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  1. #1
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    Default Shadow War Trilogy Book 1: A Returning Darkness

    Well, if I keep tinkering with this, I'm never going to get around to posting it, so here is the reboot of the Shadow War Trilogy, Book 1. Warnings/rating for this book include dark themes, violence, occasional cursing, and fair amount of blood. If you like it, awesome, and when you see areas that need improvement, let me know. Thanks, and enjoy.

        Spoiler:- Chapter List:



    Shadow War Trilogy Book 1: A Returning Darkness


    Prologue: The Meeting

    I hate being lied to. As I write this tale, I do so knowing that much of this is a truthful lie.
    ~~R. I. Ram



    Under a midnight sky, a warm breeze swirled across the small plain. In the distance, a chorus of laughter, singing, and enjoyment resonated as residents of a nearby village partied. It had been twenty years since the end of the Meteor Catastrophe, but the town's inhabitants still glorified the day. Around Rescue Town, festivities were underway: dancing, gossiping, games, mock brawls. A towering sculpture, made of pure marble, guarded the center of Pokemon Square, the plaza where most of the townsfolk had gathered. Its creator -- Team Tectonic's Smeargle, Leo-- had opted to set aside painting, switching instead to stone crafting. A renowned artist at the time, nobody would deny that this was truly his life's work, and thus, he retired after its completion.

    At a juice bar gazing up at the obelisk, two figures sat: an albino Ninetails and a Glameow, one admiring the work in great detail while the other scowled at it unimpressed.

    “It's been a quiescent decade, hasn't it; at least in terms of world events.”

    “Aside from Darkrai's failed coup for the world, many would argue too quiet, Resh. Now, why are we here?” the second figure said with a sigh and a hint of impatience. “I didn't return for you to drag me around at your whim just so you can enjoy a little music.”

    “Do you not comprehend the understanding of our arrangement to meet here? Look around you. Take in the reality of your coup as I ask you if you even know what this monument is, Gina.”

    “I better. There names are on the mouths of everyone from here to Treasure Town two island-countries over. Yes, I've heard the tales of Leafblade and Zix: assisted in stopping the meteor-apocalypse, heroes of the Human Conflict, and yes, I even know one is an ex-human, Resh,” Gina said as if reading out of book. “Of all reasons for knowing them, that is the only reason why I came back. You are well aware of the Pact. Humans and Pokemon, never molding into one species. Even if he wears the skin of the green jungle lizard he is now, he is still at root a human. I want to know why it has taken me this long to hear second-hand information instead of hearing from Brother, Sister, or Mother herself?”

    “I don't have the solution to your question; why don't you inquire about it to all three of them and note their responses. Why drag me into it?”

    “You are just as guilty as far as I'm concerned. Everyone who didn't tell me is guilty. This was a matter that needed my approval,” stated Gina condescendingly. “And I question why you never spoke a word about it beforehand. You never lie or hold secrets. You are-”

    “I don't answer to you, Gina; embalm that thought into the nous behind that golden mask you currently conceal. It never was a secret, only information you never heard. Nothing more, nothing less. I told you readily as soon as you asked me. Understood,” barked Resh while a small bit of fire escaped the tip of his center-most tail as Gina realized she slightly overstepped in her statement. She, however, didn't flinch and returned to gazing at the statue. A rather elderly Alakazam had been watching the exchange, much to Gina's displeasure, and quickly resolved the situation by sending shadowy threads of darkness his way to scare him off. To her satisfaction, the other left the scene quicker than Latios could fly.

    Minutes ticked by and finally deciding the awkward silence between herself and Resh was over, she chose her words a little more carefully and continued their civil conversation, “No, I won't bring my thoughts to my family; they left me in the dark, so I'll leave them and their little champions in the dark too. An eye for an eye. It was long ago decided that I was charged with maintaining balance between my family, yet they didn't consult me before continuing with their little scheme. I am meant to be the judge, but now I am forced to play jury and executioner.”

    “You don't mean to-”

    “I do, Resh. The scales are unbalanced, and I mean to correct them on my terms.”

    “But they have families, both of them. Even then, only one of them is human. Why target both of them?”

    “To send a message, that's why, and because I abhor the idea of having that monster breeding more human-Pokemon offspring. The other is too involved. My family needs to be reminded that I am still around, and I'm still watching to matter how long it takes to find out their secrets. I will always find out. They went under my shadow, so I will do the same.”

    “Careful what you wish for, Gina. I hold the prophecies of the world in my library, and there are a few lying around that foretell such involvements.”

    “Prophecies are never guaranteed, Resh. You know that. After all, how many other would be heroes have been ‘prophesied’ to defeat me or other legends, but those ‘heroes’ failed to do so?”

    “What about the Team Pokepals from Treasure Town? I don't hear you crying foul play with them when the human then turned into a Turtwig and defeated Darkrai several years ago.”

    “Hahaha,” cackled Gina as she explained why between fits of laughter. “Why did I have to? Darkrai caused the entire thing, and he was justly punished. Lost his memory and hasn't thought of anything idiotic since then.”

    “You always find some way to correct me don't you?”

    “You may be the being of truth, but that doesn't always make you right.”

    Another moment of silence passed between the two before Gina turned away to take leave. Resh watched her, but before he left, he stated with a hint of displeasure, “I don't agree with your decision, but then again, who am I to say what you can and can't do. Just know that you can't hide your presence forever, and when Arceus and your siblings hear of your return, you better hope that your plan is beyond failure, for the rest of the legends will move against you. You may think you are doing the right thing, but your actions are about as extreme as Kyurem's can be. Be wary of that fact, Giratina.”

    Only bowing her head in acknowledgment, Gina silently walked away and directed her steps toward the immediate edge of town. When there were absolutely no witnesses, she shifted to her more natural form and took off into the night on silent, shadowy wings. Resh watched her leave and continued to stare at the clear sky above. He gazed at the heavens above deciding whether or not to alert the rest of the legends of Gina's plans or to let them figure it out. He truly didn't care. As long as a story was to be told after the events transpired, he wasn't in a place to decide what was needed to be done. Resh took one final look at the obelisk before following suit to leave town. Like Gina, Resh gave a quick check to make sure no unwanted witnesses were around before shifting from the pale white skin into the plumy feathers of what his true form. Powering his turbine tail, he took off into the night as well and returned to his library to plan.

    The party behind him lasted well into the night before things started quieting down. By the first rays of dawn, the décor was being dismantled as many took the day off to rest. A few Rescue Teams checked the Job Bulletin by the post office to see if any interesting jobs were posted before heading out. By noon, the town was silent and no one was even aware of the conversation that took place between the legends that night.

    ~-----~
    Last edited by Agent Tectonic; 31st October 2013 at 9:27 PM.
    credits for pic and banner: Avenger Angel and Brutaka


    I have claimed Sceptile

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    Also read Essense of Law.

  2. #2
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    I remember reading the previous version of this fic, and I think that it's much better then the former.

    Disgruntled legendaries targeting the human-turned-Pokemon heroes? Sounds like an exciting plot if I ever heard one, I can't help but wonder where you're planning on taking this.
    I happen to have a thing for PMD fics, you know, being an author of one myself, and when I find a good one, I keep track of it. I'm definately going to be keeping tabs on this one.

    I apologize for what seems like a rather short, but time is constantly slipping out of my grasp.
    I didn't see too many obvious errors, so kudos on that.
    A great opening, to what looks like a great story.

    Knightfall signing off...

  3. #3
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    Chapter 1: Scales and Steel

    Galdwin’s Cafe was as legendary as both Empyr’s and our’s combined. If you never heard about it, then you were either human or an alien. Period.
    ~~Zix



    Galdwin was approaching the end of his patience. Under normal circumstances, a full cafe was a delight to him every once in awhile. However, even the good business was not enough to offset the irritations for having a full cafe for three weeks straight, especially with humans. A few were cordial enough to get along with, but most of the top notch trainers that passed through to see the competition were rude or obnoxious or worse yet, both. It also didn't help that they thought the normal patrons didn't understand them, and when every drunk insult is heard to every patron, the patience level falls that much shorter. Luckily, tonight, there were no humans; well, minus one human who thoroughly enjoyed talking with various Pokemon. He was a rising philanthropist among humans and almost a saint to many Pokemon.

    Also among his patrons were the four stars who would battle each other tomorrow, and this group was certainly getting their belly full of drinks. He didn't know how they had so many, but the group was on their fifth wonder gummi pitcher; it was unbelievable, and quite frankly, raising the old Spinda's jealously meter. And yet, to his sympathy, both teams were getting bombarded with requests to join their group throughout the evening. Tectonic's leader, the Sceptile whose name he found out was Leafblade, had to keep telling others that their team was filled completely to max and no more recruitment was possible. Cielliene was also forced to send others away. While they were nowhere near as full as Tectonic, they were a bit more selectively in their recruitment, even though they were eight years junior to the veteran rescuers. Speaking of that group, the Typhlosion, Zix, was hailing him for another drink and hoisting four more wonder gummies in the air.

    “Their sixth one now,” muttered Galdwin. Where in Giratina's great abyss did they get twenty-four Wonder Gummies? “Coming right up,” he called. He stumbled from around the bar and approached the group. With a smile that was hypocritical to his thoughts, he snagged the gummies from the volcano Pokemon's hand and teetered his way back behind his bar. “Shake it this way. Swirl it that way. Aaaaaand done,” muttered Galdwin throughout the few minutes it took to prep the drink. He never shared his gummi juice recipe; after many years traveling the world and even many more years in the business, entrepreneurs of all colors tried wresting the recipe from him, claiming they knew how to make it better. Ah, right. “Alright, Zix, come and get your drink.” The fire type walked over and walked off with the new pitcher. At the table, he poured a glass for each of the members, pouring his partner's last.

    “Ah, I see. Leave your partner for last. Alright, I feel love.”

    “Well, aren't you the funny lizard tonight. Drink up. That's the last of all of our gummies.”

    Zix downed the his in a gulp, much to Leafblade's amusement. The guy could hold his own on and off the field. Gazing upon his own glass had quite the opposite effect of his partners. Upon laying eye-contact with that, both his throat and his stomach threatened to make room should he decide to even put the glass to his mouth, and heeding those thoughts, he opted to take small sips. Settling that dispute, Leafblade noticed that his partner was causing another as he went off on a bragging spree; the sugar and energy was getting to his head. To his relief, a human, female, approached which instantly hushed to table as well as most of the patrons in the bar. She wore a long, ebony cape and cotton, Lucario ears. Her hair was a rich blonde.

    *Pardon me, I don't suppose I could borrow the Leafblade and Cielliene for a moment. I'd like to ask them a couple of questions.*

    The Torterra, shifting her weight a bit at the request asked, “Why us? Does it have something to do with us being a human once-upon-a-time?”

    “Cielliene, I don't think she understands us very well, being a human. Let's just allow her to question us, and I'll translate. We'll keep this quick as it's about time to wrap up the evening. Zix's getting too restless from all of the drinks, Empyr is going mute, and the night is getting old.” Turning to the human, *We'll answer your questions as long it's brief. Of all nights, the value of sleep is priceless.* The woman stared for a long while, apparently not used to a Sceptile speaking a human language. *Well?*

    *Yeah, um, right; could I sit here?*

    “Zix, head to the camp and get some rest. You're going to need it in your condition.”

    “But, I'm fine.” He was currently in the act of trying to arm wrestle himself, and quite frankly, Leafblade would not have been surprised if the next words out of his partner's mouth were “I lost.”

    “No, you're hyperactive and obnoxious; I need you at your finest tomorrow. Now go.”

    His friend gave him a look that could freeze Kyurem, yet he acquiesced and left, leaving only Empyr, Cielliene, the woman, and himself at the table. She emitted an air of power around her, yet she was noticeably uncomfortable around the group. Cielliene was also quite shifty. Why were they so nervous? Empyr finally decided to speak up saying that he was heading out with Zix to calm him before letting Cresselia whisk him away to Dreamland.

    “So what does she want to ask?” questioned Cielliene once her partner left.

    She didn't seem to need a translator as the hint of attitude of the question seemed to come across quite well, *Well, I'm Cynthia. I'm the champion of the Sinnoh region. I've heard tales of your exploits through N, yet I wanted to learn more of how two humans ever turned into Pokemon to begin with. It's quite unheard of and quite exquisite in my opinion. Could you tell me how you transformed into what you are now?*

    “Would you like to relate your tale Cielliene, and I'll translate? Your story is much longer compared to mine.”

    “I guess.” And so, the Torterra relayed her story of her start at the beach, her upbringing with Empyr and the guild, the fake, famed explorer Grisle the Dusknoir, her exile in the future, and the battle against Dialga. She avoided any mention of the Time Gears with practiced ease, and when pressed as to how Dialga's tower started collapsing and how it was fixed, she refused to talk about the latter. She did, however, continue further into the Darkrai Distortion matter, when he tried sabotaging space, and finally, how she found out the true reason she transformed.

    *Really, I'd never have thought that time travel was possible, yet you both speak of it as if should be considered normal.*

    *That may attribute to the fact that humans see only in what's in front of your latest technology, and not what can be done beyond that. Also, we're Pokemon.*

    *I guess that's true, though I'm left wondering whether that comment was made to insult or inform.* She gave a sideways glance to the Sceptile and was greeted with only a mischievous smile. Deciding to give up on that thought, she continued, *As much as that story is unbelievable, to me at least, it intrigues me. But what about you? Why are you a Pokemon?*

    *I chose to stay. I was asked twenty years ago to help stop a meteor from landing on our island. The impact would have sent every Pokemon from our island east of here to Temporal Tower into the afterlife. I asked to have a few months worth of training before the projected date of impact, so I could get accustomed to my new body. I also wanted my mind erased, so I wouldn't distract myself from the mission. While I had a few missteps along the way, one including being exiled since my memory loss and transformation tied into a local legend of the bringer of catastrophes, Zix and I proved our strength to be worthy of challenging Raquaza atop Sky Tower. The goal was not to defeat her, but merely to give her head a good whack upward to see the impending doom. We completed the mission, but in doing so, I completed my mission which meant that my time as a Pokemon was over. I left in a sphere of light, leaving my companion mentally defeated. I don't know when or where along my journey inside that light bubble, but I decided that my human life, whatever it was, could not be nearly as perfect as my life as a Treecko, with a friend that could not be replaceable, remembered or not. here. I prayed to see Zix again and was rewarded with who and what I am now.*

    Both of them were silent; after all, Leafblade had never relayed his story publicly to anyone but his partner and a few trusted members within the team, so to get this story, condensed as it was, it came to a surprise to both human and Pokemon. And he wasn't finished.

    *In my later years, as a renowned rescuer, I thought long and hard about that decision. I didn't regret it, but I got curious. What did I leave behind? My guardian who helped me through the Meteor Crisis was alive again with no memory, so that left me finding either the Wishmaker or Arceus herself. Several years before the War, I found my answers. I had traveled to this very island after hearing rumors of Jirachi granting a wish to one of the explorers here. I sought his knowledge on the location of Jirachi's cave, and he was more than accommodating to help me.

    *I'd brought my Wish Stone with me as it was rumored to hold the power to grant entrance to any of Jirachi's chambers. Making my way through Star Cave, I finally arrived at the end of a long road; I fought Jirachi and won and was granted my wish of restoring my memory. His exact words were, ‘While I can restore what you lost, it'll take time to remember everything. Be warned though as some of the memories may flood over you in a torrent of visions. You are not the first to ask such a task, and I've seen those as great as you fall to their own memories.’ Understanding the risks, I still asked for it. Over time, some of my memories have trickled back, but not enough to sate my hunger for the truth. It’s been bits of random things that have little importance. My hope is to remember everything before I return to the embrace of the earth.*

    Those final punctuated words left the other two silent. The human sat completely still, digesting everything she had heard. A funny thing, thought Leafblade, considering it was she that wanted the answers yet took so long to actually comprehend them once she heard them.

    The Torterra had went silent as well, which was agreeable; she'd never heard his story even though they'd been friends for half a decade. Yet between her and the human, she had found her voice first. “I don't want to remember my past. I came from a time when no sun ever shone; the horrors I must have went through to save that future, I cannot fathom. You though, you don't even know who or where you once were. No lasting history of what your old life was like. I hope you find the answers you seek.”

    The Torterra's words warmed him a bit. He didn't envy her; she was right. To know that history was bad enough; to actually remember it would be horrific. Cynthia on the other hand, was staring off into nothingness, still lost in her own world. Seizing the moment, Cielliene bid her farewells as the night was getting even later, and Leafblade was starting to feel the fatigue of sleep wearing away at his mind as well.

    When she was gone, the human woman finally spoke up. *What truly made you want to stay in this life? Watching you socialize amongst friends, I understand, but why forsake everything being human has to offer?*

    A bold question, thought Leafblade; one that he even pondered on many occasions. *I don't know. I never regretted it, only got curious of what I did leave behind. Each day that passes and I don't remember, the more I feel like I made the right decision, but my curiosity and ‘what if’ thoughts never abate. All I know, all I remember, is that this life was the one to live.*

    *I think I understand your point, and if it were me, I don't know how I could choose, but that's being a bit bias as well. While I didn't find the answers to how your transformations happened, I got to meet some very unique and wonderful individuals. Good luck with your battle tomorrow.* Cynthia quickly got out of her seat, gave a polite nod to the Sceptile, and turned to towards the exit.

    However, before she left, one nagging question burned into the forefront of Leafblade's mind. *If you were to bet on who would win tomorrow, who would you pick?* he asked while turning to face her

    Smiling, she answered, and it didn't surprise him who she picked. *You.*

    *You're just saying that because I'm the only one left here and awake.*

    *You asked the question; I'm giving a truthful response.*

    Taken aback, Leafblade prodded further, *So why me? Why not Cielliene or Empyr or even our team for that matter?*

    She took a moment before answering, probably to gather her thoughts or justify to herself why she picked him. *I already see four Pokemon that could hold their own against even the strongest of trainers, and that's just on their own. So, to me, you are all evenly matched as it is. Even my Garchomp speaks highly of both of your teams; however, she has always held higher praises of you. You are actually the only Pokemon she fears to ever face, though she would still love to battle against you.*

    “And here I thought you barely understood our language.”

    *That's what makes me a Champion. Few humans truly understand Pokemon language. Most think that it doesn't exist, a common spoken communication amongst all Pokemon. It's just that. . .* She paused as she reached for a spherical red and white object on her waist. She stared at for a long while before finishing her statement. *Some bonds transcend and shorten the bridge that separates our species. From that bond, understanding and communicating is no longer a thing of myth, but a thing of reality.* She continued to stare at the sphere for while longer before turning back toward the exit, but not before addressing Leafblade one last time that night. *I don't want to keep you from your rest. Good night, Leafblade.*

    The lady finally left, leaving Leafblade alone at his table, and from the looks of it, one of the last few patrons left in Galdwin's Cafe. Finding it best to retire for the night, Leafblade got up, left a generous tip of 2000 poke for Galdwin for his services, and left. Outside, a soft, misty rain was blanketing the air around Treasure Town. Taking in the refreshing feeling of water on his scales, Leafblade slowed his walk towards the camp by the beach he and his partner resided. While he preferred enjoying what was left of the evening, this thoughts delve and sifted through his memories, focusing on the days and hours before his change from man to Pokemon. And, like every other attempt, the vast empty cloud that housed that memory refused to spit it back into his conscious.

    Ahead, the faint glow of firelight was emitting off the rocky walls that led to the beach front. It seemed Zix felt it prudent to start a fire, no doubt to keep his temperature regulated while he slept. A shame really, that his partner couldn't enjoy the relaxing, chilly rain. A sense of peace floated through Leafblade's growing fatigue. He didn't stop to check on his friend to see if he was asleep; the grogginess that foreshadowed his own sleep shackled his mind, and once the Sceptile's head rested on the straw, and his body relaxed, he was out.

    ~----~

    The mountain top was filled with spectators, all waiting for the showdown to begin. The entire Wigglytuff Guild, most of the residents from each town, some more well known teams like ACT, Raiders and Charm were here, and other teams from across the world that either failed to reach the end or teams that wanted to see who the best truly was. Pokemon from all across the world came to watch. Teams, soloists, trainers' Pokemon, and trainers themselves were here; humans even “wild” Pokemon knew such as Cynthia and N from the region of Unova.

    As this was one of the largest gatherings in the history of the tournament, improvisation was needed to accommodate everyone on that mountain. The solution was to suspend scaffolds held up by iron and psychic to contain everyone above the arena which was set on the mountaintop itself. Ropes anchored to various boulders were scattered everywhere, and it wasn't uncommon to hear a curse to a deity of choice during the preparation period earlier that morning. Even after the set-up was completed, many of the members around, both human and Pokemon, were tripping over the root-like ropes; and one such Typhlosion was at his wits' end as he stumbled over them again, losing count on how many times he had already done so. His partner and leader chuckled in front of him, hearing his curse to Moltres about bringing down the house around him. The duo themselves were hibernating toward the exit of the dungeon below them, preferring to prep themselves in solitude.

    “You really need to watch what you're doing. How is it you can see just about everything on the field, yet a little bit of rope trips you, or are you still hungover from last night? Better pray that Empyr doesn't use grass knots; otherwise, we might as well forfeit. And I'll make sure I head to Mt. Ember once we're back home and inform Moltres himself about your temper,” said the grass lizard as he watched his partner recover from his stumble.

    “Yeah, shut up, Leaf. The nerves are getting a strong hold on me. Don't worry,” followed up the Typhlosion with a smile. “I'll be fine. Now, what item do you want to use for our match?” asked Zix, holding up their bag. “In all honesty, I should be worrying about you; your form hasn't been exactly perfect since the War, especially when you came back forever missing some skin,” following up with a nod to his partner's scar. “By the way, since you decided to bring up last night, how was your talk with Cynthia.”

    “You know her name?”

    “Dialga's Diamond, I better know her name. Arguably, the most powerful human trainer in the world. Why do you think I made a big stink about staying last night?”

    “Because you were high off of stimulants from the gummies. You didn't even realize you downed more than the rest of us. Poor Empyr had the least amongst all of us.”

    “True,” sighed his partner in agreement. “I guess I should thank you for monitoring me; I did get a little carried away. I'm almost shocked I didn't gamble our items and money away.”

    “Well actually. . .” The Typhlosion stopped in his tracks with a look of absolute horror on his face. Leafblade couldn't help but laugh at the gullibility as that stare turned to a glare when the truth sank in.

    “I'm sorry; I had to. But to answer your question from earlier, I'm fine. Even if my technique isn't as polished as it used to be, it's as perfect as it's going to be until this scar recedes further,” looking down at the remnants of the cut in question It had healed considerably since then; now only a faded distortion ranging ranging from the middle of his left arm, across his chest, and ending just before his right shoulder. “The pain is nowhere near as intense as it used to be, and my endurance is much better as well. Now let me see our bag. I brought something to make sure I had the element of surprise for our fight.” Leafblade began rummaging through the pack before finally pulling out an iron band crested with a small purple gem that gleamed its own radiance of light. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see his partner's eyes widen. “Isn't it rude to stare.”

    “Is that the. . .”

    “Yeah, I've been building up its power for the past few years. It's no where near as powerful as it used to be when Foyat helped make it, but for our match, it should fulfill its purpose” answered Leafblade. Soon after, a chime resonated across the mountaintop. And silently, the ropes rose in the air and with them, the oak platforms attached. Below, eight psychics still stood on the outside of the arena, amongst the legendary, vibrant mountain flowers of Sky Peak. “Looks like we're starting. Come on, we need to get to the lower platform. Got your fangs?”

    Leafblade's answer was a pouch slung around Zix; reaching for the flap that secured his weapons of choice, he showed a multitude of gold spikes sparkling in the clear sky light. Nodding, they both looked each other in the eye for a moment gauging each other's readiness. In that gaze, each cycled through their experiences, both success and failures, and realizing that each one of those memories were dwarfed in comparison to this moment. And it was in that realization there couldn't be any challenge harder than this before them. With one final nod to each other, they pushed their way through the crowd of spectators until they found themselves at a set of stairs that descended to a lower level of the suspended scaffolds. Leafblade was quite surprised at the sturdiness of the platforms. He'd thought that being supported amongst the rocks surrounding the peak, he'd thought that their balance would be off. But, since they were doubly supported, one wouldn't even had known that they were above the ground at all.

    Directly in front of them, roughly fifty meters thought Leafblade, their opposing team was standing at the other end as well. On the left side of their gate was the man-sized penguin, Empyr, with the symbolic trident face plate that marked each and every member of its species. Beside him was the leader of the team, the massive turtle with a miniature oak tree and mountain range on her shell. And while the two teams were enjoying the fun of being close friends last night and the past few weeks during the course of the tournament, each stood ready to pummel the other two into the ground. Leafblade also made a quick note to check what items they decided to use; however, he couldn't quite see what they were. He could see that Empyr sported a grayish band around his left fin, and the latter was wearing a silvery scarf.

    Above him, quieted conversations about the two teams were ensuing, including a few placed bets and snippets of common history between the two teams. Judging from those conversations, it came as no surprise that the two teams left competing to represent the Island Team Tournament were the only two teams in the region and possible the whole world that their team consisted and led by once considered humans. And it was also widely known that Team Tectonic of the Varamese Archipelago and Team Pokepals of the home region of the Distortion Chain Isles were close friends and closer rivals.

    On a higher scaffold, the coordinator of the event, the president of the Rescue and Exploration Operations Committee, a Bibarel often called simply as Vick, quieted the crowd. And in a voice that rivaled thunder, he announced, in perfect English as humans were present as well, the beginning address for the tournament, “Welcome everyone to the eighty-sixth Island Team Tournament.

    “Now, it has been an unfortunate fifteen years since we last held this glorious event, but as president of REOC, I can openly say that tradition will not be lost to time. This year marks the return of the long standing tradition. To see which team in the region can be appointed as the highly esteemed Legendary Rescue Team. Normally, the competition would be to see who would face against one of the teams who entered into such status. However, since it has been too long to have any team in such position, we brought in the most well renowned explorers, and rescuers, and protectors from across the regions. And you've seen the results. You've watched each of the teams, starting out as one amongst hundreds of others narrow down to just one of two potential winners. At this time, I'd like to congratulate both Rescue Team Tectonic and Exploration Team Pokepals on their achievements, both for their efforts in the tournament and their efforts in their upbringing. The entire Pokemon world thanks you on your continued contribution in our continued existence in this world. And no matter who wins here today, you both will hold the respect of the world.”

    A punctuated applause vibrated all around at the speech. Leafblade felt his emotions swell at the recognition for his team, and he knew that Zix was feeling the same way. Minutes passed before the crowd died down again to let the president continue with address. “I'd now like to turn my position over to our guest speaker, a human that hails from the Unova region. I've had the pleasure of meeting him in my travels, and while I thought his early endeavors were childish and inconceivable, I now praise him on the progress he has made to further shorten the gap of understanding between Pokemon and humans. Please give a sincere welcome to Natural ‘N’ Harmonious Gropius.”

    Another roar of excitement and applause broke out as Vick stepped stepped away from the edge of his platform to make room for N. Leafblade applauded with vigor for the man. Every Pokemon should; he stood up against those who wanted to use Pokemon as tools of their own gains rather than companions. What he did greater than most of the “heroic” humans who stood against such organizations was that he actually formed his own league, his own organization that fought against such corruption. If there ever was a time that Leafblade would ever let a human “train” him, N was one of the very few humans he'd ever trust to do so.

    While he knew that N had a wonderful speech to make, the forest Pokemon was feeling his own nerves get the better of him because right after N's speech, there would be only one more announcement: the start of the fight. And the anxiety that came with such a monumental occasion was plaguing his psyche. Traitorous thoughts pervaded his thoughts; those “what ifs” that foretold the possibility of failure. Vain efforts to banish them went unsuccessful. A furry paw clasped his right right arm. Slightly startled, Leafblade turned his head in a hurry only to see Zix's calm eyes beckoning him to calm down. A sense of relief flowed through him again and the worries left him completely.

    Turning his attention to the rivals across them, he saw the penguin Empyr shifting about and the Torterra's tree shook just a fraction. All around, a sudden burst of applause erupted; Leafblade turned his attention upward to see that N had dismounted from his perch to make way for a Lucario to take his place. Without even waiting for the crowd to settle, it spoke.

    “Finally, we have nearly arrived to the end. As proud member of the human Cynthia's team and the fourth generation descendant of the winner of the first eight Island Tournaments, the idol of almost every rescue team to this day, Rescuer Aurora Veras the Lucario, I am proud to announce the commencement of this year's tournament.” Not a sound could be heard now; even the wind held its breath as the time finally narrowed to only a few more moments. Taking a deep breath, the Lucario continued, “Team Tectonic and Team Pokepals, you may now enter the arena.”

    The door before them swung open, and a spruce staircase snaked down the ground – the actual ground. The exit to the dungeon up to the summit was barred with a iron gate and the Mountain View Observatory was also shut by Aggron-iron doors. Taking each step slowly to avoid the possibility of a misplaced, nervous step, the Sceptile and Typhlosion traversed down the ten meters to the summit and the other fifteen meters to the center of the arena. Cielliene and Empyr stopped at the center seconds later.

    The crowd was silent; the two teams stood in silence. The world stood in silence. In those silent moments, Leafblade studied the duo in front of him. A closer look at their items yielded the knowledge of that both were wearing what he had thought he saw: a Zinc Band for Empyr and a Defense Scarf for Cielliene. And Leafblade realized that they were playing to their body's natural strengths. This left his partner in advantageous position to take down the Torterra so long as and his attacks were clear of the water barrage that would be aimed from the penguin. That also meant that he was in the precarious position that his own attacks would be less effective against both of them. That was all the he could put in time to deduce; a word permeated the air. One simple word; one word that tore the world from its silent state. A word that stirred movement in the mind of everyone present and stirred movement in the limbs to the four fighters on the summit of Sky Peak.

    “Begin.”

    ~-----~
    Last edited by Agent Tectonic; 31st October 2013 at 9:24 PM.
    credits for pic and banner: Avenger Angel and Brutaka


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  4. #4
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    Took long enough for this, but here it is Chapter 2. Thank you to all of the beta-readers I had in developing this. I'll also note here that I had noticed a few holes in chapter 1 which I think are fixed as of now. Only other changes worth any note is that my openings for each chapter have finally been decided as seen below and that the prologue and chapter 1 have been modified to reflect these kind of quotes.

    Enough about all that though; enjoy!


    Chapter 2: Battling a Grudge

    In all honesty, I’m shocked that Empyr didn’t kill Zix that day. While I know what happened to me was not Zix's fault, I was amazed at how well Empyr understood. At least, that was what I thought. Maybe I was too blind to see it.
    ~~Cielliene



    “Begin.”

    Seconds after the word echoed across the mountaintop, Leafblade rolled backwards, crossing his arms as a green, glittering wall of energy appeared before him, For this fight, it’d be better to judge his opponents’ actions first. His partner, however, was already tossing gold bullets at the duo.

    Believing that Zix could keep Empyr and Cielliene occupied, Leafblade hung back and lowered his barrier. He began a short, simple dance in a circle, working his arms with vigor, each movement slashing his bladed wrists together with a satisfying ring upon contact. A translucent sword formed just beyond his reach, growing more corporeal with each strike. Finally ending his small dance with a step forward and his arms crossed just where the hilt was located, the spectral sword dissipated, leaving an invigorating energy behind, sharpening his wrist blades.

    Off at the corner of his vision, a jet of water surged towards his partner; however, it slammed into the rocks behind him; the Typhlosion, seeing the angle of impact, didn’t bother trying to dodge it.

    “Zix, beneath you!” Leafblade shouted, seeing that the missed Hydro Pump distracted his partner enough for him to miss a column of earth rising up underneath him. He tried rolling out of the way, but it wasn’t enough as he was launched into the air.

    “Ugh, a little quicker next time,” he shouted back, slinging two haphazard thorns before returning to the earth. With a pause in the projectile onslaught, Cielliene followed up with another heave in the ground, yet Zix managed to recover quick enough to roll out of the way. “Empyr, focus on Zix for now, those thorns are becoming too much.” And the penguin would have sent another torrent of water at him, yet he found himself facing Leafblade instead, seemingly appearing out of thin air.

    “What the--” Empyr started to say before the Sceptile in front of him slashed at the Empoleon’s midsection; however, one of the penguin’s massive fins rose up and deflected the blow, catching Leafblade off guard. Empyr followed up with a blast of water, driving the lizard into the nearby wall with a dizzying crash. “Leaf can teleport, Cielliene.”

    Dazed from the sudden blast, Leafblade wobbled his way back into a standing position in time to see Zix toss two more golden thorns at Empyr, driving him closer to his partner. Black streaks crossed in and out of his vision, but even then, Leafblade could see a wide smile etching itself over Zix’s face as he threw two more at the penguin, nearly lining him up with his partner. He pulled out one final thorn, but before he threw it, it glowed with crackling energy. Zipping the energized projectile right at Empyr, the penguin unable to jump out of the way this time as it collided into him. Empyr spiraled into the ground, yet the gold thorn didn’t stop with him; it zipped onward toward Cielliene, whom realized what Zix’s ploy had been. In an effort to shield herself, she brought forth a column of earth, yet the thorn pierced through it and collided into her as well, narrowly missing her eye.

    “And here you thought I was just throwing those thorns for good sport.” Zix was ready to throw another piece of energized gold, but he couldn’t line up a clean shot as a collected mass of oak trees erupted between the Torterra and the Typhlosion, aligning themselves towards the fire type.

    “I’ve got it Zix. Focus on Empyr!” Leafblade called while a rumbling of vines sprouted from the ground behind him.

    “Empyr, take Leafblade down.” The Empoleon turned to face Leafblade, who was locked in concentration in fending off Cielliene’s frenzy plant with his own. Before the penguin could even summon a wake of water, the clouds darkened overhead, twisting into a calm, clear eye right above Zix. Mouth agape, a ball of fire formed and spiraled itself into a massive cone of fire aimed right for Cielliene. Oak trunks vanished, shrinking back from where they spawned, back to where a Torterra lay motionless on the ground, smoke rising amongst the burnt flowers that were unfortunate to be in the flame’s path.

    “I’m sure you had that,” growled his partner.

    The body was teleported away to the healing platform. Leafblade, exhausted from prolonging a rather taxing move on his body, crumpled to the ground to get his breath, leaving only Empyr and Zix capable of fighting for the moment. All Leafblade could do was watch as his body recuperated while a tickling feeling itched on the edges of his consciousness.

    ~-----~

    Blackness encased her thoughts before a cold chill weaved its way across her, followed by a sudden burst of intense heat. A flame that shocked her back into consciousness. From complete darkness, Cielliene gazed at nothing still. A vivid imprint however, surfaced back into her memory. She was concentrating on Zix with the frenzy oak, yet Leafblade managed to provide cover with his frenzy vines. She remembered being frustrated with the tactic and therefore missed where Zix had aligned himself. After that, all she recalled was a sudden rush of air and a collision of extreme heat before passing out.

    “Ah, good you’re awake. How are you fee. . . oh?”

    Looking around, the perpetual black didn’t go away. She tried reopening her eyes, only to realize that that wasn’t the problem. She wasn’t sure who may have been talking; she figured it was one of the medics, but the voice wasn’t familiar.

    “Medic. I can’t see you. How bad is it?”

    “I was able to heal most of the burns; however, Zix’s Eruption damaged more than I am capable of fixing, your scarf and your eyesight especially. Is there any pain?”

    “I don’t think so. How long was I out?”

    “Only a few minutes. Empyr is taking on Zix right now. You left Leafblade drained, so Empyr may still pull this off.”

    That was a relief. Whoever her healer was, she helped walk her to the edge of the platform. While she couldn’t see, Cielliene could still feel the ripples of the battle still going on. The fluctuation of cool water and extreme fires could still be felt. Though she could not see who was winning the current duel, there was a slight shift in an ever-decreasing temperature. The flames were becoming less intense. Either Zix was getting tired, or Empyr was gaining the upper hand.

    “Empyr better start acting serious then. He underestimated before I went down. This is infuriating.”

    “Zix wrongly harming you?”

    “No, I hold no ill will for that. Empyr may, but this was a serious fight. It’s infuriating that I fell so quickly. The world thinks that Leafblade and myself are the strongest because we used to be human, yet I fall to one Eruption.”

    “You are a strong one to not blame someone for blinding you. A true testament to your character.”

    Exhaustion washed over Cielliene. While she hadn’t exerted too much effort before falling to Zix, her wounds, while healed, were weighing heavily on her body. A fickle thought that her eyesight may return upon waking up again crossed her mind.

    “I’m going to lay back down; at least this time, it’s voluntary. Don’t wake me if anything happens; even if a winner is decided.”

    “Understood.”

    ~-----~

    That last blast of water taken more out of him than he thought. He understood his duty though. Leafblade was still shaken up, and Zix was having doubts on whether he would get back up before Empyr knocked him out.

    He reached down into his bag, only to come up grasping air. The rest of his thorns lying scattered across the mountaintop. Empyr had liberties to hurl a few back at them. None hit, but a few had left him unbalanced enough to leave him drenched in water shortly after. He let loose an arrow of flame, one of many in the past minutes. Quite frankly, it worried him that Leaf wasn’t back in the fray. He didn’t see him get hit from Empyr’s blast, but the effects of that frenzy vine should have worn off.

    Those thoughts, however, need to be pushed backwards and not his main thoughts as another blast of water soared towards him. The stream crashed into the nearby wall as he rolled into the ground. Sunlight vanished while soil parted in front of him. Zix could feel where Empyr was standing, using Dig enough to feel where the soil above was heaviest. Finding it wasn’t hard, he’d remembered where Empyr was standing before plunging into the earth, and sure enough, he hadn’t moved much farther. Forcing his concentration up, Zix shot out from the earth, aimed for right under the Empoeon; however, Empyr was not there.

    Instead, another blast of water was pounding away the ground he had emerged from. The mud cushioned the impact on his back, but the strain on his chest left him gasping for air. The freezing temperature of the water didn’t help either. Mustering enough energy to focus into another Dig, Zix disappeared back into the ground and reappeared on the other end of the arena.

    His chest ached, and his breaths were coming in labored gasps. His end was near. Looking off to where his partner, he looked distance, like his body was here but his mind was elsewhere. He needed to stall; he hadn’t been able to land a single hit on Empyr, couldn’t even slow the water assault. Even if Leafblade got back in the fight, doubts of their team’s success pervaded his thoughts.

    A flash of light caught Zix’s attention; Empyr was charging a massive amount of light between his two fins. Zix tried rolling out of the way once Empyr slung it at him, yet his body was acting sluggish. He ached and his body wanted nothing more than to just give up the effort and rest. The sphere of light caught him in the side, propelling him into the wall. Shades of darkness stretched their sinewy tendrils across his vision. Were it not for the fact that Leafblade was still sitting there motionless behind Empyr, Zix may have accepted his body’s wishes.

    So, he struggled to get at least into a bowed stance, trying to support his body on all fours. Ahead, Empyr was taking his time to traverse the distance between the two, not bothering to waste any more energy. They both knew he was done.

    “The way you took Cielliene out, I’d expected you to be a bit more of a challenge.” Empyr nearly blocked out Zix’s view of his partner, but he was sure he saw a shudder of life flow back into his partner. Good. This battle wasn’t over yet. “All that boasting last night was nothing but a bravado, I see.”

    “Heh, come now Empyr, you didn’t think I truly meant everything I said last night. Groudon’s fire, I can barely even remember last night.”

    “That’s not surprising. I must say though, you caught me by surprise with that pierce shot. Probably how you knocked out Cielliene with that Eruption so easily. Speaking of which, it seems like victory is going to us today. You’re out, and Leafblade’s become a vegetable.”

    “Now that’s just insulting. You may want to consider rewording that by the way.” He couldn’t resist a smile. Empyr was trying to sound tough, yet his words lacked conviction. At least, he hoped they did.

    “And why is that?”

    Zix looked across, and relief flowed into his body. The shadowy tendrils were creeping further across his vision; his mind and body responding in relief at the coming rest. Yet, this relief was backed further by one thing. “Because your victory over me is paled in comparison to the fight you have coming for you. And honestly, I pity you.” For sure enough, whatever spell that had descended over his partner must have lifted as he was again back on his feet. He felt a pound on his head before darkness enclosed his mind, and he felt no more.

    He wasn’t sure how much time passed before he woke back, but he awoke on the recovery platform with a Gardevoir kneeling over him. He tried sitting up, but his vision grew foggy as a sensation to vomit rose within him. It also helped that the nurse over him pressed him back to the wooden floor.

    “You need to lie still. Empyr whacked you pretty hard. You’ve got three puncture wounds where he knocked you out. Possible concussion and some bleeding.”

    Zix always knew that the Empoleon got down to business when in a fight, but to actually cause some serious harm was not expected. In fact, that worried him as thoughts of “what ifs” crossed his mind regarding Leaf’s scar and Empyr’s apparent new-found viciousness.

    “How’s the battle going?”

    “I wouldn’t know. I’ve been tending to you since you warped up here. Cielliene is lying down though. In fact, where’s the doctor that patched up her eyes? Weird. I don’t see her anywhere.” Zix would have looked up and around to see where his assistant was looking, but the ensuing nausea that would have come with that simple movement wasn’t worth it.

    Empyr’s words were ringing in his ears though. “ . . . nothing but a bravado.” He couldn’t even land a single attack on Empyr. He hit him with a thorn. A thorn. No flame. No electric punch. Maybe he truly wasn’t all that good. He almost wished the possible nausea would remove the growing shame he was feeling.

    He felt another pulse of warmth on his head. “How’s that healing?”

    “Well enough. Better than Cielliene though. She’s showing major incinerations around both her eyes. It’s unknown whether she’ll get her eyesight back. There’s a lot of scarring.”

    As if losing so miserably to Empyr wasn’t enough, to hear this crushed him more than Empyr’s water had. What would she say when she awoke again? What would anyone say to him? Somewhere in the distance, a metallic crash resonated off the mountaintop. Still battling. Like Cielliene must have done, he desired sleep, away from his troubled mind. He no longer cared who won; he wanted to forget. He closed his eyes, willing his mind to shut out the images of the fight.

    Sleep never came.

    ~-----~

    He saw Empyr bludgeon his partner to the ground. While this fight was meant to be taken in all seriousness, a spark of rage burned in his chest. One strike too far.

    “Was that necessary?” screamed Leafblade as Zix was warped to the healing area. Empyr turned to face him, fins rising into a defensive stance.

    “This is a fight to find who stands out amongst the rest of the world. Not just who’s the best team, but who’s the best period. I’ve waited a long time for this, too. I’m glad the battle worked itself to my luck.”

    “You still hold that grudge against me?”

    “No, but it never sat well with me that you escaped. I hear Dustshade has been making a name for himself, so it seems you were right. That doesn’t mean, though, that I appreciated the treatment you gave me. Now, I can finally settle just who is the better.”

    A savage fury bubbled within him. This desire to react, violently; an instinct considered horrible by his human self, yet the desire to submit to his current mind’s desire was a struggle to overcome. Taking two deep breaths, he felt the sun’s rays on him, a comforting warmth as his remaining dizziness evaporated like water, even stemming the wild urge that permeated his thoughts. It seemed Empyr had anticipated this much already as a thin veil of water worked it way across his body. The bruise where Zix’s thorn had hit earlier was already dulling considerably as each readied themselves for the finale of this fight.

    “If the only thing you want is to settle a grudge, then so be it. Let’s see how well Dialga protects his chosen, shall we?”

    Digging his claws into the soil, Leafblade sprinted headlong at Empyr. He wouldn’t even know what hit him since Empyr was merely bunkering down to stop him. Empyr went to swat him, yet met only air as Leafblade blinked right behind him. His arm blades hummed with light, swinging at Empyr’s exposed back. The penguin turned to try and block the swing, but reacted too slowly, stumbling back a few feet, trying to guess where Leafblade would strike next.

    Yet, his assault wouldn’t stop there. Leafblade followed up with aiming for Empyr’s left side, and the Empoleon predictably tried protecting that side. Instead, Leafblade teleported in front of Empyr, rolled, and sprang up and delivered two swift kicks, one to his midsection and the other right under chin. Empyr was lifted into the air, much to Leafblade’s frenzied satisfaction. The penguins arms flailed before crashing to the ground with a painful thud.

    “You know, that scarf was probably not the best choice. You’ve should have gone for something a little more effective.”

    “I never figured you for the taunting type,” Empyr said while struggling to get back on his feet; a sheen of metal glistened over his body with a wide smile across Empyr’s face.

    “Or a change in tactics.” A drop of water landed on Leafblade’s, and he spared a chance glance upward to see the sun beginning to hide behind storm clouds. Returning his gaze to Empyr, insuring that he wouldn’t pock-shot him, he noticed just in time to see another coat of metal shine in the decreasing light. “Come now, just because you were human doesn’t mean you’re the only one adaptable. Now, dodge this.”

    Empyr’s eyes flashed a shade of sea-blue, and water materialized all around him, raging like a hurricane until finally, the surf roiled its way towards Leafblade. Knowing that his gem wouldn’t teleport him out, Leafblade brought his arms together as his wall of energy shimmered into existence in front of him. He quickly followed this up by swinging his right arm around, turning enough to create a dome to prevent the surge from bearing down on him from all angles.


    Thinking that he could block out any further attack Empyr would send his way, he was shocked when the ground beneath him ruptured and the six foot tall Empoleon emerged, driving himself within his protective barrier. A part of Empoleon’s horn caught him on his right thigh, a spasm of pain and blood oozed with it, but the worst was the other side of the horn scraping perfectly with his scar. Hot flashes of memories and pain exploded within his mind and chest. Automatical reflex was to check to see how far along the scar the Emopleon had hit, only to come away with red on his claws and dripping to the ground.

    His barrier dropped just as the tide gave way to air, yet it lasted long enough to slam him to the rocks again, face forward. He felt light headed, but at the same time, he felt a crushing weight of pain from his chest, leg and head, the impact jarring his mind to stay focused. Beside him, Empyr was lying in the dirt, hit by his own move, and both not wanting to pick themselves back up.

    Leafblade recovered first, getting himself back to his feet. He was surprised to see Empyr still trying to get it; odd since he shouldn’t have been hurt much from his own surf. Regardless, Leafblade intended to make the most of his advantage as he brought his arms to his side, a glowing ball of green growing between his claws. He fired it at the Empoleon, missing as Empyr managed to submerge back into the ground and appear farther away, standing, at the other end of the arena.

    This is it, Leafblade thought as he knew both were only moments away from slipping into unconsciousness. Already, his vision was beginning to blur. The pain around his body was already subduing into a cold numbness. He readied two more balls of energy, one in each hand; focusing as much as he could on Empyr, paying attention to how the penguin would move, he saw that Empyr had formed to orbs of light in his claws, charging as much energy as he could into them.

    Yet, just before he released his energy balls, his vision snapped and reshaped into a cloudy, dark terrain. Empyr was still before him, charging a flash cannon, but the mountaintop was gone, replaced by a barren wasteland devoid of sunlight with a palace made of silver on the horizon. It continued for a few more moments before the vision faded, the mountaintop reappearing, and Empyr letting loose his attack. The energy he had collected for his own attack, interrupted by whatever that was, dissipated leaving him with nothing left to do, no energy left to activate his gem or try and dodge Empyr’s final move. He close his eyes and waited for the impact, his final thoughts lingering on that vision and a mental congratulations for Empyr’s victory.

    ~-----~

    “Empyr, don’t!” Cielliene cried, awaking from her slumber. Darkness still surrounded her, but the last remnants of her dream remained clinging to her head. The dizziness she felt passed, the image fading into nothing, and image of Empyr standing over a body, ready to plunge one of his fins into it. She couldn’t tell who he was standing over, only a silhouette amongst a landscape soaked in water and rock. She had felt weary, as if she had been running to get to the scene, only to find she was too late. Then it had ended

    It was only after the dizziness of her Scream truly left her thoughts that she became aware of a something touching her back. “It’s alright, I’m here. What did you see?” Empyr.

    In a way she felt relieved knowing he was watching over her, what after what she had seen, a lingering desire to push him away eroded into her thoughts as well. “It’s nothing. Just a bad dream.” She wanted to tell him, but she wasn’t sure if she should trust her vision or not; it was better to not mention in it.

    “I trust you, but you said the same thing this morning.” Yet Empyr didn’t inquire any further.

    Instead he sat in silence; at least, Cielliene imagined him sitting. She could hear the medical staff assisting with everyone but her partner. Either he was already patched up and not needing care, or maybe. . . “Empyr, did you win?” It felt wrong to say we; she didn’t contribute much to the effort.

    He sat quietly; maybe not. Tectonic must have won. It was to have been expected. Empyr was good, but then again, Tectonic was their superiors.

    “I’m sorry,” Empyr had started to say, only further convincing her that they indeed did lose. A growing disappointment rising in her for being knocked out so quickly. “But Tectonic will not be considered the best team in the world. We will.” And as quickly as her doubts entered, they left, leaving euphoria where disappointment had been.

    “You actually took on both and won?” Her excitement seeping through as she tried without luck to contain it. She could hear her partner chuckle before he replied.

    “Not exactly. Leafblade was acting strange after Zix knocked you out. In fact, I wanted to ask him about that because I wouldn’t have been able to defeat them both if it were not for his strange incapacitation. Are you well enough to walk? You could come and help me rub it in their faces.”

    So he wasn’t aware of her current condition; this wasn’t going to go well. It may be best to just. . .

    “Empyr, my eyesight is gone.” There.

    She heard a creak in the floorboards as if Empyr had turned around to regard her again. He didn’t speak for a bit, most likely looking at her in light. At length, he finally spoke up, yet she could feel a noticeable but slight drop in the temperature around her.

    “I don’t know, honestly? Maybe Zix, but I’ve taken fire blasts of all kinds before. All I know is that I felt a wave of heat and woke up here without my sight. It’s just the way it went; nothing anyone can do now or fix. Just gotta move on.”

    She felt the air return back to at least a bearable chill. Empyr had assisted in escorting her to where Leafblade and Zix were. As the two approached, there was something in the air, reeking of tension. She couldn’t see it, but her suspicion was further justified when she felt a slight shudder from Empyr’s fin on her shell. She could hear some of the medics whispering nearby.

    “It’s bad Zix. This is something none of us ever seen. I need you tell us how Leafblade got that gem of his. What is it exactly and how does it work?” Zix didn’t immediately speak up, but this perked a gnawing curiosity of Cielliene’s. She was curious as to how Leafblade was able to use teleport anyways; now, she had a good idea that it had something to do with that gem he had worn.

    Even without her eyesight, something was off, though. At first, she didn’t quite feel it, but since she was too curious to figure out what was wrong, she started recognizing the tug of psychic energy. However, any further investigation was cut as Leafblade woke up, interestingly dissipating the energy that had been present.

    “Don’t worry about the gem.” Odd that he had seemed unconscious yet know that the recent discussion was about that gem and not him. “And I’m fine; I’ll tend to my wounds. Thank you, though,” Leafblade followed up, most likely trying to send away all the medics. Just how many others were around here?

    “Well that’s good to hear, Leaf. At least you can see. Since I’ve regained conscious, it seems I only have four natural senses left available to me.”

    ~-----~

    Silence broke out amongst everyone present. Even the nurses that had remained despite his small protest didn’t bother trying to offer words of encouragement. Leafblade looked over at his longtime friend, only to see it pale as a Zangoose’s fur. Thinking it was best to leave a certain two alone to talk this out, Leafblade motioned for Empyr to follow him. Getting back up so quickly was a mistake though. Soon as he was back on his feet, he looked down to see that his scar had reopened a bit. The nausea sensation didn’t help either, but Leafblade was able to pluck one of the nodules on his back and use the fluid inside to cover the wound. It stung a bit, but the substance would be sticky enough to at least stem the blood flow and keep the cut clean.

    “Where are you two going?”

    “To give you and Cielliene some time to talk. Besides, Leafblade and I need to discuss some things anyway.”

    Leafblade couldn’t help but wonder as to what the Empoleon may have wanted to discuss. Granted, it was he who wanted to have Empyr stay out of Zix’s and Cielliene’s coming discussion, but this was coming out of nowhere. Resigned to just follow Empyr’s leave, the two of them moved off to the other end of the the platform. All around, people and Pokemon alike were filtering out of the stands by wings or by teleports. Some remained, talking among themselves about the battle. One conversation reached Leafblade’s ears, sounding something along the lines of “exciting.”

    Leafblade had expected to stop right at the fence separating the field from the wooden platform, but Empyr continued on in silence. It was apparent now that the raised platforms were now back on the ground, most likely brought down while he was still unconscious. They traversed across the beaten field. flowers stamped to the ground. Zix’s Eruption line off in the middle, and the many circular holes from Cielliene’s Earth Power were scattered all over as well. Some of the Shaymin villagers were restoring what was left of the finale. Ahead, where a large iron wall used to be placed during the battle, a large opening in the mountain’s outer wall displayed the other peaks within in Skyline Range.

    It was here at the edge of the summit where Empyr had finally stopped. Both stood for a while more in silence, gazing at the beautiful range before them. A waterfall was pouring out one of the mountains close by, cascading into a small ravine of lustrous trees. Even from this height, Leafblade could see Tailows and Pidgeys flying amongst the trees, readying for the swiftly approaching night.

    “Beautiful, isn’t it.”

    “It’s more than that. This seems so secluded from the troubles of the world. If someone told me now that there is no such thing as peace on this planet, I can say now that they are wrong.”

    Stars were beginning to dot the sky. Back home, there wasn’t really any good place to marvel the sky without having something obstructing one’s view. Here, Leafblade looked up in wonder at the amount of twinkling lights above. He felt insignificant, bound to a planet he knew didn’t take up much of the universe.

    “Ever since Project P opened up the pass here some five years ago, I’ve come here often, gazing out at this very spot. I won’t deny that I am cursed with a warrior’s heart. Where others of my kind would gather into social communities, I find that I want to be out fighting something. When I was younger, I yearned for adventure, the desire to find new things and tackle anything that stood in my way of getting there. My abduction to Cielliene’s time period didn’t help temper my fighting spirit, only fueling it more to the point I itched for a good fight. Here, looking out over the range, I don’t feel that pull. It’s nice to not feel so alert.”

    “So what’s this got to do with what you really want to tell me?”

    The makings of a smile broke across the Empoleon’s face, and a small chuckle escaped his beak shortly after. “You can’t fool me Leafblade,” he said as he turned to face the Sceptile. “My point is that I know when anyone is holding back. And I can see you’ve been holding yourself back for a while. There’s something you haven’t come to terms within yourself. Right? I noticed when we first met, but I wasn’t sure of it until after this fight.”

    So he could see it. Well, there was no point in lying to him. After all, it may actually help to hear someone’s opinion on it. “I guess you can say I’m struggling with an identity crisis. Part of me wants to just accept the fact that I’m no longer human, but I can’t. Ever since the Meteor Catastrophe, my spare thoughts have on that particular subject.”

    “I’m not following.”

    “I’ve been doubting why I was ever transformed in the first place. Honestly, I don’t feel like I did anything worthy. I feel like I’ve been living the biggest lie in history. If I wasn’t transformed, Zix and I wouldn’t have confronted Rayquaza about the meteor. Even then, we had to fight just to get her to look up. Hell, we didn’t win.”

    “Why do I get the feeling I’m about here something I’ll most likely regret?”

    Leafblade didn’t answer back immediately. Already, he was regretting even bringing this up to begin with. He gaze back across mountain range, now devoid of sunlight. A light fog was rolling over the valley below while a gentle breeze filled the air. Taking a deep breath, he continued, completely ignoring Empyr’s question, “If you’re in any way familiar with events of that time, you’ll know that Team ACT had ventured into Groudon’s lair to quell the earthquakes spawned from him reawakening. Everybody had underrated Zix and myself, but the combination of us wanting to relax a bit after our exile and us not wanting to insult ACT’s strength made us sit that fight out. When it was becoming clear that their team was taking much too long, another team went in to extract them and defeat Groudon should the opportunity arise. Eventually, Zix and I had our shot and succeeded.

    “Yet on that spire atop the world, recent history repeated itself. . . to an extent. Zix and I were on our last legs. One of Raquaza’s Hyper Beams nearly threw Zix off the edge of the summit. Were it not for me risking my own life to save him, he would have fell off. Of course, I saved him, but that left the dragon to recharge and ready another beam. Just before she fired it, a shockwave bared down on us all, crushing Zix and I to the ground and caused the beam to miss us completely.

    “She didn’t know how that was possible, but I was able to muster enough strength to yell ‘Look up.’ She finally understood our trespassing, but by then, we were beyond succeeding without personal harm. The meteor was too close and any further Hyper Beams would have caused repercussions on the surrounding environment, mainly ourselves. I don’t know how we lived, and I don’t care. What I think about though is what if Zix and I weren’t there. No doubt Rayquaza would have known to look up and saw the meteor and strike it down.

    “So why was I turned into a Pokemon in the first place. I tried getting my memories restored, but I’m starting to suspect Jirachi knew something more and didn’t tell me. They should have come back to me by now, at least more so than what little I do remember.”

    “That’s a nice story and all, you questioning your place in the world, but that doesn’t answer my question as to why you hold yourself back.”

    “You’re right; it doesn’t. But it leads me to the answer. When I went into that fight, I knew that I needed to hold nothing back. To do so would be certain defeat. And I followed through with that. . . almost. I slipped into acting on instinct, letting my new mind and body do what was natural. What I saw though was that I was distancing myself from my apparent humanity. It wasn’t natural. I should be thinking, strategizing and relying on instinct was counter to these. I started to fear that if I allowed myself to do so again and again, I would truly forget that I was human. So I promised myself that I would never allow that to happen; my quest to return my memory was the result of that.”

    Leafblade chanced a sideways glance at Empyr, finding that, like he, was again gazing back at the mountains. The moon was rising over the eastern peaks. Curious, Leafblade looked behind him and saw that everyone had left now. All except Zix and Cielline, both of whom were standing by the entrance to the dungeons beneath, waiting for the two to finish their conversation.

    “I see. I guess that confirms my suspicion.”

    “And what is that, penguin?”

    Empyr had turned away from the scene, ready to head back. He stared straight into Leafblade’s eyes, seeming to judge everything that laid within before answering, “It confirms that I should have lost our fight.For whatever reason, you may not have notice, but I did. The energy you had collected for your final attack before you dissipated it would have overpowered mine and left me unconscious. Something happened, I know it. I won’t prod further, but know that even though ceremony dictates that Team Pokepals won this year, I’ll know that it should be you and Zix on tomorrow’s podium and not Cielliene and me.”

    And without another word, he stalked back to the other two, leaving Leafblade with his thoughts or lack thereof. He wasn’t quite sure if he was just smacked in the face or complemented. Probably both yet maybe neither. He didn’t know. Above, a shooting star faded in and out of existence. He stared up at the cosmos, thinking of absolutely nothing. Just letting his mind stare at the glittering lights that decorated the night sky before following ensuite back with the rest.

    There was some discussion on how to get back down, and it was quickly decided to use Leafblade’s Teleport Gem. Sure to his prediction, he had enough energy left in it to teleport the entire group to the base of the mountain. Each said their good nights before retiring to their tents. His body was exhausted, his scar pulsing with a dull pain, but as much as he wanted and needed it, sleep did not come quickly. He laid there awake for hours, his thoughts on Empyr’s and his discussion, his vision before the end of the fight, and the disturbing one he had right after Cielliene had fainted.

    That first nightmare of a vision he had seen when Zix was contending Empyr gripped his mind with agonizing claws; it was a scene distorted beyond recognition, but he could clearly hear the screams of Pokemon and a loud crackling of fire on wood. He tried shutting the scene out, yet his mind was adamant in not letting it go.

    ~-----~
    Last edited by Agent Tectonic; 31st October 2013 at 9:24 PM.
    credits for pic and banner: Avenger Angel and Brutaka


    I have claimed Sceptile

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  5. #5
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    I hate being lied to. As I write this tale, I do so knowing that much of this is a truthful lie.
    ~~R. I. Ram
    At first I read that as “Resh-I-Ram” and thought that was pretty cool. I don’t know if that was intentional or not but yeah.

    “Do you not comprehend the understanding of our arrangement to meet here.
    Would use a question mark here since it sounds like he’s seriously asking a question.

    “What about the Team Pokepals from Treasure Town? I don't hear you crying foul play with them when the human then turned into a Turtwig and defeated Darkrai several years ago.”
    I like how you incorporate things that have happened in the past into dialogue. It seems better than just packing it all into one information-packed paragraph that can easily bore the reader.

    The guy good hold his own on and off the field.
    “could” not “good”

    His friend gave him look that could freeze Kyurem,
    Should be “a look”

    I asked to have a few months were of training before the projected date of impact, so I could get accustomed to my new body.
    Remove “were”

    Both of them was silent;
    Should be “were silent” since you’re talking plural here.

    His partner and leader chuckled in front of him, hearing his curse to Moltres about bringing down the house around him.
    Lol, Zix seems like a rather amusing character.

    “I'm sorry; I had to. But to answer your question from earlier, I'm fine. Even if my technique isn't as polished as it used to be, it's as perfect as it's going to be until this scar recedes further,” looking down at the remnants of the cut in question It had healed considerably since then; now only a faded distortion ranging ranging from the middle of his left arm, across his chest, and ending just before his right shoulder.
    The end of the dialogue should have a period since there’s no accompanying speech tag, and “looking down…” should be a sentence by itself. Could just add “he said in there. Also you need a period after “question”. I would suggest going back over your work after every chapter. The prologue was completely error free and now I’m finding tons of errors in this chapter which doesn’t seem too consistent.

    I already read and helped you with chapter 2, so my comments stand for there. As for the prologue and chapter 1, your dialogue is what stands out the most to me. You’re trying to portray characters that are considered the most respected pokémon in the land, and you do this well with their very formal language. My only complaint is that I wouldn’t use the same language for Zix, who seems a bit more like a clown compared to the rest.

    As for description, you know how to describe things and what to describe (aka only the important things). My only complaint is that your writing style is a bit awkward to me and reads harshly sometimes. Watch out for being really wordy (aka if you can cut your sentence down to the smallest amount of words possible, you should use that smaller sentence for the sake of clarity unless there’s a specific reason for the wordy sentence). I would work on this because it makes it hard to follow where you are in the story when reading.

    Hope I helped a little bit.

    | survival project |
    | this trainer is different. everyone knows it, but no one can explain it. |
    | complete |


    | flying in the dark |
    | he's hiding something. she just doesn't know it. |
    | on hiatus|


    | love and other nightmares |
    | limited time, limited abilities. kyurem says she can be cured in exchange for saving those who need saving. |
    | chapter 3 released 11/22/14 |


  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by diamondpearl876 View Post
    At first I read that as “Resh-I-Ram” and thought that was pretty cool. I don’t know if that was intentional or not but yeah.
    As I'm sure you found out after reading, it was intentional.

    Would use a question mark here since it sounds like he’s seriously asking a question.
    Yeah, I was debating on whether or not I wanted it to sound like a question or not, but I guess it would be better to punctuate it correctly.

    I like how you incorporate things that have happened in the past into dialogue. It seems better than just packing it all into one information-packed paragraph that can easily bore the reader.
    Thanks!

    “could” not “good”
    Yeah, looked right over that one.

    Should be “a look”
    And that one.

    Remove “were”
    And that one as well.

    Should be “were silent” since you’re talking plural here.
    Like the above stuff.

    Lol, Zix seems like a rather amusing character.
    Judging by your comment below about Zix, I think I may have missed the mark on his characterization a bit. While yes, it is true he lives a more amusing life-style, that was meant to be geared more towards him just not paying much attention to his surroundings when not fighting rather than him just acting like a clown.

    The end of the dialogue should have a period since there’s no accompanying speech tag, and “looking down…” should be a sentence by itself. Could just add “he said in there. Also you need a period after “question”. I would suggest going back over your work after every chapter. The prologue was completely error free and now I’m finding tons of errors in this chapter which doesn’t seem too consistent.
    I hate to say that you're right there. While I did go back through chapter 1, I admit that I had that "Yes, finished; now do a quick read through and post" thought which I ended up acting on. I do not plan on making as many silly mistakes than what I did here.

    I already read and helped you with chapter 2, so my comments stand for there. As for the prologue and chapter 1, your dialogue is what stands out the most to me. You’re trying to portray characters that are considered the most respected pokémon in the land, and you do this well with their very formal language. My only complaint is that I wouldn’t use the same language for Zix, who seems a bit more like a clown compared to the rest.

    As for description, you know how to describe things and what to describe (aka only the important things). My only complaint is that your writing style is a bit awkward to me and reads harshly sometimes. Watch out for being really wordy (aka if you can cut your sentence down to the smallest amount of words possible, you should use that smaller sentence for the sake of clarity unless there’s a specific reason for the wordy sentence). I would work on this because it makes it hard to follow where you are in the story when reading.

    Hope I helped a little bit.
    Thanks for the feedback here. And the sentence length thing has been something that I struggle with frequently where I try and balance how often I use long and short sentences. It seems though that I need to cut down on the longer ones, so I'll keep that in mind in chapter 3's writing and revision.

    Again, thanks for the help.
    credits for pic and banner: Avenger Angel and Brutaka


    I have claimed Sceptile

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  7. #7
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    Thank you to all of the beta-readers that helped put this chapter together. Now, let's shift this to what you all truly want to read.

    Chapter 3: Revelations

    I've been exiled, saved the world, fallen from the sky, and fought and lived through a war. I can say that any amount of fear that I experienced was nothing compared to what I lived through that one night.
    ~~Leafblade


    He had awoke that morning to find most of the camp outside of the Shaymin village nearly deserted. Zix was sitting with Cielliene on the pathway out, apparently gazing out across the pass. Empyr kept his distance, standing somewhere between the duo and Leafblade’s tent, but watched the former with interest. Leafblade looked down to find an apple, two oran berries, and a pecha berry on a small, stone plate. A grumble from his stomach was more than enough to convince him to devour everything on that plate-- the berries first. He then proceeded to work away at the apple. After finishing, he noticed that a small stack of other plates were gathered near the central fire of the camp, so Leafblade w, placed his on the stack, and joined Empyr.

    “How you feeling?” Empyr asked, not turning his head to even notice that Leafblade was approaching him.

    A throbbing pain coursed through his wound, as if the very question had caused that response. “A light pain; nothing more.” Clutching his chest, he felt a warm, sticky liquid coursing over his hand.

    Turning around so Empyr wouldn’t have to see him treating his wound, Leafblade reached up behind him and grasped one of the nodules on his back. Long ago, he found out that the fluid within helped in various other ways outside of treating sick and dying trees. Giving the ball of liquid a good tug, he felt it snap off his back, sending a jolt down his back. Squishing it within his hands, he rubbed the liquid over his scar. The ointment was just thick enough to act like natural amber; in a short while, it would harden enough to stem any further blood-flow and seal it enough to allow him to carry on today’s march back to Treasure Town. Finished, he tossed the remains of of the nodule onto the grassy floor, allowing whatever was left to be absorbed into the ground.

    Turning back around, he saw that another one of Empyr’s smiles broke over his features. Looking over to what was amusing the Empoleon, Leafblade asked, “What are they up to?”

    The Empoleon didn’t answer. Instead, Leafblade got the hint as to what was fixating Empyr’s attention. In fact, Zix was confirming it at that very moment, leaning forward, touching his forehead with Cielliene’s before noticing that his teammate was now awake and watching with a grin matching that of the Empoleon next to him.

    “Guess we’ve been found out. I suppose I should wash this blood off and go pack up my stuff so we can get on our way,” Leafblade said, turning to see what was left. It was only his tent and the plates from everyone else’s breakfast, nothing much. In fact it took him no longer than a quarter of an hour before everything in the small clearing was back to its natural state. However, he hadn’t found any suitable water to rinse his hand and claws of the blood, so he decided to just not bother. If they found a stream on their way down, he’d clean up then.

    With the group ready, Zix carrying both his and Cielliene’s supplies, and the day quickly approaching High Sun, it was time to leave. Zix and Cielliene were expectedly following behind Zix and Empyr. They kept a steady pace descending off and out of the Skyline Range. At this rate, they would reach Divide Pass in an hour and would approach Apple Woods’ southern end by nightfall.

    Glad to be completely away from the noisy mountaintop before and after their fight, Leafblade was content to just walk and stare at the scenery around him. . . or lack thereof. Pine trees were just littered across most of the mountaintop with little else in sight.

    Trees. How I’ve missed them, but I’d love to look at something besides pine. While the mountain air was pleasant enough, Leafblade was ready to dig his claws into dirt and silky grass rather than this rock and brittle, lifeless straw. Behind him, Zix and Cielliene were still talking, though quiet enough so as to not have Empyr or Leafblade listen in on them

    By midafternoon, Apple Woods and Oran Forest were within sight, along with much of the land that encompassed what Empyr had called the Green Basin. By sunset, they had set up camp at the edge of the woods. Glad to be back on soft loam, Leafblade had spent most of the time before dinner exploring the forest while being careful enough to not entrap himself within the dungeon there. He didn’t stay out too long as his belly had been grumbling for food and his arms and legs quickly tired from their excursions.

    Upon returning to camp, he, along with everyone else, ate in relative silence before they all retired to their tents, ready to finally regain some sleep he didn’t get the night before. Yet he was interrupted when Zix walked in and sat down in front of the entrance. He held out a paw as Leafblade was beginning to push himself up into a sitting position as well.

    “Please, I know you’re tired and aching still; don’t get up just because I’m sitting. I won’t be long.”

    Despite him saying that, out of the corner of Leafblade’s eye, Zix remained fidgety for a while, not saying a word. Finally, just when the thoughts of sleep started creeping back, Zix spoke up again.

    “Leaf, I want to retire from our rescue operations.” Any thoughts of sleep were banished in that moment. It shouldn’t have hit him this hard. After all, they had been discussing retirement the past year, but it still seemed too sudden to hear about. The initial shock passed, though it did leave a bitter aftertaste, and the passing thought of their impending retirement scared Leafblade further. This was too coincidental. This decision being made not long after the tournament was over and his budding amour with the Torterra.

    “Leaf?”

    “So what sparked this decision?” It wasn’t the best thing to say, but that was the first thought that finally formed coherently in his head. Casting a glance Zix’s way, it didn’t look like it had offended him. In fact, he was nodding his head, eyes closed, as if he had expected such a remark.

    “Well, you and I were discussing this anyways, but after that last fight, I can no longer deny it. I’ve grown too old for this business. You and I have seen other teams form and retire while we still did our duty. And I can no longer deny what I’m seeing. My body isn’t responding as quick as it used to; were it not for the the fact that I didn’t receive too many physical injuries, I wouldn’t be as mobile as I am right now.”

    Leafblade brought himself into a sitting position despite Zix’s initial protest. He had said this wouldn’t take long, but beneath this announcement, there was something else, a secret Zix was afraid to say and admit. Leafblade knew and accepted it, but he wanted Zix to say it.

    “You’ve been a good friend, Zix. More than that-- I consider you family. So just come out and say what is truly gripping you.” It’s not like he had been hiding it. He had been showing it all throughout the day of his erupted infatuation with Cielliene.

    “I never could hide anything from you could I,” Zix said, chuckling a bit. This was a relief since Leafblade could see the stress leave his friend’s features. “So be it. I don’t have your gift of seeing the true feelings of others, but it’s clear that you approve. I. . . I find myself in love again. I thought I wouldn’t feel this way again, but Cielliene. . . I want to be with her for the rest of my years. I know it’s only been a few days that we’ve truly gotten to talk, but. . . but. I can’t explain it. I just. . . I just. . .” Tears filled Zix’s eyes, though Leafblade wasn’t quite sure if he was remembering her or if it was the joys of feeling love again. Probably both. “Has it really been since the War? I still miss her,” Zix said, his voice quickly fading as more tears bubbled over his eyes.

    He hated seeing his partner do this to himself though, so he got up and offered a hug to him. In doing so, however, it opened up the floodworks as he felt tears stinging against his scar. “What do you think Laav will have to say?”

    It took a few minutes before Zix recovered enough to find his voice, but when he did, he replied surprisingly clear, “I hope she’ll be fine with it along with yourself. Thing is, I want to retire here with Cielliene. I’ll return home with you, but I’ll be leaving a few days after. I want to say goodbye to everyone, especially Dustshade and Laav.”

    “We’ll still keep in touch right?” It felt silly to ask, but he was still at a lost for words.

    “Of course. I would never just break away completely.”

    “Then I’m happy for you. It may not look it now, as it’s a lot to take in, but I’ll support whatever your heart wishes.”

    “Thanks. That means a lot,” Zix said, wiping away the remaining tears that bubbled off fur. “Now, I’ll let you get some sleep. You look terrible.”

    They both burst into laughter at that; however, it didn’t last long as Zix got up and walked out, leaving Leafblade wondering if he was heading to Cielliene’s tent or his. Fatigue refused to let that answer form as he laid his head back on his straw bed, sleep welling back and pacifying all other thoughts for the night.

    ~-----~

    The group passed the Hot Springs by midmorning and finally reached Treasure Town a few hours after. Zix hadn’t spoke to him at all that morning, likely allowing Leafblade to come to terms with their upcoming parting. Oddly enough, Empyr hadn’t spoke at all either. At the town gate, Galdwin stopped them just as he was about to descend into his emporium. He had two jars under each of his arms, tinted to obstruct their contents.

    “Ah ha, about time you guys showed up. Everyone else have already started getting the center of town prepped for this night’s official recognition of you two. Kecleons’ Shifting Wares store and Kangaskhan’s Empty Bucket deposit stand had to been taken down to accommodate the stage. I gotta tell you, it’s massive. It’s like. . . like. . . ah I can’t even describe it. However, you can’t see it yet. I’ve been told that you’re to wait in my shop until everyone says it’s ready.”

    Zix and Cielliene went in first with the former helping the latter descend the hatch. Leafblade watched but noticed out of the corner of his eye that Empyr had scowled while they both weren’t paying attention. He didn’t think anything of it but instead walked over to the Empoleon and told him that he’d wait at the beach. Empyr nodded, as if half paying attention, before following the other two into Galdwin’s Cafe.

    With time away from everyone, he’d hopefully be able to get his thoughts settled. It seemed odd in a way that ever since this tournament was revived, the doubts he had thought he buried sprung back up again. In fact, upon further reflection, they always sprang up when something big happened, starting with Zix’s and his exile, climbing Rayquaza’s tower, the War, now. That question in his abilities always trickled in.

    Looking down at his scar, he remembered that it was one of those self-doubts that gave him that scar. He wondered whether it had anything to do with his memories. Maybe some lasting effect of his last thoughts before transformation. Regardless, he didn’t know yet; it was merely a theory.

    Not wanting to be brooding the entire time before the ceremony, he turned his attention to the scenery. Various mountain flowers had grown along the grassy path, even creeping up the canyon walls as well. Ahead, the rocky walls parted further away from each other, revealing the sandy beach that was his destination. Even from here, he could see bubbles hovering over the ocean, glistening in the late afternoon sun.

    Empyr had once mentioned this beach which was one reason why he’d wanted to come here; he had said that he always came here when he wasn’t overly exhausted or busy. Breaching the last bit that was the canyon wall, the entire beach laid out to his immediate left with Krabby scattered amongst the rocky outskirts, blowing bubbles out across the sea.

    Trudging his feet across the sand, he found a rather comfortable patch of sand about a few strides away from the cave. He sat and watched the bubbles reflect off the ocean. Empyr had told him about this, and Leafblade had to agree: the beauty and serenity in watching these bubbles was beyond peaceful; however, that admiration opened the door to the grief he had been avoiding since Zix’s farewell last night. He felt his eyes bubble over into a fountain of tears.

    In some ways, he felt odd in having this reaction as he remembered how humans don’t often cling to others outside of loved ones which Zix, while close, wasn’t that close. On the other hand, there was this more natural side to accept that this was a reasonable reaction as well. Yet no matter how he felt like he should feel, it didn’t evade the reality. Zix was leaving, retiring.

    He had spoken truly that he was happy for him; he never thought Zix would know love again outside of the parental love of his daughter. He had changed since then. He acted more goofy, laughing being his only way to forget and move on. Others just thought it was his comedic side seeing more attention, but nobody bothered finding the source. They just took it at face value.

    They didn’t hear the endless nights of him waking up in cold sweats crying out to her or the hallucinations that he saw that nearly had him plummet into the river or ocean countless other times. Nobody outside of him still knows. He managed to get out of it, though it required a few interventions from both himself and Laav, who was still a young Cyndaquil at the time.

    ~-----~

    He always found it amazing how much Rescue Town had grown since the War. With the amount of refugees and shops that had opened since then, it was safe to say that Rescue Town had become the first true Pokemon city, sporting both a residential district, night district for nocturnal Pokemon like himself, along with the original foundation of the town in the middle. Tonight, he made his way to the night district; he had lost a few reviver seeds on his last escort mission. He had plenty in storage, but he hated taking any from the recruit members of his team.

    The night district was on the northern part of the city, beyond Whiscash’s pond and the Evolution Chamber. Ahead the pond came into sight, with the white birch trees surrounding it. On the front border of it rested the fish himself, sound asleep. Quietly circumventing around, Leafblade took the path northward towards his destination.

    What lay ahead was rather debatable about it being a part of Rescue Town. While the night district was meant to be for those who preferred the night, it was no secret that many thieves lurked within the area as well. Turning into another darkened street, the shop he was looking for loomed over shoddy, wooden works of the district: Paragon’s Plentiful Collection, ran by a rather vigilant Banette. Considering he was a ghost, he was a rather rare individual to actually stand against many of the robberies in the area all the while running his general goods store.

    “Leafy, you come to spend some your coin?” the ghost shouted across the street. “I’ve waited a rather long time for you to get your pretty tail over here.”

    “Charming as ever old Paragon. Woke up a bit late tonight. Zix has been keeping me up during the sunlight hours with his PTS.”

    “Still having issues. I wish him the best. He really has taken Tercanis’s death hard,” the ghost said. A moment passes silently between the two before Paragon spoke up again. “And who you calling old. I can show you just how old I really am if you’re interested.”

    “No thanks. I would be interested in some reviver seeds though if you have any in stock. My last escort thought she would be cool if she took on a monster house on her own.”

    “Haha, escorts. Maybe one day I could escort you. . .”

    “Paragon, the reviver seeds.” While the Banette was rather helpful to the district, his personality was rather taxing to deal with; the only saving grace was that he was like this too everybody and not necessarily to him. Leafblade tried to deal as little as he could with the ghost, but it was rather hard to do so when missions like his last one turned sour.

    “Well, maybe another day then. I’ve got one left, and I’ll have to charge you a thousand gold Poké. It’s been hard to harvest any lately due to recent bandit raids. The prices of buying them have become inflated like you wouldn’t believe..

    Sighing, Leafblade pulled a small sack out of his rescue satchel. “Here. There’s about eleven hundred there. And keep the change so long as you stop inviting me to your bed for the next week.”

    “One day Leafy, you’ll resolve will crumble. But so be it, I’ll play your game for now. Let me get your seed.”

    The Banette disappeared into the back of his shop, leaving Leafblade to shake his head without the other looking once the floating doll left, mainly out of reaction to the last comment. He knew that Paragon meant well, despite being rather forward in his sadistic fantasies. When the Banette finally reemerged from his shop, he handed Leafblade the item. Without a word to be spoken outside of the standard thank yous, Leafblade left, heading back towards the main square. Tonight he needed to track down a criminal that had been stealing from the bank over the past week. Apparently, this ‘mon was also a rescuer a few years ago. He pulled out the mission details from his bag, double checking that this crook’s rumored place of hiding was somewhere around the Great Canyon. Figuring there may be an extra mission on the bulletin board by the PRO headquarters, he decided to detour there before heading out.

    The plaza was a ghost town, which was normal considering it was approaching High Moon. Walking past the various shops and residential buildings, Leafblade followed the path towards the Overwatch, the cliff the Pelipper Office was built on. However, tonight, he was not the only visit. Looking out over the waters was a familiar figure. Even in the partial moon’s lighting, the midnight blue fur of a Typhlosion was nearly impossible to miss.

    Ice creeped through his veins as Leafblade could feel his scales clamming up at the numerous reasons why Zix could be awake at this time. And none of them were good scenarios. He wanted to pull the Typhlosion away, but the icy fear that coursed through his body shackled him to the ground.

    This wasn’t the first time Zix had attempted this stunt, but he normally just woke up out of a nightmare and cried himself back to sleep. Tonight, however, was the first time in the ten months since his mate’s death that he didn’t fully rouse himself out of his delusion. He was perched on the ledge overlooking the Veraros River, looking as if to spring himself into the shallow Veraros River below.

    ”Zix? What. . . what are you doing? Why are you not sleep?” Each word seemed to crawl too slowly out of him all the while a thousand endless instances of what would happen in the coming moments crashed like a maelstrom in his head.

    “I see her Leaf. She needs help. She’s calling me.” Zix’s voice carried to him. It was quiet, yet it echoed over his mind like a drum. Zix was too calm to be considering this.

    “It’s an illusion, Zix. That’s not her. You know that.”

    “How can you say that? Of course that’s her. She’s calling me; I know it’s her. I can’t let her drown.”

    Zix leaned further forward, almost ready to plummet towards his death. Leafblade knew he needed to act, yet still refused to budge. Fear still coursed through his muscles in a successful coup to take action.

    “Do you remember what Tercanis said when you first met her Zix?” Leafblade asked, hoping to get his mind off of the shallow river below. They both were present when they had officially met her on the volcanic plateau. That Typhlosion had bested both of them at the same time, and Zix fell in love shortly after. He had found it odd, but she wasn’t as much of an amazon as she had seemed that after that day.

    Zix looked over at his lizard companion, finally not at empty air to Leafblade’s immediate, short-lived relief. “Yes. She said that should the other. . .”

    “. . .fall or die, the one remaining would continue on, keeping their legacy alive,” Leafblade finished as what seemed to be realization dawning over his friend’s features.

    Regretfully that wasn’t the case as his Zix completely turned himself to face the ledge, readying his body to jump. “Yes, I remember, but she’s down there calling me. She down there beckoning me to help her. I’ll be back up; don’t worry.”

    “Please Zix, don’t!” Tears were streaming down as his pleas seemed to fall shorter and shorter. There was nothing left for him to convince him to stop. All he could do was watch and try pleading over and over for him to stop until his longtime friend eventually did jump.

    Out of nowhere, a tiny whisper sounded from behind the him. “Daddy?” Risking a quick glance behind him, he saw that a young Cyndaquil was at the edge of the Pelipper Post Office, wide eyed at the scene in front of her. She glanced over at Leafblade, her eyes beckoning for understanding before turning back to her father. “Daddy, why are you on there and not in bed? It’s sleepy time.”

    “Mommy’s down there. She needs help.” Again, that same calmness resonated from him, yet this time, Leafblade could almost feel the resolve beginning to crumble. His eyes dilating ever so slightly. Or maybe his voice had a small quiver. Leafblade couldn’t tell what he overlooked, but he just felt Zix returning to reality.

    “I thought you said Mommy wasn’t coming home. That she was with Arceus, sharing her life’s story with the All Maker.”

    This finally seemed to do the job as Zix finally took a few steps back, shimmering drops of water flowing down his fur. “You’re right Laav. I’m sorry. Go back home; I’ll be right behind you.”

    “I’m too tired to go back home. Can you carry me?” Laav whimpered back before she yawned and fell asleep right there in front of them. Zix looked over at her with a smile, not just out of joy but also in thanks it seemed.

    “This is the last time. I can’t keep this up. It’s been ten months, and I can’t seem to get her out of my head.” Zix said, walking over to his daughter and picking her up gently as to not wake her again. “Whatever divine miracle woke her up and caused her to come here, I’ll never know, but I won’t let it go to waste. You’ve both been here for me, and I’ve done nothing but continue to wallow in misery over Tercanis’s death.”

    “I’m glad to hear that; though, I’m sure you’ll understand that I can’t except those words until you’ve proven that you’re completely over this. Also, don’t get her out of your head. Just remember her for what she was and not what you still want.” He wanted to believe it now, but he had said these words before. And each time, he receded back into despair.

    “I know, and I’ll try. Well, I’ll take her back home; you get back to whatever you were doing. Wake me once the sun rises, so you can get your sleep. Take it for whatever it is, but after how close this one was, I don’t want to take that last step.

    Leafblade nodded, words no longer coming to mind. He had a feeling that Zix was finally speaking truthfully. This would be the last of his hallucinogenic episodes. He left, holding Laav over his shoulder. Tonight was the night that Leafblade was supposed to track down a rogue rescuer that had stolen money from the bank, but after this incident, he didn’t want to do much of anything.

    Instead, he sat down by the ledge, gazing over the Veraros River and Sinister Woods beyond it. The moon was high overhead, its half-filled orb casting a pale light over the expanse. The one perk that he found in his transformation was that he felt most alive during the night, when the world looked much more serene.

    His worry leaked away as a gentle calm took its place. He felt a comforting paw touch his right shoulder. Reflexively, he placed a scaled hand over it, only to feel his own scales. Startled, he swung his head around only to find no one around. He swore he felt a paw, but there was not a soul around. Shrugging, he returned his attention back to the wooden expanse.

    Yet something else had inserted itself to the scene. Hovering in front of him was the faint outline of another Typhlosion. He almost thought that he could see her smiling before a breeze dissipated whatever illusion was before him. However, before its presence was erased, he swore he heard a faint whisper.

    “Thank you.”


    ~-----~

    He had worked himself out of his problem. After what happened after he had left that night, Leafblade felt that it was Tercanis who had awoken Laav and guided her to that place. He had taken years arguing with himself over whether it was simply fate, and that he was just so stressed that he saw an illusion or whether it was truly her spirit. However, he was glad to see Zix come back and now finding love again. He had worked himself out of his problem at last.

    Now if he could find the solution to his own problem. He didn’t know whether Zix was suspecting it or not, but even Leafblade wasn’t sure if it was worth bringing up. How does one help someone out with a case of self-doubt? And as if on cue, something blue caught his attention off to the right. Sitting down next to him was Empyr yet again likely come to say that everything was ready. However that wasn’t what he said first.

    “You know, fate is rather funny, isn’t it? For instance, I came down to say that we can get the ceremony underway only to find that you’re staring away right where I first met Cielliene. There’s a touch of destiny with anyone who seems to randomly place themselves there.”

    Odd how Zix could say that he was good at figuring others out, yet Empyr baffled him. One instant, he can be at your throat, another where he’ll offer advice like a wise Noctowl, and then another where he will try to be funny.

    “Well, I can only hope that my ‘touch of destiny’ is far behind me. I’ve seen enough of the world change in my life; I don’t need to be at the forefront of another world event,” finishing with a sigh. He’d be lying right now if that was true. With Zix being gone, he’d want to keep his mind occupied as much as possible. What am I thinking? Zix is still here.

    “What?” Empyr asked, seeing him shake his head at the absurd thought he just had.

    “Zix is retiring. Here in fact. To be with Cielliene for the rest of his days. I just caught myself thinking that he was already gone when I still have at least a few weeks. Guess I’m just brooding too much.”

    “I know. I don’t like it. Could you convince him to not pursue his passionate desire to be with Ciellene?”

    A fury built within him, and it took every ounce of control to show it and pummel Empyr for even suggesting it. However, Empyr didn’t realize that this was beyond his understanding, so he answered simply, “No, I will not. And don’t bother trying to convince me or him otherwise. It won’t work.”

    Not another word was spoken while both of them just admired the bubbly sunset. After a time, Leafblade looked over Empyr’s crown to see that a Bibarel was ushering them to get up. “Guess we’ve kept them waiting long enough. Let’s go.”

    “I’ll be right behind you,” Empyr said, not showing any intention of getting up anytime soon. Deciding it best to just leave him be, Leafblade started heading over to the newcomer. He looked back once to see that Empyr was staring intently at the bubbles still billowing out over the water, the setting sun cascading hues of reds and oranges across the sky and the water. Wonder what troubles he has a hard time getting over.

    The Bibarel lead him back up into town while trying to converse with Leafblade, but he didn’t want to socialize now. Empyr waddled up a few minutes later, huffing a bit. The Pokemon closest to them parted out of the way while the two teams moved their way to the stage.

    As the Spinda had mentioned, it was rather grand. Two totems stood on both ends of the ebony stage. On the leftmost one, the face of a Sceptile and a Typhlosion were etched onto the topmost part with their team and individual names beneath them. On the far right, Team Pokepals’ totem was set up the same wayl. Taking up the entire back edge were eight more ebony-wooden columns, each carved with a footprint of each winner of the tournament. If this was as traditional as the tournament was made out to believe, then those totems should actually be the original.

    Cielliene, escorted by Empyr, walked their way up to their totem while Leafblade and Zix stood by theirs. At first, nothing happened. No speech by anyone, no celebration; everything was just an awkward silence. Finally, Vick arrived on stage. He seemed rather dazed, as if he had not had any sleep. His tail hung a bit limp, and he was unable to walk right without fumbling ever so slightly. The thing was that no one seemed to notice this, as if he was either covering his problem really well, or others were not paying much attention to him. He made it to the center of the stage however, and with that he began his speech.

    “This ceremony marks the conclusion of the Island Team Tournament. As a long standing tradition, the team that lost ignites their own totem, showing that they recognize their loss. However, in changing tradition, I’d ask that a member of each of these prestigious teams to offer their thoughts before the burning ceremony. By right of them winning, I’d ask either Cielliene or Empyr to come up front first if either of you have something to say.”

    Leafblade, along with everyone else turned their attention from Vick to the head members of Poképals. Whatever conversation had quietly transpired, Empyr had shrugged and escorted his partner up to the front. Just out of the corner of his eye, Zix started fidgeting as the air around grew hotter; however he brought it back down before he set something on fire. He didn’t know what had transpired between the two to cause this much hostility, but Leafblade wished they would grow up over it.

    “Thank you, Vick. It would be an honor to speak. I know there’s been a concern over my condition, that my eyesight is forever gone. Even my small tenure of being back here for the past few hours, I’ve already heard the rumors, and I’d like to stamp them out here and now. While it is true that I was burned out of my vision, it was not Zix that caused it. He and I have had a lengthy discussion about it, and while I can’t confirm how it happened, I know that he did not cause it. I’ve also been told by the medics before we left that mountaintop, that I’ll eventually get my sight back. That is all I have to say as everyone around here will be seeing one more famous rescuer taking residence here. Thank you.”

    Zix cocked his head to the side. He whispered something, but it was just quiet enough for Leafblade to not hear it. He watched as Empyr guided the Torterra back to their totem, noticing Empyr scowling over something, likely what Cielliene had said about Zix’s permanent stay here. Vick had thanked Cielliene for her small speech and turned the final comments over to either Zix or Leafblade. His partner gave him a nod to take stage, so Leafblade acquiesced to Zix’s decision. Approaching the front of the stage, just recently manned by the Torterra, he looked out across the gazing crowd. Many looked up at him with excitement, awaiting to hear what his words of wisdom contained.

    He even recognized familiar faces among the gathering-- Alakazam and his team being one of the prominent members of Rescue Town to still be at the ceremony. It always baffled him that they never told anyone their true names, preferring to remain humble and only be called their species name. Likely, it had something to do with Alakazam deciding to never use a nickname and his Charizard and Tyranitar teammates had followed in suite.

    Others Pokemon from the various settlements throughout the world had stayed as well; however, the bulk of the Pokemon were Treasure Town’s own exploration teams and residents, as many of them looked slightly familiar from Leafblade’s last visit here only a few years ago.

    He had an idea of what he wanted to say, but to place them into what he wanted was becoming increasingly harder. He wanted to say something along the lines of Cielliene’s-- about his scar and what he had experienced while Empyr and Zix had fought one on one. However, a sudden thought clicked in, and his previous speech made way for the new one. He knew what he wanted to say and how.

    Taking a deep breath he began, “Time has a way of ending all things, and it seems to have stopped at my door, knocking not for me. . .”
    Last edited by Agent Tectonic; 31st October 2013 at 9:16 PM.
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  8. #8
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    Alright, next one is done. Thanks to everyone who helped look over this. Now, onward!

    Chapter 4: Tossing the Sky

    I have never called myself a hero. Neither have I ever known whether that word should be considered an insult or an inspiration. Those “gifted” that title are always said to have achieved great things and accomplished the impossible. But I feel those who are bestowed that title know better. Heroes are not any of these. They are not the best, nor are they the strongest, the quickest, or the smartest. No. Heroes are those that simply survived the longest. They are born from the ashes of the dead that vowed to protect others. They are the phoenixes of the brave. And like the phoenix, they are snuffed out once the task is completed. They are leaders.

    I have never called myself a hero. But I have been gifted this burden nonetheless. And with this title, I have aimed to keep my flame alive and defy that fate. Heroes should not go out like a candle. They should go out like they were born: in a fury of glorious fire. And shine forever in the minds of the ones they swore to protect.

    I am a leader. Nothing more.

    ~~Leafblade


    The sun blanketed the dimming horizon over Rescue Town. Teams deposited the awards from missions completed that day. Day-time shopkeepers stored their wares back inside their tents, counting off the profits made throughout the day. The Night District bustled with activity. Farmers had long ago retired from their fields. However, one shop on the outskirts of the Farm District remained open.

    Inside, a small explosion flickered through the windows, creating a resonating rumble before falling silent the next second later. Not bright or loud enough to scare anyone, but for the Pokemon responsible for it, she could not have been happier. On a smoldered, steel table, her latest experiment rested: a round, orange orb, surrounded by a large heap of blue glass fragments. The elation quickly dissipated as an alarming bloom of blue smoke wafted off the object, dispersing over a blackened mirror over the work area.

    *Damn it.* “Not again,” A strong desire to hurl her creation against the wall weighed heavily in her mind, yet right as the thought formed, it was scrapped as she knew she couldn’t blame this failed experiment on the result. Something in the procedure failed. . . again. Turning to a computer she had acquired a few weeks ago, she moved the mouse over to a red box on the corner of the screen before continuing with her procedure.

    “Experiment Number 48. Time is Sunset. Splitting the luminous orb across its diameter, I applied the blast seed powder within the one of the hemispheres as perfected twenty procedures ago. See Experiment Number 29 for reference. Trying to mitigate the expected after-effect of spontaneous combustion, application of a rainy orb’s essence, perfected in Number 47, was conducted in effort to compensate for the volatile reaction.”

    Here, she paused, taking up the orb in her left paw. Now calm, she got up and placed it on her other work bench. She readjusted the mirrors surrounding her and the volume on her recording. “Result: partial success. Noticeable delay in the undesired explosion; however, smoke still leaked from test identification Meowth, Paras, Zubat. Result did show color reconfiguration from ocean blue to that of the orange fruit. Might consider pranking someone just to see the effects. Possibility of arrest must be considered first. Distractions aside, further hypotheses need to be investigated. Further experiments halted until new hypotheses are formulated. Considering current investigation as complete failure.

    “Conclusion. Possible use may still occur: creating a smoke bomb or signal highly probable. Placing 48 within Project Cover. Currently back at a dead end for project Flash. Laav signing off.”

    She clicked on the glowing red box this time and ceased her recordings. Shaking her head, she rocked onto her hind legs, using her forelegs to remove the goggles over her eyes before throwing them onto the first workbench. So close this time. It actually showed some progress. Combining the two orbs first and then the blast seed at least delayed the explosion,but how to effectively remove the spontaneous combustion. . .?

    “Probably best if I just sleep this off,” she said to herself. Running her paw through her midnight blue fur, Laav thought of thousands of various ways to improve on the design. Many were absolutely useless, but any idea was a good idea.

    She went over to her stack of notes, hoping to find any clues over where to continue. As she turned, she saw a figure standing in the door, shadowed by the lack of light. However, the solid yellow eyes and the form of a humanoid lizard gave away the stranger.



    ~-----~

    He knew where to find the Quilava. Zix’s daughter habitually sacrificed sleep in her efforts to complete her projects. Despite this, Laav had successfully managed her business of custom orbs along with her experimentations. Leafblade had seen most of her creations- even used many of them because of their utility. She was a genius.

    Before him was her abode, an embellished shop with ornate carvings of bottles and other alchemical designs across the mahogany wood. She always loved her “style points.” Walking up to the door, he saw her hunkered over notes, likely in relevance to one of her latest designs. He could barely hear her talking, but to whom, he wasn’t sure. He was also greeted with a foul odor, which he vocally expressed.

    “Smells like sulfur, Laav. Trying to drive out all of the neighbors?”

    “Hey Schwara. Nice to see you’re back. Just you?” She greeted him back in her normal way of not looking up from her work and still calling him “master” in the ancient language. He hated that greeting which was probably why she continued to use it.

    “I actually just got back. Came to see you first since I figured you would still be here.”

    “Well, here I am.” She still didn’t look up from her work, prompting a flurry of dust to rise from the floor as Leafblade slammed his tail into the ground. The foundation shook slightly with the added power of an iron tail, just for emphasis. She finally glanced away from her work, a look of irritation plastered over her. “Alright! Alright, sorry. I’ve been frustrated over this. Sorry.”

    “When are you not?” Leafblade countered, matching her smile. “Now, that I have your attention, do you mind going for a walk and actually take a break from your work?”

    “Yeah. Give me a few to clean up. Just wait here or outside. Whatever your preference,” Laav said before walking back to another room. While she was away, Leafblade made his way over to where she had been working, paying careful attention to the glass lying all over the floor. He wondered just how Laav managed to work without hurting herself.

    On desk far in the corner, there was an instrument he had not seen before. It was in four pieces: a large rectangular box connected with wires to another box, yet this one displayed some kind of picture on it. He wasn’t sure what they were for. It was probably best to not indulge in his curiosity, but it left an odd sense of familiarity, as if he should have some kind of recollection of it.

    “You like it?” Laav asked, seeing his attention affixed on the machine. “Had to take a trip to the mainland to pick that up. Really helpful, too. It has a lot of uses, but I intend to use it only to record my tests.” Turning around, Laav was back at the doorway, wearing a different pair of goggles than the ones thrown over her bench in the right corner. These ones, however, were two circular eye holes rather than one large mask. With the expertise only she could have known, she walked her way over to him without a problem, despite how much glass was around her.

    “How does it work? And do you mind removing some of this glass? You seem manage just fine, but it makes me a bit edgy.”

    “Ah, you’re no fun. And yeah, I’ll show you. A moment. . .” She closed her eyes and a whirlwind of stars appeared out of the air, each one striking a shard of glass just enough to launch it towards the back corner of the room where it piled neatly into a nice stack. With the smaller shards she effectively toasted them with her breath. “I’ll clean the goo up later. Now, my demonstration.”

    Shrugging, Leafblade just turned around, worried that some other spectacular use of her precision would arise. *This is called computer by human language. Like I said earlier, purpose of this is to record my findings without using paper. This red box up here is record button, allowing me to talk openly. When I hit it again, it stops recording. I then save it to wherever I choose and that is it.*

    “Your speech is getting better I see. Still a bit rustic in some areas, but it’s better.”

    “Really of all that, you decide to comment on my speech impediment for the human language. Thanks.”

    “No problem. But for this *computer* here, how does it get power?” As much as he tried to reason that out, Leafblade couldn’t find any way of how it got the energy to run. It likely ran off electricity, recalling through his limited memory of what humans used.

    “Actually, that was a noticeable flaw in the design. When I first bought it, I was warned by the human that I would need some sort of *outlet* he called it for it to work. When I questioned further on it, I realized that I needed more equipment which I neither had the funds nor the willingness to get, me being under investigation for my human involvement. Instead, I had to invite Rotary here after I hypothesized a possible solution to power it. With the Magneton’s help, I now have it powered without any sort of need for further human equipment. He does need to come and repower it every now and then, but he doesn’t seem to mind.”

    “You’re still under investigation for that. I’ll bring that up with the PRO.”

    The Quilava laughed at that. “Please, the Rescue Organization doesn’t care about me, regardless of my affiliation with my father. Ever since mother dying and my career path, his and my reputation have plummeted. Only difference is that he was able to redeem his. If it wasn’t for him, this town would have a history of three citizens outlawed at some point or another. Amazing how the world continues to change, yet they refuse to adapt to it. Mark my words, in a few years time, our city won’t exist anymore.”

    She had a point there. Some of the laws that have been recently passed over the years were upsetting the fragile relations Pokemon had with humans these days. “Now when are you going to tell me why you really came tonight?”

    “Let’s go on that walk then.”

    ~-----~

    Looking out over the ramparts of his library, Resh took in the setting of the sun. Each night, he would always look out, watching it set. It had been a ritual of his for the last sixteen thousand years of his tenure. He saw meaning behind it; it reminded him that everyday rose and fell the same way. Events came and went. For better or for worse. That his tenure started and ended.

    The world was, at its roots, predictable. Every event started with similar problems. And ended in some predictable fashion or another. He had watched stories unravel before him with plots that were easy to guess and outcomes that he could foresee years or months before they ended. For five million, eight hundred and forty-four thousand days, he had watched and written every adventure, archived in his library before him. And every night, he was reminded of one anomaly.

    His power was waning. He felt it starting close to several decades ago. He wasn’t sure when exactly, but it was right around the War. When humans and Pokemon first took up arms against one another. For years, he had tried in vain to locate the source of this problem, but regretfully, he was forced to add it to the other two anomalies of the world. Resh knew that humans were the cause of it, and in fact he had developed a theory behind it. In fact, he had a feeling that these anomalies were intertwined. His waning power, the mystery behind his boss, Arc, and finally, Leafblade.

    Even before Gina had taken interest in her recent realization of who the Sceptile was, he had long ago taken interest in the mortal. Right after Quaza had informed the Council of Dragons about Leafblade, only Resh and Arc had taken any serious investigation into it. In fact it was because of Arc’s interest that Resh began watching the Sceptile.

    Disengaging from the sanguine sky, the dragon returned to his studies. He had spent the last few months pooling over one story: Leafblade’s story. It was one he had personally written instead of one of his servants. Yet for each of the three hundred times he had read it, something wasn’t right. Whenever he tried to recall everything that happened in it, a sense of forgetfulness hovered over Leafblade’s battle against Quaza. The battle itself was readily remembered, but something was missing before it. A detail, a conversation, a revelation, something.

    Which brings back to the developing situation between Gina and the mortal. Signs of her involvement were numerous, even when the observant mortal could not see. If he were to act, it needed to be soon.

    He took in his surroundings, knowing that this was likely the last time he would ever live in this library again. The crimson tapestries, sparkling with everlasting vigor, hung before the entrance of his study. His blazing insignia, an open book pierced by the sword shining with silver, reflected rays off the setting sun. Rows of shelves ran the length of his room, larger than the fabled Library of Alexandria but still paled in comparison to the rest of his library. Many of his favorite stories rested in this room, his study. Ones he had spent countless hours reflecting on the writing, many of which were his.

    Picking up the tome that contained Leafblade’s biography with his wing, he returned to the window he had been staring out. The last rays illuminated the scattered clouds in royal purples and fiery reds. Beyond, he knew that Arc sat within her palace, watching her subjects with unwavering sight. He was risking much for this, but Resh felt that his answers lay at the heart of this conflict that Gina had instigated. Leafblade was something far beyond what others knew. Resh was nearly certain of one thing though.

    The final rays of light disappeared into the starry heavens, and the window was devoid of any dragon that was once there. In those final moments of light, Resh winked out of his study. This was a dangerous game he was involving himself in, but he needed his answers. After all, if his theory was right, the world wasn’t ready for what would come with it. He would need to investigate this closer, but he was sure that all theories pointed to one probable outcome.

    Leafblade is not mortal.

    ~-----~

    The night air was refreshing to embrace after having to adapt to light for the tournament. Even if it was only a few days ago, it felt like seasons had passed since he last seen the night sky from Rescue Town. Maybe he was just trying to suppress his emotions for Zix being gone. Laav had been quiet for the short duration of their walk, thankfully allowing him to get his thoughts together. They had wandered into the Night District, where the both of them silently agreed to steer clear of one particular shopkeeper.

    “Beautiful night, isn’t it? I can understand why you prefer it over the day,” Laav eventually said. She had stopped to look up out over the stars. “A shame that I can’t revel in that joy like you can.”

    “It is beautiful. However, unlike you with your inner fire, I have to brave the cold at times. But, I didn’t drag you away from your work or sleep to exchange in pleasantries, though I wish we did this more often. As you know, this is about your dad. Right before the closing ceremony, he mentioned that he wanted to stay behind and retire. Apparently, Cielliene and him fell in love during the time we were there, much to Empyr’s and my disbelief. However, I didn’t question him over it. After all, with all he has been through, it felt right to finally find a way for him to be blissfully happy.”

    “I’m glad to hear that as well. You know, we never really did talk about that night ever again. I wasn’t sure if you guys just figured I’d forget about it or if I was just too naive at the time to understand. I still get nightmares over that. Probably why I refuse to get much sleep these days. Might even explain why I hate going out in general.”

    They had just passed into the Market District. Something was off though. He couldn’t quite place it, but the air itself seemed. . . disturbed. He felt his tail twitch, an instinctual habit that signaled danger.

    Beside him, Laav also had tensed up, likely feeling the same thing. But nothing was visually out of place. Maybe that was the point. “Laav, I need you to detect whether there is anything unseen here. Are you able to do that?” Leafblade whispered to her, hoping that she had some knowledge of foresight.

    “Yeah, I should be able to do that. It’s been awhile though, so I might not get much. Slip around behind the storehouse. Wouldn’t do to have us grouped too closely.”

    Nodding, he retreated towards his right, paying heed to whatever his ears could attune to. Meanwhile, Laav opted to move towards the left, keeping as close to the bank. Whatever was around, it hadn’t appeared to show any signs of striking out or revealing itself in any other way. Once Leafblade was aligned with the road heading towards Tectonic’s home base, Laav stepped away from Shade Bank, eyes slightly glowing red. However, they quickly dimmed. From what Leafblade saw in the dim moonlight, she shook her head once while pointing around. Yet, she slowed her circling signal slightly, only for a small span of a moment, in the up direction and behind him.

    Knowing the signal, Leafblade crouched down before springing up and swinging his glowing left arm-blade in an arc around him. To his initial delight, he was met with firm resistance. Yet once the air parted, and the illusion faded away, iron clenched his lungs with fear. A chill racked his tail, and he was slightly shocked he wasn’t breathing ice. Behind him, a gasp pierced the air right before quiet pleas of forgiveness from Laav reached his ears.

    Before him, he saw his blade had hit six blood-red cones, each connected to a shadowy, abyssal appendage that trailed high above the ground. They met and arced behind deathly gray scales embroidered with gold torcs. As the tendrils moved away from his outspread arm, a cruel pair of unearthly, glowing red eyes gazed out at him behind a golden mask. A wicked smile greeted Leafblade right before it spoke, its voice boiling his blood within his shivering hide.

    “Greetings, Leafblade. Out for a stroll with your beloved Laav.”

    The dragon hovered merely a few feet above him, her gaze locked with his petrified body. Its serpentine body blocked out the waxing moon above. Thoughts formed and shriveled within Leafblade’s mind; however, one word eeked out of his mouth: “Giratina. . .”

    “Ah, I seemed to have left some motor control in you after all. Useless really, seeing as you won’t be living through the rest of the night, but no matter. By the way-”

    Leafblade watched the dragon’s gaze avert to somewhere behind him.

    “Laav, is it? Could you please run along now? I may wish death, but I’d rather not spoil your sanity over watching your beloved Schwara die in front of you. Now, for you, my insignificant reptile. I suppose I should get around to killing you now.”

    The initial paralysis of the god’s presence was beginning to wear off: his heartbeat, once felt like a throbbing in his throat, was dying down. He lowered his outstretched arm that he had left hanging limply even after the dragon moved its infernal tendrils. While the dragon remained distracted, he willed his energy back into his body, directing the current into his legs. The renewing strength pulsed within his muscles, begging them to move, but he remained steadfast.

    Yet he didn’t expect the dragon to disappear and reappear next to him, slamming into him with the force of a speeding Tyranitar. Leafblade faintly heard a scream before he crashed into a nearby building. He felt his entire body vibrate with pain, yet he tried to get his feet back under him. His right side felt sticky. Looking over, he saw a large gash right under his arm and another down his his thigh.

    A swirling sensation passed over his vision, and he could no longer see Laav anywhere. Giratina-- at least, he thought it was Giratina-- walked in a casual manner over to him. Having the ability to transform, she now looked exactly like him, scar and all, besides the fact that she was gray-scaled and had shadow wrist-blades instead. Trying to fight the daze he found himself under, along with the searing pain on his right side, he readied himself for another of the god’s attack.

    She vanished again, but Leafblade anticipated where she would strike next. He hopped forward while sweeping his left blades up and around, driving them where he expected the dragon to strike. Predictably, she blinked back on his left side, but his blade caught her in the head before she could finish her strike. Seizing the initiative, Leafblade jumped into the air, curled into a ball, and slammed down onto the dragon, iron-coated tail first. With sickening satisfaction, he felt the scales beneath him crack under the force of his slam, but he quickly rolled off in the event she managed to fade out from under him.

    He got back up and observed that his assumption had proven true. Instead of attempting to attack him again, she warped back into her dragon form high above him. Her mask had a large crack over her burning eyes. “Maggot, you only delay the inevitable result that is your death. Now, stand still.”

    A halo of energy exploded out of her, circling her body shortly after. Each of the seven orbs she created pulsed with vibrant light, ill befitting the current state of events. Leafblade found it almost mesmerizing. In a vain attempt at self-preservation, he crossed his arms together, focusing a protective shield to absorb the onslaught of the coming aura spheres. He wasn’t sure how long his protect would last, but if anything, Leafblade at least wanted it to last long enough for him to live.

    Despite the distance between himself and the god, he could see a smile curling behind her gold visage as she released her hold on the shining orbs. The first few slammed against his shield, and the barrier withstod the seismic impacts. Yet, the fifth orb shattered the barrier, permeating the air with the sound of shattering glass while the final two rocketed into his chest. He had a strong sense that most of his ribs had cracked or shattered under the blows as he was launched into the air. Whatever the attack didn’t break, the impact of the ground fifty feet back likely did the job.

    However, Leafblade had the bliss of never knowing that. All he remembered was the slight pressure of being hit, the sound of someone screaming in the background, and the air getting much hotter around him. After that, painless darkness.

    ~-----~

    ”Where am I?” He held out a claw in front of him, trying to feel for a nearby wall, yet to his immediate horror, he didn’t have any hands. In fact, upon further realization, he no longer had a body. “Did I die?”

    “A logical assumption but an incorrect testament. No body, yes, but completely alive.”

    The voice sounded. . . familiar, in a way, but Leafblade couldn’t place it. He wished he could see, but how could he hear without a body?

    “That’s because your perception to sight and sound hasn’t quite filtered correctly. If you adjusted enough, you’ll notice that everything is through thought alone, which requires no senses to operate.”

    So, just thought.

    “Precisely.”

    Why do I feel I should know you? For some reason, I get the feeling I’ve met you before, yet that lies somewhere in the forgotten part of another life long ago.

    “Your answers will come to you, especially in light of recent events.”

    He felt a surge pass through him. “Oh, seems like your friends are trying to save you.”

    What about Giratina? Aren’t they in danger?

    “Don’t worry. a new friend helped out. He may have motives of his own, but you are soon to meet an ally. Trust him, and you’ll both understand. Now, return to the earth, old one.”

    But. . . wait!


    He felt himself return to the conscious world, only to be immediately greeted with a surge of pain from his chest and wrist along with a piercing ring in his ears. He lacked any motivation to move or speak out of fear of kindling even more of the pain. Instead, he’d just lie there and contemplate over why a god wanted him dead anyway? As far as he knew, he hadn’t made any effort to anger them, let alone the Voidmaker herself. At least, he thought he hadn’t.

    A spike in sound drew his attention and realization that a conversation was going on between three Pokemon it seemed, two of which he recognized.

    “This looks bad. And you’re sure he’s alive? Anyone else would have surely died from her.” The voice was definitely coming from Laav. She seemed rather calm despite what she had went through, yet there was a notable strain in her voice, as if she had cried for hours.

    “Keep calm, my love. I’m sure Leafy here will be just fine. If not, I’ll drag him back from the Abyss whether he likes it or not. He is one of my most valued customers after all. Now let’s get him to the nursery. The healers are showing up now.”

    “That would be best. Might I have a word with you both while they get him ready for transport?” This was likely whoever the ‘mon Leafblade was supposed to trust as the voice didn’t sound familiar. A moment later though, other voices permeated the air while Laav, Paragon, and the stranger moved too far away for him to hear. He felt himself raise off the ground through some telekinetic means, but that feeling was short lived. He felt a warm hand press itself against his head, instilling sleep back into him. A feeling he happily succombed to.

    ~-----~

    Blinding light filtered beneath his closed eyes, awakening him to reality once more. The musty smell of straw was all around him along with the gagging odor of blood. Leafblade tried positioning his arms to allow him to sit up from his bed, but they gave out shortly after, causing a spasm to wrack his entire body. A Parasect waddled next to him.

    “Jungle creature, we advise that you not move much. Your wounds are barely held together as they are. However, since you are awake now, I’ll go inform your friends. Don’t injure yourself.”

    Leafblade watched as the healer scampered away, waiting for it to be out of sight. When he felt no one was going to disturb him again, he tried to sit up again. Once again, he anchored his hands to hoist himself to lean against the wooden wall behind him. Pain and weakness screamed against the strain. Tears rolled down his face from the effort, but finally, he felt his body leave the ground.

    Just as he got his back to the wall, his strength gave out again, but he was able to better survey his surroundings now. He was not the only other being in the room. Off to his right, there was a Zigzagoon sleeping, one of its hind legs bandaged. Looking over himself, he saw that he was nearly mummified with wrapping. His entire torso was wrapped along with his wrists to halfway up his arms.

    Patting himself down, he noticed that his torso felt crisp, realizing that Giratina’s aura spheres had actually burnt away parts of his scales. As curious as he was to actually see just how bad, he didn’t want to sicken himself either. Again though, he had a gut feeling that something was horribly off; however, he couldn’t figure out why.

    He did notice though that the bandages on his wrist felt rather tight and itchy. Flexing them, he felt his blades move slightly, but not much. Grasping his left wrist, he tried massaging it to see if that would help alleviate the itch, but it didn’t. In fact, he felt his breath catch in his throat as his stomach rolled. He suddenly felt light-headed. He switched to his right wrist, feeling for the same tension. Sure enough, he felt the same thing. He felt his insides churn, and his very stomach threatened to expunge any contents within it. Once again, tears formed and plunged down his scaly neck, collecting at his bandages.

    He heard voices coming from the entrance. Soon enough, the Parasect along with Laav, Paragon, and someone else he didn’t know round the corner and into the recovery room. The newcomer, a pale Ninetales with sky blue eyes, didn’t immediately look at him but instead was observing the room withl consideration. Laav nearly rushed over to hug him, but she stopped abruptly as she saw him holding his right wrist. Paragon, for once in his life, didn’t say a word while the Parasect walked past them to check on the Zigzagoon.

    Leafblade opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out, his body reacting against him upon his recent revelation. He shook his head again, trying to stir his mind to work and tried again, this time finding the courage to speak.

    “Where are they?” Laav looked down, apparently not sure how to answer. The Banette saw her reaction and looked over to the Ninetales for support, apparently hoping for it to answer for them. “Where. Are. They?” Anger bubbled within him, not for his friends, but for the god who mutilated him so. He wanted to scream, but depression swept in and paralyzed his voice. Even as logical thought attempted to explain that there was nothing he could do, every impulse wanted him to get up and track down Giratina and repay her in kind. With a final cry of anguish, Leafblade repeated his question, “Where are they! What happened to my wrist blades?”

    The Quilava began crying herself, Paragon making every attempt to comfort her as best as he could. As Leafblade Looked over at the Ninetales for answers, the fox finally took the hint. At first, it looked as if even he did not know how to explain, but after a shake of its head, he seemed to finally manage the words, “Giratina disintegrated them. I can explain what happened, but I suggest you rest for a while longer.

    Leafblade felt the bile rise into his throat, prompting a series of convulsions that nearly through Laav into hysterics, “Healer, can you calm him down! Please!”

    He couldn’t see the Parasect walking back over, but he smelled a rather delicious aroma of honey reach his nose before his stomach stopped seizing. Sleep trailed not far behind. One final thought penetrated the cloud of drowsiness that began encasing his body. Why couldn’t I just die?
    credits for pic and banner: Avenger Angel and Brutaka


    I have claimed Sceptile

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  9. #9
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    I felt kind of bad, since it looks like you've been working on this for a long time and haven't received much in the way of feedback, so I thought I would review. I don't know that my comments are necessarily going to be all that welcome, but perhaps they're better than nothing.

    First things first--is this a sequel to another fanfic? You don't say anything like that in the first post, so I assumed it wasn't when I started reading. It definitely reads that way, though, and overall I feel like this 'fic lives too much in the past. Whether or not this is an actual sequel, the first chapters spend altogether too much time talking about interesting things that happened in the past, rather than focusing on having interesting things happen now.

    The first couple of chapters in particular were very info dump-y. You delay your plot considerably to get all your background information across; although there are implications that something's going to happen soon, foreshadowing and whatnot, none of it really comes to fruition until chapter four. I'd rather learn about the characters' backstories naturally over the course of the story, rather them sit around and talk about it to start off with. Once again, they've obviously done a lot of cool things in the past--I'd like to see them doing more things right now!

    For that matter, the questions you start off answering here aren't even the ones I'm interested in. You give a lot of information about particular characters and their backstories, but at that point I don't know them and don't particularly care. On the other hand, I am curious about your setting--it seems like some kind of mashup of the PMD world and the pokémon world as we commonly know about it. I want to know what the relationship between humans and pokémon here is, how previously-human pokémon fit into it all, and so on--but these are exactly the kinds of questions you've shelved for later. It also seems real weird for Leafblade to just spout all this off to Cynthia, especially if, as the spinda claims, he's told almost no one else about it. It feels contrived... and if you're struggling to come up with a way to have your character deliver a load of information like that, it probably means it's not relevant at the moment, anyway!

    There's also a lot of character revelation that seem out of place at the beginning of a story. If this is a sequel, then at least it's presumed that the average reader knows these characters and is already invested in what happens to them. But front-loading things like Zix's infatuation with Cielline still isn't a great idea, even if they're characters that the readers are familiar with. It feels like something that's trying to wrap up a plot thread introduced earlier, when what you want is some foreward momentum, some new draw to pull the characters forward again. If it's such a big deal for Zix (we really get nothing of Cielline's perspective on the matter), too, then it seems like a rather hasty wrap-up for what should be a major turning point for his character. For someone who doesn't know them, it seems to come entirely out of nowhere. "Well, that escalated quickly," was my reaction. Again, I'm not really invested in these characters yet, although you've dumped a load of information about them on me; I don't have a real sense of what this relationship means to them or impacts them as people.

    Outside larger structure and character concerns, the writing is generally solid. You do a decent action scene, which is a relief considering that you have one chapter that's essentially a large battle, but your syntax gets rather mangled at times. This can make reading narration tough going, but it's especially bad in dialogue--it doesn't sound like how normal people would talk at all. In that vein, I appreciate that you were trying to make the legendaries sound especially sophisticated in the prologue, but I think you went overboard with that: the legendaries don't sound sophisticated, they sound like people trying to sound sophisticated--half the time they aren't even using their ridiculous vocabulary correctly, and it's dreadfully difficult to follow what they're saying.

    There are also loads of small errors and typos in this--it would seriously benefit from another go-over before posting, or perhaps a beta reader if you're doing your best with the editing as it is.

    One other thing--Cielline seems awfully calm about being blinded. Like, seriously. And everybody else is terribly casual about it, too. And then it doesn't actually appear to affect her life in any substantial way--why did you have it happen if it isn't even going to matter?

    But after all that unremitting negativity, let's have some positives. I mentioned that I find your setting interesting--you've sown, rather intentionally or otherwise, some really interesting questions about how humans and pokémon relate to one another in this setting, how the legendaries play into things, and where humans-turned-pokémon fit into it all. The way it's looking now, you intend to address at least couple, and I think you'll be able to build a real fun plot out of that. As previously stated, you do pretty well with action scenes, which is again good, since I think you're looking at having a lot of them come up over the course of the story. Again, I would encourage you to focus on having more things happen, rather than letting characters sit around and reflect about stuff; not only is it much more engaging to read about in general, but I think it plays more to your strengths as a writer as well. You are also clearly not averse to having bad things happen to your characters, which is always good to see, although the bad stuff does have to have some sort of meaning in a way that Cielline's blindness so far has not.

    Anyway, I think you have the makings of a nice story here, and it's only just getting going. A slow beginning isn't a huge deal if you follow on with a gripping plot, after all. Since you're only just getting rolling on that, there's not much to comment on, but I think now that you've got most of the backstory squared away things should roll along more smoothly. You've obviously put a lot of effort into this story, since you say this is a rewrite and you've been posting away at it for over a year now--but a little more proofreading would really go a long way to make it look more polished and reflect the care that you've been putting into the story. Best of luck with it.

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  10. #10
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    Thanks for the review Negrek. Been waiting a long while for something like this since I know something is off with my writing, but I couldn't find out what. So, let me go into everything you mentioned:

    First things first--is this a sequel to another fanfic? You don't say anything like that in the first post, so I assumed it wasn't when I started reading. It definitely reads that way, though, and overall I feel like this 'fic lives too much in the past. Whether or not this is an actual sequel, the first chapters spend altogether too much time talking about interesting things that happened*in the past, rather than focusing on having interesting things happen*now.
    Well. . . . no, it's the first story. I guess I fell into a rather bad way of “this is what happened between the games and what I made up but don't want to write a full story about.” So, yeah, I did go a bit overboard with world-building rather than building it as I go from chapter to chapter. I'll definitely reconsider a lot that when back in revision.

    The first couple of chapters in particular were very info dump-y. You delay your plot considerably to get all your background information across; although there are implications that something's going to happen*soon, foreshadowing and whatnot, none of it really comes to fruition until chapter four. I'd rather learn about the characters' backstories naturally over the course of the story, rather them sit around and talk about it to start off with. Once again, they've obviously done a lot of cool things in the past--I'd like to see them doing more things right now!
    Novice writer can't world build yet I guess. Joking aside, true to all of that. Overall, it does look as if I did draw some things out way too long and dumped stuff that could have waited until later. Gonna have to go under a lot of consider to what to correctly write and how, but that'll be a fun challenge.

    For that matter, the questions you start off answering here aren't even the ones I'm interested in. You give a lot of information about particular characters and their backstories, but at that point I don't know them and don't particularly care. On the other hand, I*am*curious about your setting--it seems like some kind of mashup of the PMD world and the pokémon world as we commonly know about it. I want to know what the relationship between humans and pokémon here is, how previously-human pokémon fit into it all, and so on--but these are exactly the kinds of questions you've shelved for later. It also seems real weird for Leafblade to just spout all this off to Cynthia, especially if, as the spinda claims, he's told almost no one else about it. It feels contrived... and if you're struggling to come up with a way to have your character deliver a load of information like that, it probably means it's not relevant at the moment, anyway!
    Another trap I must have fallen into where the characters that come around later got much more attention than they should have. I delved into them because I thought I should get them set up for later, but in retrospect, that was an incorrect assumption. Regarding the setting, that was exactly the case: something to be brought up later (in fact, it's what my NaNo story is actually about); however, I need to heavily reconsider just how much I want to divulge in this story when it doesn't focus that much on it. It will later, but it's not a huge point. I'll go back and rejudge on that though.

    Leafblade's backstory though, is rather important, but it appears I've taken the wrong approach to make it important. I'm noticing upon reflection that a lot of what I want clear isn't which is likely because the plot didn't start shaping in my mind until much later after posting this. And I may have worded it wrongly, but the intent was to mean that he doesn't often talk about his past, but he has done so before. But you're correct on that last comment. That could have waited! Poor planning on my end.

    There's also a lot of character revelation that seem out of place at the beginning of a story. If this*is a sequel, then at least it's presumed that the average reader knows these characters and is already invested in what happens to them. But front-loading things like Zix's infatuation with Cielline still isn't a great idea, even if they're characters that the readers are familiar with. It feels like something that's trying to wrap up a plot thread introduced earlier, when what you want is some foreward momentum, some new draw to pull the characters forward again. If it's such a big deal for Zix (we really get nothing of Cielline's perspective on the matter), too, then it seems like a rather hasty wrap-up for what should be a major turning point for his character. For someone who doesn't know them, it seems to come entirely out of nowhere. "Well, that escalated quickly," was my reaction. Again, I'm not really invested in these characters yet, although you've dumped a load of information about them on me; I don't have a real sense of what this relationship means to them or impacts them as people.

    Zix's infatuation. . . . more poor planning and correctly noted as lack of anything substantial in retrospect. Honestly, I intended this to be a way to write from the perspective when either partner is out of the picture and how the other would react. To which, I seemed to have royally screwed up and need to go back and either add much more detail with focus on realism and not dump it so quickly. Or try a different approach altogether.


    There are also loads of small errors and typos in this--it would seriously benefit from another go-over before posting, or perhaps a beta reader if you're doing your best with the editing as it is.
    Little excuse here since I can't reason or try to excuse my reasoning. That's just flat out my bad. I hate revising, even while I'm doing it which is likely the problem. I need a better outlook on it. Attitude is key which I quite have there.

    One other thing--Cielline seems awfully calm about being blinded. Like, seriously. And everybody else is terribly casual about it, too. And then it doesn't actually appear to affect her life in any substantial way--why did you have it happen if it isn't even going to matter?
    Believe it or not, that's actually her personality, a trait that I really should have justified further. However, you are correct that others around her should have been a bit more concerned. For the reason behind it, that is something that I should have justified further while still concealing the true intent. As you (hopefully if I did it right) noticed that the “healer” who was around for her small scene in chapter two was MIA by the time Zix's POV came in. Likely have to touch that up a bit as well.

    But after all that unremitting negativity, let's have some positives. I mentioned that I find your setting interesting--you've sown, rather intentionally or otherwise, some really interesting questions about how humans and pokémon relate to one another in this setting, how the legendaries play into things, and where humans-turned-pokémon fit into it all. The way it's looking now, you intend to address at least couple, and I think you'll be able to build a real fun plot out of that. As previously stated, you do pretty well with action scenes, which is again good, since I think you're looking at having a lot of them come up over the course of the story. Again, I would encourage you to focus on having more things happen, rather than letting characters sit around and reflect about stuff; not only is it much more engaging to read about in general, but I think it plays more to your strengths as a writer as well. You are also clearly not averse to having bad things happen to your characters, which is always good to see, although the bad stuff does have to have some sort of meaning in a way that Cielline's blindness so far has not.
    Eh, I'll take pages of “unremitting negativity” so long as it points in the right direction. But I'm glad to know that there's good qualities too. It's a slight shame that the positives you've mentioned are what I sorta already new. I've been told in the two writing courses I've taken that I have a knack for setting, and I've known action comes to be rather well (despite me always second-guessing if I have enough detail). The relations between humans and Pokemon is a big issue within this story, one that rapidly changes when I get further into this. As I mentioned earlier, it's just a point that I hadn't really wanted to get into yet as it's importance in this story is minimal. But, it seems that it actually should get some more love. . . or hate, I guess, for what I plan to do with it.

    Now, the ever-lasting problem of character vs plot development. Yes, you are correct in saying that this was meant to be a much more plot driven story, but I also wanted to grow my limited capabilities in character development as well. Something you have hinted at that I seem to not quite grasp yet. Guess I tried a bit too hard in these chapters, and I'll reconsider on that in revision. And my affinity to have horrible things happen to my characters is one thing I take pride in, creepily enough. There is a connection and reason between Leaf's and Cielliene's injuries with Leaf's being developed in due time while Cielliene's should have some extra reinforcement before, now, and after.

    Thanks for taking your time in helping me out. It's nice to get a different perspective on what I've been working outside of our Writers of Justice group. I can credit Jax and diamondpearl for similar reviews, but I can say this was the first where major in my writing were described. Something I wish I got more, honestly. Even though this has gone on for a year now, it's been an off-and-on development rather than me just working furiously away at these for the three to four months of silence. Recently, this. . .urge to right more has been more prominent, only larger now that I have a larger basis to reflect over. Again, thanks, and I'll be sure to take your advice to heart and practice.
    credits for pic and banner: Avenger Angel and Brutaka


    I have claimed Sceptile

    Destiny's Forge: click sig.
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    Also read Essense of Law.

  11. #11
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    Right, managed to lose this reply like twice. Thanks a ton, auto-save.

    Well. . . . no, it's the first story. I guess I fell into a rather bad way of “this is what happened between the games and what I made up but don't want to write a full story about.” So, yeah, I did go a bit overboard with world-building rather than building it as I go from chapter to chapter.
    Ah, okay. I noticed the similarities to the actual game plotlines, but there was enough extra material that I thought you might have done a previous story that expanded upon them. It's obvious that these characters have had a lot of exciting things happen to them in the past, and you have a fairly good idea of how that all played out; that in mind, then, I'm kind of wondering why you chose to start the story where you did. I in no way mean to suggest that you should have chosen somewhere else to open--I'm just curious what drew you to this part of the story in particular as where you wanted to start your narration.

    Honestly, I intended this to be a way to write from the perspective when either partner is out of the picture and how the other would react.
    Hmm, not sure what you mean by this. Just that you wanted to split the team up and needed a reason for Zix to be sidelined for a while?

    Believe it or not, that's actually her personality, a trait that I really should have justified further.
    Yeah, I would have been surprised if it was just her, but some people are like that. As you say, it's more everybody else also being pretty 0kay with it that struck me as odd.

    As you (hopefully if I did it right) noticed that the “healer” who was around for her small scene in chapter two was MIA by the time Zix's POV came in. Likely have to touch that up a bit as well.
    Nnnope. But that's fine; you shouldn't expect everybody to get little foreshadowing details like that. They'll be there for a second reading, when someone can say, "Ah-ha! That's what that meant," or, "So that's what I missed!" You're also somewhat constrained by using third person limited here--if it's something so obvious that the reader notices it, then you have the question of why the character didn't also notice or ascribe meaning to it.

    Like, definitely work on making it more prominent if you think it's important--I'm just saying it may not be, really.

    The relations between humans and Pokemon is a big issue within this story, one that rapidly changes when I get further into this. As I mentioned earlier, it's just a point that I hadn't really wanted to get into yet as it's importance in this story is minimal.
    Heh, wait, I'm confused. In the first sentence you say it's a big issue, but in the second you say it has minimal importance...?

    Yes, you are correct in saying that this was meant to be a much more plot driven story, but I also wanted to grow my limited capabilities in character development as well. Something you have hinted at that I seem to not quite grasp yet. Guess I tried a bit too hard in these chapters, and I'll reconsider on that in revision.
    Well, there's no way to get better at it than to keep trying. What in particular were you worried about in terms of character development? That readers were going to miss something, so you had to give a bunch of character backstory all at once? That you were going to have really static characters, so you had to have them making big changes (e.g. Zix) right away? Or something else entirely?

    And my affinity to have horrible things happen to my characters is one thing I take pride in, creepily enough.
    As it should be!

    I'm glad you found the review helpful, anyway, and again, best of luck with your stories. I hope you keep getting that urge to write!

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  12. #12
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    Haha, I know that feeling well. This here is just a clarification to hopefully all of the confusion.

    *It's obvious that these characters have had a lot of exciting things happen to them in the past, and you have a fairly good idea of how that all played out; that in mind, then, I'm kind of wondering why you chose to start the story where you did. I in no way mean to suggest that you*should*have chosen somewhere else to open--I'm just curious what drew you to this part of the story in particular as where you wanted to start your narration.
    In honestly, just cuz. The meat of the story is more focused on why Leafblade appears to be at the center of god's vengeance more so than his past experiences in that enigmatic War I mention (which I admittedly having even pieced together in my own mind yet). I also wanted to write a PMD story where the formula stays relatively the same, but the characters are already famous and accomplished.

    Hmm, not sure what you mean by this. Just that you wanted to split the team up and needed a reason for Zix to be sidelined for a while?
    Yeah, I wanted a way to get Zix out of the picture indefinitely without outright killing, maiming, and all other evil things to him. I might just scrap that relationship idea in favor of something else.

    Heh, wait, I'm confused. In the first sentence you say it's a big issue, but in the second you say it has minimal importance...?
    Haha, whoops. From a world-building aspect, the relations between the species is important. With this particular story, it isn't. This is actually planned to be trilogy (so far) that follows the Legendary Pokemon part of it. The human/Pokemon problem will come and go as this progresses. In terms of the timeline and current plot though, the world problems are a back-seat thing. Hope I explained that better.

    Well, there's no way to get better at it than to keep trying. What in particular were you worried about in terms of character development? That readers were going to miss something, so you had to give a bunch of character backstory all at once? That you were going to have really static characters, so you had to have them making big changes (e.g. Zix) right away? Or something else entirely?
    Just writing character development in general. The techniques in doing in right. Balancing plot vs characters and stuff like that. My thought process was that since the initial characters weren't gonna be around soon as they would be out of the picture/ focused on less, I needed to give a massive amount story to them first.

    I'm glad you found the review helpful, anyway, and again, best of luck with your stories. I hope you keep getting that urge to write!
    Hope that cleaned up any further confusion. And the word “hope” undercuts that. I know I'll continue getting the urge to write. . . it's just capitalizing on it is the problem. :P

    Now, to go back and revise those problems. And to everyone else out there. Chapter 5 will be up later this month after the revising is done and more progress for my NaNo story is made. Cheers!
    Last edited by Agent Tectonic; 11th November 2013 at 3:35 AM.
    credits for pic and banner: Avenger Angel and Brutaka


    I have claimed Sceptile

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    Also read Essense of Law.

  13. #13
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    In honestly, just cuz. The meat of the story is more focused on why Leafblade appears to be at the center of god's vengeance more so than his past experiences in that enigmatic War I mention (which I admittedly having even pieced together in my own mind yet). I also wanted to write a PMD story where the formula stays relatively the same, but the characters are already famous and accomplished.
    That's cool. I was just wondering. It's definitely nice to see a PMD 'fic that doesn't start out right when the human's just been turned into a pokémon--and having more than one of them, too. I don't think I've actually seen that before, though admittedly I don't read a whole ton of PMD stories.

    Yeah, I wanted a way to get Zix out of the picture indefinitely without outright killing, maiming, and all other evil things to him. I might just scrap that relationship idea in favor of something else.
    Oh, okay. I was just a little confused because I thought Cielline was going to be a main character, so if they were together we'd still probably be seeing a bit of him.

    Hope I explained that better.
    Yeah, that totally makes sense now. Thanks!

    Just writing character development in general. The techniques in doing in right. Balancing plot vs characters and stuff like that. My thought process was that since the initial characters weren't gonna be around soon as they would be out of the picture/ focused on less, I needed to give a massive amount story to them first.
    Mmm. Well, I was going to try and recommend some writing article or exercises to try and help with whatever you mentioned here, but I... don't honestly think I know of any for that particular problem. :P Rule of thumb, though, I guess, I would generally say that characters that aren't going to be around much or aren't really the main focus probably want the least amount of story given to them. It's something you'll just get better at the more you work with it, anyway, so... go forth, I guess.

    I know I'll continue getting the urge to write. . . it's just capitalizing on it is the problem. :P
    Awesome! Good luck!

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  14. #14
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    Negrek said almost everything that came to mind while I was reading this, and I'm glad they said it instead of me as I'm terrible at explaining things.

    That slightly aside, I look forward to where this story is going, though I feel that the first three chapters were almost unnecessary as the relevant bits in there could have been things that would be revealed later anyway.
    Chapter 4 is where things got really interesting and felt like I could get invested in the characters, and I want to know what happens after that point, it makes the slog through the first 3 chapters worth it.

    Now for one observation, is that Zigzagoon the un-evolved Linoone and snake slayer I think it is? Or is it just a normal Zigzagoon?


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

    Time, there's never enough of it but it's always there to waste.
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  15. #15
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    Haha, Azurus, as of yet, he was just a normal one. That little devil will either appear later or be in his own story entirely.

    However, all things considered, it is my intention to have the beginning chapters show more relevance as I did realize that the most recent one could easily be my starting point. There are plot points relevant in earlier chapters, but my writing doesn't convey that well. Rest assured, that's a main goal in doing upon my finished revisions.
    credits for pic and banner: Avenger Angel and Brutaka


    I have claimed Sceptile

    Destiny's Forge: click sig.
    ARD: UNDER REVISIONAL HIATUS UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE!

    Also read Essense of Law.

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