. “Aw, crap, what are we gonna do…?”

    Wildfire stared at the incoming attack, fear welling within its body as well. It desperately looked behind it, as if hoping Brute would reassure it. The Machop only looked at the attack, gritting its teeth as it awaited the attack’s strike. And then Wildfire understood. If this attack hit, the battle would be over. Elliot would win.

    Wildfire turned back to the Pledge tornado, which was mere inches from contact. The Chimchar simply steeled its gaze and crossed its arms.

    And then a colossal quantity of water and energy crashed down upon Derak’s Pokemon.

    “BRUTE!” Derak yelled. “WILDFIRE!”

    “It appears our match has finished,” Elliot smirked. “I must say, it was rather amusing for a…what?”

    Elliot’s eyes widened upon seeing that, although his Pledge combination had indeed struck, a dome of water remained. The water slid down, revealing a green bubble within.

    And in the bubble was Wildfire, arms crossed and eyes squeezed shut. Brute was behind the bubble, having escaped most damage due to the bubble taking the brunt of the impact.

    “What?!” yelled Elliot, his brown eye twitching and sending him back into his Jason persona. “Are you kidding?!”

    “Incredible,” Garth breathed. “Chimchar just learned Protect…it must have remembered Dewgong’s use of the move.”

    “Wildfire…Wildfire, Brute, you’re okay!” cried an overjoyed Derak. “Guys, I…I don’ t know what to say, but…I’m proud of you both. You’re just awesome, there’s no other word for it.”

    “Oh, shut up!” Jason roared. “We’re not done here, you hear me?! Piplup, use Peck! And Treecko, use Pound!”

    “You’re not taking us down that easily!” Derak cried. “Wildfire, use Thunderpunch on Piplup! Brute, use Poison Jab on Treecko!”

    Piplup and Treecko, both glaring in frustration at the failure of their combination attack, charged forth. Piplup’s beak began to glow white as it elongated, becoming a sharp weapon that the penguin intended to use to its fullest effect. Treecko leapt at Wildfire, its tail drawn back and prepared to strike.

    Derak’s Pokemon, however, nodded to one another. Wildfire charged its fist with electricity, leapt over Piplup’s Peck, and slammed its fist into the Water-type’s back. Piplup cried out as a sharp pain tore through its body, Wildfire’s attack having clearly found a weak spot. The penguin fell over, struggling to get up as leftover electricity sparked from its body.

    Meanwhile, Treecko swung its tail around in an attempt to strike Brute, but the Machop managed to catch the Grass-type’s tail in its grip. The Superpower Pokemon gave Treecko a smirk before flipping the Wood Gecko Pokemon onto its back. Growling in rage, Treecko quickly rose and charged again, only for a purple fist to jab itself into Treecko’s stomach. As the second of the super-effective blows was landed, Treecko joined Piplup on the floor as it, too, tried to recover.

    “How…has he turned this around so quickly?” Elliot gasped as his blue eye twitched. “No matter. Piplup, Treecko, return.”

    “You finally done?” Derak asked.

    “For now,” Elliot said as he placed his Pokeballs back on his belt. “I wanted a taste of your potential when I saw your victory with Machop and the Pewter Gym. From this battle, I gained such a taste.”

    He looked at Derak with a chilling smirk spreading across his face.

    “You may wish to redouble your training efforts,” Elliot suggested, “because the next time we meet…we will battle for real.”

    Elliot turned and left, heading out of Lavender Town. The moment that Elliot turned his back, Derak collapsed on the ground, letting out a massive sigh of relief.

    “Whew,” Derak breathed. “We did it.”

    “Chop,” Brute said, limping over to Derak and giving him a thumbs-up. “Ma-chop.”

    “Glad you got to stick it to your old trainer, Brute,” Derak smiled.

    “As am I,” Garth added. “I have noticed there are few things that we truly agree on, Derak. Can we agree that Elliot—or Jason, whatever his name is—is a truly vile person?”

    “Yep,” Derak said as he got up. “We can agree on that.”

    He went over to Wildfire, rubbing the Chimchar’s head.

    “Hey, you did great today,” Derak said. “You learned a new move and everything. Let’s get some rest, okay?”

    “Ch-chim, char,” Wildfire nodded slowly. Derak picked it up in his arms and went inside the Pokemon Center, Brute and Garth in tow.

    ****

    Elsewhere in Lavender Town, there rested a large stone tower. It was here that numerous graves were placed, honoring the spirits of deceased Pokemon. As such, the Pokemon Tower was a haven for Ghost-type Pokemon, particularly those who enjoyed playing tricks on passers-by.

    At the moment, however, the spectral residents of the Pokemon Tower laid scattered about with fresh wounds somehow present on their bodies. A large hole in the top of the tower indicated the forced entry of a mighty force, and that force was responsible for the carnage that took place. That force stood on the top floor of the tower, its dark power pulsing about its body.

    Stoutland let out a horrifying howl, and a short distance away, Nathaniel Draykus smirked in triumph.

    *****
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morpher01 View Post
    And why am I not surprised that you named your Conkeldurr "Bane"? XD
    Because he breaks opponents in half and uses Drain Punch to heal his pain.

    OF COURSE YOU AREN'T SURPRISED.

    Eh...my main goal with that was to put some variety into the chapters. I felt that, if the same pattern of "go-into-town-and-battle-Gym-Leader" kept up, the story would get fairly repetitive and/or dull. So I tried to spice it up by having a Gym battle done off-screen, so to speak, and subbed in plot material like the Garth-Draykus encounter. I don't yet have any plans to skip future Gym battles, though.
    I can understand that, though I think there might be better ways to do this.

    Chapter 12: Lavender Town



    Several days passed since the events of Vermillion City, where Garth encountered Governor Draykus and was made aware of the latter’s desire to capture Stoutland. Derak’s traveling companion, however, was not the only one to be aware. Due to Stoutland’s wild behavior, news footage of the encounter’s results was broadcast all across the Kanto region.

    A particular receiver of the news was a familiar figure who remained in Cerulean City, his Infernape by his side. From within the Pokemon Center, Nick Spire observed the news footage of the catastrophic damage left by Stoutland’s rampage, as well as the crater Draykus’ Conkeldurr had made upon its defeat.

    “Boy…how did we get into this mess, Infernape?” Spire groaned. “How in the world am I going to tell Anoch that his son is in such danger? There’s no way Derak would listen to me after what happened with you and his Chimchar, and I can’t force him to come back as long as he’s with that strange cloaked man.”

    “Fernape,” Infernape grunted, squatting by its trainer’s side.

    “But…I can’t give up now,” Spire said. “I can’t go back to Anoch empty-handed. I need to bring Derak back somehow, and I think I might have an idea. I just need to find out where he is.”
    Hmmm, I'm a little conflicted now. It's getting a little harder to tell if Spire, and Anoch by extension, are on the side of good or not. I guess we'll see.

    Derak and Garth’s next leg of their journey was a quaint little town dubbed “Lavender Town”, filled with small wooden houses and wizened people who traversed the streets. As Derak and Garth crossed into the small town, they were in the midst of a conversation regarding their respective battles in Vermillion City. Dusk was beginning to set on them, and Bug Pokemon began to buzz and chirp as if to herald its coming.
    A question that just jumped to mind - is this the incarnation of Lavender Town that has the Pokemon Tower, or the one with the Radio Tower and House of Memories?

    “Wait, back up,” Derak said, stopping for a moment. “You’re telling me that Orre’s governor is here in Kanto…looking for that crazy Stoutland?”

    “Exactly,” Garth nodded. “I expected no less of him.”

    “How do you know Governor Draykus, anyway?” Derak asked. “You talk like you’ve known him for years.”

    Garth paused, as if realizing that he had spoken too much.

    “If I told you…you would most likely not believe me,” Garth replied. “Now, come. We must reach Lavender Town’s Pokemon Center before nightfall.”
    Garth isn't lying here; I know I don't believe what just happened yet either.

    Derak gave a shrug and accompanied Garth to the familiar “P”-bearing building, where the resident Nurse Joy greeted them with a friendly smile. Derak blinked for a moment, trying to figure out just how all the Nurse Joys looked exactly the same, but after a moment of effort he gave up. Some mysteries of the universe were simply never meant to be unraveled.
    Oh, you. The world is just so amusing through Derak's cynical eyes.

    He handed Wildfire and Brute’s Pokeballs to Nurse Joy and collapsed in a chair, attempting to piece together the facts. Governor Nathaniel Draykus had completely abandoned his office in order to capture an unusually powerful and aggressive Stoutland. Garth Cesslon somehow knew of both Draykus and Stoutland, and professed a desire to stop them. Despite already having this knowledge, Derak’s attempts to uncover the entire story were like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces.

    His thoughts were interrupted by a flash of white light from outside. Recognizing it as the signature flash caused by the opening of a Pokeball, he got up and poked his head out the door. Noticing Derak’s sudden curiosity, Garth came to investigate as well.

    Two trainers were facing each other on the street, each using a serpentine Pokemon. One trainer used a slender-bodied Pokemon with a tan front and a green back, the tail ending in a three-pronged green leaf. The Pokemon’s thin arms crossed as its large amber eyes gazed rather condescendingly at its opponent, a Pokemon resembling a purple rattlesnake with a yellow ring around its torso and a yellow rattle at the end of its tail.

    “Snivy,” Derak’s Pokedex reported upon observing the green serpent, “the Grass Snake Pokemon. Type is Grass. Snivy exposes its tail to plenty of sunlight, which makes its movements swifter. It is intelligent and calm, but if it is not feeling well, its tail droops.”

    “Ekans,” the Dex said upon being pointed at the purple snake, “the Snake Pokemon. Type is Poison. It sneaks through grass without making a sound and strikes its opponents from behind.”

    “Hey, you with the Snivy,” Derak called. “Not trying to interrupt, but your Pokemon looks kinda familiar…is it related to something called Serperior, by any chance?”

    “Yeah,” Snivy’s trainer nodded. “Snivy evolves into Serperior.”

    “Okay, just making sure,” Derak nodded. “I kinda had a hunch.”

    Ekans’ trainer was a face Derak had not yet seen: the greasy-haired boy who had observed Derak’s victory over the Pewter Gym. The boy smirked at this convenient appearance, but decided to put aside that matter until this battle was finished.
    Oh boy, there's a face I hadn't thought about in a long time.

    “Wait a moment,” Garth said to Derak. “How do you, of all people, know what a Serperior is?”

    “Tell you what,” Derak replied, “you tell me your story, I might tell you mine.”
    I get the feeling no stories are going to be told, huh?

    “Okay, Snivy, let’s get on with the battle!” cried the Grass-type’s trainer. “Use Tackle!”

    Given Snivy’s rather small limbs, running was not a particularly valid option. Instead, the Grass Snake Pokemon agilely sprang forward, nimbly approaching Ekans. The greasy-haired trainer in the tattered blue suit simply smirked and waited for Snivy to approach. And then, in a cultured voice, he gave a command.

    “Ekans, use Wrap,” the boy ordered.

    Just as Snivy came near, Ekans coiled itself around the Grass-type, constricting Snivy with as much force as it could muster. Snivy did its best to avoid crying out in torment, but a few grunts of pain nonetheless escaped its clenched teeth.

    “Hey, let Snivy go!” protested the Grass-type’s trainer.

    “If you insist,” Ekans’ trainer smirked. Rather than give an order for his Poison-type to do so, however, he instead gave a snap of his fingers. Despite this unorthodox command, Ekans obeyed by rapidly uncoiling itself while simultaneously twisting its body, flinging Snivy into the air.

    “Snivy, no!” cried the Grass Snake Pokemon’s trainer.

    “And now, it is time to bring this to a close,” the greasy-haired trainer said. “Ekans, use Sludge Bomb!”

    Ekans reared up its head and spat a wad of slime at the airborne Snivy. The slime exploded in a burst of ooze upon contact with Snivy’s body, sending the Grass-type plummeting back onto the ground. The Grass Snake landed by its trainer’s feet, covered in slime and completely unconscious.

    “It would appear you have lost this battle,” Ekans’ trainer remarked. “I do thank you for the brief warm-up, however. It will most certainly aid me in future battles."

    Snivy’s trainer did not respond, instead taking his fallen Pokemon in his arms and rushing into the Pokemon Center. Ekans’ trainer merely recalled his Pokemon, placing its Pokeball back onto his belt. Upon closer inspection, Derak noticed that, while Ekans’ Pokeball was the normal red, the greasy-haired boy had two other Pokeballs on hand. One was blue, like that of Sarah’s Squirtle, and the other was green, much like the Pokeball that contained Melissa’s Turtwig.

    “I must admit…Derak Kadir, was it?” the blue-suited boy said. “I was quite looking forward to our inevitable encounter. It appears that our journeys have finally intertwined.”
    Okay, this kid is bad news. It's very obvious.

    “Uh…how do you know me?” Derak blinked. “And who the heck are you?”

    “Ah, where are my manners?” chuckled the blue-suited boy. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Elliot Trey. I am, like yourself, a Pokemon trainer. As such, I would greatly enjoy a battle between the two of us.”

    “Ugh…is battling all that anyone ever thinks about?” Derak sighed.
    Well, there's that sheltered upbringing rearing its head again. That's one of the basic facts of the Pokemon world, that all anyone thinks about is battling.

    “That is how the world works, I’m afraid,” Elliot shrugged. “If you win, you gain more experience. Should I emerge as the victor, then I will have more experience. Either way, this is—as they say—a ‘win-win’ situation. Now…shall we?”

    “Might as well, I guess,” Derak sighed. As he moved into position a distance away from Elliot, Garth remained on the sidelines by the Pokemon Center. “Brute, let’s go!”

    Like always, Brute emerged from his Pokeball in a flash of light. The second he materialized, however, he caught sight of Elliot. The mere sight of this mysterious trainer caused the normally-calm Brute to begin growling with rage.
    Oh crap. I never even THOUGHT of this.

    “H-hey, Brute, what’s wrong?” Derak stammered.

    “Haven’t forgotten me, have you?” Elliot smirked at Brute. “I must say, I’m quite touched.”

    “What are you talking about?” Derak asked.

    “Perhaps I should explain in detail,” Elliot said. “You found this Machop around Pewter City, correct? As I recall, that was where I…how shall I say…left it to the Mightyenas.”

    “Wait…YOU’RE the one who abandoned Brute?!” Derak snarled. Garth clenched his fist and bared his teeth, also angered by this revelation. “Why would you do that?! He was a strong Pokemon and a loyal friend, right?!”

    “True enough,” Elliot said, “but quite simply…I grew bored with it.”
    That's not enough of an excuse. He's got something else going on, I can tell.

    “THAT is your justification?” Garth growled. “You ‘grew bored’ with it?! And you call yourself a trainer!”

    “Ah, thank you for reminding me,” Elliot said cheerfully, preparing his blue Pokeball. “On to the battle. Piplup, fight!”

    Elliot’s blue Pokeball released a small blue penguin-like Pokemon. Its light blue body, patterned similarly to a tuxedo, stood on tiny yellow feet. Its round head was primarily a darker blue, and its white face played host to two blue eyes and a short yellow beak. The penguin proudly placed one of its small, pale blue wings on its front, puffing out its chest in a display of arrogance.

    “Piplup,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Penguin Pokemon. Type is Water. Due to being a poor walker, it often falls down. Its strong pride, however, makes it puff up its chest without a care.”
    Now that's a smart choice of starter. The pride factor definitely fits right in with Elliot.

    “Now, shall we begin?” Elliot smirked. “Piplup, use Stealth Rock.”

    Piplup formed several small stars around it, which became comets that shot towards Brute. Despite this impending attack, however, the Machop did not move, instead steeling its gaze. It recognized this tactic.

    “Brute, what are you doing, get out of the way!” Derak cried, only to watch the comets swerve past Brute and embed themselves in the ground. “Uh…wait…what just happened?”

    “Do not underestimate Stealth Rock,” Garth growled. “It will—”

    “Now, now, no need to spoil the surprise,” Elliot interrupted. “Come, Derak, it’s time to make your move.”
    I didn't actually know Piplup could learn Stealth Rock, so once again, kudos on making your movesets diverse and surprising.

    Stealth Rock is also a tactic that suits Elliot's personality well.

    “Oh, we will,” Derak growled. “Brute, use Karate Chop!”

    Brute lunged forward with one arm drawn back, but Piplup somehow managed to avoid it by somersaulting backwards, evidently working around its walking problems. The Karate Chop instead struck the ground, leaving its penguin target untouched.

    “Is that unpleasant demeanor of yours really necessary?” Elliot said with a somewhat arrogant smirk.

    “Uh, yeah!” Derak snapped. “You abandoned someone who’s supposed to be your friend!”

    “As I said before, I grew bored with Machop,” Elliot explained with a shrug.

    “THAT’S NO EXCUSE!” Derak roared, drastically breaking his regular composure. “You’re supposed to make friends with Pokemon, not just throw them around like your toys! I don’t even know half of what there is to know about Pokemon, and even I know better than you!”

    Elliot’s smirk faded away, and his brown eye began to twitch.

    “Well?!” Derak yelled. “You going to try and justify being an idiot, now?!”

    “I don’t need to justify a thing for you, Kadir,” Elliot snarled, his voice becoming gruffer and losing its cultured tone.

    “WHAT DO YOU—wait, what’s…what’s up with your voice?” Derak asked.

    “Piip?” Piplup chirped as it looked up at its trainer with concern.

    “WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!” Elliot roared at his Piplup, whipping out its Pokeball and recalling his starter. “Get the hell out of my sight!”

    “What the heck are you doing?” Derak asked. “I thought you wanted to battle me?”

    “I do,” Elliot growled. “Piplup is just Elliot’s preferred starter.”

    “Uh…you ARE Elliot,” Derak said.

    “Call me Jason,” Elliot growled. “Elliot and I are a two-in-one sort of thing.”
    You sure aren't holding back on characters with unusual traits, are you? Split personalities can be a fascinating detail to explore, so I'm excited you're going for it.

    “A split personality?” Garth remarked.

    “What’s it to you, old man?!” the Jason personality barked. He then jerked his head back to the battlefield, preparing the green Pokeball. “Treecko, fight!”

    The Pokemon from the green Pokeball was drastically different from the Piplup Elliot had previously used. It appeared to be a bipedal green lizard with a red stomach and lower jaw, with yellow reptilian eyes that radiated a desire for battle. The Pokemon flicked its dark green tail in anticipation.

    “Treecko,” Derak’s Pokedex observed, “the Wood Gecko Pokemon. Type is Grass. The soles of its feet are covered by countless tiny spikes, enabling it to walk on walls and ceilings.”

    “How do you have two starter Pokemon, let alone two Pokemon from completely different regions?” Garth asked.
    Somehow I get the feeling this isn't a question that can be easily pondered.

    “Less talk, more fighting!” Jason roared. “Treecko, Pound!”

    Treecko leapt forward and quickly swung its tail around, clubbing Brute in the side of the head and instantly flooring it. Brute gave its head a shake and tried to get up, only to find Treecko suddenly standing over it.

    “Pound again!” Jason yelled. “And again!”

    Shockingly, Treecko actually smirked as it complied with Jason’s orders, viciously slamming its tail into Brute’s body multiple times. Brute winced every time the Grass-type struck it, feeling an increasingly greater pain every time Treecko struck the same area. Derak’s eyes went wide at this merciless display.

    “Hey, stop it!” Derak cried. “Brute, return!”

    Fortunately, the red beam from the Pokeball withdrew Brute in time to prevent Treecko from injuring it further.

    “Okay, that was completely uncalled for!” Derak cried.

    “Tough,” Jason spat. “You can’t take the heat, you get out of the freaking kitchen.”

    At that point, however, Jason’s blue eye twitched. The confident smirk returned, signifying Elliot’s return to dominance.

    “Ah…my apologies for Jason’s behavior,” Elliot said, straightening his grimy-looking suit. “You see, we share a goal of attaining ultimate strength, and we would greatly appreciate the rapid removal of obstacles.”
    What I'd like to better understand is just what the trigger for the switch is.

    “Why do you want to be strong so badly?” Derak asked.

    “Ah-ah-ah!” Elliot smirked, waggling his finger. “That’s for me to know and for you to find out. I will give you a hint: it has nothing to do with ludicrous things like becoming a Pokemon Master or a Top Coordinator. Titles like that mean virtually nothing to me. Now…shall we continue our battle in style?”

    “In style?” Derak repeated.

    “What do you say to a double battle?” Elliot proposed. “My Piplup and Treecko against your two Pokemon. Will you accept?”

    “You really think I’m letting you get away with what you did to Brute?” Derak growled. “Wildfire, Brute, come on out!”

    Derak’s two Pokemon materialized as usual, but the moment they did so, massive rocks burst from the areas where the comets from Piplup’s Stealth Rock had landed earlier. The rocks levitated out of the ground and slammed into Wildfire’s body, greatly weakening it. Brute suffered a similar fate, albeit with less effect than Wildfire.

    “That is the effect of Stealth Rock,” Elliot explained. “Switching Pokemon becomes quite risky, as you have seen. And should a Pokemon be weak against Rock-type attacks…”

    “…the more damage Stealth Rock does, right?” Derak asked, noting that the bruises the Stealth Rock left on Wildfire were larger and darker than those on Brute.
    He baited Derak into a Double Battle just to troll him into activating Stealth Rock twice, didn't he?

    “Now you’re learning,” Elliot smirked. “Shall we begin? Piplup, fight!”

    Piplup reappeared, this time alongside Treecko. Though the two starter Pokemon exchanged a quick glare, they turned back to Derak’s Pokemon, evidently putting up a temporary truce.

    “Now the battle shall begin in earnest,” Elliot said, his smirk widening into a sinister grin. “Piplup, use Bubblebeam on Chimchar! Treecko, use Bullet Seed on Machop!”

    “Wildfire, use Ember!” Derak cried. “Brute, use Vacuum Wave!”

    Elliot’s two starter Pokemon spat a series of spheres at their respective targets. While Piplup fired a narrow stream of blue bubbles of energy towards Wildfire, Treecko released a wide-ranging storm of yellow orbs at Brute. The Machop fired off a Vacuum Wave that quickly sliced through Treecko’s attack, knocking the Wood Gecko Pokemon for a loop in the process. Unfortunately, Wildfire’s Ember was doused by Piplup’s Bubblebeam, and the Water-type attack began to close in on the Fire-type Chimchar.

    “Chop?” Brute grunted, noticing the attack. It then leapt between Wildfire and the Bubblebeam, taking the blow itself. “Ma-choooppp!”

    “Char?!” Wildfire cried. “Ch…char, chim-char?”

    “Ma…ma-chop,” Brute grunted, managing a reassuring smirk in spite of its pain.
    Elliot's loss that he released a Pokemon this loyal to its trainer. I get the feeling that we'll be seeing more of this in the future.

    “How noble,” Elliot said with a disinterested sigh. “I suppose we should finish this now. Piplup, use Water Pledge! Treecko, you will use Grass Pledge!”
    ...Thank you for actually using these attacks and even making sure to include the "combo attack" portion of their functions.

    Piplup and Treecko both folded their arms across their chests, each of their bodies taking on a bright aura. Piplup’s blue aura formed into a swirling ball of energy, while Treecko’s green aura did the same.

    “Derak, be careful!” Garth cried. “Those attacks will empower each other the moment they are launched!”

    “Aw, crap!” Derak swore. “Uh…come on, what do we do? How do we block this?!”

    Wildfire looked past Brute, watching Piplup and Treecko’s energy orbs combine into a single sphere. The two opposing starter’s raised their arms to the sky, and that sphere plunged into the ground. Wildfire watched as the spot where the sphere sank began to release blue and green pulses of energy, and its eyes bulged in fear at what happened next.

    A swirling fountain of water erupted from the ground, with vine-like energy coiling around it. The aquatic tornado hovered there for a moment, as if reveling in the terror it imposed in its foes, before lurching forward. It bore down on Brute and Wildfire, energy vines lashing out wildly in their attempts to strike.

    “Oh, man,” Derak muttered fearfully, staring in horror at the Grass Pledge-Water Pledge combination attack. “Aw, crap, what are we gonna do…?”

    Wildfire stared at the incoming attack, fear welling within its body as well. It desperately looked behind it, as if hoping Brute would reassure it. The Machop only looked at the attack, gritting its teeth as it awaited the attack’s strike. And then Wildfire understood. If this attack hit, the battle would be over. Elliot would win.

    Wildfire turned back to the Pledge tornado, which was mere inches from contact. The Chimchar simply steeled its gaze and crossed its arms.

    And then a colossal quantity of water and energy crashed down upon Derak’s Pokemon.

    “BRUTE!” Derak yelled. “WILDFIRE!”

    “It appears our match has finished,” Elliot smirked. “I must say, it was rather amusing for a…what?”

    Elliot’s eyes widened upon seeing that, although his Pledge combination had indeed struck, a dome of water remained. The water slid down, revealing a green bubble within.

    And in the bubble was Wildfire, arms crossed and eyes squeezed shut. Brute was behind the bubble, having escaped most damage due to the bubble taking the brunt of the impact.

    “What?!” yelled Elliot, his brown eye twitching and sending him back into his Jason persona. “Are you kidding?!”

    “Incredible,” Garth breathed. “Chimchar just learned Protect…it must have remembered Dewgong’s use of the move.”
    I actually cheered a little when Wildfire pulled this off.

    “Wildfire…Wildfire, Brute, you’re okay!” cried an overjoyed Derak. “Guys, I…I don’ t know what to say, but…I’m proud of you both. You’re just awesome, there’s no other word for it.”

    “Oh, shut up!” Jason roared. “We’re not done here, you hear me?! Piplup, use Peck! And Treecko, use Pound!”

    “You’re not taking us down that easily!” Derak cried. “Wildfire, use Thunderpunch on Piplup! Brute, use Poison Jab on Treecko!”

    Piplup and Treecko, both glaring in frustration at the failure of their combination attack, charged forth. Piplup’s beak began to glow white as it elongated, becoming a sharp weapon that the penguin intended to use to its fullest effect. Treecko leapt at Wildfire, its tail drawn back and prepared to strike.

    Derak’s Pokemon, however, nodded to one another. Wildfire charged its fist with electricity, leapt over Piplup’s Peck, and slammed its fist into the Water-type’s back. Piplup cried out as a sharp pain tore through its body, Wildfire’s attack having clearly found a weak spot. The penguin fell over, struggling to get up as leftover electricity sparked from its body.

    Meanwhile, Treecko swung its tail around in an attempt to strike Brute, but the Machop managed to catch the Grass-type’s tail in its grip. The Superpower Pokemon gave Treecko a smirk before flipping the Wood Gecko Pokemon onto its back. Growling in rage, Treecko quickly rose and charged again, only for a purple fist to jab itself into Treecko’s stomach. As the second of the super-effective blows was landed, Treecko joined Piplup on the floor as it, too, tried to recover.

    “How…has he turned this around so quickly?” Elliot gasped as his blue eye twitched. “No matter. Piplup, Treecko, return.”
    I think that the battle was essentially sewn up for Derak the moment Wildfire learned Protect and stopped the combo move. Elliot's pace was completely broken when that happened.

    “You finally done?” Derak asked.

    “For now,” Elliot said as he placed his Pokeballs back on his belt. “I wanted a taste of your potential when I saw your victory with Machop and the Pewter Gym. From this battle, I gained such a taste.”

    He looked at Derak with a chilling smirk spreading across his face.

    “You may wish to redouble your training efforts,” Elliot suggested, “because the next time we meet…we will battle for real.”

    Elliot turned and left, heading out of Lavender Town. The moment that Elliot turned his back, Derak collapsed on the ground, letting out a massive sigh of relief.

    “Whew,” Derak breathed. “We did it.”

    “Chop,” Brute said, limping over to Derak and giving him a thumbs-up. “Ma-chop.”

    “Glad you got to stick it to your old trainer, Brute,” Derak smiled.

    “As am I,” Garth added. “I have noticed there are few things that we truly agree on, Derak. Can we agree that Elliot—or Jason, whatever his name is—is a truly vile person?”

    “Yep,” Derak said as he got up. “We can agree on that.”
    I think we ALL agree on that.

    Elsewhere in Lavender Town, there rested a large stone tower. It was here that numerous graves were placed, honoring the spirits of deceased Pokemon. As such, the Pokemon Tower was a haven for Ghost-type Pokemon, particularly those who enjoyed playing tricks on passers-by.

    At the moment, however, the spectral residents of the Pokemon Tower laid scattered about with fresh wounds somehow present on their bodies. A large hole in the top of the tower indicated the forced entry of a mighty force, and that force was responsible for the carnage that took place. That force stood on the top floor of the tower, its dark power pulsing about its body.

    Stoutland let out a horrifying howl, and a short distance away, Nathaniel Draykus smirked in triumph.

    *****
    The only thing I can think here is that it answers my earlier question about what buildings are in this version of Lavender Town. There's just not anything I can say yet about the rest.

    Much better chapter, vastly improved from the chapter before it. And because that chapter was pretty good, this one is excellent. The battle was exciting and Elliot, in his first real appearance, made for a compelling character. I have literally nothing I can say that's wrong with this chapter.

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  5. #30
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    Finally getting started here.

    Chapter 1

    I kind of curious as to why Professor Krane (...Heh. Is that an intentional Batman reference?) and Derak are so seemingly nonchalant about the assault on the lab by the guy with the Sableye. After he leaves, they basically act like nothing happened, even though Krane was physically assaulted (and, to a lesser degree, so was Derak). I get that Derak is a hard-nosed kid, but he is still just 10. I imagine he would be terrified of what he just witnessed. That's one reason I'm not a big fan personally of using 10-year olds as protagonists in pokemon stories: they are HARD to write well. They are still just very young children and still several years away from being even a teen.

    The scene with Derak trying to get Chimchar to use the attacks Sableye used was pretty funny. I enjoyed that. Go ahead and use a Shadow Ball, Chimchar. Sure, why not?

    I'm also a bit surprised--back to the ten-year old bit--that Krane is okay with this child just running away from home without permission. It seems wildly irresponsible. I guess this is the pokemon world and the standards are different, but it just strikes me as unusual.


    Chapter 2

    Okay, here we got to see Derak acting a little more like a ten year old in that he and Melissa were both very annoying, and I wanted to smack both of them. But they were being realistic, smarmy, loud-mouth kids. So that fit.

    The bit about the cloaked man just assuming there would be internet in the middle of the ocean was amusing, and I can almost picture him saying something like "Curses! Foiled again by technology!" I got a laugh.

    I wonder what's up with Derak's dad. Why does Derak call him "Mr. Kadir"? What will he be doing going forward? Is he actually concerned for Derak? I assume he is and that his intentions of keeping Derak away from pokemon aren't totally cruel. But he does speak like a stereotyped Disney step-parent. "My disobedient son!" and what not. It's hard to reconcile that with wanting to keep Derak safe, but if he's just a bad person...why?


    Chapter 3

    I still like the cloaked guy's reaction to computers and technology like it's this Rubic's Cube he can't quite figure out.

    A few problems I had here: One is that YET AGAIN, we have the cloaked guy physically assaulting a professor and a child, and YET AGAIN, no one really cares once he stops. It's just like if somebody came into your home, started beating the crap out of you, and then just stopped...you probably wouldn't be cool with it. Why is no one calling the police on this guy. Another problem is I don't by the Derak is not TERRIFIED of this guy. He's older, bigger, stronger, has powerful pokemon, and can't seem to decide if he wants to kill him or not. There's no way a ten year old isn't going to be spazzed out and in tears about this. At the very least, he'd tell the crazy guy to shove off and leave him alone. Let him have his identity crisis somewhere else.

    Another thing...a LOT of the last section with Anoch and Spire read as characters saying things they have no business saying. Like "I've been your lawyer for ten years" or "I use my detective skills to help me win cases". Anoch already knew those things, so those lines really read exactly for what they are: info-dumps for the reader. I imagine you don't regularly walk up to your friends or coworkers and say "We have been friends for ten years now!" Because the person you're talking to already knows that. That kind of info is better given through narration.


    Chapter 4

    In 4 chapters, you've already introduced all 3 turtle-based pokemon (Turtwig, Squirtle, and Torkoal). Was that intentional?

    I REALLY like the bit about "Chansey lets people eat its babies!" Oddly, I never thought of it like that before, but yeah...I guess that is the case.

    I kind of like the new female character as the anti-Misty. She loves bug pokemon and seems to be basing her entire existence as a trainer around them. As a Butterfree fan, I can support this. I wonder what, if anything, she has besides Squirtle and Weedle?

    Draykus is obviously tied in with Garth's actual rival. Is the Stoutland a shadow pokemon? I know you have an affinity for them, and they DID start the story in Orre. So it's at least a reasonable assumption to me. Why is it running around like crazy? Why is it following Derak? Interesting.


    Okay, that might be it from me for now. I will try to continue catching up later.


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  6. #31
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    EXELLENT.
    Don't forget to keep the pms flowing...
    NOOOOOO!
    Garth borke his oath. Now he will die by the hands of drakyus. Cause his shadow(?) stoutland kicksbutt.
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  7. #32
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    Okay, so I finished the first page's worth of chapters here.

    You sure like introducing a lot of characters, and I'm just not sure how many of them are important and how many are just one-offs. There's Derak, Garth, Derak's dad, Draykus, Spire, Melissa, Sarah, Teresa, Aiden, the blue-haired guy that breathes fire, Timmy, Nando...and I'm sure I'm missing others. Are they all important? They were described well enough to be, that's for sure, so kudos there, but I'm not sure how much I should be remembering everybody. And I know firsthand from SfP that you like having swarms of characters.

    What is it about Garth that makes people act so irrationally. After physically assaulting Professor Krane and Oak, he border-line assaulted Nando here, and again was just let go and forgotten about. Doesn't this world have assault and battery charges?

    The Contest thing seemed like a weird aside, but at least it was new. You don't see too many contests thrown into Fanfics. Lord knows I never participated in them in-game. Heh. Is Derak going to get involved in them? I wonder what the relevance there was. I guess I'll see. But it's certainly an original thing to add in!

    I think there's some dialogue problems at points: I'm still not entirely sold on Derak as a legit ten-year old boy. He reads as more of a 14 year old or so. He's just so jaded and more mature than a ten year old. Even given whatever kind of life he had, there should still bemore of a childishness to him. And some characters speak in cliches regularly (noteworthy of this Draykus' "Soon the power will be mine and mine alone!" bit which could well have been accompanied by his twirling a moustache).

    The scene with Wildfire and Derak after the Infernape fight was touching. I imagine that somewhere down the line, Chimchar will intentionally evolve to save/help Derak, but the scene of it freaking out and Derak caring for it was nicely done.

    I'm sure I've mentioned this in SfP, but the jumpy narration really gets to me sometimes. Getting to see the thoughts and opinions of Derak, Garth, and others all in one scene feels like it's really giving stuff away and not leaving much to the assumptions of the reader. That's one thing I'd love to see you work on either here or in another story: consistent, steady narration. It could change from character-to-character by chapter, but not multiple times in the same scene.


    EDIT: Okay, I'm all caught up. How interesting that this story takes place in the Ash Ketchum universe. I'd not have thought that would be the case. Will we be seeing any other familiar characters?

    The return of Sarah was nice, and I do enjoy seeing characters return when I haven't seen them for a while.
    Last edited by Sid87; 15th August 2012 at 10:41 PM.


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  8. #33
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    The Great Butler:
    You sure aren't holding back on characters with unusual traits, are you? Split personalities can be a fascinating detail to explore, so I'm excited you're going for it.
    That would be the primary reason why Elliot is so fun to write about. XD

    What I'd like to better understand is just what the trigger for the switch is.
    Generally stressful situations (like being yelled at, for instance...).

    He baited Derak into a Double Battle just to troll him into activating Stealth Rock twice, didn't he?
    Another reason why Elliot is so fun to write. XD

    Glad you enjoyed the chapter, but be prepared: revelations are to come.


    Sid87:
    I kind of curious as to why Professor Krane (...Heh. Is that an intentional Batman reference?) and Derak are so seemingly nonchalant about the assault on the lab by the guy with the Sableye. After he leaves, they basically act like nothing happened, even though Krane was physically assaulted (and, to a lesser degree, so was Derak). I get that Derak is a hard-nosed kid, but he is still just 10. I imagine he would be terrified of what he just witnessed. That's one reason I'm not a big fan personally of using 10-year olds as protagonists in pokemon stories: they are HARD to write well. They are still just very young children and still several years away from being even a teen.
    Eh...I prefer writing about teen-ish people myself. Still, I wanted Derak to be a ten-year-old because, for some odd reason, I can't picture the story any other way. XD I don't know, sometimes I get stuck on one idea even if it isn't the best. This is probably one of those cases.

    I wonder what's up with Derak's dad. Why does Derak call him "Mr. Kadir"? What will he be doing going forward? Is he actually concerned for Derak? I assume he is and that his intentions of keeping Derak away from pokemon aren't totally cruel. But he does speak like a stereotyped Disney step-parent. "My disobedient son!" and what not. It's hard to reconcile that with wanting to keep Derak safe, but if he's just a bad person...why?
    Because Derak's kind of an a-hole. XD Mainly because I wanted him to be an unorthodox young trainer (although, given other characters, I probably could have done that a bit better...).

    In all seriousness, though, Derak's dad's motivations will be expanded on later.

    You sure like introducing a lot of characters, and I'm just not sure how many of them are important and how many are just one-offs. There's Derak, Garth, Derak's dad, Draykus, Spire, Melissa, Sarah, Teresa, Aiden, the blue-haired guy that breathes fire, Timmy, Nando...and I'm sure I'm missing others. Are they all important? They were described well enough to be, that's for sure, so kudos there, but I'm not sure how much I should be remembering everybody. And I know firsthand from SfP that you like having swarms of characters.
    I like to work with large amounts of characters. It gives me opportunities for things like sub-plots, protagonist development, etc. Hence why everything you'll read from me has a ton of characters. XD

    As for remembering everybody...most of the rival-ish characters are brought in every now and then, so all you really need is to have a "Oh yeah, I remember that person!" feeling when they show up. XD

    What is it about Garth that makes people act so irrationally. After physically assaulting Professor Krane and Oak, he border-line assaulted Nando here, and again was just let go and forgotten about. Doesn't this world have assault and battery charges?
    I will definitely admit that I dropped the ball where Krane and Oak are concerned reaction-wise. Nando, however, is a different story. Throughout all of his appearances in the DP portion of the anime, he always--ALWAYS--maintains a calm, polite, and civil demeanor. Even when he was being ARRESTED FOR A CRIME HE DID NOT COMMIT, he still kept a smile on his face and remained a gentlemanly fellow (don't ask me how...).

    Another thing...a LOT of the last section with Anoch and Spire read as characters saying things they have no business saying. Like "I've been your lawyer for ten years" or "I use my detective skills to help me win cases". Anoch already knew those things, so those lines really read exactly for what they are: info-dumps for the reader. I imagine you don't regularly walk up to your friends or coworkers and say "We have been friends for ten years now!" Because the person you're talking to already knows that. That kind of info is better given through narration.
    You're probably right there.

    The Contest thing seemed like a weird aside, but at least it was new. You don't see too many contests thrown into Fanfics. Lord knows I never participated in them in-game. Heh. Is Derak going to get involved in them? I wonder what the relevance there was. I guess I'll see. But it's certainly an original thing to add in!
    To be honest, I never really did Contests in the games myself. XD The only reason I invovled them in the first place was because I liked how the anime did Contests. There, they looked like an absolute blast. In the games...not so much. Still, glad you find it new. Given the somewhat overdone-nature of the "Gym-Badge-collection" plot, I wanted to inject something new every now and then to actually make the fic interesting.

    As for Derak entering a Contest...ah, you'll see.

    I think there's some dialogue problems at points: I'm still not entirely sold on Derak as a legit ten-year old boy. He reads as more of a 14 year old or so. He's just so jaded and more mature than a ten year old. Even given whatever kind of life he had, there should still bemore of a childishness to him. And some characters speak in cliches regularly (noteworthy of this Draykus' "Soon the power will be mine and mine alone!" bit which could well have been accompanied by his twirling a moustache).
    There's actually a reason Derak is like that, and it'll be seen fairly soon.

    As for Draykus...let's just say I'm glad that his generic-ish villain behavior let your guard down. Heh heh heh...you'll see. You'll see very soon...

    (although, looking at some of the future chapters that come even after his big revelation, he still seems fairly generic. Going to need to do some changes...)

    I'm sure I've mentioned this in SfP, but the jumpy narration really gets to me sometimes. Getting to see the thoughts and opinions of Derak, Garth, and others all in one scene feels like it's really giving stuff away and not leaving much to the assumptions of the reader. That's one thing I'd love to see you work on either here or in another story: consistent, steady narration. It could change from character-to-character by chapter, but not multiple times in the same scene.
    Hmm...you may have a point there. I could probably work something like that in, but it won't be for a few chapters (like with SfP, I'm trying to write at least a few chapters in advance. Currently on chapter 16 out of what I'm projecting to be at least 30...yeah, it's going to be a long one).

    Okay, I'm all caught up. How interesting that this story takes place in the Ash Ketchum universe. I'd not have thought that would be the case. Will we be seeing any other familiar characters?

    The return of Sarah was nice, and I do enjoy seeing characters return when I haven't seen them for a while.
    All of my Pokemon-related writings take place in a universe that is essentially a hybridized version of the games and anime (for example, the existence of Orre from Colosseum and XD despite there being no Orre in the anime). As for other familiar characters...you just might.


    Rotomknight: Yeah...kinda dropped the ball there. XD

    But...is Stoutland a Shadow Pokemon? You'll see...it's not what you might expect...



    Okay...the next couple of chapters are going to involve some revelations, although the first one is a bit short. Brace yourselves.



    Chapter 13: Pokemon Tower



    The next morning, Derak emerged from the Pokemon Center, reaching for the sky in a mighty stretch. Once he felt adequately awakened, his arms fell limply back to his sides as Garth arrived.

    “Man…what a day yesterday,” Derak said.

    “Yes…that did appear to be a rather tricky battle,” Garth admitted. “I do advise taking Elliot’s advice on one thing, however. Despite having a less-than-ideal state of mind, he is clearly no fool where battling is concerned. I recommend that you either train your current Pokemon or capture new ones, preferably both.”

    “I’ll deal with that when the time comes,” Derak said, rolling his shoulder. “So, which way is Celadon City?”

    “Hmm…if I remember correctly, it should be to the west of Lavender Town,” Garth said. “We should go soon, so we can—”

    Something entered his field of vision that made his eyes go wide. A distance away from the Pokemon Center stood none other than Nathaniel Draykus, who casually leaned against a wall with a smirk on his face.

    “You,” Garth snarled.

    “Huh?” Derak grunted, trying to follow Garth’s gaze. “Wait…isn’t that Orre’s governor?”

    Draykus chuckled slightly, turning and leaving as if completely oblivious to Garth’s presence. This, of course, did not amuse the cloaked man.

    “That arrogant swine,” he snarled. “He will pay!”

    “Uh…mind bringing me up to speed?” Derak asked. “I’m kinda lost here.”

    Garth merely shoved the boy aside as he gave chase to Draykus. Derak brushed himself off, sighing as Garth’s unpleasant demeanor made itself known once again.

    “Thanks, I’m completely in the loop now,” Derak groaned. “Might as well go see what’s up.”

    ****

    “GET BACK HERE!” Garth roared as he continued to chase Draykus. The governor stopped outside the entrance to the Pokemon Tower, smirking as he turned to Garth. “You will answer for your crimes if it kills me!”

    “I see,” Draykus chuckled. “Although…didn’t you wish to keep me from capturing Stoutland?”

    “What?” Garth gasped. “Stoutland is here?”

    “Indeed,” Draykus nodded. “Some observant citizens of Lavender Town have noticed a significant drop in the activity of Ghost-type Pokemon, and others reported witnessing a dark shape plow into the top of this tower. Given our experience in Vermillion City, we both know what this means.”

    “Yes,” Garth growled. “It means that you will die here and now! Bronzong, rise from the ashes!”

    Bronzong appeared with a droning moan, levitating between Garth and Draykus as it waited for an order. Despite this, Draykus only chuckled again.

    “Unfortunately, I lack the time for a Pokemon battle,” Draykus said. “But do bring the boy up to the top floor of the tower once he arrives. I believe it’s time I properly introduced myself.”

    “And you honestly think he would believe you?” Garth spat.

    “Heh…this is an era where creatures with vast magical powers are contained in mechanical balls,” Draykus chuckled. “I’m certain anything is possible if you think about it. Oh, and don’t keep me waiting, Cesslon. My patience never was infinite in matters such as these.”

    With that, Draykus entered the tower. Seconds later, Derak ran to Garth’s side, gasping for breath.

    “What…did…I miss?” Derak panted.

    “We have no time to talk,” Garth snapped. “Stoutland is in that tower, and that vile man plans on capturing it.”

    “What’s so nasty about Governor Draykus, anyway?” Derak asked. “From what I’ve heard, Orre’s been doing pretty well under him.”

    “He calls himself ‘Draykus’?” Garth snorted. “I expected something more original from him.”

    “Okay, what the heck are you talking about?” Derak asked.

    “Enough chatter,” Garth snapped. “We need to give chase to ‘Draykus’, and we need to do it now.”

    “Eh, might get explanations from him, anyway,” Derak shrugged.

    ****

    The path to the top of the Pokemon Tower was surprisingly straightforward, likely due to Stoutland’s having assaulted the resident Ghost-type Pokemon that would have normally impeded a visitor’s efforts at exploration. As a result, Derak and Garth easily rushed through the levels, heading quickly for the uppermost floor.

    “Man…Stoutland sure did a number on these Pokemon,” Derak remarked, noting the fallen Gastlies scattered around him.

    “Will you stop being so easily distracted?” Garth barked. “We have a mission, and it needs to be the prime center of our focus!”

    “Oh, sorry!” Derak snapped. “Forgive me for putting lives above whatever crazy plan you have in mind that will most likely get us KILLED!”

    “Shut up and follow me!” Garth snapped. “We are nearly at the top floor!”

    A portion of the ceiling in front of them suddenly collapsed, a familiar dog-like shape falling out of it. Stoutland struggled to rise up, only for a concrete pillar to slam into its back, causing the Normal-type to let out a howl of pain.

    “Stoutland,” Garth gasped, his voice containing an unusual concern.

    “Eldur!” grunted Draykus’ Conkeldurr as it leapt down from the upper floor, landing just behind Stoutland and retrieving its pillar. “Conk-eldurr!”

    “Conkeldurr,” reported Derak’s Pokedex, “the Muscular Pokemon. Type is Fighting. Evolved form of Gurdurr. It is thought that Conkeldurr taught humans how to make concrete over two thousand years ago. They use their concrete pillars as walking canes, and know moves that can swing them freely during battle.”

    “Conkeldurr!” cried Draykus as he, too, leapt down from the floor above. Despite his being a seemingly normal human, he executed the massive jump perfectly and landed without an ounce of harm done to his body. “Finish this with Dynamicpunch!”

    “NO!” Garth cried. “Bronzong, use Iron Head to stop it!”

    Bronzong rocketed in from out of nowhere, surrounded by a bullet of silver energy. The bell-like Pokemon slammed directly into Conkeldurr’s chest, knocking the Fighting-type onto its back and causing it to drop its pillars.

    “Ah, Garth,” said Draykus. “I see you brought the boy. What was your name, boy?”

    “Derak,” said the child in question. “You’re the governor of Orre, right? Why are you so obsessed with this Stoutland?”

    Draykus could only chuckle. Stoutland attempted to use this temporary distraction to launch a counter-attack, but Conkeldurr pinned it down via the use of its two pillars.

    “Ah…the naivety of a child,” Draykus smirked. “Let me explain. Conkeldurr, keep Stoutland there for a while.”

    Conkeldurr nodded, applying more pressure to Stoutland’s body. As it did so, Draykus began to pace by the various tombstones that dotted the floor.

    “The short lives of men and Pokemon are nothing compared to the age of the world,” Draykus said. “To find something of great power is…difficult, to say the least. And yet news of this unique Stoutland simply fell into my lap, as if it were destiny.”

    “Your only destiny is the death you so richly deserve!” Garth roared and made to attack Draykus, only for Conkeldurr to fend him off with a swing of one of its pillars.

    “Be quiet for a moment, Garth,” Draykus said before turning to Derak. “Tell me…Derak, was it? What do you know of the history of this world?”

    “Not much of anything, actually,” Derak shrugged. “Kinda happens when you’ve been stuck in a pseudo-shelter that protects you from things that you don’t need to be protected from.”

    “Ah…then let me educate you,” Draykus said. “Once, centuries ago…there was a faraway region by the name of Ransei.”

    Garth’s eyes widened as Draykus spoke, realizing where this lesson was headed.

    “Ransei was dotted with seventeen kingdoms, all independent of one another,” Draykus continued. “But everything changed one day when a group of scholars learned of an ancient legend. The legend told that, if a single kingdom could dominate the other sixteen, a Pokemon of great power would appear.”

    “Arceus,” breathed Garth.

    “Indeed,” Draykus smirked. “The Pokemon in question was called Arceus, revered as the being that created the entire world. Therefore, its power would obviously be at least tenfold that of any other Pokemon, regardless of its evolutionary level or amount of training. Thus, the seventeen kingdoms armed themselves, each attempting to conquer the others and summon Arceus.”

    “So…who won?” Derak asked.

    “No one,” Draykus replied. “Ransei is now a barren wasteland, thanks to decades of war. Arceus never showed itself…not that there was anyone left to behold its majesty.”

    “Whoa,” Derak gasped. “That’s…that’s awful.”

    “So it is,” Draykus sighed. “It is a rather tragic tale.”

    “But…what does that story have to do with Stoutland?” Derak asked.

    Draykus chuckled again.

    “One warlord came quite close to bringing forth the coming of Arceus,” he continued. “He led the kingdom of Dragnor and its Dragon-type Pokemon in a campaign across the whole of Ransei. And yet, when the power of Arceus was so near…it was snatched from his grasp. So many in Ransei stated that the power was not his to bear, but all the man had wanted was to create a truly peaceful world where humans could live in harmony alongside Pokemon.”

    Garth narrowed his eyes. He had a bad feeling that he knew how this speech would end.

    “I will succeed where there was once failure,” Draykus continued. “With Stoutland’s power, I will force that world into creation. Once all of the world is under my thumb, I shall bring about an age of peace unlike any other!”

    “Let me guess…you take away freedom in the process?” Derak sighed.

    “Unfortunately…sacrifices must be made,” Draykus admitted, yet showed no signs of regret or remorse. “Are a handful of lives not a worthwhile trade for true peace?”

    “…okay, this is messed up,” Derak said, giving his head a shake. “Governor…ever since I was little, I spent what little free time I had watching TV. You were always on there, always talking about peaceful solutions and democracy and things like that…that’s not who you are now. Who are you, really?”

    A truly sinister smirk crept onto Draykus’ face. He removed a unique-looking Pokeball from his pocket, one with a black upper half and two yellow stripes painted on the top.

    “The man who will change this world,” he said. “Now…Ultra Ball, go!”

    Garth gasped in horror as Draykus threw the ball. He made to block it, but Conkeldurr clubbed him with one of its pillars, sending Garth skidding across the floor and into the wall. Derak stood paralyzed, unable to move as the reality of Draykus’ persona sank in. The Ultra Ball struck Stoutland’s body and fell to the floor.

    It shook once…

    …twice…

    …and clicked.

    Draykus had captured Stoutland.

    “At last,” Draykus grinned, retrieving the Ultra Ball. “At long last…the power to truly change this world…is in my hands.”

    “…guess it’s true what they say,” Derak muttered. “No one’s who you really think they are.”

    Draykus glanced at him and smirked.

    “I suppose I do owe you a bit of knowledge on that subject,” he said. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name—my TRUE name—is Nobunaga Oda.”

    ****
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morpher01 View Post
    Chapter 13: Pokemon Tower



    The next morning, Derak emerged from the Pokemon Center, reaching for the sky in a mighty stretch. Once he felt adequately awakened, his arms fell limply back to his sides as Garth arrived.

    “Man…what a day yesterday,” Derak said.

    “Yes…that did appear to be a rather tricky battle,” Garth admitted. “I do advise taking Elliot’s advice on one thing, however. Despite having a less-than-ideal state of mind, he is clearly no fool where battling is concerned. I recommend that you either train your current Pokemon or capture new ones, preferably both.”

    “I’ll deal with that when the time comes,” Derak said, rolling his shoulder. “So, which way is Celadon City?”

    “Hmm…if I remember correctly, it should be to the west of Lavender Town,” Garth said. “We should go soon, so we can—”

    Something entered his field of vision that made his eyes go wide. A distance away from the Pokemon Center stood none other than Nathaniel Draykus, who casually leaned against a wall with a smirk on his face.
    Boy, this day sure got off to a great start, didn't it?

    “You,” Garth snarled.

    “Huh?” Derak grunted, trying to follow Garth’s gaze. “Wait…isn’t that Orre’s governor?”

    Draykus chuckled slightly, turning and leaving as if completely oblivious to Garth’s presence. This, of course, did not amuse the cloaked man.

    “That arrogant swine,” he snarled. “He will pay!”

    “Uh…mind bringing me up to speed?” Derak asked. “I’m kinda lost here.”

    Garth merely shoved the boy aside as he gave chase to Draykus. Derak brushed himself off, sighing as Garth’s unpleasant demeanor made itself known once again.

    “Thanks, I’m completely in the loop now,” Derak groaned. “Might as well go see what’s up.”
    I think it might have been better if Derak questioned a bit more why Draykus was there, because, like I said previously, he is an important politician where Derak is from.

    “GET BACK HERE!” Garth roared as he continued to chase Draykus. The governor stopped outside the entrance to the Pokemon Tower, smirking as he turned to Garth. “You will answer for your crimes if it kills me!”

    “I see,” Draykus chuckled. “Although…didn’t you wish to keep me from capturing Stoutland?”

    “What?” Garth gasped. “Stoutland is here?”

    “Indeed,” Draykus nodded. “Some observant citizens of Lavender Town have noticed a significant drop in the activity of Ghost-type Pokemon, and others reported witnessing a dark shape plow into the top of this tower. Given our experience in Vermillion City, we both know what this means.”
    I get a gut feeling it's not Stoutland for some reason...

    “Yes,” Garth growled. “It means that you will die here and now! Bronzong, rise from the ashes!”

    Bronzong appeared with a droning moan, levitating between Garth and Draykus as it waited for an order. Despite this, Draykus only chuckled again.

    “Unfortunately, I lack the time for a Pokemon battle,” Draykus said. “But do bring the boy up to the top floor of the tower once he arrives. I believe it’s time I properly introduced myself.”
    Okay, now I'm kind of disturbed. Why would Draykus want to see Derak like that?

    “And you honestly think he would believe you?” Garth spat.

    “Heh…this is an era where creatures with vast magical powers are contained in mechanical balls,” Draykus chuckled. “I’m certain anything is possible if you think about it. Oh, and don’t keep me waiting, Cesslon. My patience never was infinite in matters such as these.”

    With that, Draykus entered the tower. Seconds later, Derak ran to Garth’s side, gasping for breath.

    “What…did…I miss?” Derak panted.

    “We have no time to talk,” Garth snapped. “Stoutland is in that tower, and that vile man plans on capturing it.”

    “What’s so nasty about Governor Draykus, anyway?” Derak asked. “From what I’ve heard, Orre’s been doing pretty well under him.”

    “He calls himself ‘Draykus’?” Garth snorted. “I expected something more original from him.”
    That caught me by surprise, to be honest. I never really expected that it wasn't his name.

    Something still feels off about how Derak is taking this, though. He feels strangely detached from these affairs.

    The path to the top of the Pokemon Tower was surprisingly straightforward, likely due to Stoutland’s having assaulted the resident Ghost-type Pokemon that would have normally impeded a visitor’s efforts at exploration. As a result, Derak and Garth easily rushed through the levels, heading quickly for the uppermost floor.

    “Man…Stoutland sure did a number on these Pokemon,” Derak remarked, noting the fallen Gastlies scattered around him.

    “Will you stop being so easily distracted?” Garth barked. “We have a mission, and it needs to be the prime center of our focus!”

    “Oh, sorry!” Derak snapped. “Forgive me for putting lives above whatever crazy plan you have in mind that will most likely get us KILLED!”

    “Shut up and follow me!” Garth snapped. “We are nearly at the top floor!”

    A portion of the ceiling in front of them suddenly collapsed, a familiar dog-like shape falling out of it. Stoutland struggled to rise up, only for a concrete pillar to slam into its back, causing the Normal-type to let out a howl of pain.

    “Stoutland,” Garth gasped, his voice containing an unusual concern.

    “Eldur!” grunted Draykus’ Conkeldurr as it leapt down from the upper floor, landing just behind Stoutland and retrieving its pillar. “Conk-eldurr!”
    Wow, Conkeldurr was tough enough to damage Stoutland after nothing else could touch it?

    I guess Stoutland's punishment really was more severe.

    “Conkeldurr,” reported Derak’s Pokedex, “the Muscular Pokemon. Type is Fighting. Evolved form of Gurdurr. It is thought that Conkeldurr taught humans how to make concrete over two thousand years ago. They use their concrete pillars as walking canes, and know moves that can swing them freely during battle.”

    “Conkeldurr!” cried Draykus as he, too, leapt down from the floor above. Despite his being a seemingly normal human, he executed the massive jump perfectly and landed without an ounce of harm done to his body. “Finish this with Dynamicpunch!”

    “NO!” Garth cried. “Bronzong, use Iron Head to stop it!”

    Bronzong rocketed in from out of nowhere, surrounded by a bullet of silver energy. The bell-like Pokemon slammed directly into Conkeldurr’s chest, knocking the Fighting-type onto its back and causing it to drop its pillars.
    Nice move there. Very exciting.

    “Ah, Garth,” said Draykus. “I see you brought the boy. What was your name, boy?”

    “Derak,” said the child in question. “You’re the governor of Orre, right? Why are you so obsessed with this Stoutland?”

    Draykus could only chuckle. Stoutland attempted to use this temporary distraction to launch a counter-attack, but Conkeldurr pinned it down via the use of its two pillars.

    “Ah…the naivety of a child,” Draykus smirked. “Let me explain. Conkeldurr, keep Stoutland there for a while.”
    Does Draykus have a mustache? Because he needs to be twirling it while he explains his evil plan. XD;

    Conkeldurr nodded, applying more pressure to Stoutland’s body. As it did so, Draykus began to pace by the various tombstones that dotted the floor.

    “The short lives of men and Pokemon are nothing compared to the age of the world,” Draykus said. “To find something of great power is…difficult, to say the least. And yet news of this unique Stoutland simply fell into my lap, as if it were destiny.”

    “Your only destiny is the death you so richly deserve!” Garth roared and made to attack Draykus, only for Conkeldurr to fend him off with a swing of one of its pillars.

    “Be quiet for a moment, Garth,” Draykus said before turning to Derak. “Tell me…Derak, was it? What do you know of the history of this world?”

    “Not much of anything, actually,” Derak shrugged. “Kinda happens when you’ve been stuck in a pseudo-shelter that protects you from things that you don’t need to be protected from.”

    “Ah…then let me educate you,” Draykus said. “Once, centuries ago…there was a faraway region by the name of Ransei.”
    Oh ****. This could go one of several places... and none of them are really all that good for Derak and Garth.

    Garth’s eyes widened as Draykus spoke, realizing where this lesson was headed.

    “Ransei was dotted with seventeen kingdoms, all independent of one another,” Draykus continued. “But everything changed one day when a group of scholars learned of an ancient legend. The legend told that, if a single kingdom could dominate the other sixteen, a Pokemon of great power would appear.”

    “Arceus,” breathed Garth.

    “Indeed,” Draykus smirked. “The Pokemon in question was called Arceus, revered as the being that created the entire world. Therefore, its power would obviously be at least tenfold that of any other Pokemon, regardless of its evolutionary level or amount of training. Thus, the seventeen kingdoms armed themselves, each attempting to conquer the others and summon Arceus.”

    “So…who won?” Derak asked.

    “No one,” Draykus replied. “Ransei is now a barren wasteland, thanks to decades of war. Arceus never showed itself…not that there was anyone left to behold its majesty.”
    I guess that means this story has an alternate ending to the Conquest story?

    “Whoa,” Derak gasped. “That’s…that’s awful.”

    “So it is,” Draykus sighed. “It is a rather tragic tale.”

    “But…what does that story have to do with Stoutland?” Derak asked.

    Draykus chuckled again.

    “One warlord came quite close to bringing forth the coming of Arceus,” he continued. “He led the kingdom of Dragnor and its Dragon-type Pokemon in a campaign across the whole of Ransei. And yet, when the power of Arceus was so near…it was snatched from his grasp. So many in Ransei stated that the power was not his to bear, but all the man had wanted was to create a truly peaceful world where humans could live in harmony alongside Pokemon.”

    Garth narrowed his eyes. He had a bad feeling that he knew how this speech would end.

    “I will succeed where there was once failure,” Draykus continued. “With Stoutland’s power, I will force that world into creation. Once all of the world is under my thumb, I shall bring about an age of peace unlike any other!”

    “Let me guess…you take away freedom in the process?” Derak sighed.

    “Unfortunately…sacrifices must be made,” Draykus admitted, yet showed no signs of regret or remorse. “Are a handful of lives not a worthwhile trade for true peace?”
    So he's Nobunaga but as a seemingly normal politician. I actually rather like this... it's an interesting method for a villain.

    “…okay, this is messed up,” Derak said, giving his head a shake. “Governor…ever since I was little, I spent what little free time I had watching TV. You were always on there, always talking about peaceful solutions and democracy and things like that…that’s not who you are now. Who are you, really?”

    A truly sinister smirk crept onto Draykus’ face. He removed a unique-looking Pokeball from his pocket, one with a black upper half and two yellow stripes painted on the top.

    “The man who will change this world,” he said. “Now…Ultra Ball, go!”

    Garth gasped in horror as Draykus threw the ball. He made to block it, but Conkeldurr clubbed him with one of its pillars, sending Garth skidding across the floor and into the wall. Derak stood paralyzed, unable to move as the reality of Draykus’ persona sank in. The Ultra Ball struck Stoutland’s body and fell to the floor.

    It shook once…

    …twice…

    …and clicked.

    Draykus had captured Stoutland.

    “At last,” Draykus grinned, retrieving the Ultra Ball. “At long last…the power to truly change this world…is in my hands.”
    Still doesn't explain what the hell is going on with that Stoutland, though.

    “…guess it’s true what they say,” Derak muttered. “No one’s who you really think they are.”

    Draykus glanced at him and smirked.

    “I suppose I do owe you a bit of knowledge on that subject,” he said. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name—my TRUE name—is Nobunaga Oda.”

    ****
    OH ****!

    This was already a good chapter; it was short but did what it had to do. Perhaps the only thing I was disappointed in was Derak's seeming disconnect to just how important a major politician executing an evil plan is. But then came that brilliant plot twist at the end, and everything changed. You floored me.

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  10. #35
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    Lemme guess... Garth is the main character in pokemon conquest.
    Stoutland isn't arceus in discise is it.
    Derak son of nobunga. Derak must win.
    I got no pm.
    They say if you press cntrl and W you get to see the programming of a website after making a signature with 3 ws and 8qs
    Fanfics I like that are still in production: Author's Run, Pokémon emerald the better version

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

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

  11. #36
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    The Great Butler:
    That caught me by surprise, to be honest. I never really expected that it wasn't his name.

    Something still feels off about how Derak is taking this, though. He feels strangely detached from these affairs.
    Yeah, I kinda screwed up on writing Derak in this chapter...not really sure what happened there, to be honest.

    Does Draykus have a mustache? Because he needs to be twirling it while he explains his evil plan. XD;
    He has a goatee. Close enough, right? XD

    I guess that means this story has an alternate ending to the Conquest story?
    You'd be right.

    OH ****!

    This was already a good chapter; it was short but did what it had to do. Perhaps the only thing I was disappointed in was Derak's seeming disconnect to just how important a major politician executing an evil plan is. But then came that brilliant plot twist at the end, and everything changed. You floored me.
    It's always so satisfying to find out just how readers react to those plot twists. XD

    Other than that, yeah...my writing of Derak was clearly not at its best in that chapter. Hopefully with this next one, though, that may be fixed somewhat.


    Rotomknight: Really? I could've sworn I sent a PM this time. Anyway, I can't say much about Stoutland, but I can definitely say that it isn't Arceus in disguise. XD



    Well...next chapter time. This one will be revealing quite a bit about Derak.






    Chapter 14: Links to the Past




    “I knew it,” Garth snarled. “I knew from the very moment I saw your sickening face on television that you were the man I so deeply despised.”

    “Indeed,” Draykus—or rather, Nobunaga—nodded. “It was I who once ruled over the kingdom of Dragnor, leading my armies forth in my efforts to conquer Ransei. It was I who nearly summoned Arceus. And it will be I who rules this world.”

    “Wait, wait, back up,” Derak sputtered. “You’re the warlord of Dragnor? Didn’t you just say that the wars in Ransei were hundreds of years ago? How in the heck are you still alive? People don’t live for that long.”

    “Not without special aid, they don’t,” Nobunaga smirked. “Perhaps Garth can tell you more about that.”

    Derak whirled on Garth, at first appearing as if he would say something, but soon found his palm meeting his forehead.

    “Why am I not surprised you didn’t give me all the details?” Derak groaned.

    “Would you have believed me?” Garth snorted.

    “Good point,” Derak said. “I’m not even sure how I believe this creep.”

    “Is that any way to talk about your ancestor?” Nobunaga smirked. “It was through myself and my wife, Noh, that your bloodline came to be, boy.”

    “…excuse me?” Derak blinked.

    “Your blood is my blood, Derak,” Nobunaga continued, extending one hand. “Join me…together, we can create the ideal world. Pokemon and humans will finally be able to truly live in harmony. There will be no war, no strife…the world will become a perfect utopia.”

    “Uh, yeah…that sounds great and all,” Derak said, “but your whole ‘end-justifies-the-means’ thing is kinda turning me off.”

    Garth looked at Derak out of the corner of his eye, trying his best not to smile. So the boy was truly on his side…

    “So be it,” Nobunaga sighed. “This is not the first time my own flesh and blood has turned against me.”

    “Sounds like whoever did it before me was the smart one in the family,” Derak said. “You’re crazy, Nobunaga. You’re a complete and utter loon, and in all honesty, I’d like to keep relatively sane company.”

    “…I see,” Nobunaga said. “In that case…we shall battle for the fate of this world.”

    “Good,” Garth growled, Bronzong levitating by his side. “I have long awaited this chance.”

    “Not you,” Nobunaga corrected. “I want the boy to battle me. After all, it is only fitting that it is a battle between ancestor and descendant that decides this world’s fate.”

    “What?!” Garth roared. “After all that you put me through, do you really expect me to—”

    “Hold it, Garth,” Derak said. “Okay, Nobunaga, you’re on…but on one condition.”

    “And that is?” Nobunaga asked.

    “Garth battles with me,” Derak said.

    The cloaked man in question looked at Derak as if he had grown some odd appendage out of his armpits.

    “What?” Garth gasped.

    “Hey, you’re the one with all the experience,” Derak shrugged. “Besides, if you want a go at this lunatic so badly, be my guest.”

    “Hmph…I suppose this is an acceptable agreement,” Nobunaga grunted. “The honorable nature of Ransei appear to have remained in my system despite the passing of all these years.”

    He began to walk past Derak and Garth, heading out of the tower.

    “Our paths will cross again,” Nobunaga said as he left, “but we shall not battle until you conquer the remaining Gyms and reach the Indigo Plateau. It will be there, when you will be strong enough to be worthy of my blood, that the world’s fate shall be decided. Try not to keep me waiting.”

    With that, Nobunaga Oda departed the Pokemon Tower, taking Stoutland with him.

    “Boy…just when you think you know someone,” Derak muttered before looking over to Garth. “So…anything you want to tell me?”

    “Not now,” Garth said, but it was not with his usual sternness or irritation...it was with a more tragic tone that he said this. “Nobunaga has brought…painful memories to me. I…I need some time.”

    “…okay,” Derak nodded. “That works, I guess. Come on, let’s go. We might as well move on to Celadon City.”

    ****

    The two trainers once more entered Lavender Town, trudging through the streets. The day was bright and cheerful, and the bird Pokemon soared through the skies in true jubilation. And yet, on the ground, Garth’s mood was anything but cheerful. His head was low, and his eyes were shut, prompting his memories to arrive in their fullest.

    “So…if you don’t mind my asking…what exactly did Nobunaga do to you?” Derak asked. “I don’t need the whole story right now, just…”

    “I thought I told you I did not want to talk about it,” Garth spat. “Just know that…Nobunaga has caused me great tragedy. No matter how I examine the circumstances, in the end, everything points to Nobunaga.”

    “Hey…sit here for a second,” Derak said, placing himself on a nearby bench. Garth reluctantly complied. “So…Nobunaga did bad things to you, right? And you don’t want to talk about them because they’re not exactly fun things to relive?”

    “…essentially,” Garth replied.

    “…I guess I can respect that,” Derak shrugged.

    “I lost people who were dear to me because of Nobunaga,” Garth said. “I still see their faces when I go to sleep at night. That is why I cannot talk about my past now.”

    “All right…I understand,” Derak nodded. A mutual silence hovered over them for a moment. “Hey, I just thought of something.”

    “What?” Garth grunted.

    “So, quick question…if I tell you my story…will it make you feel more comfortable with yours?” Derak asked.

    “Why would you suddenly want to tell me your own past?” Garth asked. “You despise me, remember?”

    “Yeah, but we’ve got a common goal, now,” Derak shrugged. “Might as well work together for it. Besides, I’m going to need your help when I eventually battle Nobunaga.”

    “Hmm…I think I can see your point,” Garth said. “Very well. I do occasionally wonder how you survived an existence with that pitiful excuse for a father.”

    “I had a motivator,” Derak said, as memories began to flood into his mind. “I found it about three or so years ago…”

    ****

    With blue shirt, tan pants, and noticeably shorter hair, seven-year-old Derak Kadir clambered up on the railing, watching a ship drift lazily into Gateon Port. The sheer excitement in his young blue eyes greatly contrasted with the more emotionally distant eyes of the boy’s present-day counterpart. Regardless, once the ship’s passengers began to depart, Derak looked them all over. Most of them had Pokeballs on their belts, fanning the flames of Derak’s excitement.

    Pokemon. They actually had real live Pokemon.

    He thought about greeting one of the trainers, but second thoughts began to enter his mind. What if his father saw? What if the trainer had no desire to speak with him? Most of them seemed to pass him by without looking, anyway.

    Except for one.

    A young man in an orange jacket and grey pants looked over at Derak with his pale grey eyes, the dirty blonde hair on his head shaking slightly.

    “Hey, there, kid,” the trainer said calmly. Derak almost wet himself. A trainer actually SPOKE to him! And now the trainer was WALKING TOWARDS him!

    “H-hey!” Derak greeted, getting off of the railing and meeting the trainer.

    “What’s your name?” the trainer asked.

    “I’m Derak,” said the younger boy. “Are you a…a trainer?”

    “Yep,” the trainer nodded. “My name’s Trip. I’m from the Unova region.”

    “Unova?” Derak asked.

    “Yeah,” Trip said. “It’s this really far away region where the Pokemon are totally unique. You can’t find them anywhere else in the world.”

    “Wow!” Derak cried. “So, why did you come here to Orre?”

    “I wanted to check out the Colosseum circuit,” Trip said. “I heard the best of the best when it comes to trainers go and compete in the Colosseums. Maybe someday I’d be battling you.”

    Though his intentions were far from it, Trip’s idle comment actually caused Derak to burst into tears. Although the young child tried to hold them back, the mist in his eyes took on a life of its own.

    “Hey…Derak, what’s wrong?” Trip asked.

    “Muh-my…my dad doesn’t want me to be a trainer,” Derak choked. “He wants me to be a businessman like him…and he…he hates Pokemon.”

    “Is that right?” Trip asked with a raised eyebrow. “Derak, let me show you something.”

    Trip pulled out a Pokeball and opened it, releasing a Pokemon larger than the both of them combined. Trip’s Pokemon was a long, pale green serpent with a chalk-white face and piercing orange eyes. It had yellow markings at various places along its body, which ended in what appeared to be a dark green sprig. A wide, dark green collar sprouted from this Pokemon’s back, and two ear-like protrusions emerged from the back of its head.

    “Is…is that…a Pokemon?” Derak gasped.

    “Sure is,” Trip said. “This is my Serperior. It was the first Pokemon I ever got, and it’s been my partner for a long time, now.”

    “It’s so cool!” Derak cried. He reached out with one hand. “Can I…?”

    “Knock yourself out,” Trip smiled, a gesture that even the reserved Serperior mimicked.

    Derak gently laid his hand on Serperior’s body. It felt as if he was touching grass, but this grass felt astonishingly pleasing. He tried to get every ounce of enjoyment he could from it, as it would likely be the only time he would ever have this opportunity again.

    “So, Derak,” Trip said, kneeling down to the boy’s level. “You really like Pokemon, don’t you?”

    “Yeah, but—” Derak started, but Trip cut him off.

    “I know, I know,” Trip said somewhat impatiently, “your dad hates them. But, listen, only an idiot hates Pokemon. That’s basic.”

    “Okay,” Derak said, trying to absorb this information.

    “It really doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks of you,” Trip said. “If you do what you think is right, if you stand by what you believe in, then you’ll always find a way to succeed.”

    “Is that basic, too?” Derak asked. Trip chuckled slightly.

    “Not really,” Trip answered with a smile. “That’s more of the philosophy I ended up with during my travels in Unova.”

    “DERAK KADIR!” the boy’s father bellowed. “Where are you?! We’re leaving!”

    “Guess the business deal went bad,” Derak said sadly, finally taking his hand off of Serperior. “I have to go, Trip.”

    “I understand,” Trip said, his face becoming serious. “Derak, I want you to promise me one thing,” he said.

    “What?” Derak asked.

    “When you turn ten years old,” Trip said, “I want you to do whatever it takes to start your Pokemon journey. And when you do, live by what you believe in.”

    “Okay, I promise,” Derak said.

    “Good,” Trip smiled. “Hang on a sec.”

    He pulled a green digital camera out of his pocket and snapped a picture of Derak with his Serperior.

    “What are you doing?” Derak asked.

    “Chronicling my journey,” Trip replied simply. “Now, get going. Don’t want to give your dad any ideas just yet.”

    ****

    “…I never saw Trip again after that,” Derak finished. “But I knew I wanted to be a trainer like him. So, ever since that day, I started trying to copy him, just to try and be like him. I even made plans for my first Pokemon to be something that somehow became a Serperior.”

    “And was it copying this Trip that caused you to become so annoyingly sarcastic?” Garth asked with a hint of a smirk.

    “Pretty much, yeah,” Derak chuckled. “Trip wasn’t exactly Mr. Sarcasm, but I kinda ended up going my own way from a basic idea. It all worked out, though. To be honest, it made me realize how lousy the world tends to be. Especially…”

    “What?” Garth asked. “What are you trying to say?”

    “Trip…wasn’t the only reason I wanted to be a trainer,” Derak said. “You know how I like to be brutally honest with people? That’s because my ‘dad’ wasn’t completely honest with me.”

    “Somehow, I am not surprised,” Garth sighed.

    “Yeah, really,” Derak laughed. “But…once or twice, I saw pictures of this really nice-looking woman in my dad’s office. I asked him if that was my mom, but he just kicked me out of the office and told me to do something else.”

    “Do you not have a…?” Garth trailed off. But Derak simply shrugged.

    “No idea,” he said. “I never knew my mom, but I’m certain that…oh, hang on, it should be here somewhere. I snatched it out of my dad’s office the day I left Phenac.”

    Derak began digging through the pockets of his pants, and after a moment, he pulled out a photograph. The picture was of an attractive-looking woman whose hair—colored in orange, green, and blue hues—was tied in a ponytail. Garth noticed two distinct emotions in her eyes. On one hand, she was happy, likely from having a family. On the other hand…she appeared sad, somehow…as if her life was incomplete.

    “I’m a hundred percent positive that this is my mom,” Derak said. “When I look at this picture, I get the feeling that I’ve seen her somewhere before…but I don’t actually remember seeing her recently.”

    “You may be right,” Garth nodded. “If she is indeed your mother, you may have some faint infantile memories of her.”

    “Probably,” Derak said, stuffing the picture back into his pocket. “The other reason I became a trainer, besides to follow what Trip said…it was to try and find my mom. Then maybe…I can fix my family.”

    He looked up into the sky, fondly visualizing his ideal family with a faint smile on his face.

    “My dad won’t be such an arrogant piece of crap…my mom will actually be there…and I’ll be a trainer,” he said. “I know, it’s unrealistic, but…a kid can dream, can’t he?”

    “I suppose,” Garth said. “Do you know what your mother’s name is?”

    “…Liana,” Derak said. “The name ‘Liana’ rings a bell, even though I’ve never met anyone who goes by that.”

    “Hmm…I do not believe I have heard that name before,” Garth said. “But if this journey continues, we may just find her.”

    “Wait, ‘we’?” Derak said. “Thought you wanted nothing to do with what I wanted.”

    “You said it yourself…we are working together,” Garth said. “We may as well cooperate.”

    “Well, what do you know?” Derak smirked. “Miracles really DO happen.”

    “Ugh…enough joking,” Garth sighed. “We should move on to Celadon City.”

    “Yeah, I guess so,” Derak said. “Nobunaga’s not going to wait forever.”

    “And neither can I,” Garth said. “Let us go.”

    The two got off the bench and left Lavender Town. As they walked, however, Garth’s eyes trailed up to the sky.

    You will know my story one day, Derak. he thought. Not today…but one day.

    ****

    Before anyone asks...I intentionally spelled No/Noh's name a bit differently. I did that to distinguish her name from a certain English word. I think you can figure out which one. XD
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morpher01 View Post
    Chapter 14: Links to the Past
    A shout-out to a Zelda game, or a shout-out to "linking" with Pokemon in Ransei?

    “I knew it,” Garth snarled. “I knew from the very moment I saw your sickening face on television that you were the man I so deeply despised.”
    I assume this means Nobunaga did not change his appearance much over the years, which raises a question in my mind: didn't anyone recognize him as someone from the history books?

    “Indeed,” Draykus—or rather, Nobunaga—nodded. “It was I who once ruled over the kingdom of Dragnor, leading my armies forth in my efforts to conquer Ransei. It was I who nearly summoned Arceus. And it will be I who rules this world.”

    “Wait, wait, back up,” Derak sputtered. “You’re the warlord of Dragnor? Didn’t you just say that the wars in Ransei were hundreds of years ago? How in the heck are you still alive? People don’t live for that long.”

    “Not without special aid, they don’t,” Nobunaga smirked. “Perhaps Garth can tell you more about that.”
    There's nothing here we didn't already know, but something about this part amused me greatly. Maybe it's Nobunaga smirking.

    Derak whirled on Garth, at first appearing as if he would say something, but soon found his palm meeting his forehead.

    “Why am I not surprised you didn’t give me all the details?” Derak groaned.

    “Would you have believed me?” Garth snorted.

    “Good point,” Derak said. “I’m not even sure how I believe this creep.”
    Does Derak actually believe him already?

    “Is that any way to talk about your ancestor?” Nobunaga smirked. “It was through myself and my wife, Noh, that your bloodline came to be, boy.”
    *clears throat*

    OH ****!

    It's nice to get something that ties a lot of things together, and this is one of those things.

    “…excuse me?” Derak blinked.

    “Your blood is my blood, Derak,” Nobunaga continued, extending one hand. “Join me…together, we can create the ideal world. Pokemon and humans will finally be able to truly live in harmony. There will be no war, no strife…the world will become a perfect utopia.”

    “Uh, yeah…that sounds great and all,” Derak said, “but your whole ‘end-justifies-the-means’ thing is kinda turning me off.”
    I think it would have been funnier if Derak lampshaded the overwhelmingly typical "I am your father, join me" thing.

    Garth looked at Derak out of the corner of his eye, trying his best not to smile. So the boy was truly on his side…

    “So be it,” Nobunaga sighed. “This is not the first time my own flesh and blood has turned against me.”

    “Sounds like whoever did it before me was the smart one in the family,” Derak said. “You’re crazy, Nobunaga. You’re a complete and utter loon, and in all honesty, I’d like to keep relatively sane company.”
    There's something bugging me about Derak's dialogue here, and I can't really put my finger on what it is. I guess that maybe it's because he isn't really acting like he is speaking to an ancient, apparently immortal warlord?

    “…I see,” Nobunaga said. “In that case…we shall battle for the fate of this world.”
    This world.

    Wonder if that was a hint.

    “Good,” Garth growled, Bronzong levitating by his side. “I have long awaited this chance.”

    “Not you,” Nobunaga corrected. “I want the boy to battle me. After all, it is only fitting that it is a battle between ancestor and descendant that decides this world’s fate.”

    “What?!” Garth roared. “After all that you put me through, do you really expect me to—”

    “Hold it, Garth,” Derak said. “Okay, Nobunaga, you’re on…but on one condition.”

    “And that is?” Nobunaga asked.

    “Garth battles with me,” Derak said.

    The cloaked man in question looked at Derak as if he had grown some odd appendage out of his armpits.

    “What?” Garth gasped.

    “Hey, you’re the one with all the experience,” Derak shrugged. “Besides, if you want a go at this lunatic so badly, be my guest.”
    I feel like this part might be getting approached a bit too casually. Nobunaga obviously went through a lot for his goals, so I just think that the stakes should be a bit higher and everyone should be acting accordingly.

    “Hmph…I suppose this is an acceptable agreement,” Nobunaga grunted. “The honorable nature of Ransei appear to have remained in my system despite the passing of all these years.”
    This sentence is worded oddly; did you mean to say "The honorable nature of Ransei appears to have remained in my system, despite the passing of all of these years?"

    He began to walk past Derak and Garth, heading out of the tower.

    “Our paths will cross again,” Nobunaga said as he left, “but we shall not battle until you conquer the remaining Gyms and reach the Indigo Plateau. It will be there, when you will be strong enough to be worthy of my blood, that the world’s fate shall be decided. Try not to keep me waiting.”

    With that, Nobunaga Oda departed the Pokemon Tower, taking Stoutland with him.
    Okay, that makes the previous part I criticized for being too casual a little better. I still think that this turn of events should have been treated with a bit more seriousness by the characters, but since it turned out that they are not going to fight here, it is a little less of a problem.

    “Boy…just when you think you know someone,” Derak muttered before looking over to Garth. “So…anything you want to tell me?”

    “Not now,” Garth said, but it was not with his usual sternness or irritation...it was with a more tragic tone that he said this. “Nobunaga has brought…painful memories to me. I…I need some time.”

    “…okay,” Derak nodded. “That works, I guess. Come on, let’s go. We might as well move on to Celadon City.”

    ****

    The two trainers once more entered Lavender Town, trudging through the streets. The day was bright and cheerful, and the bird Pokemon soared through the skies in true jubilation. And yet, on the ground, Garth’s mood was anything but cheerful. His head was low, and his eyes were shut, prompting his memories to arrive in their fullest.

    “So…if you don’t mind my asking…what exactly did Nobunaga do to you?” Derak asked. “I don’t need the whole story right now, just…”

    “I thought I told you I did not want to talk about it,” Garth spat. “Just know that…Nobunaga has caused me great tragedy. No matter how I examine the circumstances, in the end, everything points to Nobunaga.”

    “Hey…sit here for a second,” Derak said, placing himself on a nearby bench. Garth reluctantly complied. “So…Nobunaga did bad things to you, right? And you don’t want to talk about them because they’re not exactly fun things to relive?”
    I think Derak might be struggling a little with the idea of not bringing certain things up for discussion.

    “…essentially,” Garth replied.

    “…I guess I can respect that,” Derak shrugged.

    “I lost people who were dear to me because of Nobunaga,” Garth said. “I still see their faces when I go to sleep at night. That is why I cannot talk about my past now.”

    “All right…I understand,” Derak nodded. A mutual silence hovered over them for a moment. “Hey, I just thought of something.”

    “What?” Garth grunted.

    “So, quick question…if I tell you my story…will it make you feel more comfortable with yours?” Derak asked.

    “Why would you suddenly want to tell me your own past?” Garth asked. “You despise me, remember?”

    “Yeah, but we’ve got a common goal, now,” Derak shrugged. “Might as well work together for it. Besides, I’m going to need your help when I eventually battle Nobunaga.”
    I feel like the pacing might be a little bit rushed around here. Derak just found out that he's descended from a warlord who has become immortal and plans to take over the world, and yet he seems more interested in getting Garth to finally open up. I recommend you slow down a little. Everything's going well, but I think each idea could use its own time to develop more fully.

    “Hmm…I think I can see your point,” Garth said. “Very well. I do occasionally wonder how you survived an existence with that pitiful excuse for a father.”

    “I had a motivator,” Derak said, as memories began to flood into his mind. “I found it about three or so years ago…”

    ****

    With blue shirt, tan pants, and noticeably shorter hair, seven-year-old Derak Kadir clambered up on the railing, watching a ship drift lazily into Gateon Port. The sheer excitement in his young blue eyes greatly contrasted with the more emotionally distant eyes of the boy’s present-day counterpart. Regardless, once the ship’s passengers began to depart, Derak looked them all over. Most of them had Pokeballs on their belts, fanning the flames of Derak’s excitement.

    Pokemon. They actually had real live Pokemon.

    He thought about greeting one of the trainers, but second thoughts began to enter his mind. What if his father saw? What if the trainer had no desire to speak with him? Most of them seemed to pass him by without looking, anyway.

    Except for one.

    A young man in an orange jacket and grey pants looked over at Derak with his pale grey eyes, the dirty blonde hair on his head shaking slightly.
    Congratulations, I think you might be the first person I've seen to actually use Trip in a meaningful role. I happen to one of the few who like him, so this is obviously a treat.

    “Hey, there, kid,” the trainer said calmly. Derak almost wet himself. A trainer actually SPOKE to him! And now the trainer was WALKING TOWARDS him!

    “H-hey!” Derak greeted, getting off of the railing and meeting the trainer.

    “What’s your name?” the trainer asked.

    “I’m Derak,” said the younger boy. “Are you a…a trainer?”

    “Yep,” the trainer nodded. “My name’s Trip. I’m from the Unova region.”

    “Unova?” Derak asked.

    “Yeah,” Trip said. “It’s this really far away region where the Pokemon are totally unique. You can’t find them anywhere else in the world.”

    “Wow!” Derak cried. “So, why did you come here to Orre?”

    “I wanted to check out the Colosseum circuit,” Trip said. “I heard the best of the best when it comes to trainers go and compete in the Colosseums. Maybe someday I’d be battling you.”

    Though his intentions were far from it, Trip’s idle comment actually caused Derak to burst into tears. Although the young child tried to hold them back, the mist in his eyes took on a life of its own.

    “Hey…Derak, what’s wrong?” Trip asked.

    “Muh-my…my dad doesn’t want me to be a trainer,” Derak choked. “He wants me to be a businessman like him…and he…he hates Pokemon.”

    “Is that right?” Trip asked with a raised eyebrow. “Derak, let me show you something.”

    Trip pulled out a Pokeball and opened it, releasing a Pokemon larger than the both of them combined. Trip’s Pokemon was a long, pale green serpent with a chalk-white face and piercing orange eyes. It had yellow markings at various places along its body, which ended in what appeared to be a dark green sprig. A wide, dark green collar sprouted from this Pokemon’s back, and two ear-like protrusions emerged from the back of its head.

    “Is…is that…a Pokemon?” Derak gasped.

    “Sure is,” Trip said. “This is my Serperior. It was the first Pokemon I ever got, and it’s been my partner for a long time, now.”
    I was a little unsure of Trip's depiction at the beginning here, because he seemed to be a little more friendly than he usually is. But now that I see that this is presumably post-Best Wishes!, I definitely can believe that he's being kind. I accept where you are with him now.

    “It’s so cool!” Derak cried. He reached out with one hand. “Can I…?”

    “Knock yourself out,” Trip smiled, a gesture that even the reserved Serperior mimicked.

    Derak gently laid his hand on Serperior’s body. It felt as if he was touching grass, but this grass felt astonishingly pleasing. He tried to get every ounce of enjoyment he could from it, as it would likely be the only time he would ever have this opportunity again.

    “So, Derak,” Trip said, kneeling down to the boy’s level. “You really like Pokemon, don’t you?”

    “Yeah, but—” Derak started, but Trip cut him off.

    “I know, I know,” Trip said somewhat impatiently, “your dad hates them. But, listen, only an idiot hates Pokemon. That’s basic.”
    Ah, there's some of the old Trip again.

    “Okay,” Derak said, trying to absorb this information.

    “It really doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks of you,” Trip said. “If you do what you think is right, if you stand by what you believe in, then you’ll always find a way to succeed.”

    “Is that basic, too?” Derak asked. Trip chuckled slightly.

    “Not really,” Trip answered with a smile. “That’s more of the philosophy I ended up with during my travels in Unova.”

    “DERAK KADIR!” the boy’s father bellowed. “Where are you?! We’re leaving!”

    “Guess the business deal went bad,” Derak said sadly, finally taking his hand off of Serperior. “I have to go, Trip.”

    “I understand,” Trip said, his face becoming serious. “Derak, I want you to promise me one thing,” he said.

    “What?” Derak asked.

    “When you turn ten years old,” Trip said, “I want you to do whatever it takes to start your Pokemon journey. And when you do, live by what you believe in.”

    “Okay, I promise,” Derak said.

    “Good,” Trip smiled. “Hang on a sec.”

    He pulled a green digital camera out of his pocket and snapped a picture of Derak with his Serperior.

    “What are you doing?” Derak asked.

    “Chronicling my journey,” Trip replied simply. “Now, get going. Don’t want to give your dad any ideas just yet.”
    It's fitting that Trip is now playing the role for Derak that Alder played for him in the past.

    “…I never saw Trip again after that,” Derak finished. “But I knew I wanted to be a trainer like him. So, ever since that day, I started trying to copy him, just to try and be like him. I even made plans for my first Pokemon to be something that somehow became a Serperior.”

    “And was it copying this Trip that caused you to become so annoyingly sarcastic?” Garth asked with a hint of a smirk.

    “Pretty much, yeah,” Derak chuckled. “Trip wasn’t exactly Mr. Sarcasm, but I kinda ended up going my own way from a basic idea. It all worked out, though. To be honest, it made me realize how lousy the world tends to be. Especially…”

    “What?” Garth asked. “What are you trying to say?”

    “Trip…wasn’t the only reason I wanted to be a trainer,” Derak said. “You know how I like to be brutally honest with people? That’s because my ‘dad’ wasn’t completely honest with me.”

    “Somehow, I am not surprised,” Garth sighed.

    “Yeah, really,” Derak laughed. “But…once or twice, I saw pictures of this really nice-looking woman in my dad’s office. I asked him if that was my mom, but he just kicked me out of the office and told me to do something else.”
    You know, if this implication is true, it doesn't surprise me. Enoch would father a child out of wedlock like that.

    “Do you not have a…?” Garth trailed off. But Derak simply shrugged.

    “No idea,” he said. “I never knew my mom, but I’m certain that…oh, hang on, it should be here somewhere. I snatched it out of my dad’s office the day I left Phenac.”

    Derak began digging through the pockets of his pants, and after a moment, he pulled out a photograph. The picture was of an attractive-looking woman whose hair—colored in orange, green, and blue hues—was tied in a ponytail. Garth noticed two distinct emotions in her eyes. On one hand, she was happy, likely from having a family. On the other hand…she appeared sad, somehow…as if her life was incomplete.

    “I’m a hundred percent positive that this is my mom,” Derak said. “When I look at this picture, I get the feeling that I’ve seen her somewhere before…but I don’t actually remember seeing her recently.”

    “You may be right,” Garth nodded. “If she is indeed your mother, you may have some faint infantile memories of her.”
    I'm a little suspicious. I suspect there might be more to this story than what we're seeing here on the surface.

    “Probably,” Derak said, stuffing the picture back into his pocket. “The other reason I became a trainer, besides to follow what Trip said…it was to try and find my mom. Then maybe…I can fix my family.”

    He looked up into the sky, fondly visualizing his ideal family with a faint smile on his face.

    “My dad won’t be such an arrogant piece of crap…my mom will actually be there…and I’ll be a trainer,” he said. “I know, it’s unrealistic, but…a kid can dream, can’t he?”
    I like this kid's goals.

    “I suppose,” Garth said. “Do you know what your mother’s name is?”

    “…Liana,” Derak said. “The name ‘Liana’ rings a bell, even though I’ve never met anyone who goes by that.”
    Again, I think there's a lot more going on here than it looks.

    Very impressive chapter, certainly a return to form of sorts after the last couple of chapters felt just a little shaky. I think the main thing you have to worry about right now is slowing down so all the events coming up get their proper time to develop on-screen. There are lots of great things going on here - the revelation of Derak's descent from Nobunaga, whatever's going on with Nobunaga and Garth, Derak's admiring of Trip and finally, the search for his mother - and all they need is time to be focused on. Like I said, just try to slow down your pacing a bit so things don't come and go so fast.

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  13. #38
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    Nice...
    keep the chapters flowing...
    Is Garth mitsushide, the guy with the gallade.
    They say if you press cntrl and W you get to see the programming of a website after making a signature with 3 ws and 8qs
    Fanfics I like that are still in production: Author's Run, Pokémon emerald the better version

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

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    Just when I thought I'd caught up, a new chapter. Will get around to reading the update and update this as soon as possible.

    L@er!
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  15. #40
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    Okay, all...might not be putting up a new chapter this week due to complications. In short, I'm back in college, which is gobbling most of my time like a Munchlax gobbles food. That's a bit of an issue, considering that this is meant to be a long fic, and I have some other (very distracting) fic ideas bouncing around in my head.

    In addition to that, however, I'm starting to lose interest in writing this. It's. Just. Too. Dang. Long. Here we are, around 14 chapters in, and we haven't even reached what was intended to be the climax. I've projected at least 25-30 chapters for this, which--coupled with my current schedule--could be incredibly tricky to put out. It's more than twice as long as most of my fics, which average around 15-17 chapters.

    So...yeah. My life and writing long fics don't really seem to agree. As a result, Proving Grounds will likely be on hiatus for some time, if not outright cancelled. Sorry to those who've been enjoying it thus far, but know this: you have not seen the last of Derak, Garth, or Nobunaga. They will have their day...oh, yes, they will...
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    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  16. #41
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    Okay, so I've been doing some thinking, and I've decided to continue this. I'm kinda sick of having this thing die after the planning that went into it.

    Just one warning: chapters probably won't be as frequent as I'd like due to college classes taking up about 3/4 of my time. Other than that, I should be able to finally finish this at SOME POINT in the future (although that won't be for quite a while, in all honesty).

    Meantime, here's the next chapter. I don't know...I'm personally not too pleased with how this turned out, but I've had this opinion about chapters before, and I've been told that they're actually decent. Eh, we'll have to see.



    Chapter 15: Rock Tunnel



    Following Derak and Garth’s departure from Lavender Town, the two trainers continued their trek across Kanto. After some odd hours of hiking, they came upon a large opening carved into a rock face. A sign reading “ROCK TUNNEL” stood next to the entrance, looking faded and worn from what may have been a long existence.

    “So, if we go through here, we get to Celadon City?” Derak asked.

    “Indeed,” Garth nodded. “We should be careful, however. It is much easier to be ambushed by a wild Pokemon in a cave than in the grass.”

    “Noted,” Derak replied.

    “Well, look who it is,” a female voice sneered. “The stupid kid who doesn’t know how to treat Pokemon.”

    Recognizing the voice, Derak lazily turned his head to find Melissa Armare standing behind him, arms folded and one eyebrow raised.

    “Oh. You,” Derak sighed with as little interest as possible. “Is there a reason you’re talking about yourself like that? I think it’s a sign of insanity.”

    “Ha, funny,” Melissa growled. “Are you and your weird-looking friend are going through the Rock Tunnel?”

    “What about it?” Derak said. Garth, despite the insult Melissa threw him, simply leaned back on the wall and observed the rivals’ conversation.

    “I’m going through, too,” Melissa said. “Might as well go together.”

    “Huh?!” Derak sputtered. “Why the heck would I want to hang out with you?”

    “I can actually stick some of reality in your head,” Melissa sneered, brushing past Derak. “Then maybe you’ll start treating your Pokemon properly.”

    Without another word, Melissa entered the Rock Tunnel. Rather than follow, however, Derak simply positioned his fingers in such a way that his hand now resembled an alligator-like mouth. The mouth then began to repeatedly open and close, as if mimicking Melissa’s earlier words.

    “You really are an incredible brat,” Garth grunted.

    “Eh, takes one to mock one,” Derak shrugged, entering the Rock Tunnel as well. “By the way, how come you just sit back and watch whenever I start talking with someone?”

    “I enjoy watching your interactions with people,” Garth replied. “I find it amusing when your sarcastic remarks are directed at someone else.”

    “You would,” Derak smirked, much to Garth's displeasure.

    Shortly after the group of trainers entered the tunnel, however, another familiar figure approached. Nick Spire and his Infernape looked into the tunnel, watching Derak’s back fade into the darkness.

    “He’s in the Rock Tunnel, huh?” Spire said. “Okay, Infernape, let’s try something new. Hopefully we can scare Derak out of continuing his journey.”

    *****

    “So, who are you supposed to be?” Melissa said to Garth once he and Derak had caught up with her.

    “I do not see how it is any of your business,” Garth grunted.

    “Hmph,” Melissa snorted, turning her focus to Derak. “You got lucky back on the S.S. Wailord, you know.”

    “Yeah, I got SO lucky,” Derak sighed. “Never mind the fact that an amoeba is twice is smart as you’ll ever be, it was ALL luck that I won and you didn’t. Not type advantages, not my being smarter than you, just luck. Totally true.”

    Melissa harrumphed again and violently turned her head away from him.

    “Let me guess…don’t have any friends?” Derak sighed. “Wouldn’t surprise me.”

    “I have friends!” Melissa snapped.

    “Name one,” Derak said calmly.

    “My dad,” Melissa declared proudly.

    “And he is…?” Derak asked.

    “An officer in Pyrite Town’s police force, and the greatest man alive,” Melissa boasted. “He taught me everything I know: how to drill your troops, how to follow the law…”

    “…how to treat every living thing like garbage, how to fail at life,” Derak continued for her. “If that’s the case, I guess I can’t blame you for your lack of brain cells.”

    “HEY!” Melissa yelled. “DON’T TALK ABOUT MY DAD LIKE THAT! That’s it, we’re battling, right here and—”

    A shrill cry rang through the Rock Tunnel before Melissa could throw a Pokeball, sending a chill down both the children’s spines. Garth, however, merely narrowed his eyes. That cry was somewhat familiar…

    “What was that?” Derak asked.

    “I don’t know,” Melissa replied. “Sounds like something nasty is coming.”

    “Calm down,” Garth spat. “I may know that produced that cry, and I can assure you both that it is absolutely no thre—”

    Garth was cut off by an unexpected event: a blue bat-like creature falling onto Melissa’s head. In addition to the purple skin inside its pointy ears and between the bones of its wings, the bat possessed a pair of long pointy legs and a face with no discernible features save a large fanged mouth.

    “Hold that thought,” Derak said, pulling out his Pokedex. “I think I saw one of those in Mount Moon.”

    “Zubat,” the Pokedex reported, “the Bat Pokemon. Type is Poison and Flying. Zubat checks its surroundings and location by emitting ultrasonic waves from its mouth.”

    “Looks good on you, Armare,” Derak smirked. “Does it come in pink and fluffy?”

    A snarling Melissa replied by pulling Zubat off of her head and throwing it into Derak’s stomach. The boy let out an “oof” upon contact, but the Zubat was clearly in worse condition. Its entire body was shivering with fear, its wings wrapped around itself as if they would somehow protect it.

    “Real nice,” Derak growled at Melissa before stooping down to pick up Zubat. “Hey, little guy…you okay?”

    “Leave it, Derak,” Melissa spat. “That Pokemon is clearly worthless. I mean, just look at it! It has no eyes! It can’t tell up from down, let alone execute a single attack accurately!”

    “Uh-huh,” Derak grunted. “Zubat? Show her which way is up.”

    The Zubat complied by pointing one wing towards the ceiling.

    “Now show her which way is down.”

    Zubat pointed its win towards the floor.

    “But…but, that’s not possible!” Melissa sputtered. “It has no eyes, how can it see?!”

    “Echolocation,” Garth said. “It essentially gives its species a kind of sonar.”

    “In other words,” Derak said, “you’re wrong. Again. As if anyone is surprised.”

    Melissa’s face reddened with anger, but before she could spout some sort of retort, the ground beneath her began to rumble. Zubat began to panic, flapping out of Derak’s arms and screeching incessantly at every possible living organism.

    “NOW what’s going on?!” Derak complained, putting a hand on the wall in an attempt to maintain his balance.

    “I guess that thing really is smarter than it looks!” Melissa cried, pointing down the tunnel. “Look!”

    Something large was working its way towards them. A gruff, guttural roar came from the darkness, and although it was clearly not the source of the earlier shrill cry, it was nonetheless just as intimidating. The rumbling grew more intense as the beast came closer, something Zubat immediately recognized. The Bat Pokemon flew ahead of the three humans, stopping for a moment to screech back at them.

    “Come on, let’s go!” Derak cried, chasing after the Poison-type. “Zubat can lead us out of here!”

    “You’re trusting our lives with that thing?!” Melissa yelled.

    “You’d rather take your chances with whatever’s back there?!” Derak shot back.

    “Point taken!” Melissa cried.

    Light soon poured into the trainers’ sight, and the exit soon became visible. Zubat was the first out, its wings propelling its tiny body out into the sunlight. Derak, Melissa, and Garth soon followed, but the beast chasing them was not far behind. Mere seconds after the trainers escaped the Rock Tunnel, a blast of blue fire erupted from the tunnel’s mouth.

    “That was a Pokemon attack, right?” Derak asked. “Please tell me that was a Pokemon attack!”

    “It was a Dragonbreath, stupid!” Melissa snarled. “And a strong one, too…I think I’ve found myself a new recruit!”

    As if on cue, a large serpentine monster burst out of the Rock Tunnel. Its body appeared to be made entirely from numerous boulders, all somehow attached together. Its slightly pointed head had a large fin-like horn emerging from the top, and two large eyes glared down at the trainers.

    “Onix,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Rock Snake Pokemon. Type is Rock and Ground. It burrows through the ground at a speed of fifty miles per hour while feeding on large boulders.”

    “Are you insane?!” Derak cried. “You want to battle something that can chew through boulders?!”

    “I want to CATCH something that can chew through boulders,” Melissa retorted, preparing a Pokeball. “I could use a Ground-type for the Fuchsia Gym down the road. Krabby, report for duty!”

    Melissa’s Pokeball revealed a rather simple-looking Pokemon: a typical red crab, albeit with large eyes and two evenly-sized pincers. The crab glanced up at Onix, making a sighing sound as foam appeared around its mouth.

    “Krabby,” Derak’s Pokedex observed, “the River Crab Pokemon. Type is Water. It lives in burrows dug on sandy beaches, and its pincers can fully grow back if they are broken in battle.”

    “Krabby, huh?” Derak said, returning his Pokedex to his pocket. “The name suits you.”

    Melissa gave Derak a quick glare before turning her gaze back to Onix. As she began to enter battle, however, Derak saw something in Onix’s eyes. It was not the rage that he expected…it looked more like fear. A fear of something much worse than her. Nonetheless, Melissa either did not notice or—as Derak assumed—did not care as she issued her first command.

    “Krabby, use Bubblebeam!” Melissa cried.

    Krabby limply pointed a claw at Onix, opening it up and releasing a stream of blue energy spheres. Onix, however, dodged by somehow contorting its rocky body in such a way that the Bubblebeam sailed right past. The Rock Snake countered by diving underground, completely submerging itself within the earth in spite of the Rock-type’s size.

    “It knows Dig?!” Melissa cried. “Krabby, stay alert!”

    “Kruh-key, kruh-key,” Krabby grunted, releasing more foam from its mouth. The ground beneath it suddenly cracked, and Onix burst out from underground. Although the Rock Snake expected to send the River Crab flying, it saw no trace of its Water-type foe in the air or on the ground.

    “Now, Krabby! Point-blank Bubblebeam!” Melissa yelled.

    Six small feet planted themselves on Onix’s head, and the Rock-type’s eyes widened upon realizing that Krabby had grabbed onto the former’s horn. Onix was now completely helpless as the River Crab fired another Bubblebeam, this one smashing directly into the side of Onix’s head. The Rock Snake let out a roar of pain, and with her opportunity in sight, Melissa threw a Pokeball. The ball absorbed Onix inside, causing the unaffected Krabby to plummet back down to earth. Despite the plight of her Water-type, Melissa instead smirked as her Pokeball shook three times and clicked, signifying Onix’s successful capture.

    “And that’s how it’s done,” Melissa bragged, retrieving her Pokeball. “Well, Derak? Got any smug words now?”

    She turned around, but rather than find Derak making some sardonic comment, she found that he and Garth had long since left. Only Melissa and Krabby remained, the latter managing to dig itself out of the small crater that was caused by its rough landing.

    “I hate that boy,” Melissa growled.

    Krabby gave another foamy sigh, wondering what cruel deities had decided to place it with such a clueless trainer.

    ****

    “Well, here we are,” Derak said, Zubat resting on his head and Garth standing beside him. “Celadon City.”

    The site of Derak’s fourth Gym battle was truly a sight to behold. Skyscrapers towered over the populace, and people busily buzzed from building to building. Trainers had battles in the streets, and shoppers inspected the local perfume shop. To say this city was bustling would be an understatement.

    “We should get to the Pokemon Center,” Garth said. “It is getting late.”

    “Looks like it,” Derak replied, noticing that the sky was indeed darkening. He looked up at Zubat. “Hey, Zubat…you want to come with me or something? I mean, it would probably explain why you seem to like sticking around.”

    Zubat nodded eagerly.

    “You sure?” Derak asked. “I mean, this isn’t going to be a walk in the park. There’s stuff like Gym battles, crazy ancestors, lawyers, annoying people like Melissa…”

    Zubat nodded again.

    “Okay, it’s your choice,” Derak shrugged. “All right, Zubat…it’s kinda my thing to name my Pokemon. You okay with that?”

    Zubat nodded yet again.

    “Cool,” Derak said. “Can you get off my head for a second? I need to take a look at you.”

    Zubat complied, using its wings to propel itself off of the boy’s head. It began to hover in front of Derak, allowing the latter to examine it.

    “Okay…let’s see,” Derak said, putting a hand to his chin. “You’re a bat, and you make sound waves…Garth, what was it called when Zubat does radar stuff with sound waves?”

    “Echolocation?” Garth suggested.

    “That was it!” Derak said. “Okay, Zubat…I think I’m going to call you Echo. What do you think?”

    Zubat seemed to consider the name for a moment, tilting its head to the side in some sort of strange pensive gesture. After its time of contemplation had finished, however, it gave Derak a nod.

    “Cool,” Derak said, pulling a Pokeball off his belt. “Now, I’m going to need you to hold still for a sec, okay?”

    The newly-named Echo nodded, already knowing what was coming next. Derak lightly tapped the Pokeball against Echo’s head, and the Zubat was promptly absorbed into it.

    “Welcome to the team, little guy,” Derak smiled. “Come on, let’s go to bed. It’s been a rough day.”

    ****

    Just outside Celadon City, Nick Spire plopped himself down on the ground, his head in his hand.

    “Great, just great,” he groaned. “That was definitely not what I intended. I wanted Infernape’s Roar attack to scare Derak, not send a rampaging Onix after him!”

    He collapsed onto his back, staring up at the sky.

    “This isn’t going nearly as well as I’d hoped,” he sighed. “Every time I reach out to bring Derak back, he just gets further away. Maybe…maybe this is some kind of sign? Maybe something greater than me wants Derak to keep going?”

    “Yes…that would be the case.”

    Spire sprang to his feet in an instant, Infernape’s Pokeball at the ready, but a hand suddenly gripped his arm and pulled it behind his back, effectively restraining him. The hand then threw Spire to the ground, a foot landing on his back and pinning him down. The lawyer managed to turn his head just enough to see his assailant, but the attacker’s identity caused his eyes to bulge with shock.

    “Now,” growled Nobunaga as his foot applied pressure to Spire’s back, “let us talk about what you will be doing next.”

    ****
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    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

  17. #42
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    Uhuh....
    It's finally happened Nobunga...
    Youve lost your mind. (says clown)
    Simpsons reference.

    What will mr. lawer do.
    And what about derrak's dad, who wouldn't let him leave.

    What would he think about all this.
    They say if you press cntrl and W you get to see the programming of a website after making a signature with 3 ws and 8qs
    Fanfics I like that are still in production: Author's Run, Pokémon emerald the better version

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

    I NEED A BETA READER!
    Check out my fic.
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  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morpher01 View Post
    Okay, so I've been doing some thinking, and I've decided to continue this. I'm kinda sick of having this thing die after the planning that went into it.

    Just one warning: chapters probably won't be as frequent as I'd like due to college classes taking up about 3/4 of my time. Other than that, I should be able to finally finish this at SOME POINT in the future (although that won't be for quite a while, in all honesty).
    I hope you do continue it. It's very enjoyable.

    Chapter 15: Rock Tunnel



    Following Derak and Garth’s departure from Lavender Town, the two trainers continued their trek across Kanto. After some odd hours of hiking, they came upon a large opening carved into a rock face. A sign reading “ROCK TUNNEL” stood next to the entrance, looking faded and worn from what may have been a long existence.

    “So, if we go through here, we get to Celadon City?” Derak asked.

    “Indeed,” Garth nodded. “We should be careful, however. It is much easier to be ambushed by a wild Pokemon in a cave than in the grass.”
    I think Garth should also tell him that there's Lavender Town and Saffron City between Rock Tunnel's exit and Celadon, shouldn't he?

    “Noted,” Derak replied.

    “Well, look who it is,” a female voice sneered. “The stupid kid who doesn’t know how to treat Pokemon.”

    Recognizing the voice, Derak lazily turned his head to find Melissa Armare standing behind him, arms folded and one eyebrow raised.

    “Oh. You,” Derak sighed with as little interest as possible. “Is there a reason you’re talking about yourself like that? I think it’s a sign of insanity.”
    She better have Burn Heal.

    I'm amused by how little Derak seems to think of her.

    “Ha, funny,” Melissa growled. “Are you and your weird-looking friend are going through the Rock Tunnel?”

    “What about it?” Derak said. Garth, despite the insult Melissa threw him, simply leaned back on the wall and observed the rivals’ conversation.

    “I’m going through, too,” Melissa said. “Might as well go together.”

    “Huh?!” Derak sputtered. “Why the heck would I want to hang out with you?”

    “I can actually stick some of reality in your head,” Melissa sneered, brushing past Derak. “Then maybe you’ll start treating your Pokemon properly.”
    Melissa, this is the kid who just found out he's descended from an immortal warlord from feudal Japan (or the equivalent thereof). Reality to him would sound like fantasy to you.

    Without another word, Melissa entered the Rock Tunnel. Rather than follow, however, Derak simply positioned his fingers in such a way that his hand now resembled an alligator-like mouth. The mouth then began to repeatedly open and close, as if mimicking Melissa’s earlier words.

    “You really are an incredible brat,” Garth grunted.
    I hope Garth didn't just figure that out now.

    Shortly after the group of trainers entered the tunnel, however, another familiar figure approached. Nick Spire and his Infernape looked into the tunnel, watching Derak’s back fade into the darkness.

    “He’s in the Rock Tunnel, huh?” Spire said. “Okay, Infernape, let’s try something new. Hopefully we can scare Derak out of continuing his journey.”
    Okay, I can't imagine this is going to end well for all involved.

    “So, who are you supposed to be?” Melissa said to Garth once he and Derak had caught up with her.

    “I do not see how it is any of your business,” Garth grunted.
    This is something I'd miss if you cancelled the story, Garth's attitude.

    “Hmph,” Melissa snorted, turning her focus to Derak. “You got lucky back on the S.S. Wailord, you know.”

    “Yeah, I got SO lucky,” Derak sighed. “Never mind the fact that an amoeba is twice is smart as you’ll ever be, it was ALL luck that I won and you didn’t. Not type advantages, not my being smarter than you, just luck. Totally true.”

    Melissa harrumphed again and violently turned her head away from him.

    “Let me guess…don’t have any friends?” Derak sighed. “Wouldn’t surprise me.”

    “I have friends!” Melissa snapped.

    “Name one,” Derak said calmly.
    And Derak's attitude, for that matter. So amusing to read.

    “My dad,” Melissa declared proudly.

    “And he is…?” Derak asked.

    “An officer in Pyrite Town’s police force, and the greatest man alive,” Melissa boasted. “He taught me everything I know: how to drill your troops, how to follow the law…”

    “…how to treat every living thing like garbage, how to fail at life,” Derak continued for her. “If that’s the case, I guess I can’t blame you for your lack of brain cells.”
    This could go one of two ways depending on if she's the daughter of Sherles or Johnson, which is a little vague right now. If it's Johnson, what Derak is saying could be much truer than first thought.

    “HEY!” Melissa yelled. “DON’T TALK ABOUT MY DAD LIKE THAT! That’s it, we’re battling, right here and—”

    A shrill cry rang through the Rock Tunnel before Melissa could throw a Pokeball, sending a chill down both the children’s spines. Garth, however, merely narrowed his eyes. That cry was somewhat familiar…

    “What was that?” Derak asked.

    “I don’t know,” Melissa replied. “Sounds like something nasty is coming.”

    “Calm down,” Garth spat. “I may know that produced that cry, and I can assure you both that it is absolutely no thre—”

    Garth was cut off by an unexpected event: a blue bat-like creature falling onto Melissa’s head. In addition to the purple skin inside its pointy ears and between the bones of its wings, the bat possessed a pair of long pointy legs and a face with no discernible features save a large fanged mouth.

    “Hold that thought,” Derak said, pulling out his Pokedex. “I think I saw one of those in Mount Moon.”

    “Zubat,” the Pokedex reported, “the Bat Pokemon. Type is Poison and Flying. Zubat checks its surroundings and location by emitting ultrasonic waves from its mouth.”

    “Looks good on you, Armare,” Derak smirked. “Does it come in pink and fluffy?”
    Once again, I laughed. I have a gut feeling that that Zubat might be important, though. Let's see if I'm right.

    A snarling Melissa replied by pulling Zubat off of her head and throwing it into Derak’s stomach. The boy let out an “oof” upon contact, but the Zubat was clearly in worse condition. Its entire body was shivering with fear, its wings wrapped around itself as if they would somehow protect it.

    “Real nice,” Derak growled at Melissa before stooping down to pick up Zubat. “Hey, little guy…you okay?”

    “Leave it, Derak,” Melissa spat. “That Pokemon is clearly worthless. I mean, just look at it! It has no eyes! It can’t tell up from down, let alone execute a single attack accurately!”
    I had actually forgotten just how vicious Melissa can be, so thanks for this very clear reminder. Incredibly cruel of her...

    “Uh-huh,” Derak grunted. “Zubat? Show her which way is up.”

    The Zubat complied by pointing one wing towards the ceiling.

    “Now show her which way is down.”

    Zubat pointed its win towards the floor.

    “But…but, that’s not possible!” Melissa sputtered. “It has no eyes, how can it see?!”

    “Echolocation,” Garth said. “It essentially gives its species a kind of sonar.”

    “In other words,” Derak said, “you’re wrong. Again. As if anyone is surprised.”
    Boy, you really aren't holding back when it comes to Melissa, are you? I smiled here, seeing her getting put in her place.

    Melissa’s face reddened with anger, but before she could spout some sort of retort, the ground beneath her began to rumble. Zubat began to panic, flapping out of Derak’s arms and screeching incessantly at every possible living organism.

    “NOW what’s going on?!” Derak complained, putting a hand on the wall in an attempt to maintain his balance.

    “I guess that thing really is smarter than it looks!” Melissa cried, pointing down the tunnel. “Look!”

    Something large was working its way towards them. A gruff, guttural roar came from the darkness, and although it was clearly not the source of the earlier shrill cry, it was nonetheless just as intimidating. The rumbling grew more intense as the beast came closer, something Zubat immediately recognized. The Bat Pokemon flew ahead of the three humans, stopping for a moment to screech back at them.

    “Come on, let’s go!” Derak cried, chasing after the Poison-type. “Zubat can lead us out of here!”
    Yeah, I'm definitely getting the feeling that Zubat is going to be important.

    “You’re trusting our lives with that thing?!” Melissa yelled.

    “You’d rather take your chances with whatever’s back there?!” Derak shot back.

    “Point taken!” Melissa cried.

    Light soon poured into the trainers’ sight, and the exit soon became visible. Zubat was the first out, its wings propelling its tiny body out into the sunlight. Derak, Melissa, and Garth soon followed, but the beast chasing them was not far behind. Mere seconds after the trainers escaped the Rock Tunnel, a blast of blue fire erupted from the tunnel’s mouth.

    “That was a Pokemon attack, right?” Derak asked. “Please tell me that was a Pokemon attack!”

    “It was a Dragonbreath, stupid!” Melissa snarled. “And a strong one, too…I think I’ve found myself a new recruit!”

    As if on cue, a large serpentine monster burst out of the Rock Tunnel. Its body appeared to be made entirely from numerous boulders, all somehow attached together. Its slightly pointed head had a large fin-like horn emerging from the top, and two large eyes glared down at the trainers.

    “Onix,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Rock Snake Pokemon. Type is Rock and Ground. It burrows through the ground at a speed of fifty miles per hour while feeding on large boulders.”
    I knew it had to be an Onix the moment it was mentioned to have used DragonBreath. The question in my mind, though, is if it is actually a wild Onix or does it belong to Spire?

    “Are you insane?!” Derak cried. “You want to battle something that can chew through boulders?!”

    “I want to CATCH something that can chew through boulders,” Melissa retorted, preparing a Pokeball. “I could use a Ground-type for the Fuchsia Gym down the road. Krabby, report for duty!”
    Well, that reaction makes sense for Melissa. Krabby's a good choice, too.

    Melissa gave Derak a quick glare before turning her gaze back to Onix. As she began to enter battle, however, Derak saw something in Onix’s eyes. It was not the rage that he expected…it looked more like fear. A fear of something much worse than her. Nonetheless, Melissa either did not notice or—as Derak assumed—did not care as she issued her first command.
    Hmm... this is actually surprising. I wonder what it means...

    “Krabby, use Bubblebeam!” Melissa cried.

    Krabby limply pointed a claw at Onix, opening it up and releasing a stream of blue energy spheres. Onix, however, dodged by somehow contorting its rocky body in such a way that the Bubblebeam sailed right past. The Rock Snake countered by diving underground, completely submerging itself within the earth in spite of the Rock-type’s size.

    “It knows Dig?!” Melissa cried. “Krabby, stay alert!”

    “Kruh-key, kruh-key,” Krabby grunted, releasing more foam from its mouth. The ground beneath it suddenly cracked, and Onix burst out from underground. Although the Rock Snake expected to send the River Crab flying, it saw no trace of its Water-type foe in the air or on the ground.

    “Now, Krabby! Point-blank Bubblebeam!” Melissa yelled.

    Six small feet planted themselves on Onix’s head, and the Rock-type’s eyes widened upon realizing that Krabby had grabbed onto the former’s horn. Onix was now completely helpless as the River Crab fired another Bubblebeam, this one smashing directly into the side of Onix’s head. The Rock Snake let out a roar of pain, and with her opportunity in sight, Melissa threw a Pokeball. The ball absorbed Onix inside, causing the unaffected Krabby to plummet back down to earth. Despite the plight of her Water-type, Melissa instead smirked as her Pokeball shook three times and clicked, signifying Onix’s successful capture.
    I guess that answers my question about whether it belonged to Spire or not.

    I want to say that I appreciate you using some more obscure Pokemon like Krabby and Onix that don't see as much action in this day and age.

    “And that’s how it’s done,” Melissa bragged, retrieving her Pokeball. “Well, Derak? Got any smug words now?”

    She turned around, but rather than find Derak making some sardonic comment, she found that he and Garth had long since left. Only Melissa and Krabby remained, the latter managing to dig itself out of the small crater that was caused by its rough landing.

    “I hate that boy,” Melissa growled.

    Krabby gave another foamy sigh, wondering what cruel deities had decided to place it with such a clueless trainer.
    Okay, I like this Krabby. XD;

    “Well, here we are,” Derak said, Zubat resting on his head and Garth standing beside him. “Celadon City.”

    The site of Derak’s fourth Gym battle was truly a sight to behold. Skyscrapers towered over the populace, and people busily buzzed from building to building. Trainers had battles in the streets, and shoppers inspected the local perfume shop. To say this city was bustling would be an understatement.
    I guess you restructured Rock Tunnel a bit so they're go right to Celadon? Also, I find it odd that Spire didn't show up in the tunnel... he must be up to something.

    “We should get to the Pokemon Center,” Garth said. “It is getting late.”

    “Looks like it,” Derak replied, noticing that the sky was indeed darkening. He looked up at Zubat. “Hey, Zubat…you want to come with me or something? I mean, it would probably explain why you seem to like sticking around.”

    Zubat nodded eagerly.

    “You sure?” Derak asked. “I mean, this isn’t going to be a walk in the park. There’s stuff like Gym battles, crazy ancestors, lawyers, annoying people like Melissa…”

    Zubat nodded again.

    “Okay, it’s your choice,” Derak shrugged. “All right, Zubat…it’s kinda my thing to name my Pokemon. You okay with that?”

    Zubat nodded yet again.
    I knew it. Almost immediately upon Zubat's entrance I predicted Derak would catch it, and I was right. I kind of like this Zubat already, so I think it'll make a good addition.

    “Cool,” Derak said. “Can you get off my head for a second? I need to take a look at you.”

    Zubat complied, using its wings to propel itself off of the boy’s head. It began to hover in front of Derak, allowing the latter to examine it.

    “Okay…let’s see,” Derak said, putting a hand to his chin. “You’re a bat, and you make sound waves…Garth, what was it called when Zubat does radar stuff with sound waves?”

    “Echolocation?” Garth suggested.

    “That was it!” Derak said. “Okay, Zubat…I think I’m going to call you Echo. What do you think?”

    Zubat seemed to consider the name for a moment, tilting its head to the side in some sort of strange pensive gesture. After its time of contemplation had finished, however, it gave Derak a nod.

    “Cool,” Derak said, pulling a Pokeball off his belt. “Now, I’m going to need you to hold still for a sec, okay?”
    Hm. That name works.

    Just outside Celadon City, Nick Spire plopped himself down on the ground, his head in his hand.

    “Great, just great,” he groaned. “That was definitely not what I intended. I wanted Infernape’s Roar attack to scare Derak, not send a rampaging Onix after him!”
    Well that explains what happened to him. I actually cracked a smile, because this guy is almost comical in how he fails sometimes, or at least that's how I read it.

    He collapsed onto his back, staring up at the sky.

    “This isn’t going nearly as well as I’d hoped,” he sighed. “Every time I reach out to bring Derak back, he just gets further away. Maybe…maybe this is some kind of sign? Maybe something greater than me wants Derak to keep going?”

    “Yes…that would be the case.”

    Spire sprang to his feet in an instant, Infernape’s Pokeball at the ready, but a hand suddenly gripped his arm and pulled it behind his back, effectively restraining him. The hand then threw Spire to the ground, a foot landing on his back and pinning him down. The lawyer managed to turn his head just enough to see his assailant, but the attacker’s identity caused his eyes to bulge with shock.

    “Now,” growled Nobunaga as his foot applied pressure to Spire’s back, “let us talk about what you will be doing next.”

    ****
    Well then. My first thought is, Spire still knows Nobunaga as Draykus, right? I don't think I remember him learning the truth yet. Either way, though, it looks like Spire's mission from Enoch just got completely complicated.

    I think this was a good chapter, certainly not as bad as you made it sound. It was short, but it told an effective enough story, had some great moments and overall was just entertaining. I don't think you can ask for more.

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  19. #44
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    Righteousness prevails! I'm so glad this isn't gonna die! I can't go into too much details now, but it's been a certainly intriguing trip so far!

    Truthfully, I'll put more into a full review once the latest chapter is read, but I'll definitely fill you in soon!

    But for now... L@er!
    The Corei Quest's latest chapter: Chapter Forty Seven: Tricks of the Trade (24 April 2014)
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  20. #45
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    Rotomknight: You'll see. That's all I can say. XD


    The Great Butler:
    I had actually forgotten just how vicious Melissa can be, so thanks for this very clear reminder. Incredibly cruel of her...
    I wouldn't really call her "cruel" per se, just too hot-headed to make accurate judgements. And also not too bright. XD

    Boy, you really aren't holding back when it comes to Melissa, are you? I smiled here, seeing her getting put in her place.
    Some characters are just fun to humiliate. XD

    This could go one of two ways depending on if she's the daughter of Sherles or Johnson, which is a little vague right now. If it's Johnson, what Derak is saying could be much truer than first thought.
    I wanted it to be somewhat vague, partly because I wanted it to be up the the reader's imagination (and partly because I couldn't decide who her dad should be myself XD). Either way, the idea is that she's taken his advice a little too far.

    I want to say that I appreciate you using some more obscure Pokemon like Krabby and Onix that don't see as much action in this day and age.
    I wanted to have a Kanto-dominated Pokemon lineup due to the setting. Thus, Krabby and Onix.

    I guess you restructured Rock Tunnel a bit so they're go right to Celadon? Also, I find it odd that Spire didn't show up in the tunnel... he must be up to something.
    Pretty much. At first I was going to use it the actual way (or not at all), until I realized that I needed to give Derak the Zubat. Thus, this incarnation of Rock Tunnel came to be.

    Well then. My first thought is, Spire still knows Nobunaga as Draykus, right? I don't think I remember him learning the truth yet. Either way, though, it looks like Spire's mission from Enoch just got completely complicated.
    Spire does know him as Draykus. In fact, no one knows him as Nobunaga. There's a reason for that which will be revealed around Fuchsia City.


    Air Dragon:
    Righteousness prevails! I'm so glad this isn't gonna die! I can't go into too much details now, but it's been a certainly intriguing trip so far!

    Truthfully, I'll put more into a full review once the latest chapter is read, but I'll definitely fill you in soon!

    But for now... L@er!
    Heh, makes me glad I didn't decide to cancel. Thanks for your enthusiasm, and take your time on your review.
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  21. #46
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    Okay, time for the next chapter. Not sure if this one was handled the best way, but my primary goal is to avoid repetitive chapters as much as possible. So...yeah. Here we go.




    Chapter 16: Training Day



    “Let me get this straight,” Garth sighed, his forehead in his palm. “Despite using a Fire-type Pokemon, as well as a Pokemon that is both a Poison-type and a Flying-type…you failed to defeat even ONE of the Celadon Gym Leader’s Pokemon?”

    A day had passed since Derak and Garth arrived in Celadon City. After a quick training session in which Derak learned of the moves in Echo’s arsenal, the boy went to challenge the fourth of Kanto’s Gyms. Unfortunately, fate was not on Derak’s side.

    “Hey, don’t look at me,” Derak protested, nursing what appeared to be a broken nose. “The Gym Leader’s Tangela used Ancientpower to clobber Echo, then it evolved into some freakish ball of vines that—for some weird reason—doesn’t care if its arms get eaten. Then it instantly beat Brute with a Poison Jab to the chest, and then it threw out another Ancientpower that launched Wildfire RIGHT INTO MY FACE. Don’t blame me for other people’s use of cheap tricks.”

    “Evolving in mid-battle is against no official rules,” Garth sighed. “Were you not the one who simply said to try again if beaten?”

    “That was before Erika unleashed her Tangrowth of Super-Armed Death,” Derak grumbled. “How are my guys supposed to fight something that can hit them from across the whole battlefield?”

    “We train,” Garth said flatly. “I believe we will be able to use one of my Pokemon’s attacks to simulate Tangrowth’s elastic arms. Once your Pokemon are finished healing, we can begin that.”

    “I guess that’ll work,” Derak muttered, still massaging his injured nose.

    Garth only nodded and took a drink from his canteen.

    “Okay, what is it with you and that canteen?” Derak asked. “Nobunaga-related trauma probably won’t relate to why you obsessively drink out of that one canteen.”

    “You would need to know my story in its entirety in order to fully understand why I only drink from this canteen,” Garth sighed.

    “…lactose intolerance?” Derak guessed. “That’s the first thing I can think of, anyway.”

    Garth blinked at Derak’s somewhat random response before shaking his head. Before their conversation could continue further, a pair of familiar faces entered the Pokemon Center. Garth narrowed his eyes upon recognition, still bitter from his encounter outside Pewter City.

    “Good day to you, Nurse Joy,” said Nando, giving the nurse a polite nod of greeting. Teresa, the shy Coordinator, clung to his cloak as if fearing that he would suddenly vanish without a trace. “We would appreciate it if you would heal our Pokemon.”

    “That’s no problem at all,” Nurse Joy nodded. “Just give them here and they’ll be good as new in a couple of minutes.”

    Nando handed Nurse Joy a set of six Pokeballs. Teresa followed suit with her four, albeit with a hard swallow and shaking hands. The nurse took the balls and went over to a healing machine, where Derak’s own three Pokeballs sat.

    “Hey, it was, uh…Nando, right?” Derak asked.

    “Ah, hello there, Derak!” Nando smiled. “Yes, that is correct. Teresa, this is Derak and his friend Garth. Derak watched your Contest debut in Pewter City.”

    “Hel…hello,” Teresa gulped, tightening her grip on Nando’s robe. “It’s…nice…to meet you?”

    Derak merely raised his hand in acknowledgement.

    “And how are you, sir?” Nando said, turning to Garth.

    “…I am well,” Garth growled. Derak winced, expecting his cloaked companion to attack Nando once more.

    “That is good to hear,” Nando nodded. “So, my friends, how has your journey been thus far?”

    “Lost at the Celadon Gym a little while ago,” Derak interjected with a raise of his hand, primarily to keep Garth restrained.

    “Ah, that is unfortunate,” Nando said. “I wish you the best of luck in your next match.”

    Teresa added a nervous nod.

    “I think I’m going to need it,” Derak sighed. “Maybe one of my Pokemon will spontaneously evolve and wreck the Leader’s team. That’d be a nice change.”

    “One can only hope,” Garth sighed.

    “If I may…the Celadon Gym Leader prefers Grass-type Pokemon, correct?” Nando asked.

    “Yeah, why?” Derak asked.

    “I believe I have an idea that would benefit all involved parties,” Nando began. “It just so happens that I have quite a collection of Grass-types myself. I would like to offer my services as a training partner in order to better prepare you for your upcoming rematch.”

    “Not on your life!” Garth growled.

    “Oh, shut up, Garth,” Derak groaned, leaning back in his chair. “You’re still mad that Nando gave you decent advice back in Pewter.”

    “That has nothing to do with it!” Garth snapped. “I still have need of you, and I will not have your training trusted to some chronically-drunken bard!”

    “Even if said drunken bard actually knows what he’s talking about?” Derak retorted. “No offense, Nando.”

    “None taken,” Nando smiled. “Unsporting opponents have often called me worse.”

    “Seriously, Garth, get over yourself and let Nando lend a hand,” Derak said. “Training with him will probably give me what I need to beat the Celadon Gym. How is this going to turn out bad for either of us?”

    “Hmph…I suppose I can accept, then,” Garth said begrudgingly. “My Cradily may not be able to fully prepare you, anyway.”

    “Excellent, then we are all agreed,” Nando smiled. “Once our Pokemon are finished healing, we shall begin our training.”

    ****

    A few moments later, Nando and Derak stood in the streets of Celadon with enough distance between them for a battle. Garth and Teresa remained on the sidelines, the former with arms folded and the latter seemingly attempting to hide in her jacket.

    “In order to simulate the Gym battle, we shall each use three Pokemon,” Nando began. “Now, let us begin, Lilligant!”

    Nando’s Pokemon was a feminine creature with chalk white skin and orange eyes. Its body was primarily composed of a large bulb that was physically similar to the lower half of a dress, and atop the Pokemon’s pale green hair was a large flower positioned as if it were a hat. Two leafy arms fanned out from the Pokemon’s sides, and swirled about as the Pokemon did a pirouette in place.

    “Lilligant,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Flowering Pokemon. Type is Grass. Evolved form of Petilil. The fragrance of the garland on its head has a relaxing effect, but if it is not adequately taken care of, it will wither.”

    “Hmm…perhaps that bard may be worth something after all,” Garth mused.

    “Uh…um…e-excuse me? M-mr. Garth?” Teresa stammered. “Why do you…how come you don’t really…like Nando?”

    “Because of his attitude towards life,” Garth growled. “He has no idea what sort of suffering life holds. Not like I do…”

    Meanwhile, Echo appeared from Derak’s first Pokeball, flapping excitedly at its chance for a new experience.

    “An interesting choice,” Nando remarked, observing Derak’s Zubat. “You may have the first move.”

    Derak sighed. Something he noticed during his travels was that, whenever someone said that, they usually had something planned in advance. Realizing that he had little choice in the matter, however, he gave his first order.

    “Echo, use Double Team!” Derak cried.

    Still hovering near Derak, Echo suddenly duplicated itself multiple times. Soon, roughly a dozen duplicate Zubats formed a semi-circle in front of Nando and his Lilligant.

    “I see. We shall use a preparatory tactic, as well,” Nando said. “Lilligant, use Sunny Day, please.”

    Lilligant’s leafy arms began to glow a bright orange, and with an elegant ballerina-like twirl, the Grass-type lifted its arms into the air. An orange comet erupted from each the Flowering Pokemon’s arms, spiraling into the air and vanishing over the sun. Suddenly, the sunlight’s brightness and intensity were increased twofold, forcing Derak and Teresa to shield their eyes. Due to their choice of headwear, however, Garth and Nando had little difficulty.

    “Now, Lilligant, shall we go on the offensive?” Nando asked. “Please, use Magical Leaf.”

    Lilligant did another pirouette, this time summoning a swarm of glowing leaves that shot high into the air. The leaves then barreled down towards one specific Zubat clone on the far right, but despite the attack being a seemingly random shot, it struck the clone and knocked it to the ground. Derak’s eyes widened in shock as the remaining illusions vanished, Nando having broken the effect of Double Team.

    “Echo!” Derak cried. “Quick, use Sludge Bomb before he can follow up!”

    “Lilligant, please dodge, then use Energy Ball,” Nando said.

    Echo took a deep breath, then spat out a wad of slime that hurdled towards its feminine foe. Shockingly, Lilligant vanished in a green blur, reappearing just behind Echo with a ball of emerald-colored energy already formed between its arms. The ball was flung directly into Echo’s back, launching the Zubat high into the air.

    “Oh, no! Echo, return!” Derak cried, quickly withdrawing his Zubat before it could hit the ground. “How…how did Lilligant move so fast?”

    “That would be because of Lilligant’s ability, Chlorophyll,” Nando replied calmly. “When the sunlight is particularly bright, such as when the effects of Sunny Day are in play, a Pokemon with Chlorophyll becomes significantly swifter in movement.”

    “Great,” Derak sighed. “Anything else I should know?”

    “Just that numerous Grass-type Pokemon are capable of having Chlorophyll as their ability,” Nando replied. “It is quite likely that a Pokemon in the Celadon Gym will be just as capable, and will seek to use that ability against you.”

    “Ugh,” Derak groaned. “I already know how this is going to end.”

    “Please, do not be discouraged,” Nando said. “Shall we continue?”

    “Fine,” Derak sighed. “Brute, let’s go.”

    Upon appearing, Brute narrowed his eyes at the sight of Lilligant. The Fighting-type could tell just by looking that its latest opponent was quite strong, especially with the Sunny Day still bearing down from overhead. Brute cracked its knuckles and prepared for a tough challenge.

    “Ready, Brute?” Derak asked, to which he received a nod. “Okay, use Vacuum Wave!”

    “Lilligant, please counter with Leaf Storm,” Nando said.

    Brute released its Vacuum Wave, but Lilligant began to rapidly twirl in place. A cyclone of leaves whipped up around the spinning Grass-type, generating a wind that collided with the tunnel-shaped wind blast that was Brute’s attack. The Vacuum Wave was dispelled, but Lilligant’s Leaf Storm did not subside. The leaves suddenly burst forward in waves, blasting Brute off of the ground and sending it sailing across the pavement. As with Echo before it, Brute was also knocked out in a single shot.

    “Brute! Ugh…return,” Derak sighed. “You did your best, given the what we're up against.”

    “Do not despair,” Nando said. “You are doing well.”

    “Yeah?” Derak snorted. “What makes you say that? We’re kinda getting clobbered, here.”

    “And yet you have an opportunity to turn the tables,” Nando said. “Leaf Storm, while indeed a powerful move, becomes weaker every time it is used. Should your opponent know Leaf Storm or similar moves such as Overheat or Draco Meteor, you may be able to exploit their weaknesses. Shall we try exploiting Leaf Storm’s weakness?”

    “…I guess it won’t hurt,” Derak sighed. “Wildfire, let’s go!”

    “Ah, an excellent choice!” Nando complimented upon seeing the Chimchar before him. “Now, let us continue. Lilligant, use Sleep Powder, if you please.”

    “Wildfire, use Protect!” Derak cried.

    Lilligant released a glittering flurry of green powder from the flower on its head, the powder somehow maintaining an arrow-like shape as it headed towards Wildfire. The Chimchar, however, crossed its arms and formed a green bubble around itself. The Sleep Powder made contact with the Protect, but the former dissipated into nothing after touching the latter.

    “Ah, well-played,” Nando complimented. “You may, however, have used that move too soon. Lilligant, please, use Solarbeam!”

    “Wildfire, Protect again!” Derak ordered.

    The Flowering Pokemon began to absorb particles of light into its flower, and after a brief moment of charging, the flower flashed once. With its charging process complete, Lilligant released a colossal beam of light into the air, allowing it to barrel down on Wildfire. In response, the small Fire-type put up another Protect, but unlike the first, this one faded away mere seconds after it was raised. A wide-eyed Chimchar then found itself on the receiving end of Lilligant’s Solarbeam, with only a burnt body and a large crater left where Wildfire once stood.

    “WILDFIRE!” Derak yelled, rushing to his starter’s aid. “H-hey, are you okay?”

    “Please forgive me,” Nando said as he approached his young opponent. “We may have done a bit too much in our last attack.”

    “Liiilll,” said Lilligant with an apologetic bow of its head.

    Derak said nothing as he recalled his unconscious Chimchar. Nando offered the boy a hand, but Derak did not take it, instead rising on his own. Despite this, a smile remained on Nando’s face as the bard began to speak once again.

    “It has been an honor to help you train,” Nando said.

    “What training?” Derak snorted. “We got slaughtered.”

    “That was merely because of my greater amount of experience,” Nando said. “Although you were at a disadvantage, you performed admirably.”

    “Sure,” Derak said, but his tone suggested disbelief. “I guess this’ll have to do for the Celadon Gym.”

    “Assuming you learn how to use Protect properly,” Garth interjected. “It may be useful, but it cannot be used twice in a row.”

    “Indeed,” Nando nodded. “Also, you may want to consider the possibility that your opponent may know how to use Solarbeam. It normally takes a short while to charge, but when Sunny Day is in effect, it is capable of being fired instantly.”

    “Let me guess, a lot of Grass-types can use Solarbeam?” Derak sighed.

    “You would be correct,” Nando nodded. “You may have a difficult challenge ahead of you, but I am confident that you will succeed.”

    Derak, wishing for a second opinion, looked over to the two spectators. Teresa gave a nervous nod, while Garth simply shrugged. Derak gave a shrug as well, and turned back to Nando.

    “All right, then,” Derak said. “Hope I don’t disappoint.”

    “If I may, will you give me the privilege of observing your Gym battle?” Nando asked.

    “Don’t you have a Contest or something to go to?” Derak asked.

    “There is plenty of time before the next Contest,” Nando smiled. “And I cannot simply abandon a new friend.”

    Ugh, when will this bard ever shut up and admit that he has no idea what he is talking about? Garth thought with a grunt.

    *****

    Back in Orre, Anoch Kadir grew impatient. It had been several months since Derak had fled home, and Nick Spire had not contacted him in some time. Anoch gripped his head in his hands, grimacing as he wondered what was taking Spire so long.

    A loud thump from outside caught his attention. Thinking that it might be Spire with Derak in tow, Anoch quickly headed for the front door. Just as he reached it, he hesitated. Through the door, he could hear something…something akin to heavy breathing.

    Something inhuman was outside his door.

    A blast of energy tore through the front half of Anoch’s house, knocking the businessman flat onto the floor as the roof was ripped away as if by a giant hand. Derak’s father could only stare in horror as a giant beast with three serpentine heads glared down upon him, snarling viciously. An object fell off of the beast’s back, and Anoch’s eyes widened as he realized that it was the unconscious body of his lawyer.

    “Wh-what the hell is going on?!” Anoch cried.

    The three-headed beast lowered itself to the ground, all six of its red eyes fixed on Anoch, and a familiar figure stepped off of its body.

    Nobunaga.

    “Anoch Kadir…a pleasure to meet you,” Nobunaga smirked. “Let me and Hydreigon here show you what we think of your interference with your son’s journey.”

    *****
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  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morpher01 View Post
    Chapter 16: Training Day



    “Let me get this straight,” Garth sighed, his forehead in his palm. “Despite using a Fire-type Pokemon, as well as a Pokemon that is both a Poison-type and a Flying-type…you failed to defeat even ONE of the Celadon Gym Leader’s Pokemon?”
    Well now, this is certainly different.

    A day had passed since Derak and Garth arrived in Celadon City. After a quick training session in which Derak learned of the moves in Echo’s arsenal, the boy went to challenge the fourth of Kanto’s Gyms. Unfortunately, fate was not on Derak’s side.

    “Hey, don’t look at me,” Derak protested, nursing what appeared to be a broken nose. “The Gym Leader’s Tangela used Ancientpower to clobber Echo, then it evolved into some freakish ball of vines that—for some weird reason—doesn’t care if its arms get eaten. Then it instantly beat Brute with a Poison Jab to the chest, and then it threw out another Ancientpower that launched Wildfire RIGHT INTO MY FACE. Don’t blame me for other people’s use of cheap tricks.”
    Somehow this description of the fight tells me everything I need to know without actually seeing it. In all seriousness, I don't feel like I'm missing out, because this is more than enough.

    “Evolving in mid-battle is against no official rules,” Garth sighed. “Were you not the one who simply said to try again if beaten?”
    I think it's worth noting that a Gym Leader's Pokemon evolving in the middle of a battle is something I don't believe has ever happened in the anime, so this is worth something.

    “That was before Erika unleashed her Tangrowth of Super-Armed Death,” Derak grumbled. “How are my guys supposed to fight something that can hit them from across the whole battlefield?”

    “We train,” Garth said flatly. “I believe we will be able to use one of my Pokemon’s attacks to simulate Tangrowth’s elastic arms. Once your Pokemon are finished healing, we can begin that.”

    “I guess that’ll work,” Derak muttered, still massaging his injured nose.

    Garth only nodded and took a drink from his canteen.

    “Okay, what is it with you and that canteen?” Derak asked. “Nobunaga-related trauma probably won’t relate to why you obsessively drink out of that one canteen.”

    “You would need to know my story in its entirety in order to fully understand why I only drink from this canteen,” Garth sighed.

    “…lactose intolerance?” Derak guessed. “That’s the first thing I can think of, anyway.”
    lol what.

    The canteen is important, isn't it? Something about it makes me feel like it's meant to be a Chekhov's Gun.

    Garth blinked at Derak’s somewhat random response before shaking his head. Before their conversation could continue further, a pair of familiar faces entered the Pokemon Center. Garth narrowed his eyes upon recognition, still bitter from his encounter outside Pewter City.

    “Good day to you, Nurse Joy,” said Nando, giving the nurse a polite nod of greeting. Teresa, the shy Coordinator, clung to his cloak as if fearing that he would suddenly vanish without a trace. “We would appreciate it if you would heal our Pokemon.”
    Good to see them back again.

    “That’s no problem at all,” Nurse Joy nodded. “Just give them here and they’ll be good as new in a couple of minutes.”

    Nando handed Nurse Joy a set of six Pokeballs. Teresa followed suit with her four, albeit with a hard swallow and shaking hands. The nurse took the balls and went over to a healing machine, where Derak’s own three Pokeballs sat.

    “Hey, it was, uh…Nando, right?” Derak asked.

    “Ah, hello there, Derak!” Nando smiled. “Yes, that is correct. Teresa, this is Derak and his friend Garth. Derak watched your Contest debut in Pewter City.”

    “Hel…hello,” Teresa gulped, tightening her grip on Nando’s robe. “It’s…nice…to meet you?”
    I'm trying to remember why Teresa is so shy, but nothing's coming back up in mind. Was it stated before, or was she just shy?

    Derak merely raised his hand in acknowledgement.

    “And how are you, sir?” Nando said, turning to Garth.

    “…I am well,” Garth growled. Derak winced, expecting his cloaked companion to attack Nando once more.
    Oh, Garth, don't ever change.

    “That is good to hear,” Nando nodded. “So, my friends, how has your journey been thus far?”

    “Lost at the Celadon Gym a little while ago,” Derak interjected with a raise of his hand, primarily to keep Garth restrained.

    “Ah, that is unfortunate,” Nando said. “I wish you the best of luck in your next match.”

    Teresa added a nervous nod.

    “I think I’m going to need it,” Derak sighed. “Maybe one of my Pokemon will spontaneously evolve and wreck the Leader’s team. That’d be a nice change.”
    Do I see some foreshadowing here?

    “One can only hope,” Garth sighed.

    “If I may…the Celadon Gym Leader prefers Grass-type Pokemon, correct?” Nando asked.

    “Yeah, why?” Derak asked.

    “I believe I have an idea that would benefit all involved parties,” Nando began. “It just so happens that I have quite a collection of Grass-types myself. I would like to offer my services as a training partner in order to better prepare you for your upcoming rematch.”
    Nice way to work Nando in an important role. This really works.

    “Not on your life!” Garth growled.

    “Oh, shut up, Garth,” Derak groaned, leaning back in his chair. “You’re still mad that Nando gave you decent advice back in Pewter.”

    “That has nothing to do with it!” Garth snapped. “I still have need of you, and I will not have your training trusted to some chronically-drunken bard!”
    Oh wow Garth, someone's got their panties in a wad today. What is it about Nando exactly that set him off so badly? Is he really chronically drunken?

    A few moments later, Nando and Derak stood in the streets of Celadon with enough distance between them for a battle. Garth and Teresa remained on the sidelines, the former with arms folded and the latter seemingly attempting to hide in her jacket.

    “In order to simulate the Gym battle, we shall each use three Pokemon,” Nando began. “Now, let us begin, Lilligant!”

    Nando’s Pokemon was a feminine creature with chalk white skin and orange eyes. Its body was primarily composed of a large bulb that was physically similar to the lower half of a dress, and atop the Pokemon’s pale green hair was a large flower positioned as if it were a hat. Two leafy arms fanned out from the Pokemon’s sides, and swirled about as the Pokemon did a pirouette in place.
    Perfect. Lilligant fits him like a glove.

    “Lilligant,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Flowering Pokemon. Type is Grass. Evolved form of Petilil. The fragrance of the garland on its head has a relaxing effect, but if it is not adequately taken care of, it will wither.”

    “Hmm…perhaps that bard may be worth something after all,” Garth mused.

    “Uh…um…e-excuse me? M-mr. Garth?” Teresa stammered. “Why do you…how come you don’t really…like Nando?”

    “Because of his attitude towards life,” Garth growled. “He has no idea what sort of suffering life holds. Not like I do…”
    I didn't actually expect there to be a deeper reason behind Garth's hatred of Nando, but here it is. I'm actually rather intrigued by how this sounds; it could give quite a look into the opposing worldviews Garth and Nando hold.

    Derak sighed. Something he noticed during his travels was that, whenever someone said that, they usually had something planned in advance. Realizing that he had little choice in the matter, however, he gave his first order.
    Nice lampshading.

    “Echo, use Double Team!” Derak cried.

    Still hovering near Derak, Echo suddenly duplicated itself multiple times. Soon, roughly a dozen duplicate Zubats formed a semi-circle in front of Nando and his Lilligant.

    “I see. We shall use a preparatory tactic, as well,” Nando said. “Lilligant, use Sunny Day, please.”

    Lilligant’s leafy arms began to glow a bright orange, and with an elegant ballerina-like twirl, the Grass-type lifted its arms into the air. An orange comet erupted from each the Flowering Pokemon’s arms, spiraling into the air and vanishing over the sun. Suddenly, the sunlight’s brightness and intensity were increased twofold, forcing Derak and Teresa to shield their eyes. Due to their choice of headwear, however, Garth and Nando had little difficulty.
    Oh boy, Nando's not messing around here. I like the fact he's using tactics.

    “Now, Lilligant, shall we go on the offensive?” Nando asked. “Please, use Magical Leaf.”

    Lilligant did another pirouette, this time summoning a swarm of glowing leaves that shot high into the air. The leaves then barreled down towards one specific Zubat clone on the far right, but despite the attack being a seemingly random shot, it struck the clone and knocked it to the ground. Derak’s eyes widened in shock as the remaining illusions vanished, Nando having broken the effect of Double Team.
    Good use of Magical Leaf's effect of guaranteed hitting.

    “Echo!” Derak cried. “Quick, use Sludge Bomb before he can follow up!”

    “Lilligant, please dodge, then use Energy Ball,” Nando said.

    Echo took a deep breath, then spat out a wad of slime that hurdled towards its feminine foe. Shockingly, Lilligant vanished in a green blur, reappearing just behind Echo with a ball of emerald-colored energy already formed between its arms. The ball was flung directly into Echo’s back, launching the Zubat high into the air.

    “Oh, no! Echo, return!” Derak cried, quickly withdrawing his Zubat before it could hit the ground. “How…how did Lilligant move so fast?”

    “That would be because of Lilligant’s ability, Chlorophyll,” Nando replied calmly. “When the sunlight is particularly bright, such as when the effects of Sunny Day are in play, a Pokemon with Chlorophyll becomes significantly swifter in movement.”
    I knew Nando was planning something when he used Sunny Day. Derak letting him set up was a mistake, obviously.

    “Great,” Derak sighed. “Anything else I should know?”

    “Just that numerous Grass-type Pokemon are capable of having Chlorophyll as their ability,” Nando replied. “It is quite likely that a Pokemon in the Celadon Gym will be just as capable, and will seek to use that ability against you.”
    Ah, good teachable moment here. This will surely be useful against Erika.

    “Ugh,” Derak groaned. “I already know how this is going to end.”

    “Please, do not be discouraged,” Nando said. “Shall we continue?”

    “Fine,” Derak sighed. “Brute, let’s go.”

    Upon appearing, Brute narrowed his eyes at the sight of Lilligant. The Fighting-type could tell just by looking that its latest opponent was quite strong, especially with the Sunny Day still bearing down from overhead. Brute cracked its knuckles and prepared for a tough challenge.

    “Ready, Brute?” Derak asked, to which he received a nod. “Okay, use Vacuum Wave!”

    “Lilligant, please counter with Leaf Storm,” Nando said.

    Brute released its Vacuum Wave, but Lilligant began to rapidly twirl in place. A cyclone of leaves whipped up around the spinning Grass-type, generating a wind that collided with the tunnel-shaped wind blast that was Brute’s attack. The Vacuum Wave was dispelled, but Lilligant’s Leaf Storm did not subside. The leaves suddenly burst forward in waves, blasting Brute off of the ground and sending it sailing across the pavement. As with Echo before it, Brute was also knocked out in a single shot.
    Derak sure is overmatched here.

    “Brute! Ugh…return,” Derak sighed. “You did your best, given the what we're up against.”

    “Do not despair,” Nando said. “You are doing well.”

    “Yeah?” Derak snorted. “What makes you say that? We’re kinda getting clobbered, here.”

    “And yet you have an opportunity to turn the tables,” Nando said. “Leaf Storm, while indeed a powerful move, becomes weaker every time it is used. Should your opponent know Leaf Storm or similar moves such as Overheat or Draco Meteor, you may be able to exploit their weaknesses. Shall we try exploiting Leaf Storm’s weakness?”

    “…I guess it won’t hurt,” Derak sighed. “Wildfire, let’s go!”
    Oh, I see now. This is where Derak is going to learn something, isn't it?

    “Ah, an excellent choice!” Nando complimented upon seeing the Chimchar before him. “Now, let us continue. Lilligant, use Sleep Powder, if you please.”

    “Wildfire, use Protect!” Derak cried.

    Lilligant released a glittering flurry of green powder from the flower on its head, the powder somehow maintaining an arrow-like shape as it headed towards Wildfire. The Chimchar, however, crossed its arms and formed a green bubble around itself. The Sleep Powder made contact with the Protect, but the former dissipated into nothing after touching the latter.

    “Ah, well-played,” Nando complimented. “You may, however, have used that move too soon. Lilligant, please, use Solarbeam!”

    “Wildfire, Protect again!” Derak ordered.

    The Flowering Pokemon began to absorb particles of light into its flower, and after a brief moment of charging, the flower flashed once. With its charging process complete, Lilligant released a colossal beam of light into the air, allowing it to barrel down on Wildfire. In response, the small Fire-type put up another Protect, but unlike the first, this one faded away mere seconds after it was raised. A wide-eyed Chimchar then found itself on the receiving end of Lilligant’s Solarbeam, with only a burnt body and a large crater left where Wildfire once stood.

    “WILDFIRE!” Derak yelled, rushing to his starter’s aid. “H-hey, are you okay?”

    “Please forgive me,” Nando said as he approached his young opponent. “We may have done a bit too much in our last attack.”
    That was a surprise. I thought Derak would learn to exploit Sunny Day boosting Fire moves.

    “If I may, will you give me the privilege of observing your Gym battle?” Nando asked.

    “Don’t you have a Contest or something to go to?” Derak asked.

    “There is plenty of time before the next Contest,” Nando smiled. “And I cannot simply abandon a new friend.”

    Ugh, when will this bard ever shut up and admit that he has no idea what he is talking about? Garth thought with a grunt.
    I'm sure Garth will come around soon enough.

    Back in Orre, Anoch Kadir grew impatient. It had been several months since Derak had fled home, and Nick Spire had not contacted him in some time. Anoch gripped his head in his hands, grimacing as he wondered what was taking Spire so long.
    Oh boy, this guy. Something bad's about to happen, I'm sure.

    A loud thump from outside caught his attention. Thinking that it might be Spire with Derak in tow, Anoch quickly headed for the front door. Just as he reached it, he hesitated. Through the door, he could hear something…something akin to heavy breathing.

    Something inhuman was outside his door.

    A blast of energy tore through the front half of Anoch’s house, knocking the businessman flat onto the floor as the roof was ripped away as if by a giant hand. Derak’s father could only stare in horror as a giant beast with three serpentine heads glared down upon him, snarling viciously. An object fell off of the beast’s back, and Anoch’s eyes widened as he realized that it was the unconscious body of his lawyer.
    Unconscious or lifeless?

    “Wh-what the hell is going on?!” Anoch cried.

    The three-headed beast lowered itself to the ground, all six of its red eyes fixed on Anoch, and a familiar figure stepped off of its body.

    Nobunaga.

    “Anoch Kadir…a pleasure to meet you,” Nobunaga smirked. “Let me and Hydreigon here show you what we think of your interference with your son’s journey.”

    *****
    I think Anoch Kadir just met his worst nightmare.

    I wouldn't worry about how you handled this chapter. This was better than the Lt. Surge battle taking place offscreen, because we got a bit better an amount of detail on what happened against Erika, enough so that we know the necessities of what went on. The training should offer some good lessons for Derak, too, even if it was a bit merciless. I can see his rematch with Erika going quite well based on what he could have picked up from fighting Nando. One thing that has me wondering, though, is that with Spire out of commission and Nobunaga over in Orre, what will happen next exactly?

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  23. #48
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    In the light of the increasing amounts of awesome this fic is producing, I think I'll limit this review to the two latest chapters, fifteen and sixteen.

    Firstly, if I recall my Kanto geography, Rock Tunnel doesn't lead to Celadon City from Lavender. It leads to Route 10 and the Power Plant. This, notwithstanding, is an excellent chapter in my book. The interactions between Melissa and Derak just keep escalating and now even her Pokemon wonder to Arceus what on earth they did wrong. Just loved that bit.

    Nick's plan wasn't too bright, was it? What else did he expect to happen? Honestly...

    Back to speaking of interactions, Derak's description of his battle with Erika to Garth had to be the highlight of the chapter. Although I do believe Derak has a point: Nando pretty much crushed him, and while he gained so much information about Grass types, Nando didn't exactly help hi devise any counterstrategies, despite the double advantage Derak's team has (Wildfire and Echo). Something tells me the rematch will be quite detailed.

    Theresa's another cookie you seem to find tricky to let us know she's there. Whether you're laying emphasis on her timidity or the task is getting a bit much remains to be seen. While we get she's a little dormouse in personality, this might rub people the wrong way unless a bit more depth is given in my opinion. Garth with his canteen forcibly reminded me of Mad Eye Moody and his hip flask from Harry Potter. Wonder if the reasons are similar?

    And as a footnote, Nobunaga's exploits as footnotes in the chapters is starting to become a pattern. I get that he's evil, and wants Derak to continue his journey, I just thought shifting it somewhere else in the chapter as a scene cut might make for a more interesting/refreshing twist.

    All in all, this is definitely a work I'm keeping my eye on, and I'm pleased it's going on. Don't worry about the timespan between chapters. People prefer quality over quantity. Any day.

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  24. #49
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    The Great Butler:
    Somehow this description of the fight tells me everything I need to know without actually seeing it. In all seriousness, I don't feel like I'm missing out, because this is more than enough.
    That was the main thing I was worried about with this chapter, so it's good to know that it went over well.

    I think it's worth noting that a Gym Leader's Pokemon evolving in the middle of a battle is something I don't believe has ever happened in the anime, so this is worth something.
    Actually, it happened twice back in Kanto: Sabrina's Abra and Koga's Venonat evolved mid-battle against Ash. Still, I figured I could use that tactic for Erika's Tangela, seeing as it has the whole "Ancientpower-induced-evolution" thing.

    The canteen is important, isn't it? Something about it makes me feel like it's meant to be a Chekhov's Gun.
    You would be right. Not saying any more than that just yet.

    I'm trying to remember why Teresa is so shy, but nothing's coming back up in mind. Was it stated before, or was she just shy?
    It wasn't stated before, and there's actually a reason Teresa's so shy. You'll see around Saffron-ish.

    Do I see some foreshadowing here?
    I'm not really spoiling much by saying that none of Derak's Pokemon will be evolving for a while. And what you see is just Derak whining. XD

    That was a surprise. I thought Derak would learn to exploit Sunny Day boosting Fire moves.
    Honestly...I totally forgot about that aspect of Sunny Day. XD I've managed to work it into the next chapter, though.

    One thing that has me wondering, though, is that with Spire out of commission and Nobunaga over in Orre, what will happen next exactly?
    You'll see. XD


    Air Dragon:
    In the light of the increasing amounts of awesome this fic is producing, I think I'll limit this review to the two latest chapters, fifteen and sixteen.
    ...for some reason, I can't really tell if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

    Firstly, if I recall my Kanto geography, Rock Tunnel doesn't lead to Celadon City from Lavender. It leads to Route 10 and the Power Plant.
    I kinda re-structured it a little for the sake of convenience. I needed a cave for Derak to get Echo in (primarily because I didn't want to make Echo and Brute's captures too close together time-wise), and the Rock Tunnel was the best choice.

    Also, I was originally taking Kanto's geography from FRLG (as HGSS hadn't been released at the time of original writing) despite not having actually played it, so I was bound to get a few things wrong. XD

    This, notwithstanding, is an excellent chapter in my book. The interactions between Melissa and Derak just keep escalating and now even her Pokemon wonder to Arceus what on earth they did wrong. Just loved that bit.
    Glad to hear it, because there will be more of those moments. XD

    Back to speaking of interactions, Derak's description of his battle with Erika to Garth had to be the highlight of the chapter. Although I do believe Derak has a point: Nando pretty much crushed him, and while he gained so much information about Grass types, Nando didn't exactly help hi devise any counterstrategies, despite the double advantage Derak's team has (Wildfire and Echo). Something tells me the rematch will be quite detailed.
    You're probably right about Nando's lack of real help, but then again, Derak wouldn't really learn too much if Nando was there with free strategies.

    And, yes, the rematch will be quite detailed. And long.

    Theresa's another cookie you seem to find tricky to let us know she's there. Whether you're laying emphasis on her timidity or the task is getting a bit much remains to be seen. While we get she's a little dormouse in personality, this might rub people the wrong way unless a bit more depth is given in my opinion. Garth with his canteen forcibly reminded me of Mad Eye Moody and his hip flask from Harry Potter. Wonder if the reasons are similar?
    You'll be finding out more about Teresa around Saffron City, where she and Nando will most likely be appearing next. There's actually a good reason for her timidness.

    And if I'm correctly recalling the reason why "Moody" (quotations necessary for, ahem, spoiler-ish reasons) drank so frequently from that hip flask, then you might be drawing a fairly accurate conclusion. I can't say for certain just yet, but I will say this: a lot of stuff gets revealed around Saffron, regarding several characters. You'll see. XD

    And as a footnote, Nobunaga's exploits as footnotes in the chapters is starting to become a pattern. I get that he's evil, and wants Derak to continue his journey, I just thought shifting it somewhere else in the chapter as a scene cut might make for a more interesting/refreshing twist.
    Eh, I mostly just needed Nobunaga to do something instead of just sitting around and twiddling his thumbs as he waits for Derak to get his eight badges. I'm toying with a sub-plot idea for him, but I'm not sure if I like it just yet, as it would require introducing another new character (and there's already quite a few).

    All in all, this is definitely a work I'm keeping my eye on, and I'm pleased it's going on. Don't worry about the timespan between chapters. People prefer quality over quantity. Any day.
    Thanks for the encouragement. The longer timespan has actually helped me quite a bit, so it's reassuring to know that people don't mind it too much.
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    At last, it's time for the fourth Gym battle.



    Chapter 17: Celadon Gym


    The day after his training with Nando, Derak entered the greenhouse-like Celadon Gym alongside both Teresa and the bard himself. Inside was a sight that seemed rather out-of-place in a city as industrious as Celadon: a large assortment of various types of plant life, arranged in such a way that they surrounded a large battlefield.

    “This certainly is a unique Gym,” Nando remarked. “I look forward to battling here myself.”

    “Don’t get too cozy,” Derak advised. “The Gym Leader bans people if they don’t like perfume. Seriously.”

    “Well…I suppose we all have our priorities,” Nando commented, although he did seem slightly taken aback by this revelation.

    Some of the denser plants over at the opposing end of the field began to rustle, and a young woman emerged from within. Despite having passed through dense plant life without aid from any sort of tool, her yellow-and-red kimono appeared spotless, as did her neck-length dark hair.

    “Oh, hello again, Derak,” said the young woman. “Have you been doing training with your friends there?”

    “Pretty much,” Derak shrugged, remembering some of the last-minute tips Nando had given him. “It was…Erika, right? Can we just get on with this?”

    “Sure,” Erika nodded. “Let’s get started.”

    All the present humans took their respective places. Derak stood at one end of the battlefield, Erika at the other. Nando and Teresa found a bench on the sidelines, and an apron-wearing girl on the side edge of the arena held up two flags to indicate her status as the referee.

    “This will be a three-on-three Pokemon battle!” the referee declared. “Each trainer will use three Pokemon, and the battle will be over when all three—”

    “Okay, can we skip this intro stuff?” Derak interrupted. “I mean, we’ve already heard it for the last battle, and I don’t think Gym rules get changed every five minutes, so what’s the point of listening to it again?”

    The referee blinked, looking to Erika for the answer. The Gym Leader merely shrugged.

    “Okay, then, begin the match!” the referee cried, swinging her flags upward.

    “All right…Bellossom, you’re up first!” Erika cried.

    The first of Erika’s Pokemon was rather small, just barely over a foot in height. It appeared to be, for all intents and purposes, a green-skinned hula girl. It even had a leafy, green-and-yellow skirt and two vibrant red flowers on its head, completing its thematic attire. In its hands, however, was a small brown rock covered in crimson crystals.

    “New tricks, huh?” Derak remarked, pulling out his Pokedex. “Nice of you to not start off with the Tangrowth that slaughtered me.”

    “Bellossom,” the Dex reported, “the Flower Pokemon. Type is Grass. Evolved form of Gloom. When the heavy rain season ends, it is drawn out by warm sunlight to dance in the open. A Gloom will only evolve into a Bellossom if it is exposed to a Sun Stone.”

    “Somehow, I can already guess what this thing’s going to hit me with,” Derak sighed, remembering his battle with Nando’s Lilligant the previous day. “Echo, let’s go!”

    “Zubat versus Bellossom!” the referee declared once Echo appeared on the field. “Begin the--!”

    “All right, now you’re just treating us all like idiots,” Derak interrupted again. “We DO have working eyes, you know.”

    “He’s…er…a bit, uh…mean…isn’t he?” Teresa said slowly.

    “Perhaps,” Nando chuckled, “but that is simply who he is. There are many sorts of people in our world, just as there are many sorts of Pokemon.”

    “Oh…I see,” Teresa nodded slightly, turning her gaze back to the battle. Erika’s Bellossom gracefully danced aside to evade a sequence of Sludge Bombs from Derak’s Zubat, much to the former’s pleasure.

    “Let’s start our counter-attack!” Erika cried. “Use Sunny Day!”

    Of course, Derak thought bitterly.

    Just as he had predicted, Bellossom’s tiny arms did indeed charge with orange energy, which coursed through the strange stone that it held. The Grass-type lifted the stone into the air, allowing its Sunny Day to pass through and burst into the sky, much like the Sunny Day that Nando’s Lilligant had used.

    “Okay, Echo, go in for Zen Headbutt!” Derak cried.

    Echo’s pointy ears shone with a blue light as they began to emit a series of blue energy waves, somehow using the waves to form a protective wall in front of its head. The Zubat then charged directly towards Bellossom, aiming to strike it literally head-first, only for the Grass-type to suddenly vanish in a blur of green.

    “Ugh, there’s Chlorophyll again,” Derak sighed bitterly. “Echo, go up in the air and send out a few more Sludge Bombs!”

    “Oh, no, you don’t!” Erika yelled. “Bellossom, stop it with Teeter Dance!”

    The Flower Pokemon reappeared in another blur of movement, this time standing in the center of the battlefield. Echo took to the skies, attempting to find an angle from which a Sludge Bomb would deal maximum damage. Before the Poison-type could fire, however, Bellossom began to rhythmically sashay from side to side in a manner truly befitting of a hula girl. Although it lacked any visible means of actually seeing Bellossom perform this dance, some mysterious quality to the attack completely fouled Echo’s innate sonar, causing it to fall to the ground in a befuddled heap.

    “Echo!” Derak cried as his Zubat lied on the ground, attempting to dance along with Bellossom using only its wings. “Uh…what are you doing?”

    “Derak, be careful,” Nando advised. “Teeter Dance can inflict confusion upon opposing Pokemon, which appears to have happened to your Zubat.”

    “How is that even possible? Echo doesn’t have any eyes!” Derak complained. “Ugh, nothing we can do about that…Echo, return.”

    “Switching out already?” Erika asked as Derak recalled his Zubat. “You’re not actually giving up, are you?”

    “I didn’t give up after a giant vine monster destroyed my team,” Derak said. “Pretty sure a dancing plant-girl isn’t that threatening. Okay, since Sunny Day is supposed to juice up Fire-types, too…Wildfire, let’s go!”

    Upon materialization, Derak’s Chimchar eyed the Bellossom viciously. It knew that it was chosen to fight in this battle again for some reason. It knew that it absolutely had to redeem itself for its earlier failure, or else the worst could happen.

    “All right, Bellossom, use Sludge Bomb!” Erika cried.

    “Dodge and use Ember!” Derak cried.

    Bellossom mimicked Echo by spitting out a wad of slime, which Wildfire agilely leapt over. The Chimchar landed with a quick somersault, releasing a storm of small fireballs that burned more intensely once exposed to Bellossom’s Sunny Day. Consequently, Bellossom was knocked onto its back by the Ember’s increased power, whereas before it would have only cringed.

    “Bellossom, no!” Erika cried. “This is a bit of a gamble, but we’ll have to try and hit that Chimchar as hard as we can. Use Solarbeam, quick!”

    “Wildfire, block it with Protect!” Derak cried.

    Bellossom’s petals began to glow brightly as energy from the sunlight began to flood into them. Again repeating the patterns demonstrated by Nando’s Lilligant, the Flower Pokemon unleashed an enormous beam of light into the air. Just as the beam curved down, however, Wildfire put its Protect in place, allowing it to harmlessly disperse the Solarbeam.

    “Use Solarbeam one more time!” Erika cried.

    “Use Pro…wait, we can’t use Protect, can we?” Derak muttered. As he struggled to come up with a new command, however, Bellossom’s Solarbeam was already in the air. “Aw, crud! Wildfire, just…I don’t know, do something! Something that works!”

    The beam bore down on Wildfire, but the Chimchar barely noticed. Its steely gaze was transfixed on Bellossom, knowing that its trainer caused Wildfire’s own trainer to lose. And it was all Wildfire’s fault. It had to redeem itself…it had to!

    The Solarbeam found its mark, the fire monkey completely obscured by the blinding light. Derak and Teresa shielded their eyes, but all Nando had to do was simply lower his hat. Only Erika saw a wheel of fire burst from the light and collide with Bellossom, hitting the Grass-type with such force that it was unconscious by her feet in moments.

    “…what? What happened?” Derak blinked, finding the flaming wheel still burning but spinning in place, its target having already been recalled. The flames soon dissipated, revealing Wildfire within. “Wildfire…? You’re okay!”

    “I think it’s more than okay,” Erika corrected. “Your Chimchar has just learned how to use Flame Wheel.”

    “That’s what it’s called?” Derak remarked. “Well, it fits, I suppose.”

    “Don’t celebrate too soon,” Erika warned, another Pokeball in hand. “Now it’s time for my second Pokemon!”

    Her next choice was a rather odd-looking creature, resembling a deflated yellow balloon with a pair of large leafs at its base and a third leaf covering its circular pink mouth. Two unpleasant-looking eyes gazed out from underneath a pair of sharp fangs, and a long brown vine hung behind the Pokemon. The fact that its cry sounded like a human woman’s scream only added to its unusual nature.

    “Victreebel,” Derak’s Pokedex reported, “the Flycatcher Pokemon. Type is Grass and Poison. Evolved form of Weepinbell. It pools in its mouth a fluid with a honey-like scent, which is really an acid that can dissolve anything.”

    “…wonderful,” Derak sighed. “Note to self: keep away from anything that smells like honey.”

    Wildfire glared harshly at Erika’s Victreebel, but Derak held out its orange Pokeball.

    “Sorry, pal, I need to save you for that Tangrowth,” Derak said as he returned Wildfire to the confines of its Pokeball. “Echo, come on back out!”

    Derak’s Zubat appeared once again, apparently recovered from its disorientation. It nonetheless winced a little, however, as a cave-dwelling Pokemon was clearly uncomfortable with the still-intensified sunlight.

    “Shouldn’t the sunlight have gone back to normal by now?” Derak asked, using his hand to cast a shade over his eyes.

    “Normally, yes,” Erika replied. “But not this time. Bellossom was holding a Heat Rock, which lengthens the amount of time Sunny Day is in effect.”

    “Brilliant,” Derak sighed. “Guess we’ll have to roll with it. Echo, use Supersonic!”

    Echo began to screech incessantly, releasing a series of sound waves that bombarded Victreebel’s hearing. The balloon-like plant began to wobble dizzily, its trainer grimacing as she realized that Echo had returned the favor from Bellossom’s earlier Teeter Dance.

    “Oh, no!” Erika gasped. “Victreebel, try and pull through with Vine Whip!”

    The Flycatcher Pokemon’s long brown vine lashed out angrily but, due to the Grass-type’s confused state, only struck the ground a few feet away from Echo. The vine soon came back to its owner with some force, slapping the space between Victreebel’s eyes. Noticing an opportunity, Echo looked over to Derak and let out a small screech as it used one of its needle-like legs to gesture to its opponent.

    “You want to attack, huh?” Derak asked, to which Echo nodded. “I guess we’ve got the upper hand, so go ahead and use Zen Headbutt!”

    Echo complied by charging once again, this time slamming its glowing head into Victreebel’s stomach. The Grass-type’s eyes bulged as the force of the impact became apparent, sending the Flycatcher Pokemon tumbling across the dirt with a large bruise on its front. Victreebel shoved its vine against the ground, struggling to push itself up. Noticing this, Echo prepared a Sludge Bomb that would finish off its balloon-shaped foe.

    “Hold on a second, Echo!” Derak called. “Let’s give Victreebel a chance to get up first.”

    Echo made an inquisitive screech, but nonetheless obeyed. As Victreebel slowly rose, Nando smiled widely.

    “Do you see, Teresa?” he said. “Even if some people may seem unpleasant, beneath that may be something more.”

    “I…I see,” Teresa nodded.

    “I must say, you are certainly an excellent learner,” Nando said with a reassuring smile. “It honors me to be the guide for your journey. Now, let us observe the rest of Derak’s battle. It is sure to be most excellent.”

    Nando’s vision returned to the battlefield, but Teresa’s mind was on other subjects. She knew someone who was utterly vicious in his temperament, and Derak’s rudeness occasionally reminded her of troubling circumstances she faced while in proximity to that person. But now, knowing that Derak was not so poor of character…what did that say about the bully she once knew?

    “I have to give you credit. You’re really sporting,” Erika remarked.

    “Nah,” Derak shrugged. “I just don’t like beating my opponents senseless.”

    “Well…whatever the case, let’s continue!” Erika cried. “Victreebel, use Vine Whip!”

    Victreebel prepared to lash its vine forward once more, but its eyes suddenly squeezed shut as feminine whimpers came from its circular mouth. Echo allowed itself a small smile, realizing that the bruise its Zen Headbutt had inflicted was causing Victreebel to flinch, rendering the Grass-type unable to attack. The Zubat looked back at its trainer, gesturing to the flinching Victreebel.

    “Well, now that it’s up, I guess we can start our attack again,” Derak shrugged. “Finish this with Sludge Bomb!”

    Echo finally fired its Sludge Bomb, and—despite its lack of eyes—was able to aim for the bruise on Victreebel’s stomach. The effectiveness of the blow was greatly increased by this decision, causing the Flycatcher Pokemon to fall in defeat.

    “Victreebel, return,” Erika said. “You did very well…and so have you, Derak. You have yet to lose a single Pokemon in this rematch, yet I’ve lost two out of three.”

    “I’ve been playing it safe for now,” Derak said grimly. “I know what’s coming next.”

    “I’m sure you do,” Erika smirked. “Tangrowth, come on out!”

    There it was.

    The huge, shaggy beast that had destroyed Derak in his previous encounter with it. Covered head-to-toe in dark blue vines, the only distinguishable features of this monstrosity were two cartoonish eyes near the top of its body. Two slender, red-tipped blue arms emerged from the beast’s sides, stretching down to its stubby black legs.

    “Tang-gang!” Tangrowth chattered, whipping the ground with one arm.

    Derak snarled at the memory of this horrendous beast. It had evolved from a Tanglea—a smaller ball of blue vines—and obliterated his entire team. Now, it was time to settle the score.

    “Okay…here we go,” Derak growled. “Ready to keep going, Echo?”

    The Zubat nodded eagerly. It, too, desired a chance for revenge.

    “All right, let’s start off with Double Team!” Derak cried.

    “Tangrowth, use Power Whip!” Erika cried.

    Echo produced a plethora of illusory Zubats, hiding itself among them. Tangrowth, howver, appeared unconcerned as one of its arms began to glow green. The shaggy beast swung the glowing arm in a wide arc, cutting through all the Echo copies and knocking the real one to the ground.

    “Now, follow up with Ancientpower!” Erika cried.

    “Not this time!” Derak cried. “Echo, quick, fly up and use Sludge Bomb!”

    Echo pushed itself off of the ground and sailed into the air, releasing a Sludge Bomb that barreled directly towards Tangrowth. The Sludge Bomb’s target, however, became surrounded with an aura of silvery energy that swirled into a ball that Tangrowth held between the tips of its arms. It flung the ball towards the Sludge Bomb, and the two attacks collided in an explosion of smoke and slime.

    “Tangrowth, Brick Break!”

    Derak had no idea where Tangrowth was, seeing as the smoke generated by the explosion had clouded the entire battlefield. Echo was screeching desperately, trying to use its echolocation to find its monstrous foe. Unfortunately, one large vine-like arm suddenly slammed down on Echo’s back, sending the Poison-type into the dirt. The smoke soon cleared, revealing that Tangrowth had performed something of a karate chop on Echo’s body.

    “Aw, great,” Derak grimaced. “Echo, return…well, this is going to go badly.”

    “Derak, please, do not give up just yet,” Nando called. “Two Pokemon remain on your side. Is there a way that you can turn this around?”

    “Hmm…well, the Sunny Day looks like it’s still going,” Derak said, observing that Bellossom’s attack still had yet to fade away. “Might as well try and make it count while it can. Wildfire, let’s go!”

    Upon seeing Erika’s Tangrowth, Wildfire grimaced as well. This monster had utterly decimated the fire monkey before. Perhaps, now that it knew Flame Wheel, it could turn things around?

    “It’s our turn, now!” Erika cried. “Tangrowth, use Poison Jab!”

    “I know how that works, so…Wildfire, use Flame Wheel along Tangrowth’s arm!” Derak cried.

    The tips of Tangrowth’s arm began to glow purple, and with a sudden burst of speed that was likely provided by yet another instance of Chlorophyll, Tangrowth’s arm shot forward. Wildfire, however, managed to time its jump in such a way that the Poison Jab would thrust into the ground, allowing the Chimchar to execute its newly-learned Flame Wheel. As Derak had instructed, Wildfire rode its Flame Wheel along Tangrowth’s arm, quickly slamming into Tangrowth’s main body and knocking it back slightly.

    “Now, follow up with Ember!” Derak cried.

    Wildfire obeyed, but Tangrowth merely used its other arm to block the ensuing storm of tiny fireballs. Tangrowth then brought its arm downward in another Brick Break attempt, only for Wildfire to shield itself with a Protect. Rather than retract its arm, however, Tangrowth instead dug its extended arm into the ground behind Wildfire’s Protect.

    “Now, Tangrowth!” Erika cried. “Use Body Slam!”

    “Oh, crud!” Derak sputtered. “Wildfire, get out of the way!”

    Using its anchored arm as leverage, Tangrowth pulled itself towards Wildfire with alarming speed. The sight of a massive vine-covered beast hurdling towards it caused the Chimchar to panic, its feet frozen to the spot. Tangrowth collided full-force with Wildfire’s body, pressing the small Fire-type into the ground.

    “Aw, come on,” Derak sighed. “Wildfire, return.”

    “Will…will he be able to win?” Teresa ventured.

    “He does seem to be in a tight situation,” Nando agreed, “but he still has one Pokemon left. And sometimes, that one Pokemon may make all the difference.”

    Derak sighed as he held up Brute’s Pokeball. All his hopes were riding on the first Pokemon that he caught. He refused to be ridiculed by Garth because he could not win this battle. Brute had to do this…he knew that it could.

    “Okay…last one,” Derak gulped. “Brute, let’s go!”

    The Machop appeared with its arms crossed, its eyes narrowing at the sight of Tangrowth. It knew what it had to do, and regardless of how difficult it would be, that task would be compmlete.

    “Tangrowth, use Poison Jab!” Erika cried.

    “Again?” Derak blinked. “Wait, I’ve got an idea! Brute, grab the arm!”

    Brute nodded with a smirk, realizing where Derak’s plan was going. Now that the sunlight had finally faded, Tangrowth was moving with reduced speed. Despite this, the monster’s arm still lurched forward quite quickly, aiming straight for Brute’s chest. The Superpower Pokemon, however, simply side-stepped the attack and grabbed hold of Tangrowth’s arm.

    “What?!” Erika gasped. Nando merely smiled.

    “Okay, let’s take that freakish ball of death for a ride!” Derak cried. “Use Vital Throw!”

    Brute dug its heel into the ground and pulled on the arm, yanking Tangrowth towards it. Although the latter Pokemon was almost three times the Machop’s size, it was nonetheless thrown into the air by Brute’s immense strength.

    “Oh, no!” Erika cried. “Tangrowth, quick, try and counter with Body Slam!”

    “Now we’ve got it,” Derak smirked. “Brute, use Poison Jab!”

    Tangrowth plummeted down towards Brute, who dropped the shaggy beast’s arm and allowed it to be retracted. The Machop, however, prepared its own Poison Jab, drawing back one fist. Just as Tangrowth came down upon it, Brute thrust its fist into Tangrowth’s stomach, the damage furthered by the momentum that the Grass-type had gathered from its fall.

    “Tangrowth, no!” Erika cried.

    “Marvelous,” Nando smiled. “What a brilliantly-played move.”

    “Tang…gaaaanng,” Tangrowth groaned as it fell off of Brute’s fist, landing just beside the Superpower Pokemon. The Machop smirked, giving its trainer the thumbs-up sign. Derak heaved a sigh of relief as he slumped into a sitting position, but nonetheless managed to return Brute’s gesture.

    “Tangrowth, return,” Erika sighed. “Well, Derak…I’m impressed. You really turned your situation around.”

    She approached Derak and handed him a colorful flower-shaped badge.

    “This is the Rainbow Badge,” Erika said. “You’ve earned it.”

    “Finally,” Derak sighed, placing his fourth badge in his badge case. “C’mon, Brute, let’s go get you and others healed.”

    “Chop,” Brute nodded, massaging its arm. Although the average Machop could lift multiple Geodudes, a Tangrowth was nonetheless quite heavy.

    ****

    Back in the Pokemon Center, Garth sat lazily at a table, drinking a strange glittering water out of his canteen. The sound of metal slamming upon the table caught his attention, and the cloaked man found Derak forcefully presenting his open badge case. Nando and Teresa stood behind the boy, the former smiling as always.

    “Finally got that freaking fourth badge,” Derak sighed. “Now we can get out of here.”

    “It is about time,” Garth grunted as he stowed his canteen back inside his cloak.

    “Before you go,” Nando interjected, “let me say that it has been an immense pleasure to train with you. I am honored to be a part of your victory at the Celadon Gym.”

    “Excuse me, but did you say that one of you won at the Gym?” the local Nurse Joy asked.

    “Yeah, that’d be me,” Derak said. “What about it?”

    “Please, we need you to help us,” Nurse Joy begged.

    “Ugh, what do you want?” Garth groaned. “We have places to be.”

    “I’m sorry, but I don’t know where else to turn,” Nurse Joy said. “I can’t call the police because this isn’t really a crime, but…”

    “Huh?” Derak blinked. “What are you talking about?”

    “Well…there’s this old mansion in Celadon that’s been around since the city was first founded,” Nurse Joy explained. “Lately, there have been strange noises coming out of there. We need a strong trainer to investigate.”

    “Why are you asking ME?” Derak asked. “Don’t they have TV shows about this kind of thing? Or maybe actual authorities?”

    “There may be Pokemon that need help in there!” Nurse Joy pleaded. “You have to do this, I’m begging you!”

    “Ugh,” Derak sighed. “Fine, I’ll do it, but it’s for the Pokemon’s sake. Can we get some rest, first, though? It’s been a long couple of days.”

    “Indeed it has,” Nando nodded. “Tomorrow would be the ideal time for you to investigate this Celadon Mansion, as well as for me to challenge the Gym Leader myself. I can only hope that my efforts will be as successful as yours.”

    ****

    A distance outside the Pokemon Center was a decrepit old manor, complete with rotting wood and broken windows. Although quite large, the mansion’s size only added to its repulsive nature. Just one look could tell that no one had lived in this mansion for years.

    Despite this fact, lights flashed from within the mansion. The front door slowly creaked open, allowing an eerie sound to escape.

    “Eeeeeee…eeeeeeeeee…”

    ****
    Current fanfics:


    Proving Grounds

    How far will one boy go to prove something?

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