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Thread: Wednesday: A Sinnoh Journey (PG-13)

  1. #1

    Default Wednesday: A Sinnoh Journey (PG-13)

    Wednesday
    A Sinnoh Journey

    Chapter One


    Far too early in the morning, her alarm went off. Milo groaned and pulled her pillow over her head, but the tinny beeping was already boring into her skull. She squinted at the glowing numbers: 6:15 A.M. She hadn’t needed to set it for so early, she grumbled to herself as she fumbled for the snooze button; school didn’t start until five of eight…

    Oh. Right. Right.

    Suddenly wide-awake, Milo rolled out of bed and immediately tripped over the very full backpack sitting on the floor. Scrabbling around in the dark and stuffing scattered articles of clothing and food back into the backpack helped distract herself from the sudden waves of excitement and terror, at least, even if it wasn’t the best way to start the morning. Muttering grumpily, she pulled her dark sweatshirt around her shoulders—the blue, peeling letters spelled out “Fuchsia City Safari Zone” across the chest—and looked around for her Pokétch only to find that she had fallen asleep with it still on her wrist.

    “Way to take good care of the present,” she grumbled to herself as she trudged out of her room and down the short hallway to the kitchen. The door to her mother’s room was ajar, and her mom’s buzz-saw snoring reverberated throughout the apartment. Normally Liz Ellis was up with the sun, but last night had been some special event at the Canalave Library; she hadn’t gotten home until nearly midnight. The single window in the hallway showed a grey sky, wreathed with fog from the harbor.

    Foraging in the fridge, Milo shoved aside containers of rather elderly leftovers displaying a impressive rainbow variety of molds. Eventually finding some relatively recent food, she prepared her breakfast while very carefully not looking at the small, brightly-wrapped package that had appeared on the table overnight.

    A bowl of reheated spaghetti in one hand and a mug of tea in the other, she plopped down on the couch in front of the TV and flipped to a random channel. “…escaped from a maximum-security prison late last night,” a waxy-faced newscaster told the camera. “Professor Charon, who had been serving a life sentence for crimes committed as a member of Team Galactic—”

    Too much seriousness, too early in the morning. Milo changed the channel. A couple of cutesy kids’ shows; more news; a rerun of Lucario and the Mystery of Mew—she’d loved that movie when she was about six; a photo slideshow of the Sevii islands; even more news… Sighing around a mouthful of greasy spaghetti, she punched the off button. The blinking red numerals on the microwave told her that it was 6:37.

    “Stupid to set my alarm that early,” she muttered, and slurped another mouthful of tea. “Office won’t even open ‘til ten.” And then she could get her official Trainer’s license, and then… Another quiver of nervousness made her stomach queasy—although that could just have been the spaghetti.

    The package on the table dragged at her attention like magnetic north pulling on a Nosepass. Milo stood up and shuffled over to the window, stared out at the foggy Canalave City morning. Don’t think about it, don’t wonder what species it is, don’t admit to yourself that you’ve already picked out a name… Damn.

    “You need something to do,” she told herself. Like what? Everything was packed; she’d triple-checked it before going to bed. Nothing on TV, the paper wasn’t here yet, and it was too early to call Taylor. Her gaze drifted down to the shiny blue Pokétch on her wrist. 6:42. With a five-hour time difference, it wouldn’t quite be noon in Orre. She could call…

    Back to her room. Milo unearthed her cell phone from one of the bulging side pockets of her backpack, flopped back onto her bed, and stared up at the peeling paint on her ceiling while the dial tone buzzed in her ear. Six rings, eight, ten… “Answer your phone,” she muttered. There was a patch of damp on the ceiling that looked like a Bronzong, if she squinted and held her head at the right angle.

    And then came the clattering sound of a receiver being taken off the hook, and a static-roughened voice said brusquely, “Doctor James Wednesday.”

    “Hi, Dad,” Milo replied.

    A long pause, enough to make her wonder if he’d heard, and then, “Milo! How are you, kiddo?”

    Don’t call me that. “Fine.”

    “Today’s the big day, right?” He laughed. “You know, someday, when you’re the league champion, we’ll look back and say, remember the first day of your journey—”

    “All right, all right.”

    Another pause; she could hear her father breathing, faint echoes of static from half a world away. “Did you get your graduation present?”

    “Yeah.” Milo glanced at her wrist again, studying the shiny Pokétch. “It’s great. I like it. Thanks.”

    “Happy graduation—again. Well, not precisely graduation… Happy finishing ninth grade and running off to train Pokémon.” He laughed again.

    “Hmm.” Don’t remind me. Her mom had insisted that she finish the school year, even though Taylor’s parents let him leave as soon as he turned fifteen. “How’s work, dad?”

    “It’s fine.”

    “Any new projects?” If she tilted her head the other way, the patch on the ceiling looked like an Empoleon with a stomachache.

    “Nothing that’d interest you. Very technical stuff.”

    “The mysteries of bioengineering,” Milo said in her best spooky voice.

    “Something like that.” The connection crackled with static as he sighed. “Have you gotten your Pokémon?”

    “Not yet.”

    “Oh. Fine, fine.” Silence. “I’d better go. It’s a busy day here.”

    “All right.”

    “Milo—” she rolled her eyes as she registered the new seriousness in her father’s voice— “When you’re on your journey, I just want you to remember that I’m very proud of you and I’ll always love you, no matter what. All right?”

    Whatever.

    “Milo?”

    She sighed. “Okay, dad.”

    “Good. Have a great journey, kiddo—and good luck. I’m rooting for you.”

    “Thanks.” Milo hung up and tossed the phone back into her backpack, then rolled onto her stomach and stared at the floor. One arm dangled over the edge of the bed; the screen of her Pokétch told her that it was 7:03. She fiddled with the buttons and it told her the time in analog instead, and then reverted to digital.

    Footsteps in the hallway. Milo got up and poked her head out the door in time to see her mother walk into the kitchen. Swaddled in a floral printed bathrobe, she rubbed at her eyes as she slumped into a chair at the table.

    “Hey, Mom,” Milo called, walking over to join her.

    Her mother brushed a hank of pale brown hair out of her face. “Milo? Were you talking to someone?”

    “I called Dad.”

    “Ah.”

    Not daring to look at her mother, Milo made a careful study of the tabletop instead. Eight years since the divorce, and a careless sentence could make the sharp edges reappear in a heartbeat. “How was the event last night?” she asked. “That professor from Orre, right?”

    She wished she could have that last sentence back—Orre was too close a subject to Dad—but her mom either didn’t notice or chose to let it pass. “It went well. I hadn’t the faintest idea what the guy was talking about, but then again, I’m just a librarian. All the scientists and geeks ate it up.”

    “What was it about?”

    Liz Ellis made a face. “The title was ‘Optimization of Purification: the Purify Chamber Versus the Agate Ritual’—” she bracketed the words with finger-quotes— “and it had to do with something called Shadow Pokémon, which I guess was a problem in Orre like ten years back. I understood maybe one word in ten. The guy who gave the talk—Krane, his name is—is a celebrity over there. Like our Professor Rowan.”

    “‘Our’ Professor Rowan? Mom, the Pokémon Professor lives way over in Sandgem.” What she didn’t say was, So this Krane guy works with Pokémon? Maybe he knows Dad…

    “Speaking of Pokémon…” her mom said, a sudden smile overtaking her sleepy face, “I think it’d be a good time to open your present now.”

    Milo said nothing; her heart had stopped beating.

    “Milo?”

    “R-right,” she squeaked. As she reached out to pull the little box towards her, she could see her hands shaking. Working with almost comical caution, she carefully peeled the tape off of the crisp blue wrapping paper.

    Not a psychic, please—they creep me out. I know it can’t be something too special, like a dragon—way too expensive—but don’t let it be one of the generic starters, they’re boring… A water-type would be great—even a Piplup, I guess—then I could beat Taylor’s Monferno. Just not a psychic… The paper came away from the box. She lifted the lid and found herself looking at a flat rectangle of red plastic. “Huh? Oh, a Pokédex.” She took it out and set it to the side, noticing with a jolt the even smaller box that the Pokédex had concealed.

    “Go ahead, Milo,” her mom said, indicating the small box. Barely breathing, Milo carefully picked it up. Inside, a minimized Pokéball rested on a layer of cotton. Please. A decent Pokémon, that’s all I ask. Something I can get along with, something I can trust to battle with—The Pokéball expanded in her hand; closing her eyes, she pressed the button in the center.

    A flash of light, and then a quiet voice asked, “Vee?”

    Milo opened her eyes. A blurry image of brown and cream resolved itself into a small, furry Pokémon, sitting daintily on the edge of the table. The Eevee stared up at her with eyes the color of chocolate, and Milo felt her heart melt.

    “You’re perfect.”

    “Eev,” the Eevee said, ducking its head in a way that seemed almost bashful. Its silky tail swished back and forth across the surface of the table, sweeping up crumbs; Milo’s mom frowned slightly.

    “Why don’t you try out the Pokédex, Milo?”

    “All right.” Unable to take her eyes off the Eevee, Milo picked up the Pokédex and aimed it unsteadily at the little Pokémon.

    “EEVEE, THE EVOLUTION POKÉMON,” the device blared in a faintly-accented monotone. “A NORMAL-TYPE POKÉMON. BECAUSE ITS GENETIC CODE IS IRREGULAR, IT QUICKLY CHANGES ITS FORM—”

    “Yes, yes, I get it,” Milo muttered, stabbing at the mute button with one finger. The Eevee’s vital statistics popped up on the screen; she squinted at them, not sure what half of the numbers and graphs meant. She’d slept through those classes in school.

    A few of the facts were easy to read, though. “Well, she’s a girl.”

    Eevee.” The noise was so clearly a Well, duh! that Milo almost laughed.

    “Well, that’ll make the name I picked sound a bit weird,” she said, typing it into the Pokédex, “but I can always call you Callie for short. Okay, Calvin?”

    Her mom snorted. “You can’t name a female Pokémon Calvin.”

    “Says the woman who named her daughter Milo,” Milo grumbled. “Besides, she doesn’t mind. Do you, Callie?”

    “Vee!” Of course not!

    “Put it back in the Pokéball, will you?” her mom asked. The Eevee—well, Milo could only describe the expression Callie made as a pout: her long ears drooped, and she hung her head and gazed up at Milo with mournful melted-chocolate eyes. And Milo had thought the little Pokémon couldn’t get any cuter…

    Milo.”

    “All right.” Milo raised the Pokéball—she’d seen Trainers do this on TV hundreds of times, practiced it in her daydreams. “Return, Callie.” A beam of red light shot from the small sphere and struck the Eevee, who vanished instantly. “Sorry,” Milo muttered to the Pokéball. “I’ll let you out soon, I promise.”

    “So, do you like it?” her mom asked, rubbing at a spot on the table with the sleeve of her bathrobe. Callie had left a scattering of long hairs on the tabletop.

    Milo smiled blissfully as she slipped the Pokéball into the pocket of her sweatshirt. “I love her. Thank you.”

    Her mom shrugged. “Yeah.” The chair’s legs scraped across the floor as she stood up. “I need coffee. You want anything?”

    “No, thanks,” Milo replied, and retreated to her room as her mom busied herself with the coffeepot.

    For lack of anything better to do, she went through her backpack again. Nearly bursting at the seams, it was heavy enough that it would be slightly awkward to carry, but she definitely had everything that she would possibly need. She could always have a Pokémon carry it, if she caught one that had arms.

    Now there was a thought—what other Pokémon should she catch? She’d spent so much time worrying about what her starter would be that she hadn’t considered the other five—five, she repeated to herself, incredulous—Pokémon she could have on her team. No psychics, though—they made her skin crawl, the way they could tell what people were thinking. And Eevee could evolve into so many different types; she had a lot of flexibility with what she needed…

    Milo pulled out the Pokédex and switched it on. “HELLO,” the device announced at maximum volume. “I AM A MARK IV POKÉDEX, SINNOH REGIONAL EDITION, REGISTERED TO <INSERT NAME HERE>—”

    “Shut up,” Milo growled, switching off the sound. She called up the entry on Eevee and reached for a sheet of paper and pencil.

    Two hours later, she glanced at her watch and realized with a shock that it was nearly ten. Crumpling up the sheet of paper, now covered in her untidy scrawl, she stuffed it into the top of the backpack, then swung the bag over her shoulder and headed out the door.

    Her mother, still in her bathrobe, sat at the table doing the Jubilife Herald crossword. “I’m leaving, Mom,” Milo said, and her mother nodded but didn’t look up from the paper. Milo bit her lip. “No, I mean really leaving. The office’s on the other side of the canal—I thought I’d head right to Route 218 after I pick up my license.”

    “All right.”

    Something caught in Milo’s throat, making it hard to breathe. “That’s—that’s it?”

    “Well, what else is there to say?” Her mom looked up from the crossword and gave Milo a weary smile. “Good luck on your journey, Milo.”

    “Okay, then. Fine.” Milo crossed the kitchen and stepped through the door without looking back. A fleeting expression of misery crossed her face as she heard it click closed behind her, but as she headed down the grimy stairwell, she forced herself to smile. Off you go on your grand adventure. Ha.

    Down three flights of stairs, and then out the side door of the building and into the foggy Canalave City morning. Clouds covered the sun; a strong smell of salt wafted up from the harbor. For almost ten o’clock on a Saturday morning in the summer, the city was very quiet; only a few pedestrians and no cars that she could see.

    No danger in letting Callie out, then. Milo released the Pokéball, and her Eevee materialized in a flash of white light. “Vee!” Callie exclaimed, prancing from side to side and swishing her silky tail. That’s better! Milo translated in her head.

    She grinned. “C’mon, Callie.” She started to walk, but had only gotten a few paces when she heard a sad “Eeev…” from behind her. Looking back, she saw Callie hurrying towards her, tiny legs moving in nearly a blur as she struggled over the cobblestones.

    “You won’t be able to keep up, will you?” Milo realized.

    Callie hung her head. “Ve.” Sorry.

    “That’s okay, I’ll carry you for now.” She bent down and picked the Pokémon up, grunting slightly—Callie was heavier than she had expected. “Better?” she asked, snuggling the Eevee close to her chest.

    “Much!” Callie replied happily.

    “Good.” With the Eevee in her arms, Milo walked briskly down the sidewalk. I might not be back in Canalave for months, she realized, and quickly squashed the melancholic feeling that the thought had triggered. Still, as she passed certain buildings, she couldn’t help pointing them out to Callie. “That’s the high school, where I went to school…” She frowned at the tall, ugly structure. “Looks like a prison, doesn’t it? And up there’s the Gym. Byron’s the Gym Leader, he uses Steel-types… Don’t worry, we won’t be fighting him for a while.”

    Callie sighed with relief.

    Milo grinned. “And behind the Gym is the library; that’s where Mom works.” She turned to the right and headed across the tall bridge that spanned the central canal. A sea breeze, surprisingly cool for a June morning, ruffled her hair and Callie’s fur. Out over the harbor, Wingull wheeled and screeched.

    “I want to walk,” the Eevee complained.

    “Don’t worry, it’s not that much farther,” Milo replied, stroking Callie’s soft fur. Her shoulders were beginning to ache from the heavy backpack. “It’s just past the Pokémon Center, see? We’re almost there.”

    Callie squirmed a little, and then subsided with a tired murmur. Milo’s steps slowed as she passed the Pokémon Center and approached the tiny building that contained the Sinnoh League office; a host of irrational fears arose to chew on her brain. What if they won’t give me a license? What if they say I’m not ready?

    What if they say I’m too old? She frowned. After the Team Galactic incident five years ago, it had become more common for kids not to start their journeys until they were twelve or thirteen—like being two years older would protect them from criminals—but at fifteen she was almost unusually old. But then again, so’s Taylor. Adopting an expression of grim resolve, she pushed open the office door.

    To Milo’s relief, the registration process went smoothly. There was a minor quibble over documentation—she’d been born in Kanto, and the region apparently filed their paperwork differently—and the usual poorly-concealed smiles when she confirmed that yes, her name actually was Milo Wednesday. At least no one asked, as the boys in her classes had been so fond of doing, what day of the week she’d been born on (the answer was Thursday, thank you very much).

    Twenty minutes later, she walked out of the League office with a freshly-printed Trainer card in her wallet and Callie in her arms. From there, it was only a five-minute walk to the edge of Canalave City, where the cobblestones ended and the dirt road through Route 218 began. She stood at the very edge, looking out at the trees and tall grass in the distance, and carefully set Callie down. “I’m fighting against a whole childhood’s worth of warnings, you know,” she said lightly. “Don’t go into the grass or the Pokémon will eat you. That sort of thing.”

    “I’ll protect you,” Callie told her, a confident glint in her eyes.

    Milo smiled. “Yes, I know. C’mon, then.” And with the Eevee at her side, Milo Wednesday walked out into the unknown.

  2. #2
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    So... it is possible to describe someone's writing style as 'adorable'? Because that's the first thing I thought.

    Milo Wednesday... what a quirky name for a protagonist - let alone a girl protagonist. I absolutely love it.

    I suppose if I had a question about Milo, it would be "what does she look like?" It's kind of hard to get a picture of her or of her mother with practically no type of description... and that's actually sort of jarring because you describe everything else so, so beautifully. Like the food in the fridge being described as 'elderly'. It's been a while since I've snickered so hard at a little detail like that. I was slightly grossed out but really amused, too. On that note, it seems a bit strange that Milo's mom seems to come off as a bit of a slob (or at least someone that only buys fresh food once every couple of weeks) but is very concerned about Eevee being on the table...

    Speaking of Eevee... I've always had a special place in my heart for fics where the protagonist starts with an Eevee. The protagonist in my very first fanfic had an Eevee (and a female at that) and your description of trainer and Pokemon meeting for the first time brought me back to when I first started writing Pokemon fanfiction almost nine years ago. Yeah, I'm an old fogey. ^_^

    Catching grammar/spelling stuff isn't my forte (not because I can't spell, but because I have a hard time enjoying reading something if I'm busy running over it with a fine-tooth comb) but I did notice a couple of things:

    She hadn’t needed to set it for so early, she grumbled to herself as she fumbled for the snooze button; school didn’t start until five of eight…
    First off, this looks like two - possibly three - separate thoughts. But grumbling is audible and the beginning of the sentence seems more like 'thinking' than anything else.

    "She hadn't needed to set it for so early, she thought, grumbling to herself as she fumbled for the snooze button; school didn't start until five of eight..."

    There are probably a few ways to adjust the passage, but this one is the one that came to mind most readily for me.


    Also,

    Foraging in the fridge, Milo shoved aside containers of rather elderly leftovers displaying a impressive rainbow variety of molds.
    Like I mentioned before, this sentence both grossed me out and made me laugh. But it's grammatically correct to replace "a" with "an" before any word beginning with a vowel.


    That's all I've got for now. I enjoyed reading this and I hope to see more soon. :-)

    - 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.




  3. #3
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    To think I missed the a/an incident... I think my grammar cells are burnt out.

    But Milo Wednesday's adventure (odd name for a girl, but then again, I'm one to talk...) seems to have quite the interesting start. For one thing, being fifteen rather than the conventional twelve or thirteen should make for interesting future interactions as well as a more volatile emotional spectrum.

    Callie may be an oddly predictable (?) way to begin but given her choices, and how she's displayed more attitude than her Trainer so far makes for an interesting introduction.

    Speaking of description, I really hope you aren't going with the "I'm not describing Milo because I want you to picture her yourself" because if you are/do, I'm seeing a fifteen year old, magical cardboard box with an Eevee. With hands.

    This aside, it makes for a very lighthearted opener, even if getting her license was a bit rushed. Methinks you may have played a bit more on her insecurities regarding that as she went in for it. Just saying.

    Will definitely keep my eye on future developments!

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  4. #4

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    Thanks for the reviews! And sorry for the lack of description of Milo--I think I kind of fell into a trap... I have a mental image of what she looks like, but because I have that, I forgot to write any of the description. Kind of a stupid mistake, but...


    Chapter Two

    The morning that had seemed so damp and grey in the Canalave City fog became sunny and dry as Milo and Callie walked down Route 218. Starly sang in the trees; Kricketot buzzed deep in the long grass that lined the road. A cool breeze, still smelling faintly of the sea, rustled the leaves and tousled Milo’s dark hair.

    Callie frisked back and forth across the road in front of Milo, a happy tumbleweed of silky fur and dainty paws. Milo watched the Eevee with a smile on her face, although she was quick to call Callie back when she started to venture into the grass—the last thing she wanted was for her starter to get attacked by some huge wild Pokémon on the first day of her journey.

    After about an hour, she stopped for a snack. Callie discovered that she had a sweet tooth, and ate most of a chocolate bar before Milo realized what was happening and snatched it away. “I hope that chocolate isn’t poisonous for Pokémon,” she said grumpily, but Callie only beamed up at her with a brown-stained smile.

    A nearby patch of grass rustled.

    Milo and Callie both turned to look at it, wide-eyed; the grass rustled again and Milo’s hand crept to the front pocket of her backpack, where she had packed a half-dozen empty Pokéballs. “See what it is,” she breathed to Callie.

    “Okay…” her starter replied and slunk towards the patch of grass, each paw landing silently. More sounds of movement from the grass, and Milo felt her heart beating faster. Callie crouched for a moment, tail whisking back and forth, and then leaped forward. “Eeveeee!”

    The tall grass parted, revealing a huge pink and brown Pokémon, glaring balefully from its three eyes. Callie tried and failed to change direction in midair; she crashed into the Gastrodon’s midsection and bounced off.

    “Stro,” the Gastrodon snorted, and then turned around and slithered away, leaving a thick, oozing trail on the grass. Callie picked herself back up off the ground, sniffing disgustedly at the globs of slime that clung to her fur.

    “Oops,” Milo muttered, shamefaced.

    Callie hurried over to her, moving with a slight hitch in her gait. “Are you hurt?”

    “Of course I’m not hurt. Are you okay?”

    “Fine.”

    “Good.” Milo reached over and ruffled Callie’s fur, heedless of the Gastrodon gunk. “Let’s keep going before that thing oozes its way back here.”

    The day dragged on towards afternoon; the sunlight intensified into uncomfortable heat. Callie confined her prancing and twirling to the middle of the road and scurried back to Milo’s side if she thought that a patch of grass moved suspiciously. Milo pulled off her sweatshirt and tied it around her waist, then rolled her shoulders uncomfortably: they were aching from the weight of the backpack.

    Milo’s Pokétch gave the time as 12:48 when they reached the bridge that connected the Canalave side of the route with the Jubilife side. “It’s so shiny!” Callie exclaimed, prodding the slick metal bridge with one paw.

    “Yeah, it’s new. Trainers whose Pokémon couldn’t Surf were getting tired of having to swim or canoe across from the other side. Can’t say I mind.”

    “Me neither,” Callie agreed, and hopped forward onto the bridge. Milo followed her, noticing a flash of orange scales in the water as a Magikarp swam lazily by.

    While the change of scenery interested the Eevee—she gazed down into the river and walked as close to the edge of the bridge as possible, making Milo fervently grateful for the close-spaced metal railings—her Trainer found herself feeling an emotion she hadn’t expected… boredom. Okay, so she’d known that a Pokémon journey wasn’t all battling and adventure all the time, but she hadn’t realized how repetitive walking could get, especially on a straight bridge above a relatively featureless river.

    Keeping one eye on Callie, Milo hooked her arm around her backpack and after a moment of struggling she extracted her cell phone from one of the pockets. Dialing the number with practiced ease, she held the phone to her ear, and an instant later, a voice on the other end of the line said, “Hello, Wednesday.”

    “Hey, Taylor.” Milo couldn’t help but smile at the sound of her best friend’s voice. “Guess what?”

    “Hmm… You’ve received your starter and left Canalave. Not exactly difficult to guess. So—” his voice sharpened; Milo could imagine him adjusting his glasses, always giving the impression that he was about to start taking notes, “what is it?”

    “An Eevee.”

    “Interesting. You’ve got options, at least. You know they can evolve into seven different—”

    Milo rolled her eyes. “I’ve got a Pokédex, Taylor. I’ve done my homework.”

    “Sorry.”

    “No problem.” Callie, having exhausted her curiosity with the river, was sitting slightly further up the bridge, looking back at Milo quizzically. “So, how are you doing?”

    “Not bad at all.” A faint note of smugness entered his voice. “I caught a new Pokémon yesterday.”

    “Really? What is it?”

    “I’ll let you hear for yourself.” Faintly, more garbled, “C’mere, Glitch…” There was a moment of silence, and then a buzzing, clicking cry.

    “Skorrr!”

    Milo blinked. “A Skorupi?”

    “Yeah,” Taylor said, taking the phone back from his Pokémon. “Took two days of wandering around in a swamp, but I got it.”

    “And you called it Glitch? What sort of name is that?” Milo asked—not that she had any right to pick on someone else’s naming conventions, she reflected with a rueful smile.

    Ghostly laughter. “Because he’s a Bug. Get it?”

    “Ha ha.” Milo shook her head. “Got the fifth badge yet?”

    “No…” Taylor sighed. “I just can’t get past Wake’s Gyarados. Fawkes does his best, but he’s at a double disadvantage, and Wayne’s no help because of the Floatzel’s Ice Fang.”

    “What about Satin?”

    “Same problem as Wayne, except he’s even less experienced. I’ll be in Pastoria for a while, training them all up.”

    A grin lit Milo’s face. “You’d better not hang around for too long, or I’m gonna catch up to you.”

    “As if,” her friend scoffed.

    “Hey, I let you have a three month head start,” Milo said, mock serious. “Now the gloves are off.”

    “I’m terrified,” Taylor drawled. A distant noise—Milo thought she heard a high-pitched screech—and then, “Wayne is complaining that I spend too much time talking to you and not enough time training.”

    “It’s my evil plan.”

    “Oh, you villain.” They both laughed. “He has a point, though: I need to get going. Call me when you reach Jubilife.”

    “Yes sir.” Milo saluted, causing Callie to dissolve into giggles.

    “Good luck, Wednesday.”

    “And you.” She hung up. Callie looked at her curiously; Milo walked over to her and leaned down to stroke her fur. “You doing all right, sweetie?”

    A steely look entered the Eevee’s eyes. “Of course!”

    They continued along the bridge. A few clouds drifted lazily across the sky, but did nothing to slake the bright sunlight. Occasionally a glitter of color beneath the surface of the river betrayed a Pokémon swimming by; once a massive Pelliper swooped down, splashing water everywhere, and rose again with a Finneon struggling in its enormous beak. Callie watched, eyes huge, as the Pokémon opened its beak and gulped, and the hapless Finneon disappeared. After that, she stuck close to Milo’s side.

    The slick metal of the new bridge ended, replaced with wide wooden boards held together with rusty nails and mold. This must have been the old pier, Milo realized; she knew that the river had been a well-known fishing spot before the new bridge had been built.

    “Look!” Callie said suddenly, and Milo came out of her thoughts to see a kid approaching her along the pier. Short, blond, and carrying a bulging backpack, he squinted ferociously against the sun as he walked closer.

    As soon as he was within earshot, he waved at her, a goofy grin overtaking his face. Startled, Milo wondered if he’d mistaken her for someone he knew—but no, he was just being overly friendly. “Hey!” he called. “You’re a Pokémon Trainer, aren’t you?”

    “Well spotted,” she drawled. Callie made a noise that sounded remarkably like a snicker.

    “Thought so!” He put his hands on his hips and struck what he clearly thought was a cool pose; it would have worked better if he’d been about ten years older, Milo thought with a smirk. Her condescending expression vanished immediately as the kid yelled, “I challenge you to a battle!”

    “Wait, what?”

    “Pokéball, go!” the boy yelled, ignoring her protests. In a flash of white light, a Chimchar appeared on the bridge. Cracking its knuckles, it fixed Callie with a distinctly unfriendly stare.

    “You have got to be kidding me,” Milo muttered.

    The kid grinned. “Okay, Char! Start it off with an Ember!”

    “Dodge, Callie!” Milo called, panicked, as the Chimchar exhaled a burst of flames. Callie leaped out of the way and then, without Milo’s prompting, lunged at the Chimchar and sent it staggering back a step.

    “Use Scratch, Char!” the Trainer shouted.

    “Chim!” his Pokémon replied, raking at Callie with sharp fingernails. She tried to twist out of the way, but the attack caught her shoulder and she let out a yelp of pain that pierced Milo’s heart. “Chimchar!” Another attack, sending clumps of brown fur flying; Callie slithered away, ears flattened against her head.

    It was all happening too fast. Milo couldn’t think. “Don’t give up, Callie!” she yelled, barely aware of what she was saying. “Go after it!”

    “Vee!” Callie’s eyes glinted and she flung herself forward. Despite the Chimchar’s height advantage she knocked it off-balance and bowled it over; its head hit the planks with an audible crack. Callie backed away, wincing every time her front right paw hit the ground.

    “Shake it off, Char!” the kid pleaded, and his Pokémon slowly picked itself up, leaving a scorch mark where its fiery tail had touched the wood. Staggering slightly, it unleashed another spray of embers. Callie jumped out of the way, but not quite far enough—one hit her tail, producing a horrible smell of burning fur.

    “That’s it!” Callie snarled, pouncing on the Chimchar again and battering it back almost to the edge of the pier. It fought back, yanking chunks of fur out of the creamy ruff around her neck.

    Milo’s hands were sweating; she wiped them on her pants, trying to keep calm. “You’re doing great, Callie!”

    “Ember again, Char! You can still win!”

    “Callie—” Milo felt a stab of fear as she saw the Chimchar open its mouth to breathe fire yet again— “knock it into the water!”

    What?!” the kid shrieked.

    Veeee!” Callie slammed into the Chimchar even as it unleashed its attack. Flames ignited in her fur; both Pokémon went over the edge of the pier with a tremendous splash.

    Milo and the Trainer both raced to the edge. “Return, Char!” the Trainer gasped, holding out the Pokéball with shaking fingers; a flash of red light rescued the flailing Chimchar from the river. Callie, paddling steadily next to the pier, let out a small noise of relief as Milo leaned over and hoisted her out of the water.

    She was dripping wet with a mixture of water and blood, and she reeked of burnt fur, but Milo hugged her tightly anyway. “Good girl,” Milo whispered.

    “Yeah…” Callie replied tiredly, but a spark of pride gleamed in the depths of her eyes.

    “You’re crazy,” the Trainer declared, folding his arms and glaring at her.
    Milo glowered back. “Hey, I’m not the one who challenges every Trainer they run into. You didn’t even give me a chance to say yes or no!”

    The kid’s defiant demeanor trickled away. “That was my first battle,” he admitted. “I needed to battle someone before I got to Canalave, and I was starting to worry that I wouldn’t find any more Trainers…”

    “Oh.” She didn’t feel any less irritated with him, and yet she couldn’t help but sympathize. “Going to challenge Byron?”

    “Yeah. Since Char’s a Fire-type, I thought he’d be the easiest to start with. I don’t wanna hike all the way up to Snowpoint.” He studied his sneakers. “I guess I need to train more first.”

    Milo shrugged. “Sure.”

    “I’m Bill, by the way, Bill Finley. I’m from Jubilife City.”

    “I’m Milo. From Canalave.”

    The kid’s cheeks went slightly red under his tan. “Oh, uh, sorry. I, um, I thought you were a girl…”

    “I am,” Milo grumbled, and stalked past him without another word. Callie made a soft sound and rested her head against Milo’s shoulder. “What a jerk,” she told the Eevee, as soon as she was sure that she was out of earshot.

    “Not really…” Callie murmured conciliatorily.

    “Okay, he wasn’t,” she relented. Peering over the edge of the bridge, she studied her reflection: short, pudgy, dressed in a baggy t-shirt and shorts. Her dark hair was longish for a boy’s, but on the short side for a girl’s—add her name to the mix, and she could see why the kid had thought it. “Why’d my parents have to name me that, anyway?”

    “You called me ‘Calvin’…”

    “No, Calvin’s a perfectly nice name, and Callie’s even better. But Milo? You can’t abbreviate it, you can’t do anything with it… Callie?”

    The Eevee had fallen asleep. Milo smiled, a bit wistfully, and smoothed the Pokémon’s damp fur. How had Callie worked her way into her heart so quickly?

    She walked faster, trying to keep her steps as smooth as possible to avoid waking Callie. Behind her, the sun was setting, casting rosy ripples across the river. In the distance the neon lights of Jubilife City glowed and pulsed.

  5. #5
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    Default

    Interesting concept, Milo is... as un-self-conscious as she could be about herself, she still gets miffed if confused for a boy. Her desire to know a bit more about people before forming a bond with them is also sort of noteworthy, comparing her interactions with Taylor and Bill respectively.

    While it's not really an error in and of itself, one thing did stick out:

    Milo followed her, noticing a flash of orange scales in the water as a Magikarp swam lazily by.
    Just one? :P

    Well, we know that Gastrodon isn't exactly on the cards for Milo. Guess we'll have to sit tight and see what is.

    Good chapter, mate. (You are a dude, right? :P )

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  6. #6
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    Default Chapter 2

    Quote Originally Posted by Air Dragon
    Good chapter, mate. (You are a dude, right? :P )
    Countess Reglay...? Bad guess, mate. Total shambles, as per usual. -_\ Didn't we have this discussion about a week ago?

    *sigh* Never mind.

    : Your friend's not that bright, is he?

    Hey!! Not cool! What the heck are you doing here anyway? I thought you were supposed to be in Unova with Dalton?

    : Today's Wednesday. I'm taking a break.

    What does that have to do with - you're distracting me. Go back through whatever dimensional portal you slipped through and just give me a couple of minutes, alright? I'll be back with you later.

    : Fine, fine, geez... bossy...

    Oh, my freaking sweet Buddha on a flying motorcycle. I thought I owned my stories, but some days I feel like they own me...

    Anyway, enough about my writing foibles...let's get to yours. :P


    Wait, that came out wrong. Dammit, AD, you're supposed to stop me when I do stuff like that!! >_<


    Okay, the chapter was excellent. You obviously addressed the issue of describing what Milo looked like. Maybe I'm an idiot, but I think it's somewhat endearing that you described her as being a bit plain, and perhaps a bit self-conscious of it. Too many writers want to write their main protagonists as being these perfect people with figures that would look great to everyone else - especially when they're female. (I know because I've been guilty of it on occasion). It was just as I predicted; now everything flows extremely smoothly, besides the one grammar issue that AD already mentioned.

    I'm interested to see a couple of things: First off, on a smaller scale, I'll be interested to see how you handle this journey starting from Canalave: clearly you have some sort of plan, because you didn't take the easy way out and try to shoehorn Milo into Twinleaf Town.

    Second, I'm interested to see how you turn this journey fic into your own. Take it from someone who knows from experience: journey fics are a dime a dozen on this forum, and when you decide to do one you have to work just that much harder to make it stand out - which isn't necessarily such a bad thing.

    Not only are there a lot of journey fics out there, there are a lot of well-written ones. Take AD, for instance. He's been working on The Corei Quest since before the dawn of time (or it sure as hell feels like it). I swear the creative portion of his brain is about three times the size of a normal human being's. He's come up with his own region, filled it with his own Pokemon - numbering in the triple-digits, I'm pretty sure - and has full-color drawings of the vast majority of them, to boot.

    All of that's not required to be a great writer. But if you want your fic to really stand out, it's going to take a little bit more than a quirky protagonist with an even quirkier name.

    - 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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