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Thread: Ellipsis:REBUILD

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    Default Ellipsis:REBUILD

    The continent’s strongest Pokémon master does not take the Champion’s chair. Instead, he stands at the highest point on the highest mountain, as a god watching over mortals. What is the reason for his absence, for his silence?

    Some of you may recognize the title. Yes, it is indeed a REBUILD of a one-shot I released several months back – hence the name. I’ve expanded upon it and decided to turn it into a short, three-chapter novella, since an ellipsis usually consists of three dots. If I had to put it down to a rating, it’d probably be PG. There’s an occurrence or two of mild language and, thematically, it’s a bit dark, but certainly nothing your average sixth-grader wouldn’t be able to handle.

    DISCLAIMER 1: I don’t own Pokémon. All of these characters are the property of Game Freak, Satoshi Tajiri, Creatures, Inc., or whoever it is. But not me.

    DISCLAIMER 2: This one-shot is based loosely on the game verse with the one difference being that both player characters from FR/LG existed instead of one overwriting the other into the ether. It is not a novelization of the games by any stretch, just one author’s interpretation on what might have or could have happened.

    This is not remotely based on any of my work with the Pokémon Revolution series (although I encourage you to read them if you get the chance and like what you see here). It is completely separate and independent – something I did because I wanted to branch out a little.

    Also, for those of you that haven’t read any of the Pokémon Revolution series (which consists of two completed fics and a third one currently on hiatus) and like this story but are understandably a little bit intimidated by the prospect of catching up on that much material, I encourage you – as well as any current or former readers of PR – to be on the lookout for The Age of Harmony, my new journey fic that is set to release on September 1.

    Now, without further ado, I give you:

    . . . . .
    Ellipsis:REBUILD
    . . . . .


    Dot I: ENDURE

    “Johnny, I don’t think we should be here…”

    “Relax. Nobody’s used this old track in years. Grandpa told me so. He’d know, too. He’s been around forever.


    A woman sitting at the table of this small house gave a slight start, snapping out of her ennui-induced daze. She glanced at the television. Four children – two boys, two girls – were walking in single file along an old, rickety-looking train track. She let out a nostalgic sigh. This was the same film…the same one that had been playing on that spring morning…

    Suddenly aware of the sound, the woman stood. Dark-haired, unassuming, somewhat short, she was somewhere in her mid-thirties – not yet old enough to be considered middle-aged, but yet too close to middle age to be considered young anymore. Her face was plain but not ugly. In fact, if not for an extra line or two from the constant weight of worry, she might have even been called beautiful.

    She could have doctored the blemishes, dolled up her face with a small layer of makeup – if she cared enough, that is. Beauty, though, like many other things in life, was fleeting. Besides, she had already fallen in love, borne a son, and had made her life in a place where eligible bachelors were few and far between. She no longer had anyone to impress. Honestly, trying to delay the inevitable was a venture of fools.

    That was what she’d told herself over and over again in the days leading up to that one. She had known for years. Ever since he had laid eyes on his first stuffed Pokémon toy as a young child, ever since she saw those big, brown toddler eyes light up with delight and excitement, she had known.

    She had not seen the boy’s father in person in years. It hadn’t been a particularly long relationship; she was young, in love, and (at the risk of sounding redundant) honestly a bit of a fool. That was not to say that their love was not genuine. There was simply not much planning involved. Nonetheless, she found herself pregnant with his child – their child. He was not like other young men; she could at least credit him for that. When he left shortly after their hasty, thrown-together wedding, and their son’s birth, it was to find work good enough to support the family. He wrote to her fairly often, and it was through those letters and the pictures around the home that the boy got to meet his father.

    Could she honestly say that she still loved a man who she had not seen in a decade? Probably not...but there was no ill will, either. She knew he had not been lying. It had been mostly his money that allowed her and their son to live comfortably in a house in a small, quiet town. By the time he was able to support them, though, he felt like moving back would only complicate things. The boy was nearly school-age, and he and his mother had already put together a life in that town – a life where they had become accustomed to his absence. So they divorced, as remotely and as amicably as a couple possibly could do. He seemed confident that the boy would find him if the need ever arose. She agreed. After all, he may have been raised by his mother, but he was his father’s son, through and through. The boy loved Pokémon and dreamed of one day becoming a Trainer, just like his father had been. He often came to her recounting vivid dreams of battling and capturing the rare, legendary Pokémon of the world. She would laugh diplomatically, wondering all the while whether those dreams would one day become reality.

    Yes, she had known; for nearly his entire life, she had known that the day was coming – but as it drew ever closer, she found herself unprepared. She found herself wishing that time would slow down, or maybe even stop. The wild-wishing part of her soul wanted nothing more than that February the twenty-eighth would repeat ad infinitum…or at least as many times as it took her to finally prepare herself for that goodbye.

    But, alas, time marched on. February turned into March, the start of spring…the day the gyms of Kanto opened their doors after the winter hiatus, and the traditional day that first-time Trainers were sent off on their journeys. Even on that morning, as her ten-year-old baby boy roused her from bed (for so many years, it had been the other way around), her mind had been racing, thinking up any excuse or argument it could invent to convince him to stay just one more year…

    Just one more month…

    Just one more day.

    It was on that day that she learned something important about herself – and about mothers in general. The motherly instinct, born out of the noblest desire to guard and protect one’s children from harm, could easily warp itself into something self-serving. No good mother wants to see her children hurt, and when they are, she shares in that pain. The natural human reflex is to avoid pain.

    But as the old Professor placed that sphere in the boy’s hand, as he opened it to reveal his new, yellow-furred, mousy companion and the two stared at each other with eyes brighter than stars, she realized it. She was not avoiding his pain. She was avoiding her own.

    That was why she had to let him go.

    When did she know she had made the right decision? It may have been about a week or two after that. That was the day she got her first call from him. She had told him to call back every day that he could – probably knowing deep down that he wouldn’t. That day, though, he did:

    “Mom! Mom! Guess what happened?” His voice, a bit garbled over the phone, sounded excitable and youthful. “I’m in Pewter City! I battled Brock and I won! It was tough. Pikachu’s attacks didn’t affect his Pokémon. Lucky I caught another Pokémon, though! It was a Nidoran. You know, the one with the big horn? His Double Kick totally kicked Brock’s –”

    “Hey, hey. Watch your mouth. You don’t want me to have to come up there and bring you back home, do you?” It was an empty threat. First off, she knew he didn’t really mean any harm. His exuberance had just gotten the best of him. Actually, she couldn’t help but smile. His first badge. His first badge! Not that she expected anything less…but, still…his first badge! She was so proud that she could burst.

    He would call after every badge win. His second time around, he hadn’t been nearly as over the moon with excitement – perhaps because it hadn’t been much of a fight. By the time he had made that call, he’d come into possession of a Bulbasaur. She had to smile again; apparently he had fortune on his side as well. Professor Oak only gave out one Bulbasaur a year, if that, to a child for whom he had high hopes as a Trainer. Her son, as good as he was, hadn’t been that child. But still, one of those rare Pokémon had found its way to him.

    She could sense his voice hardening as he rattled off the next several gyms. His growing experience was audible. He no longer hoped to win; he expected it. So the call she received from Saffron was particularly jarring. The Gym Leader there had given him a lot of trouble. He was as angry as she’d ever heard him, muttering about something to do with teleporting. It didn’t make any sense to her, and he never called back to explain it. In fact, she didn’t hear much of anything from him until several months later.

    “Hey, mom.” He sounded older, which confused her. Even though he had turned eleven since they had last spoken, an eleven-year-old’s voice didn’t change that much, did it?

    “Where are you, sweetie?”

    “Viridian City. I just beat Giovanni for the Earth Badge,” he answered.

    “That’s nice – Giovanni?!” Her voice raised in horror as the name clicked in her brain. Surely it couldn’t have been…not that man? Not the international criminal? What in the name of whatever gods there be was her son – her baby boy – doing matching strength with a man like that?

    “I know…it’s complicated,” her son said heavily, now sounding much, much older. This caused her to worry at once. Exactly what had her boy seen? “I’ll explain it to you when I get there.”

    She felt her eyes mist over as the realization hit her. “You’re coming…home?”

    “Yeah, for a bit,” he replied. “I was headed to the Indigo Plateau to take on the Elite Four, but I thought I’d come back and visit…you know, sleep in my own bed for once. That’s…that’s okay, right?”

    She nearly lost it right there on the phone. He sounded so, so much older, but that last question…it was like he was a six-year-old kid again, asking Mommy for sweets.

    “O-of course, dear…” she said in a cracked whisper, wiping her eyes about once every other second. “You can always come home. I’ll have your bed made and waiting for you.”

    “Thanks. See you tomorrow,” he said.

    “Bye.”

    When he finally arrived the next morning, she was waiting at the grassy field right at the edge of town, and hugged him so hard she might have broken some of his ribs. They talked into the night – about the places he had seen, the Pokémon he had met and caught…and her worst fears were confirmed. He’d had run-ins – several of them, in fact – with Giovanni’s crew, a notorious crime syndicate known simply as “Team Rocket.” It was with a grimly casual tone of voice that he described these encounters, all of which had ended in his victory.

    Naturally, her first reaction was to attempt to scold him; after all, it was the job of the police to handle crime of this magnitude. In no way at all should that task have ever fallen to a child – let alone her child. But the way he told it, he had simply happened upon their activity the first time. In fact, it sounded like he was trying to say that, at least initially, the villainous group had simply been in his way.

    “But all of that’s over now,” he had said simply, ending his explanation.

    Still, she wished he would have told her. She felt like it was her right to know what was happening with her son – and the fact that she no longer knew everything was the part about his growing up that scared her the most.

    THUMP

    THUMP

    THUMP


    “Ms. Scarlett, are you there?” a female voice yelled.

    “Coming!” the dark-haired woman replied loudly. It hurt her to talk that loudly. She was always soft-spoken, ever since she could remember. But over the last year or two, she had found herself speaking less and less – mainly because there were fewer people left to talk to her.

    She approached the door, twisted the lock open, and then opened the door itself. Standing in her doorway – a doorway that was dripping with the rain water of a particularly heavy thundershower – was a tall young woman, about twenty-one or twenty-two, if the older woman remembered correctly. She was wearing a hooded, azure raincoat and seemed to be carrying a large bag. Immediately, Scarlett stepped aside and let her in.

    “Make yourself at home,” she said to the younger lady, who made for the home’s small but pristine kitchen, where she put her belongings on the counter near the sink. “How are you?”

    “Wet,” the young woman replied disapprovingly, removing her hood and showing off a head of long, light brown hair. “It’s been raining buckets out there all afternoon – and to make matters worse, the shopping center didn’t have what I was looking for, so I actually had to go all the way up to Viridian, stay there the night, and come back…”

    “That’s horrible,” Scarlett said empathetically. “You’re feeling okay, right? Not sick?”

    The young woman turned around and smiled. “No, Ms. Scarlett, I’m fine. How are you doing? Are you enjoying your birthday?”

    Scarlett’s heart and stomach did a strange dance within her. She turned thirty-five today. She had completely forgotten.

    “As much as I can with this weather, I guess,” she answered. “It seems like it’s been ages since I’ve seen you.”

    “Well, I’m just across the street,” the young woman answered with a smile, rummaging through her bag and pulling out two mugs that clanked against each other as she removed them. “You should come and visit sometime.”

    “Oh, no, I couldn’t impose.” Scarlett gave her younger counterpart a good-natured smile. “How’s your grandfather?”

    “I guess he’s alright – he’s been a bit down lately,” the young brunette answered, pulling out a larger box and bringing it to the table where Scarlett had been sitting minutes before. “He can’t travel as much as he used. Age is really starting to catch up with him.”

    “Hmm,” uttered Scarlett somberly. “And your brother?”

    “Busy as usual,” the young woman intoned. “It’s getting to be that time of year again, you know…he says he’ll come down at some point and visit, but he never has.”

    “I…know how that feels,” Scarlett said, the plastic smile she wore belying the morose tone in her voice.

    There was a pregnant pause in the conversation.

    “Has he called?” the young woman asked delicately. “Sent a gift? A letter?”

    Scarlett shook her head. “Nothing. For almost a year now, nothing…”

    A lump formed in her throat. He always used to give her a hand-made card for her birthday, ever since he learned the first thing about writing and drawing. They’d never be on display in an art museum, but that didn’t matter at all to her. They were from him.

    “I’m proud of everything he’s done,” Scarlett said. “But…I miss him so.”

    “Maybe he’ll come through that door one day,” said the young woman. “I used to think my brother would never grow out of his ‘brat’ phase. Now he’s one of the strongest Trainers in Kanto. So, you just have to keep on hoping, I guess…do you want some tea?”

    Scarlett smiled and tried to put her lonesomeness from her mind, at least for these few moments.

    “Yes, Daisy. I think I’d like that.”

    ~~~ *** ~~~ *** ~~~

    The plan is to release one of these chapters every week for the remainder of the month – preferably on Monday. So the next one should be up on the 20th of the month.

    So did you enjoy? Did you hate it? Is it too early to tell? Don’t hesitate to make your opinions known! And definitely don’t hesitate to tell me if my grammar or spelling’s sketchy somewhere. I’ll be back fairly soon to dialogue with you all about your responses. Happy reading!

    - EM1

    Dalton Gregg was a mostly-ordinary university student from the region once called Johto.
    Then a fateful encounter set him on a quest to change history.




  2. #2
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    Good so far. I don't think I've seen a Pokemon journey from the perspective of the trainer's mother before.

    Just one thing, is the last part with Daisy just after Red home again or is after he became Champion? It's a little ambiguous.

    Looking forward to the next part. Always curious as to how Red ended up on top of Mountain Silver.


    When a desperately outgunned criminal underworld make a plan to save themselves from the authorities, they awaken something that should have stayed asleep. It's up to three ordinary trainers to save Unova from this new threat.

    A fanfic coming to Serebii soon!

    Preview Quote: “Since Team Plasma broke up eight years ago, Unova has had nothing but peace and prosperity, which is good for the average man, but it means that the authorities have more time and attention to focus on us. Time is running out; in another year we could all be in prison. We need a weapon. A weapon powerful enough that mere policemen and even Gym Leaders can't stop us."

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    Quite interesting concept. Well-executed, and all of the characters seem to be excellently written so far.

    However, like DuSkullMan mentioned, the transition between Ms. Scarlett's memories of Ash's travels and Daisy's later visit could have been a little crisper. Also, I felt like she would have put up more verbal resistance after Red recounted his trials with Team Rocket. Still, they are your own character depictions, not mine

    In short, I like what you're doing here and I'm quite excited for the next installment.
    HeartGold -- 5071 6431 8933
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  4. #4
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    I MISSED FIRST POST?! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! :O

    Gearing up to slam it home now!

    Well, let's get the nasty little grammar issue out of the way first. Ironically, it has to do with an ellipsis.

    Probably not...but there was no ill will, either.
    A space follows an ellipsis. Every time.

    So this is an interesting start. Certainly branching it out a bit more fom the last one. You could clearly feel Red's Mom's "angst" in the chapter. Nicely played.

    Now to see how the second dot pans out. I'd write more, but running short on time.

    L@er!
    Last edited by Air Dragon; 14th August 2012 at 4:34 PM.
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    Default Review responses

    I'm glad to see that this story's attracted some new faces as well as some old ones.

    DuSkullMan:

    Good so far. I don't think I've seen a Pokemon journey from the perspective of the trainer's mother before.
    That's because the mom's always a flat character about whom you can only infer things. Actually, it was way worse in the first couple of games. The (H)G/(S)S mom, for example, is slightly different from the others in the sense that she's one of those moms that tries really hard to help but occasionally does a bit too much. (Like, for example, spending your hard-earned money to buy items for you that you had no intention of using.)

    I don't always try to give a flat character a personality, but when I do, I go for what would make the most sense given their background and situation. (Yes, that sounded like the tag line of a Dos Equis commercial, I know.) It's my experience with moms and mom figures that, even when they're completely supportive of what you're doing - or, like Red's mom, they just let you go because they know nothing's going to stop you - they still worry.

    The family background story I just came up with off the top of my head. No, it's not canon in any way, but I think it does the character more justice than the standard 'the dad just up and left' story.


    Just one thing, is the last part with Daisy just after Red home again or is after he became Champion? It's a little ambiguous.
    Really? I thought I put several context clues in there. Daisy mentions that Blue's away and very busy. And it can't have possibly been just after Red returned home, because Scarlett mentions she hasn't heard from her son in over a year. So, to answer your question overall (although I fear I may give something away with this) this story is about the FRLG characters, but it's set during the time of HGSS.


    Looking forward to the next part. Always curious as to how Red ended up on top of Mountain Silver.
    Yeah, me too...that curiosity turned into multiple theories, and one of those theories turned into this fanfic. :-)



    Verum:

    Quite interesting concept. Well-executed, and all of the characters seem to be excellently written so far.
    Thank you! :-)


    However, like DuSkullMan mentioned, the transition between Ms. Scarlett's memories of Ash's travels and Daisy's later visit could have been a little crisper. Also, I felt like she would have put up more verbal resistance after Red recounted his trials with Team Rocket. Still, they are your own character depictions, not mine...
    I completely agree with you on the first part. I'm ashamed to admit, that's probably one of the few times that I've ever mailed something in due to sheer frustration. For whatever reason, be it a slight case of writers' block or maybe being mentally tired, I could not find a segue to get from her reminiscing mode to Daisy walking in.

    As for your second point, keep in mind that my characterization of Scarlett is as being a soft-spoken woman that's not very argumentative or confrontational. Not to mention there wasn't much she could have done at that point. The conflict with Team Rocket was already over at that point - although you could see she sort of freaked out when Red name-dropped Giovanni. But what could she say in that situation? "Don't do it?" It was already done.


    Air Dragon:


    I MISSED FIRST POST?! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! :O
    Better late than never. You're still Old Reliable to me. ^_^


    Gearing up to slam it home now!
    ...Accidental innuendo much? Moving on...


    A space follows an ellipsis. Every time.
    Seriously? Consider me enlightened... whoa, wait, HOLD THE PHONE!

    ...

    ...

    Does anybody else think that it's slightly ironic that the first grammar screw-up anybody caught had to do with an ellipsis? Let's just bask in that irony for a few seconds.

    ...

    ...

    ...

    ...


    So this is an interesting start. Certainly branching it out a bit more fom the last one. You could clearly feel Red's Mom's "angst" in the chapter. Nicely played.
    I think when I wrote the first part having to do with Red's mom, there was no pathos to her character - just like in the games, she was just sorta "there". So when I decided to re-do the fic, I was left with two choices - either expand or cut her out altogether. But when I tried to do the latter, it felt like there was something missing - and when I came up with the theme of 'three' (three chapters, three main characters, three POVs), I naturally had to expand on her character a bit. I'm glad you liked it. :-)


    Thanks to everyone for reading and reviewing! Be looking for Dot II on Monday or somewhere thereabouts. :-)


    - EM1
    Last edited by EonMaster One; 21st August 2012 at 12:38 AM.

    Dalton Gregg was a mostly-ordinary university student from the region once called Johto.
    Then a fateful encounter set him on a quest to change history.




  6. #6
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    Default Dot II: ERUPTION

    Hello, ladies and gents!

    Well, today’s Monday, so as promised, I present to you:

    Dot II: ERUPTION

    “Our top story this evening: the threat of a possible eruption atop Hoenn’s Mt. Chimney has caused a stir in parts of the region this weekend. Authorities don’t believe that any lava flows will travel far enough down the volcano to endanger any homes, but they have still strongly advised residents in both Fallarbor Town and Lavaridge City to move away from the mountain until the threat subsides. Regional geologists estimate…”

    A teenage boy, drumming his fingers on a counter, looked over his shoulder at the television mounted into a corner of the room. His heart was doing all sorts of contortions in his chest. Why did they have to bring that up with him in here? It was almost as if the cosmic forces – or, at least, the cosmic forces of mass media – were mocking him. He’d been having enough of a bad day as it was. The last thing in the world he needed was for a chance news report to start dredging up old ghosts…

    DING-DING-DIN-DIN-DING. A musical tone rang from somewhere behind the counter where he was leaning. He looked up and saw a young, pink-haired woman dressed in a nurse’s outfit bringing a tray toward him. On this tray were no less than six spheres. Three of them were clearly red on top. Two of them were blue with red stripes, and one was black with yellow stripes. However, they all shared the same white bottom half.

    “Looks like your Pokémon are all good to go,” the young woman said to him, a somewhat matronly smile etched onto her rather pale face.

    “Chaaaan-seeeeeey!” A fat, pink creature with an egg in its pouch sang from somewhere behind her.

    “What happened?” the young woman asked, her smile changing to an expression of concern. “Rough battle?”

    “That’s pretty much the long and short of it,” the teenage boy sighed, running a hand through his tawny hair. He pulled up his black coat slightly and went about the business of attaching each of the balls on the tray to clips on the belt of his khaki-colored cargo pants. He turned his head and gazed distractedly through the transparent doors of the building, where he could see sheets of rain falling down onto the street outside. “Damn this weather…”

    “It wasn’t a young boy, was it?” she asked. “Black-haired, about eleven, maybe?”

    “Yeah,” the teenager said.

    “He looked familiar,” the young woman commented, looking upwards and cupping her chin in a pensive expression.

    “He’s the kid that beat Lance just recently,” the boy told her. The young nurse looked straight at him, her eyes widening.

    “That boy?” she stammered incredulously. “But, he…he was so young. I asked him where he was headed after this and he said that he heard a rumor about strong Pokémon at a place called Mt. Silver…”

    The tawny-haired teenager blinked blankly. “So, he’s going there. He might run into…him.

    He took another look at the television screen still going in the high corner where two walls met the ceiling.

    “I hope everyone gets out of there in time…” he said, a worry seizing his face that suddenly made him look several years older. “Well, I’m going now. Thanks a lot, Joy.”

    “I’m just doing my job,” she said. With a slight bow, she intoned, “We hope to see you again!”

    “Chan-seeey!” the Pokémon behind her echoed.

    “See ya later,” he replied with a polite smile. Hands in his pockets, he strode toward the door. Try as he might, though, he couldn’t rip his eyes away from the television.

    “As most of you know, there was a similar eruption at the volcano on Cinnabar Island almost two years ago now. Tragically, in that case, it came with little warning, wiping out the town and many of the inhabitants and tourists that were there at the time.”

    As if I needed reminding… the boy thought bitterly as the doors whirred open to allow him through. As soon as he stepped outside, he felt rain hitting his face. Cursing his luck again, he broke into a run. His umbrella had broken in the last storm and he hadn’t thought to buy a new one. The rain, however, was not the only reason he was running. There was a part of him that wanted to get as far away from that news report as possible, as quickly as possible. That part of him had been running for a long time – trying to outrun the memories, the demons…

    Yet, for some reason, he always ran back.

    He went to the site where it happened often…probably too often. Maybe there was a naďve dreamer somewhere within him, an idealist that thought he would return there one day to find that he had awoken, and everything that he had seen there was naught more than some horrific nightmare.

    That was exactly what it was – a nightmare.

    One from which nothing but perhaps death itself could deliver him.

    He was there, sometimes, even in his slumber.

    She was running then just like he was running now. The only difference was that her assailant was quite visible. Trails of liquid fire came down the hills as people went into a collective frenzy around her – some pushing and shoving others out of the way in their attempts to escape. People always spoke of heroism and sacrifice, but when the chips were down, the one thing that could be counted on was that most of them would default to human nature.

    Self-preservation. The avoidance of pain.

    And, really, who could blame them? She, running as fast as her somewhat thin legs would allow, certainly had no reason to want to look Death in the face – especially when He arrived, clothed in the form of oozing, burning red.

    Screams reached her ears from some indeterminate distance behind her. Tears filled her eyes as she realized what was happening. She dared not look over her shoulder to see the full measure of the carnage. In her sense of panic-driven high awareness, she had glimpsed the faces of some of those whom she was outpacing. Some were women and children. Not ‘children’ in the sense that she was still a ‘child,’ but children – some barely old enough to walk, and certainly not old enough or strong enough to outrun what had been gaining on them. Some had already seen their parents and caretakers swallowed by the advancing flood. Some had simply been caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. She could not bear it. Her heart was already breaking inside her as she could literally hear the death toll rising. To look back, to match faces with those awful screams…that would have been too much. So she kept running, knowing it was all she could do to keep herself alive.

    She was a fair swimmer. If she could only make it to the water, she would escape in one piece. This was a small island, and never had the water seemed so impossibly far away. The ground shook underneath her as an explosion went off in the distance. She lost her footing for a moment and fell to the dirt. Scrambling to her feet, she broke into a run again, her panic finally getting the better of her emotions as she let out a sob every other step.

    “Please,” she whispered tearfully to herself as she ran. She was begging for her life, for just a bit more time to leave fewer things unsaid, fewer things undone…but Mother Nature (what an ironic name for such a cruel being) had stopped her ears. Her fury had already been meted out, and there was no longer any stopping it.

    The girl’s heart nearly burst within her as she felt her left foot fail to find solid ground underneath her. There had been a hole in her path. She teetered forward to her face, but not before hearing her ankle let off a horrible CRACK. It was broken. It took her little more than a second for that fact to sink in, because a much more terrible realization followed it.

    She was not going to escape.

    She was going to die here.

    She now started to cry loudly. What did one care about dignity with only moments left to live? She tried to anticipate the feeling, tried – and failed – to simulate in her brain the pain of having her very flesh burned away from her. Her cries turned into screams. Her body was reacting on its own now, in the hopes that somehow, if she screamed loudly enough, a miracle would happen…

    Faces swam before her streaming eyes, each for a split second, like her mind was a tape on fast-forward…first the few family members she knew, then the several creatures that she had called companions…

    …Then, the smiling face of a brown-haired boy…

    It reached her leg first. It was a thousand times worse than anything her mind could have conjured for her. Her screams reached a fever pitch for a few moments, then she went into the deathly silence of shock, her pupils no wider around than the head of a needle in eyes twenty sizes too large…


    And that was always where he would jolt awake, his body dripping with the coldest and most awful of sweats. Had that been exactly how it happened? He had no way of knowing, but he did know how it ended.

    He had never even known her all that well. They shared a mutual acquaintance – one of his friends from early boyhood. They left as Trainers at the same time nearly four years prior. At that point, they were at odds. For some reason, he thought his neighbor from the small town wasn’t worthy of becoming a great Trainer. After all, his was the blood of one of the world’s foremost Pokémon researchers. The other boy, in comparison to him, was a commoner – and, to make matters worse, the other boy had a deadbeat father. At least he had an excuse. His parents were dead, so he and his sister had been left in the care of his famous grandfather.

    How little he knew back then.

    He lost his first battle to his rival. Ever since then, though, he had always been one step ahead – he reached all the gyms first, obtained their badges first… He was even the League Champion for a while before the other boy. He was so exhilarated when he won, the first thing he did was to call his grandfather and brag about how the Oak family was the strongest and smartest in all of Kanto.

    Then, as swift as victory came, defeat followed. His grandfather arrived from home just in time to see the final moments of his brief reign as League Champion. Then, to add insult to injury, he had the nerve to lecture Blue about how he had missed the entire point of his journey.

    Was it ill-timed? Was it about as sensitive as rubbing salt into an open wound?

    Yes, and yes.

    Was it exactly what Blue needed to hear?

    Yes.

    Blue’s plan had been to wait a while, then take the League Challenge a second time. There was a problem, however. Kanto was missing a Gym Leader – namely, Giovanni, who had been the leader of the Viridian City Gym. He had also happened to be the head of the continent’s largest and most dangerous crime syndicate. Blue was not ignorant of this. He went into his match at Viridian Gym with the full awareness that he was coming face to face with an international crime boss. Unlike some people he knew, though…he didn’t feel as if it was his job to play the hero, to bring the bad guy to justice. Someone would do it. Someone would have to do it. But it wouldn’t be him.

    He had no way of knowing back then that his fate and that of the Team Rocket leader would become so inextricably linked. He returned to his hometown with his grandfather, back to his sister. Then he received the call. After much deliberation, the powers that be had selected him to replace the missing Team Rocket boss at the Viridian Gym. It wasn’t the rank of Champion, no…but it was better than nothing. From a certain point of view it seemed logical, he supposed. For all intents and purposes, he was the second strongest Pokémon trainer in the Kanto region. So it was that a boy, barely twelve years old at the time, became the penultimate test for those who wished to face the Elite Four – the final barrier between aspiring Pokémon masters and the treacherous gauntlet known simply as ‘Victory Road.’ His counterpart, meanwhile, traveled the region at his own leisure, only returning to the Indigo Plateau every once in a while to defend his title or to battle the Elite Four purely for pleasure and enjoyment. After all, he had nothing more to prove.

    Blue pondered that lifestyle for a bit. It was strange, being so young yet having achieved so much. It became harder and harder to find the next mountain to climb, the next giant to slay. Even he became bored, taking hiatuses from his gym every so often to travel for enjoyment or to visit his family in the next town over.

    The two boys rekindled their old friendship, talking every so often. Sometimes they would meet for practice battles. Blue would always lose, of course, but it felt good knowing that he was one of the few that could offer the champion a challenge. And it was by that bettered relationship that he got to know…her…better.

    She was actually from Viridian, as he came to find out – a brunette girl about their age. She started about the same as them, too. Only she was a step behind…maybe two. For a long part of the journey, she was the last to reach the gyms. Then she finally caught up with them. He got the impression that she was lonely. No doubt she came off as something of a tomboy to most other girls, yet still too feminine to be seen in the company of a large group of boys her own age.

    Blue learned to expect her when the other boy was around. He wasn’t sure if she was a friend or a stalker with a crush when he first saw her. Back then, she was ammunition – just another reason to needle and tease his rival when he saw the two together.

    “I didn’t know a loser like you could get a girlfriend!”

    She would go as red as a Charmeleon’s backside, looking furious but perhaps blushing a bit, too. Blue always thought that she was kind of pretty when she made that face…not that he could ever say that to her or to anyone else. He never would have lived it down.

    He tended to dismiss her skills as a Trainer. Maybe it was because there was still some sexist part of him that thought that boys did it more naturally. Then, he heard that the champion in a far-off region was actually a young woman. That changed his tune a bit. Truth be told, the young girl was good – perhaps almost as good as he was. She reached Indigo Plateau not long after he left. But the Champion was too good – she lost handily.

    The next spring rolled around, and Blue had just recently been installed as Viridian’s Gym leader. She went straight to him and asked him what to do. He told her that she should try again – as many times as she thought she could. So she did, traveling to all of the region’s gyms, defeating them one by one, until she cycled back to Viridian to challenge him.

    She had already won a Volcano Badge from before, and there was no reason to think that Blaine, who was aging and slowing down to begin with, would be able to best her in a rematch. Hell, Blue knew that she could probably give him a very close battle, if not win outright. But when she arrived in Viridian with the intent of challenging him to a match, he insisted on her doing the thing properly – that is, going to Cinnabar Island and beating Blaine first before circling back to Viridian and challenging him.

    She never made it back to the mainland.

    Cinnabar Island had a tremor. This was no big deal. It occurred from time to time, and the islanders had learned to live with it. But that tremor awakened the sleeping giant. The volcano gave little warning to the islanders before spilling forth its molten contents, destroying buildings, decimating the population...

    Blue heard from her grieving parents a week later. Search and recovery teams had found the brimmed hat she always wore. He knew then, as her parents knew, that there was little to no hope of finding her alive.

    He visited her parents often. Their needs fit somewhat. After all, he had no parents, and for the last two years, they had been childless. But he’d never had the heart to tell them, just as he had never found the heart to tell him…it had been he that forced her to go to Cinnabar when she did. It had been he that most likely sent her to her untimely doom.

    Both boys changed after it happened. Instead of traveling everywhere, Blue spent long stretches of time standing on the shores of what was left of the island. The Pokémon Center there had been rebuilt; often, trainers and travelers came to pay their respects to the deceased. As for the town, however, even its ghost was gone; there were no immediate plans to revive it.

    His old neighbor, on the other hand…he disappeared after not too long. He and Blue fell out of contact; he fell out of contact with everyone, in fact. It was only then that Blue realized how hard the girl’s death had affected his boyhood friend. While Blue, in his younger days, had been a braggart and a loudmouth, that had never been the other boy’s style. He was always single-minded in his focus, but quiet in the way he went about carrying it out. He never talked unless there was something important to be said, and was not one to waste his words on pointless blustering.

    Still, he had started to come out of his shell a bit, Blue had noticed. He almost seemed social at one point…up until the day he had heard the news. Then he retreated – from Blue, from the public eye, from his childhood dream and current duties. He shrank high into the mountains, where the brutal cold would keep away all but those who were near equal to him. Blue had been up there a couple of times to try to talk him down from the ledge – both figuratively and literally. Every time, though, the words had failed him.

    What was he supposed to say?

    “There are other girls, you know…”

    That was true. A lot of people would have argued they were much too young to be thinking about that type of thing, anyway. But if that weren’t the case, there was some young lady out there that would be very happy to be on the arm of a League Champion.

    But that was the problem, wasn’t it? None of those girls were her – how much would they care for the person? How much of their attraction to him would have been only to his position? She hadn’t cared much about his rank. She was interested in the soul of him, and had found herself able to slip into the crevices of that soul like no one else could. Even Blue knew that.

    That was why, after a while, Blue didn’t bother anymore. He went back to his gym in Viridian, trying hard to move on with his life. Challengers came. He beat them. Every now and again, one beat him, and he gave out an Earth Badge, wishing them luck on the next leg of their journeys. Truth be told, it was a somewhat lonely existence…but that was all right. He had long passed the point of caring, of striving. He no longer wanted to be Champion. Some days he woke up and wasn’t entirely sure he wanted to be a Trainer anymore – let alone run a Gym. Romance had never truly crossed his mind, either. The simple fact of the matter was that he felt like anything life could give to him was too much more than what he deserved.

    In his mind, an innocent girl was dead because of him, and the life of a friend had been shot to pieces.

    That was why he had detached himself.

    He reached the Gym…went to open the door…

    CLICK.

    He stood there blankly for a moment, staring at the double doors and realized with a pang of the heart that he had locked himself out. It hadn’t been the first time…

    “Damn it all.”

    And, unless her ghost ceased to haunt him, it would not be the last.

    ~~~ *** ~~~ *** ~~~


    Okay, so in all honesty, I've been working on this most of this afternoon, and it's been raining really hard in my neck of the woods, which makes it about twenty times more depressing. Expect another chapter on the 27th. And that's probably going to be a hard date, too. I'm buying my preordered copy of Madden 13 on the 28th, so if I don't get the chapter by then, there's a chance of you guys not hearing from me for a while. :P Fortunately for you, the last part of this three-shot is the part I feel warrants the least editing, so there shouldn't be any reason that I won't get it done on time.

    Hope you enjoyed! See you next week!

    - EM1

    Dalton Gregg was a mostly-ordinary university student from the region once called Johto.
    Then a fateful encounter set him on a quest to change history.




  7. #7
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    Was the eruption at Mt Chimney a reference to the events of RSE? Because I'm sure that they took place at around the same time as RBG. If it's a device to get Blue to reminisce and unrelated to those events then ignore this part.

    “Please,” she whispered tearfully to herself as she ran. She was begging for her life, for just a bit more time to leave fewer things unsaid, fewer things undone…
    I might just be picky here, but I thought sobs were fairly loud. I'm not sure if you can sob and whisper at the same time, and I'm not willing to make myself cry just to test out the theory. Can't think of another word to replace it though. Maybe whimpered?

    By the way you forgot the spaces after the ellispes again :-) Just checked and the grammar check on word doesn't point those out, so you'll probably have to just find all the ellispes manually and add the spaces.

    Also, it may just be different interpretations of Red's character but he always seemed like a more stoic person than Blue to me. The type who could take a loss like that and keep going. There are people who've lost wifes/long term girlfriends that they've loved and been with for years that don't retreat into a mountain/their homes. Plus for someone so depressed, he's still willing to battle Ethan, a random stranger to him, without much convincing in the games.

    Finally, I think that the transitions between some scenes could be clearer or more defined. Maybe add another line divided by a few ------ or something, as it seems odd that you just start a new line every time, whether it's just to show a new person speaking or for a major scene change. I think the dream sequence definitely needs something more than a line.

    The rest of the writing was great though, and I like your interpretation of Blue. It explains why he looked down on Red in the early stages of the games. And it suddenly makes sense why he's on Cinnabar Island during Gold and Silver, although you'd think Daisy or Professor Oak might've realised that he'd been affected by Green's death and supported him a bit more.

    Looking forward to the final installment!
    Last edited by DuSkullMan; 21st August 2012 at 9:07 PM.


    When a desperately outgunned criminal underworld make a plan to save themselves from the authorities, they awaken something that should have stayed asleep. It's up to three ordinary trainers to save Unova from this new threat.

    A fanfic coming to Serebii soon!

    Preview Quote: “Since Team Plasma broke up eight years ago, Unova has had nothing but peace and prosperity, which is good for the average man, but it means that the authorities have more time and attention to focus on us. Time is running out; in another year we could all be in prison. We need a weapon. A weapon powerful enough that mere policemen and even Gym Leaders can't stop us."

  8. #8
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    So the story returns... on schedule, no less. You HAVE to be a shoe-in for "Most Dedicated Writer" this year...

    Getting my R&R on, buddy!

    Before we go on... no additional grammar mistakes, mate! Way to rock it! ^_^

    Now to hit on the interesting pointers:

    Dot II: ERUPTION
    Has to be Blue's most hated attack now. Second only to Earth Power and Earthquake.

    “We hope to see you again!”
    Your Pokemon Center: They WANT your Pokemon to be hurt.

    Now to the serious side of the chapter. This was as potent as ever, damn that volcano came at a bad time. How much higher to kingdom come did nature have to go and mess with these people? :O

    I would have wondered if you would expound more on Blue finding someone in the aftermath of the chaos. One could almost call it over sensitizing him to the point of making him a mini-Red. I'd be appalled if the events didn't shake him at ALL, but to completely wipe out the smart-aleck streak of Blue is harsh. Even polite on the surface would be where I'd draw the line.

    None the less, this was expertly crafted, and I am highly impressed/jealous. Good luck with the third dot!

    L@er!
    Last edited by Air Dragon; 21st August 2012 at 2:15 PM.
    The Corei Quest's latest chapter: Chapter Forty Seven: Tricks of the Trade (24 April 2014)
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    HEART OF SEVEN STONES IS ON INDEFINITE HIATUS (REAPED) UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
    Butt-ugly Banner by Me
    (Still waiting on the excellent Saffire Persian for another awesome TCQ banner!)

  9. #9
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    Well, lookee here, ladies and gentlemen - it's Monday. I'm also aware that this particular Monday, a lot of people are going back to school. Fortunately for you guys, I'm not one of those people, which means you all get review responses and a new chapter. :-)


    DuSkullMan:

    Was the eruption at Mt Chimney a reference to the events of RSE? Because I'm sure that they took place at around the same time as RBG. If it's a device to get Blue to reminisce and unrelated to those events then ignore this part.
    I actually forgot that the eruption at Mt. Chimney happened in game canon, honestly >.>

    Although I have Mt. Chimney and the Cinnabar Volcano as two separate types of volcanoes. Some volcanoes 'erupt' with a steady flow of lava, while others are much more explosive in their activity. The volcano at Cinnabar is of the second variety - ergo, whereas Mt. Chimney sort of gives a bit of notice, the Cinnabar Island volcano was set off by an earthquake and gave no warning, resulting in a Mt. Vesuvius-style disaster.

    And, yes, it was a device, more or less.


    I might just be picky here, but I thought sobs were fairly loud. I'm not sure if you can sob and whisper at the same time, and I'm not willing to make myself cry just to test out the theory. Can't think of another word to replace it though. Maybe whimpered?
    Actually, sobs are quieter than normal crying. Wails, on the other hand, not so much. But dictionary.com defines 'to sob' as 'to weep with a convulsive catching of the breath'. In fact, I'd argue it's almost impossible to do that loudly without tearing something in your throat. Like you said, though, I'm not willing to make myself cry to test it.



    By the way you forgot the spaces after the ellispes again :-) Just checked and the grammar check on word doesn't point those out, so you'll probably have to just find all the ellispes manually and add the spaces.
    ...Dammit. -.-


    Also, it may just be different interpretations of Red's character but he always seemed like a more stoic person than Blue to me. The type who could take a loss like that and keep going. There are people who've lost wifes/long term girlfriends that they've loved and been with for years that don't retreat into a mountain/their homes. Plus for someone so depressed, he's still willing to battle Ethan, a random stranger to him, without much convincing in the games.
    But that's just it, isn't it? The main protagonist of the games never has a personality, does (s)he? (S)He's just sort of the avatar of whoever happens to be playing the game at the time. It's almost like being inside of an MMO, except you're the only one there... or something like that.

    But it's interesting that you bring up Red as sort of a stoic, because that seems to be the way everyone else around him characterizes him, possibly with the exception of his mother. But Red's character in this story is somewhat hardened by his experiences during the journey, particularly with Team Rocket. Not to mention he accomplishes something in about a year that often takes five or ten years to do.

    He's gone from a virtual nobody in a tiny town at ten to being world-famous at eleven or twelve. He's always been an introvert anyway, and he doesn't handle the sudden fame well, nor should anyone really expect him to. On top of that, as essentially the strongest Trainer in Kanto, it gets harder and harder to find the sort of challenging battle that would really get his blood flowing, so to speak. He's already climbed that particular mountain and doesn't know what to do next. He's still a kid that's not just forgetting how to be a kid, he's slowly forgetting how to be human and how to enjoy life. The tragedy of this story isn't just because this girl's gone - it was the role she played in Red's life for that short period of time, which will be expanded upon in this upcoming chapter.


    Finally, I think that the transitions between some scenes could be clearer or more defined. Maybe add another line divided by a few ------ or something, as it seems odd that you just start a new line every time, whether it's just to show a new person speaking or for a major scene change. I think the dream sequence definitely needs something more than a line.

    The rest of the writing was great though, and I like your interpretation of Blue. It explains why he looked down on Red in the early stages of the games. And it suddenly makes sense why he's on Cinnabar Island during Gold and Silver, although you'd think Daisy or Professor Oak might've realised that he'd been affected by Green's death and supported him a bit more.
    Does Blue really seem like the type that would ask for that sort of help? It's not his personality. Even though he's been tempered by age and experience, he's still confident and very independent. He sort of feels a twofold sadness stemming from the event. First off, it's obviously a tragedy and a lot of people died, so he feels the weight of that, but it did such a tremendous amount of damage to his own personal life as well. An acquaintance of his that he somewhat liked is dead, and also his one good friend is broken beyond repair as a result. And the kicker is that he feels like he's the one responsible. If he hadn't sent her off to Cinnabar when he did, in his mind, she would still be alive. The weight of two lives (one ended and another seemingly ruined) rests on his shoulders and that's a horrible burden for anybody to carry, let alone a boy that just turned fourteen.



    Air Dragon:

    Has to be Blue's most hated attack now. Second only to Earth Power and Earthquake.
    Wow...harsh. D:


    Your Pokemon Center: They WANT your Pokemon to be hurt.
    I actually read a rather sad alternate interpretation of this - I think on TVtropes' Fridge Horror page. I think the person said that they wondered how many 10-year-olds had left those Pokemon Centers only to turn up missing or dead. And I've sort of wondered that, too, about the Pokemon world. There's always the chance of dying on the journey by a Pokemon attack or an accident or, hell, even a natural disaster like the one in this story.


    I would have wondered if you would expound more on Blue finding someone in the aftermath of the chaos. One could almost call it over sensitizing him to the point of making him a mini-Red. I'd be appalled if the events didn't shake him at ALL, but to completely wipe out the smart-aleck streak of Blue is harsh. Even polite on the surface would be where I'd draw the line.
    And normally, he'd have a little bit more bite to his humor, but being reminded of the whole incident has understandably put him in a bit of a subdued mood...

    As for Blue 'finding someone'... it doesn't have as much to do with the Cinnabar incident (although he is slightly afraid of ending up in mourning like Red if something bad happened to his would-be love interest) as it does with the fact that Blue's too damn busy for a girlfriend. Blue and Red have a similar weakness, and that's a failure in most cases to tend to their personal relationships. (Daisy mentions that Blue always says he'll come home for a visit but never gets around to it.)

    As for Red... well, you'll get the chance to get into his head next. :-)

    Dalton Gregg was a mostly-ordinary university student from the region once called Johto.
    Then a fateful encounter set him on a quest to change history.




  10. #10
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    Default Dot III: ENDEAVOR

    Dot III: ENDEAVOR

    His body gave an involuntary shiver as the snow fell in sheets around him. The frigid wind whistled around his body, chilling him to the bone and jarring him from his footing. He lurched just a bit before the gusts died down.

    He wished they would have blown harder, for his mind was drifting right along with his body. It was drifting, as it did almost daily, to the darkest day of his life so far…

    He still remembered that day – as much as everything inside of him wanted to forget, he remembered it as vividly as he saw the mountain view before him.

    ~~~ *** ~~~ *** ~~~

    He was resting from his travels, residing in the small but pristine apartment used for the Champion at Indigo Plateau. Now going on thirteen years old, he was more than able to come and go as he pleased. Whatever danger he did find was danger he had brought on himself. (For he often frequented Victory Road and other somewhat perilous locations in an effort to keep his skills sharp.) Usually, a young boy his age wandering the world on his own would find himself a target. It was just that, in his case, no one was enough of a fool to try anything. He did have a worldwide reputation, after all, as the strongest Pokémon Trainer in Kanto. But just in case reputation alone failed as a deterrent, he kept a full team of his six favorite Pokémon on hand at all times. Most of them had been with him since the early goings of his journey, and all of them had been battle-hardened and strengthened to near absurdity.

    He wasn’t enough of a fool to believe that his reign as the League Champion would last forever. After all, his predecessor – his rival – had been the strongest in Kanto for all of an hour. All it took was one battle, one person with the right team at the right time, to unseat him.

    Because of this, his mind often wandered to what he would do after that day came. As much as he knew he always had a home in Pallet Town (his mother would send him a letter every other week telling him as much), it was hard for him to imagine going back and making a home with his mother after so long of being on his own. He supposed there would be another mountain to conquer. Johto lay just to the west – perhaps he would start there. Then, across the sea, there was the distant region of Hoenn, replete with dozens of Pokémon and locations he had never seen before.

    He hungered somewhat for something new in his life, and it was with this thought that he lay awake atop his king-size bed at his Indigo Plateau living quarters.

    Something new…

    Something like… (he felt his face grow a bit hot as he thought of it) Sevii… with her.

    He gave a start. A loud ringing sound has jarred him out of his daydream. It took him a moment to realize that it was a telephone, shouting loudly on the dresser. He thought for one wild, fleeting instant that she was on the other line. But when he yanked the receiver up to his ear, it was another voice – a more businesslike and almost servile one – that greeted him.

    “Mr. Red?” the woman uttered. “Mr. Blue from Viridian City is here to see you. He says it’s quite urgent.”

    Wordlessly, he hung up the phone. He sat on his bed for a second before moving. What could Blue possibly want? Usually, if they battled for practice, they scheduled it a few days to a week in advance. Maybe Blue just wanted to see him. After all, for a Champion, Red did spend precious little time at the Plateau, which wasn’t lost on his Elite Four comrades. Then again, Blue wasn’t the type to be so dramatic and call a matter ‘urgent’ if he simply wanted to meet. He simply would have asked to meet.

    A horrible thought entered his brain.

    Blaine? he thought wildly. After all, there had been that eruption at Cinnabar several days back. Most of the island was now under volcanic rock. He’d had half a mind to go there himself if he hadn’t just clear on the other side of the region. On top of that, the Elite Four had advised against it. They had said to wait until they could be sure that the volcano had gone dormant again. But the Cinnabar Gym leader – the Fire-type specialist, Blaine – was among several dozen people that were not known to be either alive or dead. He had gone missing, and while people naturally feared the worst, they could not assume as much, because no one knew.

    Maybe that was it, he thought, his heart sinking a bit. Maybe they finally found Blaine – or something that was left of him. That would have been a terribly ironic way to die, Red felt. After all, for many years, Blaine had trained in a chamber of that same volcano.

    A bit reluctantly (as he was now convinced that whatever Blue had to say likely wasn’t good), he set out for the entrance to the Pokémon League complex.

    He stepped through the doors, down the aisle between the nurses and the merchants…

    The other brown-haired boy (Red immediately noticed how much taller he’d grown since the last time they had seen each other) was coming through the front doors of this huge Pokémon Center, making a beeline for him at a dead sprint. The look on Blue’s face instantly sent Red’s heart into a double-time cadence of panic. He had never seen the other boy look that distraught and distressed. Clearly, something had happened, and something horrible.

    Red’s brain flicked momentarily to Pallet Town. Surely, not… not the Professor…?

    “Red!!” the way Blue screamed his name pierced his consciousness even to this day. He was crying, and judging by his short hiccups of breath, he had been for some time.

    Red knew something was wrong. It had been years since he had seen Blue cry. Blue didn’t even cry when he lost the League title. He seemed more irritated at himself than anything, but he certainly did not cry.

    “It’s Leaf, man,” Blue sobbed, shuddering and groping at the other boy’s shoulders. Red’s eyes went wide. He shook his head. “She was at Cinnabar Island when it – oh, god…

    It was as if his entire body had gone numb. His first instinct should have been to cry, to scream, and he certainly wanted to do all of those things. But his voice, for the moment, was completely gone.

    Months upon months later, it was still numb. Numb enough not to care that, in an outfit much too light for these conditions, he was slowly suffering from frostbite.

    How important had she been to him?

    It was hard to explain.

    She had met his mother once. And his mother, just like most of the other people that knew him and saw her, made a comment about how sweet it was that he had found a girlfriend on his long journey.

    Of course, he rebuffed her – told his mother that they were just friends.

    That was a somewhat bent truth. She was not his girlfriend, as far as he was concerned. Yet to say that they were simply ‘friends’ would have been a denial of something he had been feeling for quite some time.

    Truth be told, when he first met her, she was one of many girls coming out of the Celadon City shopping center with far more items and bags than her slender arms could carry. Since his mother had taught him to be a gentleman, he went to help her pick up her bags when she inevitably dropped them. She caught a good sight of him, under the red and white cap he always wore, and her jaw went the way of the bags. She knew an uncomfortable amount about him; it was almost as if she had done research. She wanted to know him better, maybe become friends…

    But he didn’t have the time.

    Red was not like most children, who bounce from hobby to hobby in an attempt to keep themselves entertained. He had something of a one-track mind. She always told him that he was a lot like his father in that regard. The one track, of course, was Pokémon training. He had been on his way to the shopping center with a very specific purpose – to exit with as many tools that he could afford and carry that would help his Pokémon battle better. He knew that he needed medicines for his upcoming match with the Celadon leader, Erika. He had just received an Eevee as a gift and was trying to figure out what stone to buy in order to evolve it. He heard that one floor stocked new attacks to teach his Pokémon.

    Then, suddenly, she appeared.

    Her presence mildly annoyed him at the time because, simply put, Red was on a mission. Then, Blue popped up out of nowhere to battle him, and that just made things worse.

    She surfaced again in Fuchsia City. He had just left the Pokémon Center after spending a while there following his match against Koga. He was in a bad mood, to boot. Never had he been in a match where all the Pokémon he had on his team were either unconscious or quickly headed that way because of poison. That was exactly what had happened, though. Still, he thought going to the Safari Zone and catching a few Pokémon he hadn’t seen before would cheer him up. She insisted on following him through the Safari Zone. It had been one thing that she had said that caught his attention:

    “It’s kind of lonely sometimes, being a trainer – isn’t it? I mean, you have your Pokémon, but almost every human you see either wants to battle you or force advice down your throat.”

    That hit close to home for Red for some reason. Perhaps it was because, ever since he and Blue had fallen out as young boys, he hadn’t had any children near his age to call friends. And he suddenly found himself wishing he did.

    That said, he left her to her devices. The next time he saw her, she was challenging him for the spot of League Champion. He beat her – not quite as easily as he’d been expecting, but he did. As she went to leave, a strange thing happened. He stopped her and asked if they could talk for a while. So they did. She talked about a few girly things – like how her long, brown hair got in the way sometimes when she was traveling, or how she hated Lavender Town because it was creepy and depressing (he agreed). But she mainly talked about Pokémon, and Pokémon training, and her dream to become a Pokémon master just like Red. And he talked back, about how hard things had been, about some of the things he was dragged into, like the scuffles with Team Rocket. He had almost forgotten how enjoyable talking to another human being could be.

    She made a strange request of him the following year. She was going to an island chain not far from the Kanto mainland, to sightsee and because she heard that there were new Pokémon there that weren’t normally found on Kanto’s mainland or main satellite islands. She had to have known to use the prospect of seeing and catching new Pokémon as a selling point, because when Red agreed to it and they traveled together to Sevii, there was much less Pokémon training and much more vacationing. With that vacationing, though, came a completely new and horrifying set of challenges, like the strange feeling he got in his stomach when he saw Leaf don a swimsuit for the first time. Such was one of the disadvantages of leaving home at ten and growing up mostly without a father. A few of life’s little changes didn’t get their due face time because no one had the guts to bring them up.

    Nevertheless, Red enjoyed himself. In fact, he had the time of his young life. It was a good feeling to experience new things, yet feel no need to best someone or leap some hurdle. Of course, they ran into issues with the remnants of Team Rocket at one point, but both of them – Red especially – were so strong by that point that the now leaderless group neither frightened nor challenged them much. The icing on the cake of the short trip was being welcomed back to the inhabited areas of the island chain like hero and heroine. Even though he tended to shy away from the attention, Leaf coaxed him into opening up a bit more. Simple, pure fun, undiluted by performance pressure – that was what she had shown him.

    And he liked it. A lot.

    They went back to the Kanto mainland, and headed towards home together. Before they parted ways, each took an opportunity to visit and meet the other’s family – and Blue. Leaf stayed home while Red went back to the Indigo Plateau.

    It was a rough time for Red. He left the Plateau often to clear his head, but try as he might, he could not stop thinking about Leaf. And no one he ever talked to could give him a straight answer. Talking to the Elites was just awkward; he could not consider them friends. He got the feeling that it had never sat well with them that they had been beaten by a boy that had just turned eleven. His mother would always chuckle and gush about how her little boy was growing up. In one horrifying instance, when she was feeling particularly emotional, she burst into tears and tried to stop him from leaving Pallet. Blue, of course, either laughed it off, or laughed at him.

    Come to think of it, he had talked to everyone he knew about it…except for Leaf herself. This new feeling was causing him some degree of pain. He had never known anything else but being raised by a single mom…but, now, he would fall asleep at night sincerely wishing that his father was there. His mom, as caring and as loving as she was, couldn’t fully understand. But his father had doubtless been a boy once…he probably would have known what to do.

    Red and Leaf met at times; he would often meet with her if he visited Blue in Viridian, or was on his way to Pallet to see his mother. One time, while waiting for Blue to get back to the Gym, he could have sworn that she was just that close to kissing him. Of course, Blue showed up to kill the moment, and Red left a little bit miffed, wondering exactly how much of Blue’s timing was mere coincidence.

    But he never told her. His laundry list of accomplishments should have been a testament to his unfaltering courage. He left home with one Pokémon and just a bit of money in his pocket, defeated eight gyms, broke up a criminal organization, more than likely saved the continent from takeover, crushed four elite trainers in a row with no rest and then brought down the Champion and took the title himself. All by the age of eleven.

    And yet, by thirteen, he still couldn’t work out his feelings for this girl. And once he had worked them out and figured out what they were, he couldn’t work up the courage to tell her about them…

    Now, he would never have the chance.

    And it was that regret that caused him to withdraw from the world. The very thought of her being immolated in molten rock haunted his dreams – that is, when he actually managed sleep. Even if nothing had changed, even if he had taken that secret to both of their graves…the fact still stood that she was no longer there – no longer able to be a shield to the weight of expectation that he had brought upon himself at such a tender age. She was no longer around to make him feel young again.

    As it was before…and as, it seemed now, that it would forever be…

    It was just him and his Pokémon.

    “E-e-e-e-exc-c-c-cuse m-m-me?” The voice was barely audible in the near-blizzard conditions – but not being swirling winds, driving rain, or the cry of a Pokémon, it was so foreign to his near-frozen ears that he couldn’t help but notice it. “A-a-aren’t you c-c-c-c-cold up-p-p here?”

    The voice had just enough tone for Red to recognize the newcomer as a boy. Probably a very young boy, and (Red admitted to himself) probably quite strong, to be able to make it to the summit of this mountain alone in these conditions. It wasn’t likely something Red would have tried at that age…

    …but, then again, that was back when Red actually cared about living.

    “You’re…R-Red, aren’t you?” the young boy’s voice went on. Red could hear the boy’s teeth chattering. He wondered how much was because of the cold and how much came from nervousness. “Th-the K-k-kanto League Ch-Champion! B-Blue was right. He… he s-s-said you’d b-be up… here…”

    Blue…he hadn’t heard that name in forever, it seemed…

    “M-m-my name’s… E-ethan.”

    Red’s eyes glazed over. That name rang such a bell…

    The Johto League Champion? This boy?

    Red turned around. He was looking at the face of a boy of twelve at the very oldest. Much like Red, he wore a cap – except that his was backwards and hid a head of raven hair. He was also wearing a crimson jacket that was probably designed for when it was slightly cold, as opposed to weather like this. Snow came up to the shins on his otherwise black pants.

    He stared into the boy’s eyes. They were gray, but had that childlike gleam to them.

    “Why are you looking at me like that? Is…do you want to battle me? Is that it?” Ethan said loudly, the stutter from his voice gone. It was as if the prospect of battling a strong opponent had lit a fire in his heart, warming him from the inside out. He displayed a Pokéball from his belt. “I’m warning you – I’m pretty tough!”

    Wordlessly, Red reached for his own belt and grabbed hold of a Pokéball. The sphere was hellishly cold to his touch, but Red showed little to no change in his expression. He did wonder, though…did this boy start much like he did? Did he have a mother at home that worried about him, a rival that constantly tried to take him down at every turn?

    Ethan had started shouting into the storm at him. “Why aren’t you on Indigo Plateau, huh? Lance has been battling in your place all this time – you know that? And Team Rocket’s been back, set up all over Johto! But I beat them again – don’t worry…like I said, I’m pretty tough!”

    Red already knew that Ethan probably knew Elm, Johto’s resident professor. They did live in the same hometown, after all.

    Did he know a girl, too? What a coincidence that would be…

    Red swallowed hard. Battling was supposed to be his distraction, his painkiller…but it no longer worked. Even in the heat – or, in this case, the frigidity – of battle, his thoughts were on her.

    He tipped his cap to Ethan, who would take it as a sign of respect.

    In reality, he was doing it to keep the younger boy from seeing his eyes, from seeing the tears that were forming and crystallizing on his lashes almost instantly. A part of him hoped the boy could defeat him. Then, maybe he could start thinking about clearing another hurdle…

    And stop thinking about…her.

    el-lip-sis

    a mark or marks as – –, …, or * * *, to indicate an omission or suppression of letters or words.

    “…… …… ……
    …… …… ……”

    FIN

    Dalton Gregg was a mostly-ordinary university student from the region once called Johto.
    Then a fateful encounter set him on a quest to change history.




  11. #11
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    OK, missed the launch date yesterday, but should make first place this time...

    Getting down to business, then!

    After some days absentia... I can finally put something more to this review. Don't hope for too much though...

    As Bay said. this fic probably explains the Red on a mountain bit better than "He just wants to grow stronger" Much better. No matter how advanced Red's achievements seem to make him, he's still a boy at heart. The effect of the weight is pulling an advance change in him. I'd expect rage, or some other display of angst from him. True, his run-ins with Team Rocket warped him somewhat (understatement) but to completely shut down like he has even in the two year gap, is a bit beyond disturbing...

    It would be interesting to speculate what drove Ethan to scale Mount Silver as it seems Red could only manage it when he had "nothing to live for". The former certainly possessed the arrogant cavalier attitude of his manga counterpart... could there be a story there?

    All in all, great reboot, mate, and hope to see you in the Age of Harmonia soon!

    L@er!
    Last edited by Air Dragon; 30th August 2012 at 10:26 PM.
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  12. #12
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    This fic caught my attention, decided to read it and have to say quite like this a lot.

    Part One
    Scarlett gave her younger counterpart a good-natured smile]
    I know what you’re trying to say, but “Younger counterpart” is a bit awkward, makes me think Scarlett is looking at the clone of her younger self, haha. IMO thought you could have mentioned Daisy’s name earlier somehow so that you don’t have to keep describing Daisy as the younger woman and such.

    Besides that, thought the first part is off to a good start. Like everyone else, nice you have the mother’s perspective of Red’s travels. Also think how you mentioned Red’s change as his continues his journey is pretty good too.

    Part Two
    “As most of you know, there was a similar eruption at the volcano on Cinnabar Island almost two years ago now. Tragically, in that case, it came with little warning, wiping out the town and many of the inhabitants and tourists that were there at the time.”
    I could be wrong, but “wiping out the town and many of the inhabitants and tourists” sounds unprofessional, or least the wiping the inhabitants and tourists part. Maybe add “killing” between “and” and “many”?

    Next part I like the development with Blue/Gary there. Interesting how you manage to add Leaf there and thought her death was tragic. Good you had Red and Blue communicating and battling together even after Red became champion, too bad that changed soon after.

    I agree the transition with Blue's nightmare could have been a bit cleaner (when you switched to the she pronoun I thought you're suddenly switching perspectives for a second there, haha), but I was able to figure out soon enough.

    Part Three
    But he never told her. His laundry list of accomplishments should have been a testament to his unfaltering courage. He left home with one Pokémon and just a bit of money in his pocket, defeated eight gyms, broke up a criminal organization, more than likely saved the continent from takeover, crushed four elite trainers in a row with no rest and then brought down the Champion and took the title himself. All by the age of eleven.

    And yet, by thirteen, he still couldn’t work out his feelings for this girl. And once he had worked them out and figured out what they were, he couldn’t work up the courage to tell her about them…

    Now, he would never have the chance.
    My favorite part in this chapter as I think it hits pretty well what you’re going for with this story. Red is able to do amazing things like defeating Team Rocket but still have the qualities of a child (unsure about his feelings for Leaf). Speaking of which, I thought his grief for Leaf seems a decent reason as to why he is at Gold/Silver and Heart Gold/Soul Silver.

    Part of what I like about this is a while back been reading fanfics where when you have a teenage male and female protagonist liking each other one of them dies from doing something specular (like saving the world), so it’s nice that Red’s feelings for Leaf is developed in a good way and Leaf’s death was from something that’s out of her control. Someone mentioned before how there are those that lost loved ones/close friends and they don't retreat to the mountains or such. While I agree on that, part of me thinks you're right that Leaf is someone that sees him differently from everyone else, so it works for this story (and what happened in the games).

    Overall, really enjoyed this take on the aftermath of Red’s win and some things I never considered before. Great work!


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  13. #13
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    :O

    Oh my dear sweet Buddha on a flying unicycle. It's freaking Bay. If I'd known you were coming, I would have cleaned up a bit more... x.x Sorry about that. Gimme a sec, alright?


    Air Dragon:

    As Bay said. this fic probably explains the Red on a mountain bit better than "He just wants to grow stronger" Much better. No matter how advanced Red's achievements seem to make him, he's still a boy at heart. The effect of the weight is pulling an advance change in him. I'd expect rage, or some other display of angst from him. True, his run-ins with Team Rocket warped him somewhat (understatement) but to completely shut down like he has even in the two year gap, is a bit beyond disturbing...
    First off, you know you took a really long time to come back and review, when you're calling back to the person that reviewed after you did. LOL. Yeah, when I was little, I never thought it any issue to meet Red at the top of Mt. Silver. Hell, I always assumed somebody defeated Red in the three-year interim between RBY and GSC. Then I got to Red and saw that his Pokemon were all leveled to absurdity and started to thinking, "something seems really fishy about this." It doesn't seem to make sense that someone that young couldn't think of a damn thing to do but go up on top of a mountain, train nonstop, and wait for someone to get up there and beat him. Hell, I argue that in and of itself is something of a tragedy. I wonder, a bit fearfully, what it's like to actually accomplish so much of what you set out to do that you don't have any idea what to do next.

    Then I somewhat wondered why they didn't find a way to slip Leaf into HG/SS even though Red's there. Thus started this theory.

    Red never seemed to me like a kid that would 'rage' - although, in his case, that might have been healthier in the long run. He always seemed to me like a kind of quiet kid that would hold in all of his emotions and avoid telling anyone how he was feeling. That follows in his interactions with Leaf as well, although part of that can obviously be attributed to normal adolescent boy behavior.


    Bay:

    I know what you’re trying to say, but “Younger counterpart” is a bit awkward, makes me think Scarlett is looking at the clone of her younger self, haha. IMO thought you could have mentioned Daisy’s name earlier somehow so that you don’t have to keep describing Daisy as the younger woman and such.
    I didn't want to give away that it was Daisy too early. I like having at least the illusion of suspense. Maybe I'll find a better way to execute that next time. :-)


    Besides that, thought the first part is off to a good start. Like everyone else, nice you have the mother’s perspective of Red’s travels. Also think how you mentioned Red’s change as his continues his journey is pretty good too.
    I think one of those things that no one ever really talks about is the sheer weirdness of everything that happens to the game protagonist. I mean, when you think about it... we as players of the game - being "outside the fourth wall", so to speak - consider everything that happens normal. I mean, that's the way Pokemon games have been since the original RBY, right? "Kid protagonist journeys away from sleepy little town alone, wins badges, meets up with evil/extremist group, defeats them almost singlehandedly, meets a couple of legendary Pokemon along the way to winning 8 badges, trashing the Elite Four and becoming the champion." With a few variations here and there, that's pretty much how all of the games have gone. We as players consider that normal, and actually get thrown off when the plot deviates from that.

    But think about how that looks in-universe. In-universe, what I just described in the above paragraph is anything but ordinary. I say all that to say that Red (and, by extension, every other game protagonist) sees some things during the course of his journey, and in a lot of cases, they're the type of things that would change a person.


    I could be wrong, but “wiping out the town and many of the inhabitants and tourists” sounds unprofessional, or least the wiping the inhabitants and tourists part. Maybe add “killing” between “and” and “many”?

    Next part I like the development with Blue/Gary there. Interesting how you manage to add Leaf there and thought her death was tragic. Good you had Red and Blue communicating and battling together even after Red became champion, too bad that changed soon after.

    I agree the transition with Blue's nightmare could have been a bit cleaner (when you switched to the she pronoun I thought you're suddenly switching perspectives for a second there, haha), but I was able to figure out soon enough.
    I think you're probably right on that first part. I haven't been listening to enough news broadcasts recently to remember how a reporter would talk. News is depressing to me, so I avoid it. It's unfortunate, but sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

    Obviously Blue's head would have had to have deflated a bit in the three years between Gen I and Gen II for the powers that be (I wonder who actually makes those decisions??) to have given him the job of being Kanto's last gym leader. And it sort of makes sense that Red would form sort of a bond with Blue after everything was over. Blue's one of the few people that could come close to understanding Red's position. After all, Blue was champion for a short time before Red got there. On top of that, one often knows just as much about his rivals as he does about his friends.

    As for the dream sequence... I like dream sequences. I'm starting to become infamous for how bad they are, though. I might have to go back to the drawing board... :-(


    My favorite part in this chapter as I think it hits pretty well what you’re going for with this story. Red is able to do amazing things like defeating Team Rocket but still have the qualities of a child (unsure about his feelings for Leaf). Speaking of which, I thought his grief for Leaf seems a decent reason as to why he is at Gold/Silver and Heart Gold/Soul Silver.

    Part of what I like about this is a while back been reading fanfics where when you have a teenage male and female protagonist liking each other one of them dies from doing something specular (like saving the world), so it’s nice that Red’s feelings for Leaf is developed in a good way and Leaf’s death was from something that’s out of her control. Someone mentioned before how there are those that lost loved ones/close friends and they don't retreat to the mountains or such. While I agree on that, part of me thinks you're right that Leaf is someone that sees him differently from everyone else, so it works for this story (and what happened in the games).
    And I think you hit the nail on the head several times over here. I won't be insensitive enough to say that when someone dies as a hero, it's not tragic at all. It certainly does little to dull the sense of loss for those who cared for that person. But, to me, there's always been an extra bit of punch when someone young dies in a natural disaster. There's much more of a feeling of waste. It's almost enough to make one wonder if the world itself has it in for some people.

    I just thought it made perfect sense to have her killed during the Cinnabar eruption. First of all, it provides an obvious explanation as to why she doesn't also appear in HGSS, and it wasn't necessary to make up an event to kill her off. I know Cinnabar Island's not the largest town around, but presumably quite a few people died when that volcano erupted, and that's something that's just kind of glossed over in the storyline of the games.

    I think I might have mentioned this before, but what makes this story tragic just as much as Leaf's death is that Red died a long time ago. Obviously, he's still breathing and walking around. By the time he became Champion, though, people had sort of de-humanized him. He wasn't a 11- or 12-year-old kid anymore. He was a list of accomplishments with a human-looking face. And instead of people expecting him to react as a preteen kid would (wanting to see the world, developing feelings for a female friend), all they saw were his accomplishments. Leaf and the excursion to Sevii set him free from all of that. Now with her gone, there aren't many people in the world that care much about Red the human being. So he withdraws from society and becomes the silent, battling automaton we all recognize from HGSS. Healthy? No. Understandable? I think so.


    Anyway, thanks a lot for reviewing (and extra thanks for reading my long-winded explanations if you did.) It means a lot to get some recognition from one of the best writers that's been on this forum. Feel free to pop in to The Age of Harmony if you've got a little time.


    Well, thanks to everyone who read and reviewed. And if you're intending to write a review and haven't done it yet, I'll probably give it about a week before I request this to be moved to the 'Completed Fics' section. Yeah, it's done. Those of you that are used to me writing 80-chapter stories are probably going "WHAAAAAT?" but yeah, it's done. :-P

    The Age of Harmony just went up on the forums recently. That's where you'll find me next. It's still early on (as in 1-2 chapters) so if you're one of those people that's daunted by jumping into a new fic and having some catching up to do, then fear not. Hope to see you there!

    - EM1

    Dalton Gregg was a mostly-ordinary university student from the region once called Johto.
    Then a fateful encounter set him on a quest to change history.




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