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Thread: ClicheStorm 2 (PG-13)

  1. #76
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    Chapter 16: Memories of the Church

    May 30
    hospital, Castelia City

    It didn't take the doctor long to stitch up the wound on Rosa's arm. “It's surprisingly small for the amount of blood they had to clean up,” she said. “Did it get reopened before you got it treated?”

    Rosa shook her head. “No. I did spray a potion I had on it.”

    “A potion for Pokemon? Huh, that's odd.” She checked it over before starting cleaning it gently. “It does show signs of healing already, not like a fresh wound. Normally those potions don't work that effectively on humans, due to different immune systems. Still, we need to be careful with it.” Before long, they had Rosa's arm all bandaged up and set her up for another appointment later on to check on it.

    Nate was not so lucky. They soon determined that he had been poisoned, put to sleep in a way that had a chance of dropping him into a coma if he had breathed in enough of the spores. For that, they had to inject the antidote directly into his bloodstream as well as put him in a breathing apparatus to clear his lungs. Rosa had decided to stay at the hospital to wait for him, after asking the nurses to let her know how he was doing. “They didn't want to at first,” she told her mother over the Xtransciever. “Since they don't want to share that kind of thing except with family members. But I convinced them that I was the closest he had to that, since not even he knows where he's from.”

    “That's good,” Janice said, a little relieved from worry. “Hopefully they can get him cured soon. But, it's amazing that you managed to get him away from someone who sounds so dangerous. You shouldn't run into situations like that.”

    “But I had to go help him,” Rosa said. “I didn't really think about it, I just knew that I had to. Actually, I wasn't really thinking when I was fighting her. I knew what to do. It's weird that you never got it to do anything like this; it's like magic.”

    Her mother shifted how she held her arm, glancing away for a moment. “Magic, huh? Rosa...”

    “What? Do you know something about it?”

    “Well,” she closed her eyes for a moment. “I really should tell you in person. Tell you what, I'll meet up with you two in Castelia on my next day off. I'd be good to check up on him too.”

    “Oh, sure, that'd be fun!” Rosa said, already thinking about things she could show her mom when she was here. “When would that be?”

    Janice got up and walked across the room to find the wall calender. “That's... the fourth. One of my co-workers has a flying Pokemon, so I'll see if I can borrow him to make the trip. In the meantime, you'd better make sure you, Nate, and all your Pokemon are doing okay.”

    “Right, I'm keeping an eye on my Pokemon,” Rosa said, looking over at where Bard, Medusa, and Grim were playing with some little kids in the lobby. River was sneaking about between the lobby and Nate's room, while Rosa had had to recall Finn for being aggressive. “They're letting Ruby stay with Nate, but they won't let Argent fly around because he'd mess with the equipment. It was kind of sad, since he was just as upset.”

    “That is a problem you start running into with Magnemites and their line. But you're in Castelia; talk with the Pokecenter nurses and they might be able to tell you where to buy an EM field dampener to keep Argent from disrupting electronics.”

    “Okay, I'll let him know. Oh, and he picked up an Eevee somewhere! She could be so cute, but I really have to ask what he was thinking when he gave her that awful name she has. It's... it's just horrible.”

    -+-

    May 31

    Panty Thief the Eevee wasn't sure what she'd gotten herself into now. She been passed to yet another new Trainer, something that was getting painfully familiar. Normally, they'd get disappointed quickly and keep her in her Pokeball most of the time. After a few weeks, she'd get passed on again. But then, she hadn't had a new Trainer who went mindless, staring ahead at nothing for hours.

    Or one who went into hysterics. That had been scary; not even his two other Pokemon knew what happened to him. Nate had started shouting nonsensical things at the strange woman in black, but then lapsed into hyperventilating when she knocked him to the ground. Not knowing what to do, the Eevee thought about running away, but then remembered that she was supposed to stick by her Trainer, whoever it happened to be at the moment. The Pignite and Magnemite with them had started attacking the woman to get her away from Nate, but then she called out an Absol that defeated both of them. And the Eevee too, when she had froze up in fright next to the boy.

    This ended up with them staying in the hospital. Nate had finally woken up an hour before dawn. But even when the doctor had removed the mask over his face and chest, he didn't seem happy. He sat in a chair in the room, looking out the window and not saying anything. Ruby stayed close to him; she tried tugging at his sleeve. “Come on, we should go outside on a walk. That'll help you feel better.”

    The Eevee lowered her ears, nervous. She should do something to help; that was what a good Pokemon did. But, most of her Trainers thought she was a bad Pokemon. She wanted to be good, but being good was so confusing. Not only that, but most of the Pokemon she had worked with were mean and jealous. Would this Pignite be the same way? She acted so nice yesterday, but that could be an act.

    “Wh-what's wrong with him?” the Eevee said, creeping closer to where Nate and Ruby were.

    “It's complicated,” Ruby said, more concerned about him than in bullying her. “He has this amazing psychic power to see the memories of others, but it can hurt him a lot. Sometimes I think he'd be better off without it.”

    “Sounds scary,” Panty said, drawing her front paws close. What if he saw how terrible everyone said she was?

    “And he doesn't even remember his own memories well,” Ruby added. “He seemed really sad about it when I first met him, or maybe just confused. I've been trying to take care of him, because that's what my mother said I was supposed to do: I'd be helping out a new Trainer and I was to give him or her all my support. But I don't understand much of what's wrong with him, so I do my best to keep him from being hurt in other ways.” She paused. “I didn't do well yesterday. I want to cheer him up.”

    “Y-yeah,” she agreed.

    Cheer him up... there was something that might work. She wasn't sure, as it had gotten most of her Trainers really upset with her. But it had always cheered up her original Trainer. He'd even instructed her how to go about it better. Once she was sure Ruby wasn't paying attention to her, Panty slipped out of the room and began looking around for a gift.

    She walked along the area cautiously, once darting behind an extra bed to hide from a nurse. If she got caught, she'd get yelled at. But, she was trying to do a good thing. Making her Trainer happy was good. Maybe if she did this right, he'd give her more of a chance than others. She searched around until she found a likely spot. There was a woman in one of the rooms, asleep. If Panty poked around, she might find her clothing.

    A few minutes later, she sneaked back into the hall, carrying a pink bra. It had been in a drawer; such things had been tricky to open at first, but she had learned for her first Trainer. Before she could get much further, though, a Pokemon called out to her. “Hey, what're you doing?” It was a huge pink Pokemon, a Blissey that was hopping her way.

    Panty froze for a second, eyes wide. Then she bolted down the hall. The Blissey yelped and ran after her. The bra's strap flipped into her eyes, distracting her. While she tried to shake it aside, she crashed into a tall potted plant, knocking it over and dumping loose dirt on the floor. The Blissey was still running for her, and one of the humans was now paying attention. This was bad! Panty dropped the bra then dashed for Nate's room. She got under his chair and huddled there, shaking. Why did everything she try always end up making trouble?

    For good or for ill, this managed to snap Nate out of his trance. He turned to see what was going on, then left the chair to kneel down by it. “What was that commotion about?” he asked.

    She looked up at him, staying put. The boy reached his hand to her, cautious. “I'm gonna be punished again, aren't I?” she asked

    “What were you doing?” Ruby asked, leaning over and trying to see her too.

    “Strange creature,” Nate said. “You were?” While he tried to think of it, he cringed and put his head in his hands. “Ugh, what happened to me?”

    “Did you forget again?” the Pignite asked, putting a hoof on his shoulder. “That's...” she sniffled at the thought.

    He looked up at Ruby for about a minute, taking her hoof while he thought. “Ruby... right, you're Ruby. I should talk about this. There was someone...”

    “Good,” she said, relieved. She seemed like she might say something more, but decided to hug Nate instead.

    “Is there a problem?” one of the nurses asked, coming into the room to check on him.

    “My head hurts, but that's normal,” Nate said, starting to get up. He nearly fell down again, but Ruby still had a hold on him. “I had some medicine for this. Oh, and I was with somebody...”

    “Rosa?” the nurse asked. “I can call her up if you want.”

    Panty took a few steps closer and saw Nate nod. “Yeah, I need to talk to someone who's been around me recently.”

    Maybe she wasn't in much trouble this time. At least as long as she avoided that Blissey, nobody should know what happened. But it was too bad that she didn't get a chance to see if that was something Nate liked. She'd try again later.

    -+-

    Upon being informed that Nate had memory problems previously, the doctor wanted to run a few scans on him just in case. But it seemed to be all right this time, at least Rosa thought so. She and Nate had spent several hours going back over their adventures the past few months. Sometimes he spaced out while trying to recall them. Eventually, he was able to remember most of what had happened.

    “What about yesterday?” Rosa asked. “We had talked in the morning, but split up when I wanted to train in the dojo and you wanted to train in the sewers. And what about that Eevee, huh? Why'd you go and name her that?”

    “Name her what?” Nate asked, reaching over to the bedside table to check on the Pokeballs.

    “Well, that,” she said, blushing with a mix of embarrassment and anger.

    “Oh... she doesn't have my Trainer ID in the OT slot.” He looked at it, then nodded. “Yeah, that's right. A guy in the park gave her to me.”

    “What park?”

    With those questions, Nate was able to recount the events of yesterday. He'd trained in the sewers until Argent found a path up to a hidden park, apparently the original central plaza of Castelia. He'd gotten the Eevee in a funny incident; Panty herself seemed nervous and shy, hiding under the chair for most of the morning. Once the other Trainer had left, Nate had one of those visions, this time of Hilda and Kyurem talking (although he seemed oddly reluctant to say what it had been about beyond that). The strange ninja woman had been in the vision too. Not only that, but Nate seemed to have made contact with Kyurem somehow. But after that...

    “I know I saw her in the park,” Nate said. “She... she seemed to recognize me.”

    “Do you remember her?” Rosa asked. “She seemed scary.”

    He shook his head. “I feel uneasy thinking about her, but I can't think of why now. She could have killed me if she really wanted to. And, there's something else I remember, from before we met.”

    “Really? That's great!” She smiled, hoping it would reassure him. “What is it?”

    Nate closed his eyes. “It's hard to tell; I think it's a group of different memories, but I don't know how to separate them yet. I've... I met Hilda.”



    “This place should be safe,” Nate said, making sure that the door shut tight behind them.

    “Frank says it feels peaceful,” Hilda said, walking further into the church. “Amazing place, especially with the bright moon.”

    The church always seemed full of light and color, even though most of the structure was black or white. The stone floor was polished to a shine, reflecting the moonlit colors from the stained glass above; thin pillars supported a soaring roof, making the strong structure seem airy and light. In alcoves to the sides, there were small altars with bright paintings. In front, there was a solemn statue of an angel along with the largest mural of stained glass in the building.

    Their footsteps echoed in that space, both of the humans and the five Pokemon with her. “Even so, it'd be a lot better filled with people,” Hilda said.

    “It was like that, once,” Nate said, his throat tightening up at the thought.

    One mournful day, he had sat down beside a woman who was lost in thought. “It was an awful night,” he said in sympathy. “Um, he let me borrow this.” He offered her a bag that had a black DS secured in a mesh pocket.

    “Oh, well,” she said, looking down. “I think I know what you mean, but it's been hard to think straight. I either feel horribly sad, or I don't feel anything at all.”

    Nate bowed his head. “You've been hit by the mind purges; somebody doesn't want us to remember something. But, your son...”

    She got up suddenly. “You keep that,” she said. “I have no use for it. I'm sorry, but I can't...” She got tongue-tied, then walked off in a hurry.

    Although he felt terrible for her, he only watched her leave the church. They kept losing people as the situation here got worse and worse. Had he really done all he could?

    “Can’t we do something about this?!” a young man said, standing up in the crowd to talk to the church's pastor.

    “We must keep our hopes alive and pray for peace,” the pastor said.

    “More than that,” he said. “The law has no power anymore and there's no chance of getting help. This is a disaster and it's all been caused by them... and we're supposed to just sit here and hope things get better? Shouldn't we be fighting them, to make them pay for what they've done?”

    Nate watched the exchange nervously. Both sides were correct, but it was something that was hard to understand. Most of them wouldn't want to understand it. With what he had seen, Nate couldn't deny it... when he could remember it.

    “I know it's hard but we must have faith,” the pastor said, trying to keep the group calm and together. But it would be hard for anyone, given the chaos they were facing.

    As time went on, the congregation dwindled. Many had abandoned hope while others had died. Nate stuck with the church, trying to help the other members. However, there were moments when he thought of giving up too. Ridiculous laws were coming into being, enforced by unreasonable monsters. The streets and buildings crumbled a little more every day. On the other hand, this church managed to keep itself intact. As long as it stood, he could find some hope to cling to.

    “Nate, don't you think it's time to go home?” his mother asked. She was pacing around.

    “Don't disturb the peace here too much,” Nate said, although there weren't many visitors lately.

    “Your father should be home soon,” she said, not paying attention to what he said. Or maybe even what she was saying herself. “Maybe I should make something special for dinner. That would be nice, wouldn't it? It would be nice, good for you.”

    Nate felt a lump in his throat, but then he found it hard to think of. “Mom... Dad's not coming back. He's gone, like the others.”

    “We'll have a nice family night at home, with games,” she said, lost in her own ways of coping. “Or you could invite a friend over. What about that one friend of yours? I don't think that I've met him yet.”

    “He... he...” For a moment, the memory of what had happened to his friend was raw, fresh as if he'd just witnessed that tragedy. Then the pain turned physical and... the memories were gone, purged from his mind.

    “We can make a crossword today!” his mother said merrily, looking at the refrigerator in their apartment and pulling off an 'L' magnet.

    “Mom, no!” Nate said, coming over and taking the letter from her. “These words are important.”

    “Really?” she asked, looking at him in puzzlement.

    He nodded, placing the letter back in 'SOLARFLARE'. “You know... about the memory purges. I keep my passwords here so I can figure stuff out faster.”

    “I thought that's why you went to the church so much,” she said.

    “I have a lot of reasons to go there.” He paused. She seemed coherent today, a least a little. Did he try to talk with her? Or would she just get distracted again? She'd been like this ever since his father had gone missing. “Mom,do you ever feel like there was something you should have done differently in the past?”

    She thought for a little bit. “I think we should have lived in the country rather than the city. That would have been nice, wouldn't it? Hey, maybe we can still move to a nice country home. I'll talk with your father about it when he comes home.”

    His father wouldn't ever be coming back.

    The city streets were ominous when barren. Nate walked in the street, knowing there wouldn't be any vehicles driving around. While it was out in the open, at least he'd have a better view of trouble when it arrived. Nothing happened on this trip, as he arrived at the church safely.

    Like the streets, it was quiet. The feeling of loss lingered in Nate's heart, although he found it hard to remember those who had once attended here. It was strange; he knew he should be afraid, upset, or sad, but this had gone on so long that he had become numb. Most days, he played video games on his DS for lack of anything else to do. But sometimes, he felt a need for some kind of hope or peace, and so he returned here. Maybe he'd come across another visitor; most likely not.

    There was someone else here. Nate paused halfway through the long sanctuary, looking up at the front. In front of the angel statue, there was another young man, taller than he was. He turned as Nate approached him; his eyes were haunted from dealing with everything that was going on.

    Maybe he remembered more. “I thought you lived with your mother.”

    “She's gone,” Nate said, stopping a few feet from him.

    “I'm sorry,” he said, looking down.

    Nate's mind hurt for a little while, but he could remember him now. “Do you want my help now?”

    His old friend tensed. “I... I can't involve you. I told you that. You'd get hurt. But you shouldn't...” He approached him, starting to put his hand on Nate's shoulder but hesitating.

    “The memory purge doesn't erase the memories,” Nate said. “It just cuts them off from conscious recall. But with the right triggers and recollection paths, I can usually restore my own memories. It's gotten harder and harder to do. I'm not even sure how many times I've been purged now. Seems to happen once or twice a month, though.”

    “Your mind must be in such disarray,” he said, nearly crying at the thought. “Maybe even damaged... I'm sorry; I wish I really could help you, but I'm cursed to hurt others.”

    “I don't think you're cursed. You're defeating yourself; I’ve been really worried about you. I'd like to help you fix things...”

    “How are we supposed to fix things now?” He rubbed his eyes. “Do you remember what I've done?”

    “I believe so.”

    “How can you still worry about me then? Both of your parents are gone. And, everyone that once came here, it seems.” He faced the angel statue again. “You have much grief to bear, and danger is still present where you live. But you worry about a failure like me?”

    “I still believe in you,” Nate said.

    He began shaking, so Nate reached out to him. But he pushed his hand away. “Don't touch me. I don't want you to die too.”

    Abruptly, the light in the church dimmed. “There's still a chance that,” Nate began to say.

    “Get out of here!” he said sharply. “They're coming and I don't want you to die too. I... thank you for being my friend, but I want you to find peace, and be happy. So you shouldn't stay with me.”

    “But,”

    “Go!”

    Recalling the last time he had seen his friend, Nate could almost hear the echoes of him saying that. He shivered. There had been a good reason to leave. Even if he wanted to help... he told Hilda about it while they were in the church. “Once it was safe, I started coming every day again. I thought I might see him, and maybe he'd accept my help this time.”

    “That's harsh of him,” she said. “I wonder if he knows it hurts both of you more in doing that.”

    “He might know that,” he agreed. “While he keeps acting like this, there's not a whole lot I can do.”

    Things were quiet for a moment. Then Hilda nodded. “Maybe I can help him.”

    “How?” Nate asked, not seeing how she would have any chance at that.

    But she smiled and winked at him. “It was in your journals, silly. I'll show you later. But first, look at that!” She pointed up at the stained glass behind the angel statue.

    He looked at the familiar picture. “What about it?”

    “You said you didn't recognize Pokemon as being real, but they're there! Those dragons, they're gods that protect my homeland: Zekrom and Reshiram. That's proof, that they're here in this sacred place. From that, I know what's going on. That makes me think that I can do something you can't. Maybe it'll fix things, or maybe it'll all blow up in my face. But, if I can do something, I should try.”

    “I know my mind's messed up, but really?” Nate asked, looking at the glass panels. The place was so familiar that he hadn't really recognized it, but the dragons up there did seem like ones he'd seen in one of the games at least.

    One of Hilda's Pokemon said something, followed by her saying, “What happened to the Pokemon?”

    “Isn't it... in my journal?”

    Back at his apartment, Hilda checked back on his journal and did some planning with her Pokemon. Then, she came over to him. “Hey, did you ever dream of going to another world?”

    He glanced up from his DS as she plopped down in the seat across the coffee table. “What for?”

    She shrugged and gestured out the window. “Well it's not like this place is that great. Sorry if it offends you.”

    “Not really,” he said, looking back to his game. “I am being escapist, but only with the games, and only because it's as you say.”

    “Then here, try this one.” She tossed a white DS cartridge onto the table between them. “If you start a new game on that, you'll end up in that world.”

    Picking up the game to look at it, he noticed it was a Pokemon game he had picked up some time ago. But the label was smudged and all he could tell of the version was a 'C'. “Is this a way to get to another world? I... I got some games from a boy, shortly before he disappeared. And then some other visitors to the church gave me other games when they lost interest, or when others were lost.”

    “Have you played that one?” she asked.

    “I don't think so.”

    “Well Frank notices dimensional warping around that one,” Hilda said. Her Gothitelle, standing nearby, nodded in agreement. “Maybe it's because I got here, but he's pretty sure that's one way to get to my world, starting a new game with this one.”

    It puzzled Nate, and concerned him. “Why me? You could use it to get back home.”

    “I read your journal and gave it some thought. That's not going to be the only way for me to get back home; there's another power in this world that could accomplish the same, plus I still have these. But I'm worried about you staying here. I mean, you're a cool guy and it's a shame you're caught up in all this. You should try a fresh start where I come from. Although,” a worried look appeared on her face as she looked up at the Gothitelle.



    “What was the problem?” Rosa asked, leaning closer in interest.

    Nate thought about it a bit longer, then shook his head. “I don't quite remember that yet. But she was going to the church to see if she could find clues about that one friend of mine. He,” he snapped his fingers, but it wasn't coming to him. “I can remember what he looks like and the one conversation we had at the church, but everything else still escapes me. Or is blocked off, that's more accurate.”

    “You seemed to remember some, which is great,” she said, trying to cheer him up. “But then Hilda really is in another world... your old one! Because you remember talking with her and Kyurem said so. I wonder what it would take to get her back home.”

    “We still need to figure out why and how she ended up in my world,” Nate said. “Kyurem's missing and I don't think he was with her when we met.”

    “Hmm... oh, but there was something else big! You were involved in telling your memories, so I didn't want to interrupt, but you mentioned that you kept your passwords on the fridge. One of them was solar flare, right?”

    That... he took hold of his necklace. “That's right, I did. Maybe if I try to imagine it, I can remember the rest. But that is more than I knew.” He pulled the ball apart to get to the drive, then plugged that into his Xtransciever. Its screen wasn't that large, but he could look at them on a regular computer later on. For now, he just wanted to know that the password would work.

    Fortunately, all it took was putting in 'SOLARFLARE' with all-caps to unlock four folders. None of them were the one that requested opening first. Instead, he found one folder filled with lengthy papers on various subjects and another folder with an entire book. Those two were way too long to read over while he was talking with Rosa.

    The third folder seemed to be a few video game guides, filled with charts, statistics, and competitive evaluations. “I think this is some of the stuff I recalled about Pokemon,” Nate said, skimming it. “But it's for video games, so probably not as useful in actually training.”

    “Were you that into your games?” Rosa asked, trying to get a peek. Nate went ahead and let her look at the file he'd opened. And a good thing too, since she noticed something. “Hey, that's Game Freak!”

    “You recognize that?” he asked.

    She nodded. “Yeah, that's the company that sponsors the public dojo and runs the virtual battle simulator. I don't know much else about them; I think they do all sorts of games, including Trainer sims.”

    “Trainer sims?” something about that seemed familiar.

    “They're RPGs, I think, that mimic the Pokemon League challenges. I always thought they were kind of silly because you could go do that yourself with real Pokemon, but they must have a following.”

    While it seemed like something to look into, that would have to wait. The last folder that the password unlocked was the most interesting, as it was filled with photos. The first one was even of the church; a large group of teenagers, including Nate, was sitting on the wide steps that led up to it.

    “Wow, you must have had lots of people attending your church,” Rosa said. “Do you recognize any of your friends?”

    “I feel like I should know them,” Nate said, looking over the faces. “I don't think I could name any of them right now.”

    One thing he noticed while looking through the pictures was that even if someone was smiling, they didn't seem to be actually happy. Other pictures in the folder showed some reasons why that might be: a fire in the city streets, masses of black smoke in the air, evidence of damaged and neglected buildings, a distant riot. There was even a couple showing some kind of soldier, completely covered in black and gray body armor. Whatever his old world had been through, it was a huge mess.

    Eventually, they found a picture of Nate with a woman, both of them sitting on a bench in a park where even the grass struggled to survive. She was dressed in a whimsical yellow shirt, a long green skirt, and a green silk scarf tied around her head. He immediately recognized her. “That's my mother,” he told Rosa. “She was kind of childish, actually. Whatever happened, it affected her badly. I tried to help her as best I could.”

    “Maybe she was trying to stay optimistic?” Rosa wondered. “She seems like a fun person, at least here.”

    “That sounds right.” She must have died too, given how sad he felt just looking at the photo.

    There were a few more with him and his mother. Others were of places that might have been important like the church, but none he recognized aside from a shot inside his apartment home. There was even a good shot of the angel statue and the strained glass window behind it; Rosa quickly agreed that the two dragons in the window were Zekrom and Reshiram. Seeing that, Nate was sure that he was missing a lot of vital pieces of his memory. Perhaps having his memory tampered with so much had caused him to temporarily forget about Pokemon and a lot of other general information too. What were Pokemon to his world? And why had his memory been purged so much anyhow?

    And at the very end of the folder's collection, they found a few photographs of Hilda and her Pokemon, in his world.
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

    Fluer Noir- A story of a black flower, a shameful history, and magic.

  2. #77
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    Sixteen chapters in and Nate finally gets the password to a few of his files. As well as a glimpse into his old life, which isn't quite what it seemed to be. I wonder if I should've made his memories even harder to separate... nah. Don't want to be too mind-screwy.

    I'm glad to get chances to use the Pokemon as POV characters; Panty's really confused with how she's been trained. She doesn't mean to do anything wrong, but her original Trainer definitely didn't deserve her. I look forward to developing her, along with a few of the other Pokemon characters. They're fun; I wrote a scene like that this week that I can't wait to show you readers, but we'll all just have to wait, haha.

    This section (chapter 14 to chapter 19) had to be massively reconstructed in the past couple of months because I didn't like the sequence of events and how a couple revelations came around. It took a lot of attention (hence why POS suddenly stopped updating), but I think the end result is better. I'm also back to having a comfortable lead in this fic, so that's a weight off my mind.

    @Missingno Master: Yes, that's what I thought!

    @scizorstrike: I don't believe I've used Looker yet... as for Hugh, I recall him saying it nearly every time he joined the hero(ine) to fight Team Plasma.
    Last edited by Ysavvryl; 17th May 2013 at 10:09 PM.
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

    Fluer Noir- A story of a black flower, a shameful history, and magic.

  3. #78
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    So Nate's world is not our world. Probably, but I don't remember anything like that. And I've made sure to make a routine to do if I suspect I'm going to have bits of my memory erased. Oddly enough, the first thing that came to mind when I saw that Nate's password was SOLARFLARE was the final Okami Reflector-type weapon. I half-expected some of the other passwords to be THUNDEREDGE and TUNDRABEADS, but that's probably just me.

    ...but seeing as this is clearly not an example of a place that Colress and the Shadow Triad would recognize him from, except maybe their own dimensionaly excurisions, this is just another mystery... Speaking of mysteries, Rosa's mother is going to provide another piece to the puzzle of "Who is Keldeo"?. Possibly all four corner peices and an image of the complete one, but hey.

    You know, when you think about it, PT's original trainer may have been completely undeserving of her, but he had to have been a really good Trainer, as the habits he ingrained in her seemed to have managed to linger over a series of successive Trainers.

    My two questions for you today, Ysa, are 1. Are we going to see Looker?
    and 2. (because I can't really be bothered to go through ClicheStorm 1 again) What happened to     Spoiler:- Yes, I went there:
    "Nothing is impossible- The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"- Audrey Hepburn

    One crazy trip: The adventures of a beret-clad boy and his best friend the sky. One day I will learn how to forum-format at a decent speed. Promise.

  4. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by scizorstrike View Post
    My two questions for you today, Ysa, are 1. Are we going to see Looker?
    and 2. (because I can't really be bothered to go through ClicheStorm 1 again) What happened to     Spoiler:- Yes, I went there:
    Ha, the     Spoiler:- spoiler:
    spoiling joke never gets old!

    I'm pretty sure Genesect was confisgated by the Pokemon League after the Zinzilon vs Hilda battle in the Cold Storage.
    I treat my Pokemon like family. Copy and Paste this in your sig if you do too. Started by legolover8.

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    Now I think that Nate is Keldeo's mind while Rosa is Keldeo's physical form. Nate's world seems more and more confusing, and I hope we will get a full explanation before the end. Doctor Who and this story are confusing me beyond belief! Argh!
    I have:
    Platinum
    Heartgold
    White
    Black
    Rumble Blast
    White 2

    I used to liek mudkipz, then I took an arrow in the knee. However the arrow turned out to be a seaking. It yelled "F*** yeah" so I screamed "FUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!". The seaking's face became that of a troll while mine became forever alone. The situation was super effective.

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    I love Okami! Another good reason for the password.

    About Looker, maybe. About Genesect, she was confiscated by Clay after the battle in the Cold Storage building. And then... you'll see.

    I've only read stuff about Doctor Who, so I guess that's a good thing, haha.
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

    Fluer Noir- A story of a black flower, a shameful history, and magic.

  7. #82
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    Chapter 17: Patience and Fortune

    June 1
    Game Freak building

    The name rater had an office, although Nate wasn't sure how the position was important enough to merit an office. But when he had called, the name rater said that he was in the lobby of the building with the Game Freak company. He walked over with Rosa, since he didn't have as much energy as usual. While they let their Pokemon follow, that made it hard to keep track of some. The Eevee didn't seem sure what to do with herself, so Nate picked her up and carried her for a while. After a tense moment, she relaxed and seemed glad for it.

    The lobby was active, with a group of kids in matching green uniforms meeting with an adult leader. Scout group? He wondered briefly if he had been involved in a club like that back home. Probably not. The man they wanted was at the sitting area near the door, reading a book. He had a sign on the table saying 'Castelia Name Fortunes: Find the future in your name, or change the fortune of your Pokemon through names.' “Hey, you were the one who called me earlier,” the name rater said once they introduced themselves.

    “Yes,” Nate said, sitting down on another couch nearby. Ruby watched the scouts while he put the Eevee on the couch. She tensed and held her ears low for a moment. “I wanted to ask about getting the nickname of this Eevee I was given changed.”

    “Sure, let me see your Trainer ID card and her Pokeball,” the name rater said. Nate passed both of those items over, but it wasn't long before the man shook his head. “Your ID number doesn't match the OT number registered on this girl's Pokeball, so I won't do it.”

    “Aw come on, please?” Rosa asked. “Her name has to be changed.”

    “It's traditional not to except by the registered first Trainer, plus changing any of a Pokeball's information is of some risk,” the rater explained.

    “I could understand why when it was a game mechanic,” Nate muttered quietly, looking down at the Eevee. She still didn't seem certain of what she was being allowed to do or why she was being paid attention to.

    “Pardon me?” the name rater said, trying to pass the Pokeball back over.

    Nate pushed it back over to him. “Did you even look at her name? You claim you're able to tell the fortunes of others through their names. She has the name of Panty Thief; wouldn't that lead to a terrible fortune for any Pokemon? I talked to the Pokecenter nurse and she's been passed from Trainer to Trainer at an unusual rate for any Pokemon. If you know how to get the official nickname of a Pokemon changed, and from your word usage I'm sure that you can change it, then wouldn't you do so to improve the fortune and potential life quality of one? I don’t care if the wishes of her original Trainer are in the name. She ended up with a pretty crappy wish and deserves to have a better name.”

    The man looked at the status screen again. “Well she does know Thief,” he said. But when Nate narrowed his eyes at him, the name rater nodded. “You do have a point. This isn't a name I would recommend and unless it's for a mischievous Pokemon, it would cause a lot of bad fortune for the Pokemon and the Trainer. Very well; I can get it done. What kind of name do you have in mind? Something close in sound to what she has would be best, so she has an easier time recognizing it.”

    “I’ve been considering that,” Nate said, nudging the Eevee. “I've only known her for a few days.”

    “I can do some other forms of fortune telling and personality reading as well,” the name rater said. He wanted to get a closer look at the Eevee, so Nate picked her up and put her on the coffee table between them. For a moment, she stayed crouched down, but then she seemed to realize that they didn't mean her harm. “Her flower is the violet, sensitive and shy, but could bloom beautifully if given good attention. I couldn't tell you why or how she has the name she does. What would you call her? She shouldn't have her name changed after this, so choose well.”

    “I'll call her Patience,” Nate said. There hadn't been much of a feminine name that he could think of that was close to Panty Thief, but that worked well in his opinion.

    “That fits her well,” the name rater said. “Her fortunes might turn around under you.”

    -+-

    'To Rosa-

    The film you made with Nate was a smashing success with the test audience! They had a lot to say about it, mostly about getting so caught up in it that they were all wondering what would happen next. It's safe to say that we'll be releasing this film to general audiences this summer, so be on the lookout for that.

    Also, I recall your friend wasn't as enthusiastic about acting, but we would like to bring you both back in when our writers review your scenario and figure out how to adapt the rest of the serial to it. I wouldn't want any other pair of young actors continuing that version; you both have star qualities, even if it's not obvious at first glance. But if you'd like, there's a few other scripts we're actively filming that I think you in particular would be ideal for. For summer filming, our schedule is Tuesday to Saturday from 1:00 PM to 5:45 PM. Give us a call any time to set up a filming appointment, or just drop on in to see if there are any directors looking for actors. I wish you the best!

    From Stu Deeoh, President of PokeStar Studios, Virbank'

    Although she'd read the email twice already, it still made Rosa giggle with excitement. It was proof that they had done really well, a personal note from the studio president inviting them to make more movies and having high hopes for the public release of the Brycenman short. Wait until Nate saw this! Maybe it would even change his mind about making movies with PokeStar. Besides, wasn't he supposed to become known by doing something exciting? This was perfect!

    “I hope they have some movies where I could use all of you!” Rosa said, turning and looking at her Pokemon, who were waiting with her in the battle area of the Game Freak building.

    “Woottta!” Bard said, bouncing around and clapping his paws together. River was trying to be dignified as usual, but found it hard to do with him by her. When he hugged her, her eyes went wide and she pushed him away, only to have it be mistaken as a form of play.

    “Wooorraa,” Medusa the Jellicent said, smiling. Meanwhile, Grim the Ducklett glanced around at the others, looking as though he was expecting a treat or battle for being out. And Finn did not seem impressed, as usual if it had nothing to do with battle.

    “What's happening here?” Nate asked, smiling at the sight of them as he, Ruby, and Patience came close. Argent was looking out a window, not wearing the tan scarf that he now had to lower his natural charge releases. They were in a battle area so it wasn't necessary.

    It was even better that Nate was already back to normal after what had happened to him, Rosa thought. She held her Xtransceiver out for him to see. “Look, we got a response from Mr. Deeoh! Our movie short is going to be released this summer and they want to see us again. Won't that be awesome?”

    “It might be more awesome if we had a way to get back and forth quickly,” he said. “It's not so bad now when we just need to catch a ferry.”

    “So do you want to go back today?” she asked, eyes wide with excitement.

    He laughed. “Maybe. We'll see. This is a pretty good place to train, like you said. But, I was wondering if I could talk to somebody from that Game Freak company. I want to ask if they've heard of a certain game.”

    However, they weren't able to get into the actual company offices or track down someone willing to talk to them. Maybe another day.

    -+-

    In the evening, Nate and Rosa met up in the hotel diner. Someone had the TV nearby turned up, for the game show that was running. Apparently it was one where the contestants had the help of celebrities. Rosa seemed interested in one, a blond teenager that was wearing a dark blue shirt with an intricate silver depiction of a dragon over the entire thing; he also wore a wristwatch that seemed like it would be pricy. “I dunno how much I can help you, but I’ll try my best to think of stuff,” he said to the young woman who had picked him out of the panel. Then he broke out into a spontaneous song, “For my sweet lady Rosemary, my answers shall never tarry.” There were lots of whistles and cheers from the audience as the contestant Rosemary blushed at that.

    “She's so lucky to get Christoph to sing to her,” Rosa said, in a partial daydream. “I mean, he's usually not the smartest panelist there, but he's always so sweet and charming.”

    “Wouldn't it be a better idea to go with the one who is smart?” Nate asked.

    “Oh, but that's no fun!”

    He chuckled. “I guess not. What does he do anyhow?”

    “Lots of things!” she replied, her expression brightening. “He mostly sings, but he also acts in commercials, does these quiz shows, did some Pokestar shorts, attends all sorts of charity events and festivals, helps out with the Pokemon adoption agencies, puts on lots of concerts all over the world, and he was in a sitcom last year that they stupidly canceled after just one season. He's really really talented, and makes it all look so easy. Christoph is the best superstar out there, no contest.”

    “How long has he been in show business if he's done all that?” Nate wondered. “He looks about our age.”

    “He released his first hit song when he was nine,” Rosa said. “That's how amazing he is... oh, hang on.” She opened up her bag and pulled out the extra Xtransceiver she had.

    “You still have that?” Nate asked.

    “We haven't been able to meet up,” she said before accepting the call. “Hey there Curtis!”

    “Hi Rosa,” he replied, sounding tired. “I was wondering how your friend was doing.”

    “Nate's fine now,” she said. “We spent the day training our Pokemon and now we're out eating supper. Isn't that right?”

    Nate raised an eyebrow. “I'm fine, thanks for asking,” he said, a little louder than normal in hopes the Xtransciver would pick up his voice.

    “That's good to hear,” Curtis said. “The other evening, Rosa was so upset and worried about you that it got me worried about you both.”

    “Oh, I didn't mean to get you that worried,” Rosa said, turning a little pink. “But thanks for listening to me then; I was pretty upset.”

    “After what happened, most anybody would be worried,” Nate said.

    “Yeah, especially happening to a good friend,” Curtis said. “I'm glad I could help. I was thinking about calling earlier, but I’ve been tied up with work. Especially when the secretary got after me for messing up some paperwork.”

    Rosa rolled her eyes. “You're always tied up with work, it seems. Hey, are you the CEO of the Battle Company? Because that would be a really busy position.”

    Curtis laughed, but not with much energy. “No, not that. I don't have that much power with, uh, my group.”

    There was something odd about that. Nate thought over past calls of Curtis' that he'd overheard. “You said you weren't old enough to buy alcohol yet, right?”

    “Yeah, what about it? I've been keeping away from that scene as much as I can; I don't think those guys were really my friends.”

    Nate tapped his fork on the plate. “That's good for you. But if you're not old enough to drink, then you're not old enough to be working as many hours as you seem to be. What's up with that?”

    “Huh?” Rosa asked, then realization dawned on her. “Yeah! What is going on? Is it a really exclusive academy that makes you work really hard?”

    “Not that either,” Curtis said. “It's kind of complicated, since much of it is not technically work but the company's having me do anyhow, and practice, and I have to keep up my schooling with all of it and...” he yawned loudly. “Oh, sorry. It's been...” he sighed.

    “Sounds like you really need a good long sleep,” Rosa said. “How about you do that and we can talk more later?”

    “Sounds good to me. I just had to check up on you and Nate. I'll talk to you later. Bye Rosa, Nate.”

    “Bye Curtis,” Rosa said, then waited for Nate to say the same before shutting off the call. “I wonder what it is that he does. He won't say directly. Mostly, I'm joking when I guess what he does, but it'd be nice to know.”

    He considered it himself before saying, “I wasn't sure how well we could trust the guy at first. But from what it sounds like, it seems like he could use a good friend around, even if it's just somebody he's talking to over the phone.”

    Rosa shrugged. “I guess. I just have fun talking to him, even when he gets pulled out of the conversation with little warning. If he needs someone to talk to, then that's better. I just hope I can meet him in person some time soon.”

    -+-

    June 3
    Castelia City, Gym

    After spending a few hours training in the dojo, Nate decided to check into the city's Gym. The Gym had a colorful face, but it blended in with the buildings around it. Before he could enter, though, Nate had to stop for an argument between a harlequin and a man being shoved onto the street. “Nope-nope, we can take a joke, but what you're up to is not funny at all.”

    The man, wearing a loud green and yellow plaid jacket (and matching pants and beret, of all things), got up indignantly and brushed dirt off his clothes. “Fine, but I still need to talk with Burgh. When is he getting back in?”

    Putting a hand on his cheek with an exaggerated thoughtfulness, the harlequin hummed and hawed for a full minute before shaking his head. “Nope, not telling. You've been much too rude, trying to poke around our offices like that. Now don't try coming in again; I'll be keeping a Vullaby's eye on you.” Then the harlequin turned to him with a brightened expression. “Oh, hello there! Did you have business at our Gym?”

    He nodded. “Yes, but did I hear you say that the Leader is out?”

    “Mm, yes, but,” he glared at the plaid man. “Ahem.”

    “I'm going to file a complaint about this,” he said, then stormed off.

    The harlequin waved after him, then waggled his fingers at him when his back was turned. Then he was all smiles for Nate. “Sorry about that chump, but he's been a pestilence for days. Keeps saying that he wants to speak with Burgh, but then slithers away before they can meet.”

    “What would he be after?” Nate asked.

    “Who knows?” the harlequin asked, shrugging. “But I suppose you wouldn't entirely care, since it wouldn't trouble you any. Burgh is off this afternoon, so he's not accepting any challenges at this time. He does this once a week to focus on training his Pokemon outside the Gym. But, you could reserve a time slot to challenge him tomorrow, or, come in today and challenge those of us who work with him.” The harlequin then gave a low bow. “We're all good in our own right, following Burgh's training philosophy and style. And Pokemon, of course.”

    Nate nodded and smiled. “That's what I was hoping for, some good opponents to try.”

    “Then you shouldn't be disappointed,” he said, giving him a wink.

    -+-

    Lostlorn Forest

    According to Zane, this place was inhabited by another Zoroark. At least one. N wouldn't be surprised if there were a few others around, given how many illusions were in this place. With his abilities as a gijinka, he was able to see both the illusions and the real things. There were trees that weren't really there, roots that were hidden so they could trip trespassers, paths that were made to all look the same, distortions in crossroads to ensure that most visitors would avoid particular ways, and even a false stream. He could find his way around and talk to the Pokemon. But few of them knew what was going on with Kyurem; they had not felt his power nearby, nor had they even had the slightest idea that something wasn't right.

    Whatever had been done, it had been done quietly. Perhaps a more secluded place than this. Hopefully the others were able to come up with with better leads. N didn't have access to his future visions anymore, so that potential was out; a number of his innate powers had been cut off to take out a truly dangerous ability. Someone had to come up with something. This situation kept him from sleeping well at night.

    Mostly worried about Hilda, if he was to admit his thoughts. When her calls stopped coming early last summer, he had spent many weeks worrying if he'd said something to offend her or make her dislike him. He tried to tell himself not to worry about it, but there were times that he got lost in thoughts or concerns of her. Now to know that she had been missing all along, it was hard to think of anything besides finding her. Why didn't he think to come back to Unova sooner?

    A strange screech reached his ears. N looked around and noted that he'd come back to the meadow near Nimbasa without thinking about it. Ahead of him and Zane, there was a familiar man in brightly colored clothing, including a brown scarf with rainbow fringe. Near him was a strange Pokemon, apparently a Bug type with sleek violet body armor. However, she was nearly as tall as her Trainer. N recalled hearing of this Pokemon from his brother; she would be Genesect. And the man directing her in a battle against a Whirlipede was Burgh.

    Zane seemed interested, so they paused to watch the battle. It didn't last long; Burgh got the Whirlipede revived and let it roll away back to its own life. Afterwards, he looked around and noticed them at the edge of the trees. “Oh, wait there,” Burgh said, pointing towards them. “It's you N, isn't it?”

    N felt an impulse to flee. But, it was just one person. “Yes, it is,” he said, coming into the opening. “It's been a long time, Burgh.”

    Fortunately, he smiled, coming over to shake his hand. “Great to see you again! You're still one of my more memorable opponents. I've been trying to keep your words in mind, and many of my lovely bugs seem to be more responsive. I hope you've been able to do well for yourself. Now who's the charming Pokemon with you?”

    “This is my friend Zane,” N said, glancing to him. “Zane, this is one of the Gym Leaders I faced before adding you to my team, Burgh.”

    The Zoroark dropped down on all fours and crept behind N. “He's the one with the Bugs, isn't he?”

    “That's right,” N said, clasping his tail for a moment to try reassuring him. Then he turned back to Burgh. “Is this Genesect with you? I've heard of her.”

    “Is I,” Genesect said. Like other ancient Pokemon revived from fossils, she wasn't well-spoken. But she was downright eloquent compared to other revived fossil Pokemon he'd met. “Follow swarm leader. Hello to swarm leader friend.”

    “Yes, this is our mysterious lady,” Burgh said, nodding. “Clay originally had her, but it was decided that I should attempt taming and training her. It's worked out pretty well; I had to be particularly strict with her at first, but now that she's obedient, I don't have any trouble with her. I've even been able to trust Genesect around strangers for short periods of time, although I won't be using her in the Gym at any time.”

    “How is she?” N asked, recalling stories that she'd blown a hole straight through Kyurem's hide and had been held captive in a cave system for many years.

    “You might be able to find out better than I in conversing with her,” he said. Then Burgh looked at Genesect, causing her to look back to see if he wanted anything of her. “Many Bug Pokemon start out primitive compared to other Pokemon, not thinking of anything more than survival and best left unprovoked. They can become more emotional after being with a Trainer long enough. As for Genesect, she has been much the same way, just a little more dangerous. At first, she was hostile, territorial without having any territory. Once she came to trust me, her hostility lightened up although she still gets defensive if something she considers hers is bothered. I prefer to train her outside and keep strict on her. She seems to respond to that better.”

    “Do you mind that, Genesect, being trained strictly?” N asked.

    Genesect studied him curiously for a moment. Then she said, “He swarm leader, strong swarm leader of much thought. Good for survival of all. I am his, my duty to defend him always. Sometimes, he of strange thought. But with much thought, strange must be good. I follow him and solve strange thought, then I strong swarm leader later.”

    “You've certainly earned her respect,” N told Burgh, impressed. When Hilbert had described his encounters with her, Genesect had seem to be feral and violent. “She sees you as a swarm leader, which makes sense, and she's trying to learn from you. Although she thinks some of your ways are strange.”

    “Is that so?” Burgh asked, tapping his foot. “That is one of the best ways to lead a Bug Pokemon team, to get them to recognize you as a swarm leader. Many of their social behaviors are based on the swarm, so it will feel most natural to them.” Then he chuckled. “I wonder if she sees my art as the strange ways. She doesn't see color, as her eyes interpret light shifts best. My paintings don't make sense to her, but I can work on them for long periods of time.”

    “She might still like to learn that, at least to solve what it is.”

    “She might be able to understand sculpture, although I'm not sure how much significance she'd put into a still object,” Burgh said. “It could be an interesting thing to try. According to the labs, she does have a keen sense of smell. I wonder... well, I'll figure that out later. Did you have a reason to return to Unova?”

    N considered what to say. He'd really only spoken to Burgh once, but he knew that the Pokemon League as a whole could be a great ally. “It was partly so that Zekrom and Reshiram could return. But once we got back, we ran into something troubling. We can't seem to locate Kyurem, and we heard that Hilda's been missing too. For now, we've split up to try finding more information. Do you know anything about that?”

    “Them?” Burgh paced a few steps, thinking. “I had thought it was strange that we heard nothing about them in the past year, especially Hilda. I remember, back last summer... I think it was mid-June, but there was talk that there would be a rematch battle between Hilda and Cynthia at Undella. Cynthia's a highly respected Trainer, was the Champion of another region a few years back. Back when Hilbert had been crowned, the two of them had a Pokemon battle. I heard Cynthia had been seen that June, but not Hilda. I don't know if that really helps, but that's the last I heard about her.”

    “That matches the timeline we know,” N said. “We think she disappeared in early June. It really isn't like her to cut everyone off and be gone so long. We're hoping for the best, but then...” There was a chance that she was dead that really worried him. But he didn't want to give up on finding her alive.

    “I hope you can find her,” Burgh said. “And you can't find Kyurem either?”

    He nodded. “With this going on, and how they lost Keldeo previously, I think that they're still adapting to modern society. I know that I have difficulty with that. Still, this can't be right and we need to find both of them as quickly as we can.”

    “The area would have changed a lot from their point of view,” he said. “Look, I'll pass the word around that Hilbert looking for Kyurem and Hilda. If you've got a lot of humans and Pokemon keeping an eye out, surely someone will notice something. That is, unless you want others to know that you're around; if you'd rather keep to the background for now, I understand completely.”

    Maybe they had only met once before, but N felt like Burgh really did understand. He'd thought about finding out what happened to the other Sages and members of Team Plasma. However, he wasn't sure if he was ready to face them yet. Or anyone, save Hilda. “That'd be great, if you wouldn't say anything about me but keep us informed of anything. Thank you.”

    -+-

    “I think I'm going to challenge Burgh tomorrow, if he's in,” Nate said, sitting on a bench in Central Plaza while they rested. The sky overhead was dark, but the streetlights were bright enough that a few people were having Pokemon battles still.

    “Oh, are you ready for that already?” Rosa asked, sounding impressed.

    He nodded. “I took my Pokemon in today to battle the Trainers who work there, but Burgh himself was out for most of the day. Obviously Ruby can handle any of the Bugs in there, but the other two did well too. Then I'd have Nimbasa Gym to prepare for. But that depends on when you're ready to move on too.”

    “Um, well,” she shifted nervously, “I don't know about taking on Burgh yet. I mean, I happened to fight one of the Trainers in the public dojo the other day, and he had two Swadloons that wreaked my team. Once Grim was out, there wasn't a lot we could do.”

    “You had a lot of Water types, didn't you?” he asked. “You might be able to train them easier around Route 4, between here and Nimbasa. From what I've heard, it's a desert area and they should be effective around there.”

    “That might work,” Rosa said, although she didn't seem enthusiastic about it. That changed when she changed subject. “My mom's going to be here tomorrow, but if you still want to try, I don't think she'd mind. Oh, and I checked with the Pokestar studios earlier today. They want me to be in a movie about a princess, so I might go over there in Virbank for a couple of days for filming. But they really want to see you back too, so we can do more with that Riolu Girl serial.”

    Nate frowned. “Would they actually pay us this time? It is still work.”

    “Yeah, they'll do that,” she said. “And they should be sending us payment for that first part soon, as a percentage of the film's income.”

    “That's good, although I still think they're on the shady side.”

    “Aw, please let's do this again?” Rosa pleaded, giving him cute wide eyes. “And wasn’t part of what Hilda told you to do was to make your name well-known? Finishing that serial would be perfect for that!”

    “I'll think about it.” He looked up as a movement of loud yellow caught his eyes. It led to a familiar man, or rather, a familiar plaid outfit. Wasn't that the guy who had been tossed out of the Gym earlier? The guy was pacing around, seeming anxious. As Nate wondered what his problem was, he had a feeling like someone was trying to call out to anyone who could hear.



    His heart pounded as he listened to the soft jingling footsteps of the harlequin. Previously, he'd thought people who were afraid of clowns were wimps. But maybe they had a point. The harlequins had caught him before and their mix of joking and scolding was unsettling.

    Biting his tongue, he kept waiting as the sound walked away. He should have gotten someone else to do this. If he got caught this time, they might accurately guess what was going on. Or maybe if he just changed outfits. Anything but come right back a few hours later... but then, they were counting on him. Especially Bronius. The Sage had been worried the past few days and wanted this part of their mission done.

    Once the danger of discovery seemed to be over, he crawled out from behind the couch in Burgh's office and stood up. It was mostly dim with dusk, with light from the street coming in through the window. He had to be calm. Now, where was it? The Gym Leader had come back, but he was on the upper levels taking on a challenger. So it had to be here. There was something about it being almost obvious, a glass buoy.

    There it was. On the wall, there was an old style of buoy which was a group of colored glass orbs resting in a thick knotted up rope. And in a spot where there should be a smaller orb, there was a Pokeball instead. He plucked it out of the ropes and checked the status screen. Genesect. This was it. After slipping the Pokeball into an inside pocket of his jacket, he headed to the door and glanced around. There was no one in the hallway. He hurried out, his objective obtained. But the mission wouldn't be a success until he could bring Genesect back to Team Plasma. Which wouldn't be easy, as they had told him that the original meeting spot couldn't be used. He'd have to be on his guard.



    Rosa was tugging at him. “Hey, Nate?” she asked quietly.

    His head was clear this time as he stood up looking at the man. “That guy, he's with Team Plasma and he just stole some Pokemon from Burgh.”

    “Seriously?” she hissed, getting up too. The guy hadn't noticed them yet, in part thanks to the noise of a nearby battle. “He doesn't look like it.”

    “I saw it. I know he is,” Nate said. “If we...”

    But Rosa had already brought out the sword she had. The only heed she was paying to her injured arm was to not use it. “Well we won't let him get away with it,” she said angrily. She ran over to him.

    Nate grimaced, but he waved over to the man. “Argent, get over on his other side in case he runs. You too River, Bard.” He hung back while the three Pokemon hurried to back her up, hoping this wouldn't become a mistake in telling her.

    “Hold it!” Rosa yelled, bringing her sword up to the guy but thankfully not hitting him with it. “You're a Pokemon thief!”

    Jumping in the air and turning frantically, the Plasma thief had to grab his beret before he lost it. People around the plaza were starting to look at them. “Aaah, did you follow me fr-from the Gym?” he asked, staring more at the sword than the girl holding it. “You're with those harlequins, aren't you? I'm just following orders.”

    “But you stole the Pokemon, didn't you?” she asked with a scowl.

    “Ye-ye-ye...” he turned pale and fainted; four Pokeballs fell out of his jacket and rolled across the pavement.

    Rosa lowered her sword, surprised. “Um... I didn't think you were supposed to faint.” A few people laughed or whistled, not thinking that this would be anything serious.

    Picking up one of the rolling Pokeballs, Nate came over. “This is... a Pokemon from the Gym, it's got the tag in its status section.” But it wasn't the one he had been thinking of. “We'd better call them. Make sure that he doesn't get up.”

    “Right!”

    As it turned out, the Gym knew it was missing a few Pokemon. But not that they were missing Genesect. On searching the man, they found a fifth Pokeball that belonged to her. Burgh came himself with a couple of his harlequin Trainers to come pick them up. “Thank you so much for locating him before he got too far,” the leader said while he used a scanner to check on all of the Pokemon. “They're all precious to us, but it could have been a huge problem if he'd gotten away with Genesect. I don't even want to think about it.”

    “Why Genesect in particular?” Rosa asked.

    “She's genetically modified in order to be as powerful as the immortal Pokemon,” Burgh said. “Maybe even immortal herself; it's much too soon to know for certain. I've spent a year and a half to earn her trust and teach her obedience so that she won't be trouble. But to someone as bold enough to steal Pokemon, she could be a potent weapon against everyone.”

    “If they're targeting her, then you should be more careful about her,” Nate said.

    He nodded. “Certainly. I was counting some secrecy, but that doesn't seem to be enough now. How did you two manage to catch him?”

    “He was really nervous, but Nate saw something more about it,” Rosa said, looking to him.

    “I can view the memories of others,” Nate said. “It was luck or divine guidance this time, since it doesn't happen all that often and I can't make it happen.”

    “Then we should thank the gods for their help,” Burgh said, looking thoughtful. “Although it makes me wonder which one is influencing you. I don't think Genesect is capable of it, but perhaps she is.”

    “Maybe she triggered it because she knew something was wrong,” he said, recalling the odd feeling he had right before the memory. “I hadn't heard of her before this evening, though. I'm glad it happened this time.”

    “We're all very glad about this result,” Burgh agreed.
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

    Fluer Noir- A story of a black flower, a shameful history, and magic.

  8. #83
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    This chapter went through so many name changes... anyhow...

    So now Patience gets what I think of as her real name. Side stuff and getting to have someone snap at a name rater led me to what happened. I think if they changed the naming restriction down to only special event Pokemon not getting renamed, a lot of players would be fine with that. Or even some kind of temporary debuff after renaming a Pokemon without your OT number, although that may be a bit much for the programmers to want to deal with.

    And we get to hear Genesect talk for herself! It only makes sense for Burgh to handle Genesect. After all, the Unova League has a large number of type specialists, but not Steel. Or Rock.
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

    Fluer Noir- A story of a black flower, a shameful history, and magic.

  9. #84
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    I'm glad that genesect has an actual trainer and wasnt just put in storage or thrown in a vault after Clichestorm 1. Sadly on my mobile I cant make spoilers
    I have:
    Platinum
    Heartgold
    White
    Black
    Rumble Blast
    White 2

    I used to liek mudkipz, then I took an arrow in the knee. However the arrow turned out to be a seaking. It yelled "F*** yeah" so I screamed "FUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!". The seaking's face became that of a troll while mine became forever alone. The situation was super effective.

  10. #85
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    Chapter 18: Swarms of Questions

    June 4
    hotel, Castelia

    When he got up that morning, Nate found Patience sitting on a t-shirt that he knew belonged to Rosa. At least it was just the t-shirt. “Would you take that back, please?” he asked the Eevee. “Before we both get into trouble.”

    Patience whimpered, lowering her ears. But she did pick up the shirt in her mouth and take it back to the other half of the suite. The door must not have been well latched last night, since she was able to simply push it aside, then reach up and pull the knob back to mostly close it. This time, she had a shoe.

    She had messed with his clothes some, he recalled. Nate didn't mind that, but he didn't want her stealing other people's clothing. Even if it was a shoe this time; it was interesting that she managed to carry that around. “No, that's not what I meant,” he said. “Put the shoe back.”

    “Aaoo,” she whimpered again, starting to go into her crouch and shiver state.

    “You can't wimp out all the time,” Nate said, trying to scold without being too harsh about it. “Put her shoe back. I don't want you stealing things like this.”

    Thankfully, she did break out of that quickly, half-running to get the shoe back to the other room. Nate worked on getting himself dressed. When Patience seemed to be taking longer than necessary, he thought about trying to call her without waking Rosa up. Then he heard a half-awake, “Hey!” from the other room. “Nate, Patience is trying to make a bed out of my stockings.”

    “Sorry,” he said, going to the door between their suites. Patience ran in and dashed under the bed. While the frame went to the floor, she could hide behind the blanket. “The door didn't get latched securely. I hope she didn't disturb you too much.”

    “Eh, I should be getting up too,” Rosa replied.

    Since that seemed to be taken care of, he shut the door. “Patience, I don't want you stealing things,” he said. “By your old name, I'm guessing someone taught you to do that. But that person taught you improperly, okay? There will be other things you're good at.”

    She crept into view at that, but continued to act sulky for the rest of the morning.

    -+-

    Janice had met them at the docks, hugging both of them and asking lots of questions about how they were doing. When they told her that Nate wanted to challenge the Gym Leader, she happily said that she wanted to see it. “Well this place has changed drastically since I was last in here,” she said as they entered the main part of the Castelia Gym.

    “Was it this weird?” Nate asked, fiddling with his wallet after getting his card and team scanned.

    Janice thought about it, then waved her hand in a neutral way. “Kind of. Burgh's always had, well, interesting ideas of what a Gym should be like.”

    “It's kinda creepy, like you wandered into someone's obsession,” Rosa said, looking around with wary interest.

    She knew that Burgh was an artist, so she had expected his Gym to look all bright and colorful. It had in the recorded battles she had seen. But this... it was entirely white. Some gray areas were in the shadows, but none too dark. The floor was soft and a little springy. All of this was because every surface was covered in white silk ropes, like the threads of a silkworm's cocoon. The walkways above were patterned like spiderwebs. Scattered around the various floors of the Gym, there were large structures that looked like cocoons, tied together with silken tubes which seemed to be the only way to get to the Leader's area higher up.

    Nate pointed to one of the cocoons. “It may look weird, but the passage system here is actually pretty nice. I've been in here before, so I know which way to go to get to the top.”

    “Are you going to challenge the Leader too, either of you two lovely ladies?” the harlequin said.

    “I'm not eligible, thanks,” Janice said, shaking her head.

    “I don't know,” Rosa said. “But, um, I’ll guess I’ll register, just in case.” That took another minute to get that done, but it was nice to have the option.

    Despite what Nate thought, Rosa felt that the transport system was just as weird. When they stepped into the cocoons, one by one, there would be four silk cords hanging from the tube. She took a hold of one and then they all came to life, wrapping around her arms and waist. Once secured, they pulled her up through the narrow tubes to reach the cocoon on the other side. It didn't hurt and was actually kind of soft, like be transported by blankets. But it didn't change that they grabbed hold of her all on their own and traveled through a rather small enclosed space.

    At the top, they found themselves in a large domed room similarly coated in the silk ropes. The ropes dangled in a way that was artistic, yet still rather like cobwebs. In the center, there was a large circle which was topped with glass, protecting a rainbow swirl of light that projected into the room and gave it an ethereal atmosphere. Burgh was standing on the colored part, talking with a young Trainer and the kid's parents. Also in the room was a man that Rosa thought she'd seen before, but couldn't place him. He had blond hair and wore a flared white coat; at his side, a Elgyem floated at shoulder height and observed what was going on. But even more odd, the man had wires coming from his eyeglasses and going somewhere under his hair.

    “It seems like I have a lot of guests today,” Burgh said, smiling as he noticed their group coming in. Then he looked back to the other family. “Well it's wonderful to see a family so supportive of each other. I'm sorry we have to cut things off, but I do have another scheduled match. You may head back to the lobby through the cocoon back there, or stay a while if you want to watch other battles.”

    “What do you want to do?” the man asked his son.

    Meanwhile, Burgh turned his attention to them. “Well isn't this a surprise? I wasn't expecting to see you two heroes so soon. You must be Nate, then. It's good to properly meet you; my Trainers were talking a lot about you this morning.”

    He nodded and shook the Leader's hand. “Yes, that's me. Good to meet you again, Burgh.”

    “Yes, both of you. Were you here to challenge me too?” He was looking her way now.

    Rosa turned a little pink. “Oh, uh, I dunno. Maybe. I'm Rosa, by the way. And this is my mother here, Janice, she came to visit us.”

    Despite the oddness, he seemed warm and friendly, shaking hands with both of them. “It's up to you, but don't be afraid to have faith in your Pokemon. As I was saying to the others, it's good to see family members in here too, m'am. I hope you're enjoying Castelia City, if it isn't your home.”

    “It seems like a long time since I've been in a busy city like this,” Janice said, shaking his hand. “It's worth it to see these two in action.”

    Rosa had faith in her Pokemon, but... she searched for the words for a moment, then decided to change the subject. “Oh, and this place looks a lot different that I thought it would. Whenever you have a match on TV, it's always on a really pretty wooden stage, not this place.”

    He laughed at that. “Not this place, you think? Maybe it isn't, but maybe it is.” He waved his hand to the silk walls. “I am devoted to my art as much as I am my Pokemon, and the idea I've always had in making this place my own is to imitate the life and images of my buzzingly beautiful Bug Pokemon. A while ago, I found myself wondering what life was like for them within a cocoon. It is a cycle of rebirth and change that is similar for the little bugs and for the Pokemon bugs. And the cocoon is one of the great symbols of change... well, I’ll show you.” He clapped his hands. “Okay, everyone in here, please decide if you're leaving or staying now. If you're staying, join me in this circle to see something wondrous.”

    The three of them were already on the rainbow circle to talk with Burgh. The other family decided to stay to see what would happen, which only left the odd man and his Elygem to the side. They came forward to join them on the circle. Once there, the scientist gave a smile to Rosa. “Ah, it is you, from the other days in the sewers. Did you find your friend?”

    The sewers? It took a moment, but then she remembered that he had been the one who ended up directing her into the old tunnels. Rosa nodded. “Yeah, I did. Thanks for helping me then.”

    He bowed his head. “No problem, young lady.”

    “Oh yes, Colress here is doing some studies into Pokemon training itself,” Burgh said, nodding to him. “He's doing observations today, but it could be worth the time to answer his questions.”

    “If you want,” Colress said.

    Burgh then grinned and took hold of his watch. “And now, let's watch the show!”

    At a signal from the watch, the floor began to tremble lightly. Then, a single clean split appeared across the whole dome room. Both sides then rotated upwards, leaving the rainbow circle to sit still. Rosa watched in amazement as the two halves of the rooms turned to reveal small seating areas as well as the familiar painted Beautifly design on the floor. It took a little over a minute for the transformation to be complete. As the floor locked into place, Colress' Elgyem whistled in delight.

    “That was incredible,” Rosa said, grinning.

    “Thanks; I adore the way the system works now,” Burgh said with pride. “It's too bad that I don't get to show it off as often as I'd like. But enough with my showing off. It's time for you to attempt showing off the magnificence of your Pokemon, isn't it Nate?”

    “I'll certainly do that,” Nate said, smiling.

    Taking that as a signal to clear the area, the family headed on to the cocoon passage (which now seemed to be a tall stump covered in mushrooms), while the remaining visitors headed to the seating area to Nate's left. There was plenty of space, so Rosa released her Pokemon to join the audience. Although Colress obviously had a few other Pokemon in his holder, he didn't keep any out other than his Elgyem.

    Rosa quickly hugged Bard as he leaned close to the wall separating the seating from the battle area. “Hey, be nice and stay back here. It's time for Nate's team to take on the Leader, so we'll cheer them on.”

    “Deoo!” the Dewott exclaimed, then stood in the seat by her and began waving his paws. Janice laughed and waved her arms like Bard was. Medusa soon joined in, smiling and having fun as she twirled around. Hopping onto the partition wall, River watched from there more studiously. On the other hand, Grim began grooming his feathers.

    “You certainly have energetic Pokemon,” Colress said to her.

    Rosa laughed a little. “Yeah, they're lots of fun to have around.”

    “Actually, I was hoping to run into you again,” he said, pulling what looked like a tablet computer out from his bag. “You heard what Burgh said: I'm running a study on how people train Pokemon. I've been at the observations for a few months now, but I'm already picking up some patterns. You would seem to be in a Trainer group that, quite frankly, I have few subjects for.”

    She tilted her head at him. “Really? I only started this spring, and I don't think I was doing anything special. I just like being with my Pokemon.”

    “Would you mind assisting me? It's really quite simple. I just need to ask you some questions now, then get permission to track your team's progress, preferably through the League. I'll have follow-up surveys to keep things up to date too.”

    “Okay, I don't see why not,” she told him. He seemed to be a scientist of some kind. Maybe his study would be going to improve things.

    “Thank you,” Colress said, taking the tablet's stylus from its slot. “Now, your name was Rosa, right?”

    She nodded. “Rosa Wilburs.”

    “How many badges do you have?”

    “Two of them,” she said, swinging her feet.

    The scientist raised an eyebrow. “Really? That seems to be good for having only started this spring.”

    “I don't think so,” Rosa said, getting embarrassed and looking over to Nate's battle. “I mean, Nate's really good. I'm sure he'll win today. Still, we're not as good as Hilda was.”

    “Speed of a team's progress doesn't tell everything about how good the Trainer is,” Colress pointed out. “But don't be afraid to turn down a compliment.”

    She laughed nervously. “I guess I shouldn't.”

    They continued talking as Nate's battle with Burgh continued. Rosa looked to see how he was doing at times. While he'd brought Patience out first, only a couple of rounds passed before he pulled her back and brought out Ruby instead. The Swadloon Burgh had was a little faster than Ruby, but once the Pignite attacked, she took it out quickly. Burgh next had a Dwebble which managed to withstand Ruby's next attack. For a second, Nate seemed to be considering switching, but stuck with Ruby while Burgh started to heal up his Dwebble.

    “Anyhow...” after a number of questions, Colress checked his tablet and nodded. “It does look like you'll be a good fit into my long-term study, Rosa. If you don't mind, I'd like to give you a battle and training journal for you to keep track of what you do with your Pokemon and how they perform. Keep in mind that it's for a scientific survey and anything you write could be used.”

    “I wouldn't mind that,” Rosa said. “Um, so what do I do?”

    He searched in his bag, coming up with a PIN drive for her to use. “Just treat and train them like you are now, that will do. Although, if you are looking for ways to improve their odds, you might consider trying some battle accessories. There's a lot of options, by looking through stores or foraging... hmmm...” He checked his bag, then pulled out a small pale blue stone for her. “Here, like this. Take it.”

    “Are you sure?” Rosa asked.

    “Go ahead,” Colress said, giving her the stone. “You're volunteering for my study, and I'd like to return some help to my participants. This is a Flying Gem. It's a fragile thing and will likely turn to dust when used. However, it will immensely power up a Flying type move once. Won't do anything for a Pokemon that doesn't know such a move. It can be handy if you know ahead that that would take out a troublesome opponent.”

    “Sure, thank you.”

    Their discussion then came to an end as the battle between Burgh and Nate also ended. “My, the passion of your Pokemon burns brightly today,” the Leader said.

    Ruby the Pignite snorted in laughter. Nate shifted his visor. “I'd say the spirit more than the passion,” he said.

    At that, Rosa hopped up and put her hands on the divider wall. “Aw, do you have to be nitpicky about the jokes even?” she then laughed.

    “No matter,” Burgh said, still smiling. He bowed to Nate. “It was a brilliant show. Your Pokemon are strong and I can tell that you guide them well, even with as little experience as you have. In honor of your team's victory, I give you the Insect Badge.”

    “Thank you, sir,” Nate said, accepting it.

    “No need to 'sir' me,” Burgh said. Then, he looked over at the seats they were in. “So then, young lady, did you want to give it a try? I don't have anyone else scheduled for a while, and,” he pulled out a phone, checking something. “Looks like there isn't anyone trying to get up here. What do you say?”

    “Um...” she turned around and looked at Bard. The Dewott and her Frillish both encouraged her to go ahead; they were willing to go. River nodded too, still watching the battle area. After recalling those three Pokemon, she came out of the seating area. “A-all right. We're gonna try. Come on Grim.”

    “Give me a minute to get my team ready, and we'll challenge you as well,” Burgh said, heading off the rainbow circle to take care of his Pokemon.

    -+-

    Nate spoke briefly to Rosa, patting her shoulder. Then he and Ruby came over to the seats where Janice and that scientist were. “Experts like him must be able to tell a lot from a little,” he said while sitting down. “There really wasn't much challenge once I brought Ruby out to use Flame Charge.”

    Ruby snorted in agreement.

    “Why didn't you just start with that then?” Janice asked. “I saw you with Patience at first.”

    “Because there are Bug Pokemon that could counter a Fire Pokemon,” Nate explained as he brought Patience back out, along with Argent. “Fortunately, he didn't have one. Patience can also use the experience, so hopefully she builds some courage.”

    “So you started out as a Trainer at the same time as Rosa?” Colress asked, shifting some things on his tablet computer.

    “Yes,” Nate said, feeling wary. He hadn't paid much attention to the blond man until that question, but now that he looked at him, he felt oddly familiar. If they had met before, that was a memory he didn't have access to. “Do I... do you recognize me? Because I feel like I've seen you somewhere before.”

    Colress raised an eyebrow. “Do you? Quite frankly, it would be quite a coincidence if you recognize me. There are few outside of the scientific community that would know me on sight. I have been meeting with a lot of people in the past year, so it may have been a brief meeting.”

    “Science?” Nate rubbed his forehead. “I'm more interested in philosophy and religion.”

    “Are you all right?” Janice asked, putting her hand on his shoulder.

    Triste cooed, making colored lights appear at his fingertips. The Elgyem drifted closer to Nate, apparently curious about this. Nodding to the Pokemon, Nate put his hands down. “Yeah, I think it'll pass.”

    “You might take your medicine just in case,” Janice suggested, but she was soon watching as Rosa was getting ready to battle Burgh.

    Nate looked at Colress, but nothing more seemed to happen. “Sorry sir, I, well, have memory issues.”

    “I wouldn't hold that against you,” Colress said. “But if you wouldn't mind a distraction from that...”

    He actually smiled at that. “Sure, why not? Might actually help.”

    The scientist chuckled softly. “Perhaps. As I was speaking of with your friend, I'm doing a study of Pokemon Trainers and their training methods. Do you mind if I interview you as a possible volunteer for it? Rosa has already agreed to help.”

    “Sure, that would be fine,” Nate said. Scientists would be looking for information, and their studies often helped many people.

    -+-

    Rosa had an idea of what might work, although she was still nervous. In a way, she had to trust what Colress had said. Talking with him had made it harder to watch Nate's battle, but she had a good idea of what she was facing: a Swadloon, a Dwebble and a Leavanny. From that, sticking with Grim was probably her best bet.

    Then Burgh stepped back onto the rainbow circle. “Are you ready for a bug-tacular fight?” he asked. “Declare your Pokemon. I have three.”

    “I have five,” she said, her heart pounding in her chest. A voice in her head wondered if this was a mistake and she'd end up embarrassing herself in front of the others, even with an advantage in numbers. But, she was going to try, at least to show that she was willing to try keeping up with Nate. “We're ready.” I hope, she mentally added.

    “Okay, then,” he brought a hand up, holding out a Pokeball dramatically for a moment before pressing its button to release, “We begin!” He released a small Dwebble.

    “Go Grim!” she called, bringing her Ducklett back out. Bugs were weak to Flying, she recalled. And this Dwebble was part Rock, which made it weak to Water too. The Leavanny with its Grass moves would be the troublesome one. “Use Bubblebeam on it.”

    Grim came out on the ground, as usual. He bopped his head up and down before spitting out a torrent of bubbles at the Dwebble. While it shuddered under the hit, it followed through on its own orders and summoned up a rock to hurl at the Ducklett. Grim squawked in surprise as the blow knocked him over. For a moment, Rosa worried about the match being practically lost already.

    But Grim wasn't knocked out; he managed to hop back onto his webbed feet. “Do that again,” Rosa said, hoping. The second attack did knock the Dwebble out, so she didn't have to worry about another rock attack.

    However, Burgh didn't seem flustered. With another dramatic flourish, he released the Leavanny. It twirled around and put one of its narrow green arms to its lips before waving to Grim in confidence. Rosa had originally mistaken a Sewaddle for just a Bug type, but she wouldn't be doing that with a Leavanny. Its limbs were like curled up grass, dancing and mocking them in a way grass shouldn't. It made a shiver go up her spine.

    But her plan should work. “Grim, Aerial Ace!” she called, hoping that it would be enough to take out the creepy Pokemon.

    Grim raised his wings up, but didn't hop up as much as he usually did when using this move. When he slashed his wings down, there was a brief blue flash as the Flying gem released its power. Blades of air struck the Leavanny hard enough to throw it onto its back before it was recalled due to unconsciousness. Seeing that, Grim raised his right wing in surprise. “Qwa?”

    “Great job!” Rosa said, feeling proud that they had managed to take out the Leavanny. But there would be one more.

    And Burgh still didn't look worried as he released a Swadloon. Rosa had Grim use Aerial Ace again, but without the gem boost, it didn't finish the fight. Instead, the Swadloon managed to throw grass blades at Grim and knock him out. Thinking another hit might knock it out, she called out Medusa to strike it with one of her Ghost moves. However, Burgh healed his Swadloon up before having it strike back.

    It went back and forth for a while. Medusa could handle a lot of hits, even taking strong hits, but the Swadloon kept protecting itself from hits between hitting hard with grass blades. Eventually, the Frillish was knocked out. Rosa called out Bard and had to think quickly about non-Water moves he had. She had him use Fury Swipes, where he slashed at the Swadloon with his scallop shells. Surprisingly, that worked, knocking the Swadloon out after just a single hit. It must have been at low health and Burgh out of potions.

    For a moment, Rosa felt a sense of disbelief. Then relief, then happiness as Bard ran back to her for a hug. “Eee, we won!” she squealed, picking him up briefly.

    “Hah, that was thrilling,” Burgh said. “Your charming Pokemon pulled through despite trouble.”

    And so she had earned the Insect Badge as well.

    -+-

    After the battles, they decided to go to a different restaurant than usual for lunch. Rosa was excited all the way over there, much more so than Nate was. But then his team (mostly Ruby) had a great chance of winning, while Rosa's team faced a much tougher challenge despite being against the same Pokemon. For a while, she'd been worried that she wasn't as good of a Trainer because of the trouble she had at in battles. This proved that her team could be great too.

    Although she could still learn some things from Nate. He had explained some things over lunch, such as the move the Dwebble had used: Smack Down, which handicapped a Flying Pokemon's ability to fly for a short time, thus weakening those moves. And then Fury Swipes had been the right move to pick, since it was Bug type and as a part Grass type, Leavanny and Swadloon were actually weak to the move. How had he memorized information on all those moves and Pokemon? Did his video game statistics really mean anything?

    “It seems like you two are thriving out on the road,” Janice said, smiling warmly at them. “But, I still need to talk with you about what I came here for.”

    “What's that?” Nate asked. “Do you need me to leave?”

    “No, it should be okay,” Rosa said. “It is, right? It's about the sword I have.”

    Janice nodded. “You trust him, so it should be fine. We weren't supposed to say anything, but then you told me about how you were able to use the sword and what happened with your injury. That wouldn't happen with anyone else, Rosa. I talked with your father about it and he agreed that it was about time you knew more about when we got that sword, and met Keldeo.”

    “Then you knew what it could do?” she asked.

    “Not exactly,” her mother said. “You see, back then... well it still applies, but I wasn't supposed to be able to have children. When I was your age, I had to be treated for cancer; I was lucky that was all that happened as a side-effect. But your father and I were in love and he didn't care if we couldn't have our own children.”

    “Wow, but I was born anyhow, so that's good,” Rosa said.

    Janice shook her head. “It's good, but not really that. You're not actually our child. You're Keldeo, reincarnated as a human.”

    For a moment, Rosa didn't know what to say. Nate found his words before she did. “That makes sense. It would be why Keldeo kept being detected around us.”

    “How does that make sense?” Rosa asked, taking one of her brown ponytails in hand. “I don't look a thing like Keldeo. And why would he be reborn as a human? The four swords are known to distrust humans. Meloetta even said to 'be nice to him', so why would she mean me?”

    “We can't really know at this time because you don't remember it,” Nate said. “As for Meloetta, maybe she didn't want you found until you knew for yourself.”

    “I wasn't sure myself at times,” Janice said. “When we spoke with you first, I mean, in your previous life, you were already a spirit. Keldeo said that he had taken on grave damage over a long period of time, to the point where he couldn't trust his own powers to reincarnate properly. He gave us the sword and asked for us to take care of him. Once we agreed to it, you were born.” She pushed Rosa's hair out of her hand. “It helped us out that you look like you should be our daughter, but sometimes we doubted what we remembered. There didn't seem to be much that pointed you out as not quite human, except maybe your attraction to water and Water Pokemon. But now you know how to use that sword without learning how, and that potion... if you were human, it wouldn't have sped up the healing as fast as it had.”

    “But I don't remember anything like that,” she said, taking out the sword but leaving it tiny. Besides, Keldeo's sword was his horn, so it wouldn't be separate. Unless, maybe if he was in a hornless form, like a human. But it was still too weird.

    “You once told me that sometimes you dream of running on water,” Nate said. “Keldeo is known for doing that.”

    “Yeah,” she admitted, recalling one of those dreams. She hadn't thought much of it, but, maybe her body was different for those dreams?

    “If you're lucky, your memory is only blocked off like mine is,” Nate said. “If you know things that should remind you, you can remake those connections yourself. Or one of the legendary Pokemon might be able to do something. Other than yourself, I mean.”

    “I don't know,” Rosa said, feeling uncomfortable. “I've never understood Pokemon either, so I don't really think...” River barked an interruption, giving her a look that should have meant something. At that, she recalled hearing someone during her fight against the ninja woman. Nate had been the only one around and he hadn't been capable of warning her. “Unless I did, that once... I don't know. Can we talk about something else?”

    “I've told you what I know about this,” Janice said, apparently not sure what else to say. “I have no other explanation for how we went on a weekend vacation thinking we'd never have a child and then coming back with you in a makeshift cradle. Still, even if you are a reincarnated Pokemon, you're also our daughter. Nolan and I will help you out however we can.”
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

    Fluer Noir- A story of a black flower, a shameful history, and magic.

  11. #86
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    @3D992: haha, you can have imaginary spoilers.

    Again, Burgh has an awesome Gym. He's probably one of those Leaders who changes it once a year just to keep things fresh. I especially like how the top room looks. He even has a battle entrance animation that goes with the cocoon theme! When I saw that, he definitely earned a place as one of my favorite Gym Leaders over the whole series (as if he wasn't already, lol).

    Nate's not the only one with memory problems, but will Rosa accept that? Will she dye her hair to look more like Keldeo? That could look neat. We'll fine out the answers... not next chapter.
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

    Fluer Noir- A story of a black flower, a shameful history, and magic.

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    That's it everybody! We know who Keldeo is! Pack up everyone, the story's over! JK. Even though Rosa is for sure Keldeo, I still think that Nate's memory blockage has something to do with Keldeo. I thought it was kind of odd how Rosa didn't freak out or anything when she was informed of her pokemon origins. If my parents came up to me one day and told me that I was actually a horse, I doubt that I could hold a logical conversation for quite a while. Just a nitpick of mine. I never really liked Burgh, but I think he's beginning to grow on me. Glad we're finally getting some answers!!!
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    I used to liek mudkipz, then I took an arrow in the knee. However the arrow turned out to be a seaking. It yelled "F*** yeah" so I screamed "FUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!". The seaking's face became that of a troll while mine became forever alone. The situation was super effective.

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    One quick thing, The move that Bard was using was Fury Cutter not Fury Swipes. Fury Swipes is a normal type move. Also I remember a couple of chapters ago you mentioned that Magnemite resisted water type moves. Actually, they are neutral to water.
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    Wow, somehow I missed posting on the last chapter. I could have sworn I posted...

    Huh. That resolution came out a bit quicker than I expected. I thought that would last until a least halfway through the story... Unless that's what you want us to think! ...Yeah, probably not. [/stillnotdiscountingitthough]

    Yeah, Burgh does have a cool revamp of the Gym, doesn't he? Better (and less annoying) than the first one, anyway.

    And so Rosa now has memory problems too. Does she have to use passwords too?
    "Nothing is impossible- The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"- Audrey Hepburn

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    Just popped in to say that I've been playing a lot of Black 2 lately, and there are a lot of events and such that I can't wait for you to write about! Of course, as much as I'd like to see these bits I wouldn't dream of rushing you or the story.
    I have:
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    I used to liek mudkipz, then I took an arrow in the knee. However the arrow turned out to be a seaking. It yelled "F*** yeah" so I screamed "FUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!". The seaking's face became that of a troll while mine became forever alone. The situation was super effective.

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    Chapter 19: Triste's Temptation

    June 4
    Plasma offices

    With Triste following him around as usual, Colress led the way down the hall. Bronius was with them, his expressions changing often between anger and anxiety. “Come now, the answer should be obvious,” Colress said. “You are in charge of the Castelia group and so you must assume responsibility for the results of their missions.”

    Definite slide to anxiety there, with the tremble barely hidden by the large robes he wore. “Yes but... I thought you were doing most of the direct dealings with him now. He had been getting more and more erratic, and then he hasn't called the rest of us to his office for months.”

    “Careful,” Colress said, in a slightly playful warning. “If you think he is erratic, then you need to watch your words. Yes, I have been working with him most as of late. Look at it this way: come in to see him now and he's less likely to become suspicious of you if he moves beyond erratic.”

    “I'm sure he can do this, but is he really losing it?”

    “Is he? That could be the big question.” He patted Bronius on the shoulder like one would reassure a worried child. “If you're really worried about that, then just follow my lead. Here we go.”

    The area that they entered was darker than other areas of their base, with only a few lamps shining small beams at areas of work and study. In the darkness, they could see a patch of white hair. It shifted and they more easily saw one of the Shadow Triad, loyally guarding their master as usual. They seemed more like soulless automatons than anything else, but they were efficient and deadly. But were they more terrifying than their master? It was a close call.

    Secluded in here, Ghetsis at first seemed to be a pitiful creature. The cloak he wore now was not as majestic as he once wore, colored an ashen gray and black. His pale green hair seemed to grow thinner by the month. Not looking away from his book, his right hand moved fluidly down the pages but his left hand clumsily tried to adjust the angle of the desk lamp. Unable to get that right, he plopped his left hand on the book to reach over to adjust it with his better hand.

    “Ghetsis, I brought Bronius in to help with today's report,” Colress said.

    “Where have you been?” Ghetsis said.

    “In and around Castelia City at my usual work preparing for our empire,” he replied, calm and cool.

    “Hmph.”

    Unperturbed by the underwhelming reaction (he expected it), Colress started talking. “Ryoku has been released from prison, but I’m certain he will not be on our side this time around. The main point of interest is that he's been assigned to rehabilitation group at Abundant Shrine rather than with Rood. We're still waiting on more information on Gorm and Giallo before attempting to break them out as well. Elsewhere, the crews around Virbank and Aspertia are back on track; the kids who were messing with them had moved on. Unfortunately, they moved on to Castelia where they've started messing with Bronius' group. They had even gotten a breakthrough lately...”

    “We have?” Bronius mouthed silently.

    “We have,” Colress replied silently as well. Ghetsis had his back to them and his eyes on a book. The Triad might mention it later, but he didn't think it would matter. Then he spoke normally again. “Their main target has been confirmed to be in Burgh's possession. It won't be easy, but they should be able to accomplish it.” Then he stealthily added, “I'll give you more details on the next attempt.”

    Bronius bowed his head in thanks.

    However, Ghetsis still didn't speak up. Sometimes he didn't even pay attention except to what the Triad told him later. Colress had figured out it was better to just keep up the report. “We've also gotten word that the PWT should be going ahead as scheduled and if it's what I think it is, there could be a chance...”

    “You handle that stuff,” Ghetsis grumbled.

    Colress gave a small bow, just in case he turned around. “I'll take your advice on that.” He glanced aside, then waved at Triste. The Elgyem floated forward, with a look that seemed to be puzzlement. “I also have news that N is back in the region.”

    “What?!” Ghetsis roared, flinging a small black pyramid back at them. Bronius stepped back in shock, while Triste squealed in alarm and caught the paperweight before it hit Colress.

    “Thank you,” he said to his Pokemon quietly, plucking the pyramid out of the air.

    Finally, the leader of the Sages turned to face them. It was unsettling to see him face to face, especially in this kind of atmosphere. His right eye moved slowly, with that side of his face being stiff. In contrast, the left half of his face was clearly furious. An attack two years ago had caused this partial paralysis, but Ghetsis was defiant about his handicap. He refused to let it be acknowledged.

    Having dealt with him often, Colress was able to stay calm as he put the pyramid back. “He was seen around the Nimbasa area with his brother Hilbert. Also, there have been sightings of the two dragons in and around White Forest. They seem to be aware that there's an issue with Kyurem, but they are thus far unable to locate him. Since they are back, we will need to take extra caution.”

    “Right, right, let everyone know,” Ghetsis replied, seemingly calming down. But then his anger burst back out as he demanded, “And make sure they know not to listen to or trust that slimy traitor at all. I will deal severely with anyone who does.”

    He bowed in acknowledgment as he stepped back. “Certainly, I'll send up a message within the hour.”

    “Good, then get to work,” Ghetsis said. Then he looked at Bronius. “And what are you doing here?”

    “I was going to have him give more details about the situation in Castelia right now,” Colress said, gesturing to Bronius.

    He waved them off and turned back to his reading. “Unless we're dealing with deserters, failures, or real obstacles, don't bother me with these daily details. Get to your real work.”

    “As you wish,” he said, nodding to a greatly relieved Bronius before heading out.

    Once they were out of the dark refuge, Bronius started to relax and asked, “What is he studying now? I thought we had things all planned out.”

    “We do,” Colress said. “But as you saw, he's only worrying about his issues. I give him research material as he asks for it, and work out the actual details.”

    “Then who's really in charge? I thought he...”

    “Oh, Ghetsis is in charge, no need to question that,” Colress said. “I'm the figurehead. But remember, I'm also the one shifting the sails to direct his intellect and power best. Together, we're guiding Plasma far more efficiently than before.” He smiled at the Sage. “Now you had best get your team's act back together and complete your mission with the information I have. Otherwise, I can work it so that you face the gale of his true fury.”

    That did the job nicely, as Bronius' careful respect and apologies proved.

    -+-

    June 5
    Lostlorn Forest

    This area was known as Lostlorn Forest, but it varied between small meadows and heavily clustered thickets. There were hiding holes everywhere, obscured by fallen logs or dense foliage. Not only that, but Triste also sensed illusions at work. They had been created by Pokemon, which ones he wasn't sure as he'd never been here before. When drifting along wooded paths, it was difficult to know where one was going due to those illusions.

    They were hanging around the largest meadow of Lostlorn, near a small waterfall that came off a tall hill. It wasn't just Triste out either. Colress had other members of the Pokemon team out: a Metang, a Magneton, a Golett, and a quiet Klank. Sometimes, they battled wild Pokemon for training.

    Other times, it seemed like Colress wasn't going to let go of his work. He was most interested in a device he had created, two emblems connected by radio waves. They were embedded with glass gemstones he had made from sand collected in various places in Unova, like from Desert Resort. While it might look decorative at first glance, Triste could sense power in the items that wasn't like the normal science devices he'd seen.

    “I'm not certain this is enough,” Colress said to himself, turning one of the emblems over then looking at a screen. “When it makes contact, it should increase in capacity, but will it be enough? And the desert stone on the transmitter, that flaw is troubling.”

    “I don't know what it is, but I can try to do something with it,” the Elgyem said, causing his fingertips to glow with the words. Speaking aloud was something an underdeveloped member of his kind did. He wanted to be better to help Colress, but that meant getting used to speaking properly, with light rather than sound. He'd been using both for a while.

    “Your mental prowess is insufficient,” the Metang said. “He is a scientist. I am much better suited to being an assistant due to my computing ability. I do not see why he uses you more often.”

    Feeling embarrassed, Triste said, “Well, yeah, I can't use numbers as fast as you, but he must have his reasons.”

    “I will prove that I am better than you to him some day,” he replied, clenching a blue fist between them.

    “Um, we're on the same team. We shouldn't fight each other.”

    “Your opinion does not matter to me.”

    The Magneton laughed at that. “You're both being illogical. He can't understand us, so it doesn't matter how smart you brainiacs are. He needs Pokemon that are powerful, and I'm more powerful than any of you.”

    “What was that?!” the Metang demanded, turning to the silvery Steel Pokemon. “You are the illogical and ignorant one. He has been putting me through a specialty training routine that makes me the most powerful of our group.”

    The Magneton glowered at the Metang. “He's been giving me a super-powered diet to maximize my efficiency. So I'm more powerful.”

    “Please, don't fight,” Triste said, trying to use just the light.

    “I don't think they'll understand you that way,” the Golett said, drifting closer to the Elgyem so that it didn't have to speak too loudly. “I barely caught your projections.”

    “I need to be able to speak with light to get better,” he said with just light. Then he turned to the two squabbling Pokemon and spoke with sound. “I said, please don't fight. We're all here to help Colress, so let's work together. He works very hard and he deserves our cooperation, not problems because of team in-fighting.”

    “Stuff it, Elgyem,” the Magneton said.

    “I have a name,” he said.

    The other three stared at him. Even the Klank, who hadn't spoken up yet in anyway, looked a bit hurt at that. The gear Pokemon whirled away backwards, eventually turning its attention to something else.

    Sensing their jealousy, he really started to feel uneasy. “He named me Triste,” he said, uncertain if he should say that.

    “What in hell's name makes you that important?!” the Metang demanded, darting over and holding his claws very close to Triste's eyes. “Why do you get a name and we do not?”

    For a moment, Triste lost control over his lights, making them sputter in nonsensical words. He did manage to say, “I don't know. I, I spend a lot of time with him. I thought he'd given you names too.”

    “I would rather you all not hurt each other,” Colress said, reprimanding them all. “It might not look good to those who come across us.”

    “I told you,” Triste said, backing away from the Metang and getting closer to Colress. If he stuck by their Trainer, maybe the others were less likely to bully him.

    Holding onto his device, Colress looked at Triste briefly. Then he waved to Metang. “All right, you, take this. I want to see what happens when a Pokemon holds it.”

    “Haha, he trusts me with this more than you,” Metang said, snatching the offered emblem. As he did, a change came over him. He became strangely calm and quiet, backing off slowly. Metang brought up the emblem and looked at it with very little expression.

    Magneton drifted over and bumped into him. “What's it do?” After getting no response for a few seconds, he added, “Hey, are you listening?”

    He didn't reply. Instead, Colress got up and put his Pokemon scanner on Metang. “Brainwaves similar to deep sleep levels, but other signs normal,” he said. “And then... hmmm... not quite what I'd like...” Then he put the scanner on Metang's back so he could take the other emblem in hand. “Don't lose that scanner. Now go get me a seeding dandelion; try not to lose the seeds.”

    “That would be simple except for not losing the scanner,” Golett said.

    “Not losing seeds might not be easy in this breeze,” Triste said. But why had Colress given that task to Metang? It didn't seem like something that required a lot of math.

    While they talked, Metang moved away to look. He didn't say anything and his mind didn't seem very active. After a moment, he found an appropriate white puff and plucked it gently from the deep grass. It was full of tiny seeds that swayed with the movements. As he handed it to Colress, not a single seed had been lost.

    “Beautiful,” Colress said, taking it and the scanner. After another scan, he put it away to take the emblem back. “But not quite enough. It should work better with Kyurem, since he has a stronger connection to the other two. Then again, he would have a stronger will and innate power, so he may resist. I just don't think the glass is going to be enough, even if I replace the defective one... definitely has a crack now. If I could get something directly from the two other dragons, that would be perfect.”

    “Oooo, that was weird,” Metang finally said, lowering his hover and reaching out with his arms as if making sure he was balanced.

    “What kind of power does the emblem have?” Triste asked.

    “I felt like my mother was watching me,” Metang said. “She asked me to get her a seeding dandelion.”

    The Magneton laughed. “Your mother? That was Colress, you sparkless dolt.”

    They started arguing again, but Triste wondered what the emblem was doing. Colress had mentioned stuff like voodoo, psychological pressure, and connections before, while he was crafting them. Maybe they made someone see their mother and want to make her happy? But what would be the purpose of that?

    After a minute of this, Colress recalled all but Triste. “This in-fighting would be an nuisance, but I had no plans on attempting battles styles beyond singles,” he said. “I don't want them out right now because I think they've arrived.”

    “You keep me out because you trust me more than the others,” Triste said with lights, pleased. But he seemed to mean some others in 'they'. He looked around to see who his Trainer was expecting.

    There was a group of new Pokemon who had come into the meadow, all clustered near a human who hadn't been here earlier. The young man was waving off a Braviary who was flying to the north. Then, he spoke with an Alomomola and a Chandelure who had remained with him, while a Volcarona perched on his shoulder. Was that who Colress had been waiting for? Triste wasn't too keen on approaching someone with a Chandelure; he remembered all too well how the Litwicks used to tease him.

    “The White King, is it?” Colress said to himself. “Maybe. Maybe not. Still, I’ve heard things about him; would be interesting to talk to him, especially if Reshiram isn't here now. We might even get closer to meeting with N.... that would be the truly interesting connection.” That seemed to decide it, as he nodded and headed over to meet with the young man.

    “I hope this isn't trouble,” Triste said, then followed Colress.

    “Now here's a rare encounter,” Colress said in a jolly tone when they got close enough. “I've seen things about you, but it's been a long while since you've been in Unova, isn't that so Hilbert?”

    “Hmm?” The young man looked them over carefully. “Right. Why would you be interested?” Then he smiled. “Not that it's trouble, but I was hoping not to make a big fuss about being back.”

    “Now now, with the air about you, you're going to call attention to yourself no matter what you want.” Colress shifted his glasses. “I'm simply a curious person, that's all. My name is Colress and I’m a scientist looking into the relations between humans and Pokemon. As I've heard...”

    Right then, another young man with several other Pokemon ran out of the tree thicket nearby, coming up to them. “Excuse me, but... you have an air of ice about you.”

    Hilbert tilted his head at Colress. “Yeah, you do. Why is that?”

    Triste drifted closer to his Trainer. Colress was caught between being glad that someone he wanted to see had just ran up to them, and starting to sweat because they caught him with an unexpected statement. “That's odd. I did spend much of the morning with a Trainer who specialized in Ice Pokemon, since we were both training out here. I hadn't thought that it could leave an impression on me.”

    The newcomer seemed disappointed, covering his face with one hand as he blushed. “Oh... oh that's why it's faint. I'm sorry, but I thought it might be something.”

    “Don't worry N, we'll find them,” Hilbert said. Then he looked at Colress. “I hope it's not a bother, but if you've heard of me, then have you heard anything about Hilda Medley and Kyurem? We're looking for them.”

    He shook his head. “Can't say that I have lately.” Which was, Triste realized, technically correct. Colress couldn't say what he knew without revealing more of who he was. “I only moved to this region two years ago, but I haven't heard much about them the past year. Although,” he rubbed his chin. When the others looked interested enough, he said, “It's probably not much, but I've been interviewing Trainers for months now. I met a bright young pair just this week, a boy and a girl who say that they've been searching for clues about Hilda and Kyurem. And Keldeo, for that matter. I don't know how long you've been looking, but they might have come across something.”

    “It's nice that others are looking, but,” N still seemed worried, not able to finish his statement.

    “You never know until you ask,” Hilbert said. “Who was this?”

    “Rosa Wilburs and Nate... I didn't get a family name for Nate, but I observed them at Castelia Gym not that long ago. They should be heading for this area shortly.”

    Hilbert nodded. “I see. What were you interviewing them for?”

    “Just as I said, for my studies.” he continued talking.

    In the meantime, Triste floated over to the one called N. Both of these young men seemed different than most humans. He wasn't sure why, but they seemed like people that could be trusted. “Your humans are different, alien almost,” he said.

    “Is that so?” the Zoroark replied.

    Triste stopped where he was. “Uh, I, I didn't mean anything bad by it.”

    “Don't be afraid of him, Elgyem,” N said. “Zane wouldn't attack without provocation. Madeline either, for that matter.”

    “I suppose,” Triste said, but still wasn't sure about trusting them.

    The Chandelure appeared nearby him, her flames nearly silent until she spoke. “It's a long story, but they're human and Pokemon. So they can understand us.”

    “Really?” He put his fingertips together, looking at N. Then he tried speaking with sound and lights. “I knew by your aura that you were someone special. But to understand us, that's more that I thought. It's intriguing. Colress would like to know about that.”

    N shifted his hat. “A lot of people have heard about us. Why are you speaking in two different ways? It's... odd, I guess.”

    “Sorry, I'm practicing,” he said with just sound. Then light. “I need to master light-words before I can evolve. It's the way of my kind; the Beeheyem should rarely make a sound.”

    “I see. You're a little...” he imitated the motions Triste had been making, although it didn't mean anything without color. “Blurred, I suppose. I could get the basic meaning of that, but I think you need to make the transitions better defined so that the words don't blend into each other.”

    “Huh, maybe I need to speak with an elder sometime.” Although how would he go about doing that? Maybe if they got lucky and came across a Trainer with a Beeheyem. Or if Colress had some reason to be around Celestial Tower, although Triste wasn't sure if that would be allowed.

    Fortunately, N had no trouble interrupting the conversation Colress and Hilbert were having about the former's research study. “Excuse me, but I think it would help if you found a Beeheyem to visit,” he said, then explained Triste's trouble with light-speech.

    “I don't think that's actually a requirement for evolution,” Colress said.

    “It might be cultural,” Hilbert said. “They have their own little traditions which are good to respect. And such a myriad varieties, between species, places, and even tribes to some extent. I was thinking about recording them, but there would be so many varieties.”

    “That's no excuse not to follow up on a scientific curiosity,” Colress said, passionate about that. “Even if you only get a sampling of what's out there, your unique gifts would allow you to get information no other human has access to. Like I wouldn't have thought to try finding a Beheeyem to help Triste out. I thought it was instinctual knowledge like the moves, when I've seen eeheeyem communicate through light but the Elgyem primarily through sound. I'm not sure when I could get around to finding one, but I’ll keep that in mind.”

    Triste bobbed in the air, happy to hear that. “Good, I'll keep practicing.”

    “Will he find you help?” Madeline asked.

    “I’m sure he will if he can,” he said. “We're great friends and he keeps me out around him almost all the time. He trusts me a lot to keep him safe and keep his secrets, and he talks to me as someone of equal intelligence. Although I'm in no way as smart as he is. Oh gosh, he can think of so many things at once and he builds the most amazing devices. If he says he'll do something, he'll do it even if it seems like a difficult problem.”

    “Trust friend warm,” the Volcarona said, partly perching on Hilbert's shoulder and partly hanging off behind.

    “Something like that,” Triste said. He felt really happy about how things were going, as it seemed that Colress had found the people he wanted to find. Still, he resisted dancing around about it. That wasn't how he should be, although he felt like it. Maybe later when all the other Pokemon were gone.

    “What kinds of things does he make?” N asked quietly.

    “Um, I couldn't tell you that,” Triste said. “Like I said, he trusts me. The people he works for don't want their innovations discovered early.”

    “Right, I should've thought of that,” N said. Then he smiled. “But it's nice to see that you're so happy with him.”

    Colress noticed this and nodded. “Yes, I had picked him up for the study but lately he seems more of an invaluable assistant to me. So I treat him that way.”

    “He must be one of your best, with all the positivity he has towards you,” Hilbert said. Then he chuckled. “Why would you even need that long-term study of yours? He's doing well enough.”

    “I don't know if I’m that good, but I try my best,” Triste said. He thought for a moment, then added, “I guess our team could use more cohesiveness, but I'm not sure. At least the others would like names. That might at least stop them from bullying me.”

    “Really?” Hilbert said, raising an eyebrow. “He's the only one on your team with a name?”

    Unfortunately, that little slip caused Colress some concern. “I don't battle quite as much as most Trainers, but I keep up a team in case my study participants want to try me. They're part of the study too, initially in groups that didn't need names.”

    “You'd get along better with all of them if you did give them names,” N said. “It was one of the first things I learned as a Trainer; it's easier to establish a connection to a newly-caught Pokemon if you give them a name, because it makes them feel like they're special to you. Plus, there are times when speaking a Pokemon's unique name in a positive way will calm them down. You really should do so with any Pokemon you catch yourself, and respect the names of those who have them.”

    “I’ve seen some evidence of that,” Colress said, but his last few words were blocked out by a trumpeting call from a short distance to the north, in the air.

    “Good, they're back,” Hilbert said, sounding relieved of some major worry.

    Then the Braviary from earlier and two Dragon Pokemon appeared just over the treetops, descending to land in the meadow close to where they all were. And not just any dragons; these were the immortal guardians of this land, one dark like Chargestone Cavern sparking with energy and one bright like Celestial Tower lit by firelight. While it wasn't the first time Triste had seen such Pokemon face-to-face, it still filled him with unbelievable awe to see these two up close. Soon after landing, the two were surrounded by a white glow, growing smaller. They emerged as humans, still bearing their remarkable power.

    “It's good to see you two again,” N said as Zekrom and Reshiram came closer to the group. “I got really worried there for a while.”

    “There was some trouble,” Reshiram said, running his hand through his thick white hair as if something felt out of place. “We'll talk about it later. Who's this?” He flicked his hand to the side, releasing a few strands of hair to the ground.

    Triste just barely saw them. Normally, he wouldn't have thought anything of that. But it gave him an idea, one he almost immediately rejected. These were the powerful guardians of the land, wielding the force of ideas (but very potent ideas at that, especially in the hands of humans). He really shouldn't. Yet, Colress had said something earlier about wanting something directly connected to them and hairs must work based on what he'd done with that boy Nate several days ago.

    While the others were distracted, Triste quietly drifted towards where the two dragons had landed. It took some careful looking, but he found the discarded hairs: long, white but with an orange-red end, and carrying an impression of power. He shouldn't... but it might end up with something great. Maybe if he was careful, he wouldn't be discovered doing something probably disrespectful. Triste collected a few of the white hairs, coiling them up to hide in his hand.

    But samples from just one wouldn't do. Triste would need to get some from Zekrom too. However, she didn't seem to be fiddling with her hair like Reshiram had. How would he get that without seeming suspicious? She had shorter hair than Reshiram had, a luxurious black with hints of blue where the sunlight hit just right. It was fascinating, reminding Triste of ocean waves at night. Maybe... that could be even worse, but it might just work.

    Zekrom noticed Triste when he floated up near her. Feeling a knot in his throat, he came a bit closer and softly said, “Um, s-sorry, I don't mean to bother you, but...”

    “What is it?” she said quietly, in a kind tone.

    He pulled his hands in close. “I, I think you're beautiful. Especially your hair. Um, why don't you grow it as long as your brother? It'd make you even more beautiful.” I must sound like an idiot, he thought. But if that's what it took, that's what had to happen.

    She did smile at least, like dealing with a possibly lovestruck idiot was a welcome break. Maybe it was that way... he should really be careful with thinking around these two. “Thanks. I hadn't thought of generating my hair long, that's all. But don't be too hopeful.”

    “I know,” he said. “It was chance that we met at all. Um, but, ah, could I touch your hair? At least?”

    “If you want,” Zekrom replied.

    Triste's heart pounded a little hard as he came up and stroked a portion of her hair. Was it nervousness at his plan or at an actual crush? It had to be the first, as the second was just silly. But her hair was nice and soft, if touched by a little static. Once he felt that he had a couple of loose hairs in hand, he immediately bolted for being behind Colress. His skin felt warm from embarrassment as the others noticed that movement and wondered what it was for. When their attentions passed, he opened that hand gently, keeping it out of the air's movements. There were three of the black-blue hairs in that hand, with the white hairs in the other. It was done. Now he just had to hope that this was as good as he thought it was.

    After a few moments, the others headed off for Nimbasa, leaving Colress and Triste in Lostlorn Forest's meadow. Colress paced around for a couple of minutes, then broke out in a grin. “Well that was a rush. It's one thing to answer questions without really answering them, but doing so in front of two beings that know truth and purpose instantly? Wow. I wonder if daredevils feel this way in their dangerous thrills.” Then he laughed, in a buoyant mood.

    “I think I know what you mean,” Triste said, feeling a mix of elation and anxiety himself. Then he put himself in Colress' way, showing Reshiram's hairs first. “I got these for you.”

    “The date, the place, and the dragons, it all matches up with what Nate predicted... hmm?” He seemed puzzled, then noticed what was there. Colress picked up the coiled up hairs from Triste's hand. “Odd, why...? Hang on, that orange, that was like his... you got hairs off of Reshiram? How?”

    “And these,” he said, offering Zekrom's hairs as well.

    Realizing that he had both, Colress' eyes went wide for a moment, his lips fumbling for words. Then he clenched the white hairs tight as he dug around in his bag. “I know I should have some left. There!” He pulled out a pair of small plastic bags, putting Reshiram's hairs in one. When that was sealed, he took Zekrom's and placed them in the other. “Oh hell, I thought I was lucky enough to run into N and I didn't even think to try getting hair samples from the dragons. But you did.”

    “It was really close, but I had to try,” Triste said, pleased.

    He was still studying the hairs, although his hands were trembling some. “Not many, but one each should work for the controllers and the rest might be enough for DNA sequencing to further investigate the theory. This really was a fruitful day.” Then Colress grinned again and took one of the Elgyem's hands. “You've done a magnificent thing, Triste! I don't know how you got away with it, but this is amazing! I might even have to spoil you a little bit for this.”

    Delighted to hear that, he laughed. “I just wanted to make you happy,” Triste said.

    “Maybe even calm myself down some before I get to work finishing this,” Colress said, letting go. “Come on, I think I remember where a bakery that makes fresh Pokemon treats is in Nimbasa. If not, I know for certain where one is in Castelia. You can have whatever you want, all to yourself.”

    Triste cheered at that suggestion. This was the best day!

    -+-

    While they had agreed to talk in detail over what their separate investigations had found in private, Hilbert couldn't resist one question while they walked to Nimbasa. “What did you say to that Elgyem that got him to get all embarrassed like that?”

    “You shouldn't be teasing mortals like that,” Reshiram said in jest.

    “He started it,” Zekrom said, smiling a little. “It shouldn't be trouble.”
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

    Fluer Noir- A story of a black flower, a shameful history, and magic.

  17. #92
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    Zekrom, you're just asking for trouble with that last line...

    As a heads-up, I'm having a lot of trouble editing and formatting posts at the moment. So I can't correct errors for the time being (which bugs me a lot, especially now that I saw something that I want to change, bleh). And I know I do mix up stuff a lot, sorry.

    The first part of the chapter was inspired by the differences between the battle sprites and animations of Colress and Ghetsis. I don't think Ghetsis is actually paralyzed, but his battle sprite is definitely not as threatening as it once was. Still just as crazy.
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

    Fluer Noir- A story of a black flower, a shameful history, and magic.

  18. #93
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    I know you said you can't correct errors for the moment, but for future reference (if you missed it);
    when I've seen {B}eeheeyem communicate through light
    You missed out that B.

    And so this is the reason as to why Reshiram and Zekrom don't just flatten the Plasma Frigate and destroy all the tension. Then again, will it only work on the one of them? Unless you're planning on a total fusion, there's still going to be an incapacitated dragon lying around somewhere...

    And some Famous not-Last words from Zekrom. It's not so bad as "what could possibly go wrong?" but still up there.

    On Ghetsis's arm being un-paralyzed, if you want to work with it like that, fine. Personally, I am of the opinion that his side is in fact paralyzed to a significant extent, seeing as the only time we see his arm being used for anything (or indeed, see his arm at all) is for a task that does not require and degree of dexterety beyond gripping something. Not to mention the concept ats for what's behind that monocle...
    "Nothing is impossible- The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"- Audrey Hepburn

    One crazy trip: The adventures of a beret-clad boy and his best friend the sky. One day I will learn how to forum-format at a decent speed. Promise.

  19. #94
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    Chapter 20: Resonate

    June 5
    Skyarrow Bridge

    When Nate woke up that morning, Rosa wasn't in her hotel room. The receptionist said that she had checked out an hour earlier, asking questions about Skyarrow Bridge. That's where he found her and her Pokemon, looking through the safety fence at the bay below. “Good morning,” he said.

    “Morning,” she said, looking over at him. “I hope I didn't make you worry. I just...”

    He went up by her and looked over the bay. “You didn't go far. Look, that ship is leaving.” He pointed out to the docks where that odd frigate was turning itself in the right direction. The sun was just over the horizon, its rays glinting off the low mist hanging on the water.

    “Yeah. I never did find one of its crew to ask about it. Anybody I thought to ask didn't know anything either.” She watched the ship for a moment, then asked, “Are you mad at me?”

    “No,” Nate said. “You're okay. Are you still bothered about yesterday?”

    Bringing her lip, she nodded and gripped the fence. “Yeah.”

    “Currrrooo,” Bard said, bumping his head against her hip.

    She patted the Dewott's head. “Thanks. I wasn't sure what to think about it. I mean, it sounds ridiculous, the kind of thing that would be in some kid's storybook. There's all sorts of things that shouldn't make sense... like if I am Keldeo, and Keldeo in his usual form was locked up in that house until two years ago or so, how does that work? We were in two different towns at the same time, but not that far apart. Shouldn't there be some kind of problem with that? I mean, you caused a spatial rip in our house when you arrived.”

    Nate shrugged. “Maybe you were far enough apart? Or maybe there was something keeping your power locked down so that it didn't interfere with your older self. But really, I don't think your mom would lie about that; she told us what she knows. You can only find out for yourself by finding the places significant to you, and finding your memory.” He paused. “Like I have to do. Strange, isn't it? I could have ended up anywhere in Unova, but I arrived right next to someone who might have a problem like my own.”

    Crossing her arms across her chest, she nodded and paced around. “Yeah, that is strange. Maybe someone arranged it, like Hilda maybe? But how would she know about me? I've never met her. Or maybe... depending on what powers brought you here, maybe we resonated or something which drew you to me.”

    “Resonated, huh?” He paused, raising an eyebrow at some thought. Ruby looked at him, sniffing in curiosity.

    And what were they going to do about all that was going on? They were going to find the truth and kick Plasma's butt for daring to come back around again! Rosa grinned and clapped her hands together. “Yeah, we do! Maybe we don't know who we really are, but does it matter? No! We're here and we're going to pursue the cause of justice, liberty, and honor! In the past, Team Plasma sought to corrupt the meaning of the guardians of Unova by twisting truth and ideal to their greedy ends. They were defeated, but now they rise again from the shadows, seeking revenge for their defeat. But we will make sure that they will not prevail, even if the original heroes are no longer here. We resonate with purpose; we will find what lies in our shadows and then we will trash Plasma once and for all to preserve the glory of Unova, for we are Rosa and Nate, fighting against evil and defending the rights of humans and Pokemon!”

    “Reso,” Nate started to say, then burst into laughter. “Hah hah... and, hah, what do the three, hehe, I mean four sword legends stand for?”

    What did he mean by that? “Huh? They defend the glory of Unova and stand for justice, liberty, and... WAIT, maybe I am Keldeo!”

    “M-m-may...” Nate was then laughing too hard to speak clearly, leaning against Ruby for support. The Pignite seemed puzzled, but soon smiled and patted his head. Most of the other Pokemon were laughing too, although Patience looked bewildered and River slapped her forehead.

    Briefly, Rosa felt nervous, bringing her hands to her chest. She had slipped into that so easily; the attitude felt right even if it wasn't who she thought she was. But looking at him now, she recalled the pictures from his old world, where people looked weary with grief even as they tried to smile. This happiness and laughter was genuine. Whatever Hilda had thought she was doing, she had the right idea in sending him here.

    Once he had calmed down a bit, she put her foot down. “Well it's not like I remember anything about that. Something else might still be going on. Maybe I just resonate with Keldeo's ideals... what's so funny?”

    Nate was shaking with laughter again. “You, you don't hear it?” He put his hand on his throat. “I, I'm having trouble b-breathing...”

    “Seriously?” she asked, frowning.

    He paused to calm down, but couldn't keep himself from smiling. “It's okay.... just don't say anything funny for a bit.”

    “How can I do that if I don't know what's so funny?” She turned around, being indignant in jest. But... she saw the forest again, at the other side of the bridge. Something about it was enticing.

    “I'm not even sure why it's so funny, but it is,” Nate said, coming closer to her. When he saw the look on her face, he looked to the other end of the bridge too. “Were you thinking of going that way?”

    “A little,” she admitted. “I dunno why. I mean, that forest has to have lots of Grass Pokemon and I'm not sure I want to deal with them.”

    “Even Virizion?”

    Rosa made a fist and stomped her foot. “Especially not Virizion!” Then she laughed. “Well, maybe I wouldn't mind seeing her so much. But I don't even know where you're supposed to find Virizion if you want to meet her. Lenora's Gym was that way, and I think the Striaton one is still operating unofficially. Otherwise, we really don't have a reason to go south now.”

    “Then which way do you want to go?” he asked.

    “What's with all the questions?” Rosa said. “Whatever, let's just go north. We'll make more progress that way.”

    Nate tipped his visor and gave a slight bow. “As you wish.”

    “Ooo, what's up with you today?” She ran north a short ways, then laughed as she turned back. “You're being weird, for you. Did you have like an epiphany or something yesterday?”

    “Something like that,” he said, bringing his bike out from storage. “I was reading one of those papers that the password unlocked and there was a note with one of them. It said, 'You can spend your life looking for answers and find that your life has been nearly spent. But look away to find life and the answers may come to you.' And it made me think that what I have now is a lot better than I had. So, I'm gonna enjoy things a little more.” Nate had put Patience in the basket of his bike by then, and was getting on to ride. “Like I'm going to enjoy beating you to the other side of Castelia City.”

    “Not fair!” she said, scrambling to get her own bike out. Even so, it was a quickly turning into a fun day.

    -+-

    Mistralton Regional Prison

    It was sixteen months now that he'd been in prison, ever since that girl Hilda had tracked him down and handed him over to the police. Giallo didn't feel angry with her, though. Instead, he spent a lot of time considering what had happened and what he wanted to do now. He cooperated with the guards and did what he could to prevent trouble, not cause it. Because of this, he was trusted with some degree of freedom within the prison. He was allowed to room with Gorm, for one thing, which was good because not many others understood what it was like being within Plasma. They had been peers as Sages under Lord N; this had made them true friends instead.

    In the early afternoon, they were given a message that there was a visitor who wanted to see both of them. After making sure that it wasn't a reporter, they went to the visiting room to find that it was one of the other Sages. Not Rood this time. “We haven't heard much about you,” Giallo said to Zinzolin.

    He was sitting on the other side of the glass, with no signs that the guards were watching him. “I worked things out with a lawyer,” Zinzolin said. “He wanted me to keep quiet for a while, but I felt it was important to get in contact with you two again. How're you holding up in here?”

    “They've been treating us reasonably,” Gorm said. “There's a lot of team members that have been excused through psychologists, provided they perform community service and agree to be monitored. The police are even hiding it on their records, save for those who abused their position.”

    Leaning with his arms on the table, Zinzolin said, “I asked about you two, not the others. I've heard about them.”

    “I've got no complaints,” Gorm said, shrugging.

    Giallo nodded. “We've got no reason to do complain. We agreed to serve these sentences in exchange for them guaranteeing what they've done for others, including Ryuko.”

    Zinzolin raised his eyebrows. “Ryuko, huh? What about him?”

    “He initially was going to serve a full sentence with us,” Giallo said. “We agreed that as leaders within the group, we should be held to a higher standard than the rest. But he fell ill early last winter. Between his age and the stress of adapting to this life, it nearly killed him. We negotiated to get him released early.”

    “And that worked?” he asked, skeptically.

    “Sure did,” Gorm said. “But only because we delayed when we'd be eligible for parole ourselves.”

    “Why would you take such punishment on yourselves?”

    Giallo chuckled. “Are you sure you should be asking us that? Weren't you the one who was still hiding out in Cold Storage?”

    Zinzolin shook his head. “That's different. I was free to leave at any time. You've neutered your freedom in exchange for something that doesn't benefit you at all.”

    “That's the point,” Giallo said.

    “Is it?”

    Gorm nodded. “We all got caught up in something that was wrong. And the six of us who were closest to Ghetsis and N should have recognized and accepted it sooner; Rood did, at least. But we went along with it and thus ruined the lives of many within and without Team Plasma.”

    “That includes N,” Giallo added. And Hilbert too, he thought to himself. He should have known the organization was flawed, especially when Ghetsis insisted that he cut off all ties to the boy he had raised. Giallo had called Hilbert his nephew, but he really was more of a son. He should have done things differently But, it was past and the only thing to do now was to pay for the trouble he had caused. And keep the hope that Hilbert might contact him again, maybe forgive him.

    Gorm said what Giallo wouldn't. “We fooled ourselves, so we're not victims. But those that we fooled, the people who bought into the dreams that N and Ghetsis spoke of, they were victims and we hate to see the innocent ones punished for what we perpetrated. We'll pay the price for them. As for Ryuko, we trust him. He would have stayed with us, but we'd rather not see him spend his final years in prison.”

    Zinzolin talked with them a little while beyond that, but he seemed disinterested in whatever brought him here. Once they had left the visitor's area, Giallo paused the guard who was accompanying them. “I suspect that he might have been trying to break us out, as well as any other former Plasma members held in this prison.”

    “What makes you think that?” the guard asked.

    “He came to us with some purpose, but lost interest when we explained why we're here. Not only that, but there's been news and rumors that suggest that a group using the Plasma name has sprung up. You probably should tighten security for a while.”

    “Right,” Gorm said. “Ghetsis was never caught and he likes big dramatic scenes.”

    “Sure, I'll pass the suggestion along,” the guard said.

    -+-

    Route 4

    One thing that River loved about being with Rosa was how the girl let her ride on the bicycle whenever she wanted. The Riolu had worked hard all her life to be a dignified and elegant fighter. Fun was undignified, something pups did to practice which wasn't nearly as effective as practicing seriously. Still, there was something that was just plain enjoyable about whooshing down the streets with the air blowing around her ears, all without doing any work besides helping to keep the bike balanced. The times they did this were a good balance to when River thought Rosa was not being serious enough as a Trainer for a serious Pokemon like herself. Weight was added further in how Rosa liked to have them out whenever reasonable, and in how she treated them so well without spoiling them. All in all, it came out in favor of sticking with Rosa , even without considering who she really was.

    The bike rides always came to an end, but River didn't feel selfish enough to wish that it would go on, eventually tiring Rosa. Maybe someday she could make a bike go on her own. Nate had stopped ahead of them on Route 4, partly to check on Patience. “How'd you like that?” he asked warmly, petting her brown fur.

    With her paws on the edge of the basket, the Eevee had her ears perked up. Her aura was still guarded, but it was opening up. “Oh wow that was fast, and, um, fast. I couldn't run that fast ever. I guess that was fun. Was it fun?”

    “It's lots of fun,” River said, hugging one of Rosa's arms as thanks.

    “That's a good girl,” Nate said. “I thought you might like it too, but I was worried you'd jump out.”

    “I'm good now?” Patience asked, swishing her tail slowly. “All right, you like me! I'll ride the bike if it makes me good.”

    “It's more like you're good if you don't jump out when the bike is moving and get badly hurt,” River said.

    “Oh, okay. But I'm still good now.” She was pleased with this, nuzzling Nate's hand.

    “You had a head start,” Rosa said teasingly. “But wow, this place has changed.”

    “Has it?”

    They had passed through the gatehouse, which usually led to a new area. But in this case, it was almost as if they hadn't left Castelia at all. They were surrounded by tall buildings that lined the street; not quite the skyscrapers in Castelia, but still over ten stories tall at least. The pavement seemed fresh and smooth. Everything this way was coated lightly in brown sand, even the air itself. Peering between some buildings, River could see patches of sand and the bay on the far side. Perhaps it was only this street that was built up.

    “So is this part of Castelia or Nimbasa?” Nate asked, looking around still.

    “Castelia, as far as I know,” Rosa answered. “Nimbasa's some distance further north, although it won't take us nearly as long as crossing the city. Want to take a break?”

    “Yeah, that's what I was thinking.” They got off their bikes, so River jumped off and stretched before following the humans into a store.

    “This is a cool place,” Rosa said, her aura tinged with delight. It was a different kind of store, River thought, at least compared to others she'd seen. While there were a great many food items, it wasn't a grocery store. While there were various clothing items, it wasn't a clothing store. It had Pokemon accessories and treats, but not enough to be a store focused on Pokemon. It had a lot of interesting objects for sale, but there was also an area to sit and chat.

    There wasn't a person at the register, but there were two men and a woman sitting near the front. While they had been chatting, they all tensed as the two teens and two Pokemon came on. “Oh, welcome to my store,” one of the men said, smiling. “We have a little bit of everything, so I hope you find what you're looking for.”

    “We're looking for truth and justice, but I don't think we can buy those things,” Nate said in a more serious tone than he felt. It made Rosa laugh.

    “There's a dictionary for sale,” the store owner said, getting in on the joke and causing his two friends to relax and join in the laughter. “It's at least honest.”

    “Can't argue with that,” Rosa said.

    “Well...” Nate said, tilting his head. “You could, but I don't feel like it. Dictionaries aren't worth the effort since they'll just define all your arguments.”

    “We're taking a break, so we're just gonna look around,” Rosa said.

    “Feel free.” He then started talking to his visitors again.

    Rosa and Nate went to look at the drinks that were for sale, thinking to buy some. In the meantime, River noticed that Patience was walking quietly in another direction. That could be trouble, so River followed her more quietly. The Eevee stopped in front of a bin full of colorful socks and stood on her hind legs to get a better look at what was in there. Her emotions seemed conflicted, clashing with different intents. Definitely trouble in the making.

    “You should leave those alone,” River warned her.

    Patience's fur fluffed up in fright and she whirled around back onto all fours. “O-oh, it's you,” she said, trembling. “You scared me.”

    “Better I scare you than what could have been,” the Riolu said. “This is a store, so we need to leave things be. The humans will settle things.”

    Her eyes soon went back to the sock bin. “But they look so soft. Nice presents.”

    “They're not nice when you take what's not yours in the first place,” River insisted, putting her paws on her hips. “We don't own them, and our Trainers don't own them. The store does, and the humans need to play their bartering game to change ownership. Stealing's not a good thing.”

    “But sometimes stealing things is good,” she said, her ears twitching.

    “It's never good. It's like someone taking the food you stored for winter.”

    “That bad?” Her voice quivered and she crouched down.

    “That bad,” River confirmed. “But if you don't touch them and let the humans do their thing, then it's good. Is that clear?”

    “Um, I guess. So I can be good if I just don't do it.” Patience sighed, then tilted her head. “So, um, what's the bartering game? Can we do it?”

    River shrugged. “If you can understand it. I've never figured it out entirely. The humans have a supply of metal, paper, or imaginary items that aren't worth anything practical, but they're worth something because the humans say they have worth. Then they trade the worthless items with worth for actual items of worth. They do this with nearly everything.”

    “Um, what? That's really confusing.” Patience shook her head, then pawed her nose. “Who thought it made sense to give imaginary items worth? Paper and metal maybe, but imaginary?”

    “I got as far as learning numbers up to one hundred, and it got harder from there,” River said. “They even have a number for nothing. The numbers play a big part in their bartering game. Like I said, leave it to them and if you really must have something, try to get their attention and point it out.”

    Hearing footsteps, they both looked up to see Nate walking towards them. His attention was in a book, though, one with a rough tan cover. Rosa wasn't with him at the moment, making River wonder where she was. Before she could determine that, though, Nate looked to them and crouched down. “You two being good?”

    “I'm trying,” Patience said, keeping her paws close together as she sat there.

    He petted the Eevee a moment, then looked at River. “Hey,” he said, softening his voice. “I was wondering... can you tell if those people can be trusted?”

    “Well,” River looked back to the three adults, caught in their own conversation. Their auras were colored with alertness. Nothing was obviously bad, but they each had a little nervousness of being caught. When River glanced at Patience, she noted that she had the same kind of nervousness, down to the color and degree. Perhaps it was a fear of punishment for a wrong they didn't entirely mean to commit. “Maybe. A Lucario could tell better.” She shrugged her shoulders.

    Nate seemed to be thinking on it, then stood up. “I guess I’ll take a chance on them. Hey.” He walked over to the sitting area.

    “I wonder what he's up to now,” River said, following him over. The more mysterious parts of Nate's aura, which she was still figuring out, were particularly strong now. Now that they had confirmation that Rosa was Keldeo, she wanted to figure Nate out too.

    “Does he know something he shouldn't again?” Patience asked, deciding to follow him too.

    “Yes, is there something you need?” the store owner said.

    “I don't mean to trouble you, but I have a way of knowing things. Were you three formerly in Team Plasma?” Nate wasn't accusing them of anything; he was simply asking the question.

    But it still caused a great deal of worry among the three. They didn't seem suspicious at first, as they weren't wearing anything out of the ordinary. But they feared retaliation and shame. “Well,” the store owner said, looking to his two friends for support.

    At the same time, Nate glanced down at her. River didn't notice anything threatening about these adults. They were being threatened just by the question. Because of that, she nodded to him. They were trustworthy.

    “I don't mean you ill by that,” Nate reassured them, looking at them again. “My friend might not like it, but I’m fairly new to the region. It doesn't bother me.”

    “You don't seem so bad,” the woman said, relaxing some. “The Plasma we followed is gone now. We've been contacted by those trying to revive it, but their aim is completely different so we declined them.”

    “That's good of you,” Nate said, taking out his wallet while holding the book under his arm. “I was hoping to run into others. A few weeks ago, I encountered another former member in Aspertia. He said that he hadn't had any contact with others from Plasma since it broke up, so I thought you might like to get in contact with him. Here it is; he gave me a business card.” He passed over the card.

    “Good, there's some things he should hear about,” the store owner said, taking it and looking over the information. “I'll copy this down and we'll get a hold of him. Thanks for this.”

    “No problem,” Nate said with a smile. “Oh, and I was wondering about these hymnals you have on sale. They seem really old, more appropriate for antiques.”

    “Those books were excavated from a site just north of here,” the other man said. “The building crews uncovered and damaged some old structures that were hidden under the sand. Lots of scholars were upset and we've managed to get them to stop development temporarily. We're raising support and awareness for the rest of the ruins to be preserved, but we need the money and there were hundreds of those books in one area. But how do you figure that it's a hymnal?”

    He went over to sit in an open chair, opening the book up. “That's what it is, isn't it? Just look at the format of this; the music notation is unusual, but someone might be able to interpret it. And...” he flipped a page, running his finger along a line. “Some of this this I can understand.”

    River was puzzled by that, since the book was browned with age. The others were equally curious. “That language is over two thousand years old. We're still trying to find a scholar who can translate it. How can you read it?”

    Frowning but with troubled eyes, Nate shook his head. “I don't know. I just opened it and saw that some phrases were kind of familiar. Like this, it's giving thanks to a god. Listen.” He then started to read the book aloud, using odd words that River didn't immediately understand.

    “How does he do that?” Patience asked.

    “No clue,” River said. Rosa was coming back, but the conversation was now about the book. For a minute, the Riolu wondered if it was right to not tell her about who these people really were. But it could be like not indicating that Patience had been considering taking socks. Nothing had happened, so nothing needed to be said.
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

    Fluer Noir- A story of a black flower, a shameful history, and magic.

  20. #95
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    Following from some earlier scenes, building up for future scenes... yeah, that's pretty much what's going on. And socks.

    I thought it was neat that their names could be linked up with resonate.
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

    Fluer Noir- A story of a black flower, a shameful history, and magic.

  21. #96
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    More confusion! Exactly what we need.

    And socks. Socks are important too. Never underestimate the importance of socks.


    Ever.
    "Nothing is impossible- The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"- Audrey Hepburn

    One crazy trip: The adventures of a beret-clad boy and his best friend the sky. One day I will learn how to forum-format at a decent speed. Promise.

  22. #97
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    As refreshing as it was to have a chapter to read, I was worried there for a moment that you had twisted Nate's character into a male Rosa - always happy and such. Luckily he seems to be back to his brooding self by the end of the chapter. I wonder if the books have a connection to his world. He does have lots of religious connections it seems. I'm glad that Rosa showed a bit more emotion in this chapter, as compared to the other one when she learned of her origins. I wonder if they will go explore the ruins next chap...
    I have:
    Platinum
    Heartgold
    White
    Black
    Rumble Blast
    White 2

    I used to liek mudkipz, then I took an arrow in the knee. However the arrow turned out to be a seaking. It yelled "F*** yeah" so I screamed "FUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!". The seaking's face became that of a troll while mine became forever alone. The situation was super effective.

  23. #98
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    Chapter 21: Join Join Avenue!

    June 5
    Route 4

    It was mid-afternoon when Nate and Rose stopped their bikes in front of the large building that led into Nimbasa. However, it wasn't the usual gateway. Instead, it was a broad building with a huge entrance, enough so that a truck could have easily driven through it. Large neon sculptures depicting shooting stars spread across the top in multiple colors, while a nearby sign stated, 'Welcome to Join Avenue, the latest craze in happy shopping! See your friends and neighbors build up wonderful shops under the guidance of a local owner. You'll find what you weren't looking for at Join Avenue!'

    “Vee?” Patience asked, putting her paws on the basket and trying to look around him at the building.

    “That's a weird shop,” Nate said. “Or is it a mall? I can't think of any other reason to plop it right on a public route, and even then you think it'd be a nuisance to locals.”

    “I dunno, but it looks exciting,” Rosa said. “We have to pass through, so let's check it out.”

    “Not like we have a choice.” They got off their bikes to walk through Join Avenue, Patience and River jumping off the bikes to walk too.

    Inside, they found a clean and colorful series of stalls, like a street marketplace given a roof. Bright lights and textured floors gave it a new feeling despite it being a part of a route. All but one of the stalls were totally empty, devoid of any signs of business. And the one open shop didn't seem that impressive, only holding a few racks of baseball caps and various patches. There were two boys at the store who couldn't be much older than twelve, talking with a group of men and women in business attire; the latter were probably in their thirties or so.

    “You were supposed to be helping us,” the boy in front of the counter said. “But hardly anybody stops by our shop.”

    “You haven't done much to promote Join Avenue, which was your task,” the man in the center said. He had a pinstripe suit of powder blue and white and carried a brown suitcase like he was much too busy to work in one place. “I'm afraid that you can no longer be the owner, which means you'll have to convince the new one to to let the store stay.”

    “Why would you make a kid the owner of a shopping mall?” Nate wondered aloud.

    “It does seem silly,” Rosa said.

    “This stinks,” the former owner said, turning to talk to his friend who was looking downcast at the counter.

    “Hey, you two,” the man in the blue suit said, ignoring the two kids in favor of them. “You seem to be good young folks.”

    “And you can tell how?” Nate asked skeptically, causing Rosa to giggle. “It's not like we're wearing signs or something.”

    “Sharp in wits too,” he said, smiling. “I know; I am an excellent judge of character. I'll make this brief: I'm the man who built this place, Mr. Cartridge. Join Avenue is meant to be a place to make people's dreams come true, especially in small business.”

    “This sounds familiar,” Nate said, thinking of Pokestar Studios.

    Mr. Cartridge chose not to respond to that. “It's to provide space and equipment to people who want to start up little shops and businesses, as well as captivate customers and pedestrians. But I don't have the time needed to run the Avenue in person, so I'm looking for an energetic young person to take over as owner, to promote Join Avenue and search for shops to start up. Would one of you be willing to do so?”

    “I dunno...” Rosa said. River sniffed.

    “How in the world does that work?” Nate asked. “You built it, and must have come up with the idea and resources for it. You're the owner. What kind of sense does it make to ask whoever's passing through to take over ownership? It obviously didn't work before. One would think you'd at least interview candidates. Wile I'm at it, what economic sense does this make? Leaving it to run under an inexperienced and possibly unqualified owner, sponsoring start-up business owners that you haven't met personally. For all you know, we'll only be in Nimbasa for a day. It's nice that you're giving people the chance to try building economic independence, but what do you get out of it?”

    “I don't need to get anything out of it other than the satisfaction of seeing my vision happen,” Mr. Cartridge said. “After all, I'm ridiculously rich and I can cover any loss this has.”

    “But what would your new owner get out of it?”

    “Excellent, you're just the kind of person I'm looking for,” Mr. Cartridge said cheerfully. “Come on, I'll show you the office and explain the details.” He headed off with his group to a closed off area opposite the boy's hat shop.

    After staring at them a moment, Nate turned to Rosa. “What just happened there?”

    “I don't get it either, but it seems you own the place now,” she said. At some thought, she smiled. “Oh hey, you're supposed to make yourself known and liked, right? This could be a great way to do that.”

    “It could also be a big risk,” he pointed out. But as long as he didn't have to pay anything for this strange job, maybe it would be worth something. “Might as well see what this is about. Here, would you take my Pokemon and take them to the Pokecenter? You can meet me back here when you're done.”

    “Sure, I’ll look for a place to stay too,” she said, taking them. “It's been a few years since I’ve been back here, but I remember a few places. Come on, Patience.”

    “Aaaoo,” the Eevee whined, putting her ears down.

    “Well, I’ll keep her with me,” Nate said, so Rosa nodded and handed back the one Pokeball. While she went out to look around Nimbasa, he followed Mr. Cartridge to find out what this was really about.

    -+-

    Nimbasa didn't look much different than when she'd left. It was still bright, colorful, and noisy. Ahead to her right, there was the entrance to the amusement park when Elesa had decided to set up her gym. A little ahead to her left, the impressive main station for the subway system still glimmered like a jewel. The flags flapping overhead and on lamp posts seemed new and bright, while a few masterful chalk drawings (and many childish ones) were scattered along the sidewalks. While Castelia was a place where people went to work, Nimbasa next door was where they came to play.

    Was she the same person who had left here? Rosa wondered that for a moment, then decided it wasn't really important. The Pokecenter was on the other side of the station, so she put her bike up and walked over to get her Pokemon and the two of Nate's healed up. Some of the battles today had seemed really easy compared to what her team had faced in the battle dojo. Then again, there had been one rather difficult match, so healing them up was best.

    The Pokecenter was a little different than she remembered. They had just been installing the mini-store when her mother had been transferred, and they had replaced some of the furniture. However, she did recognize the nurse on duty. “Hi Selena!” she said as she passed over her ID card.

    She didn't even have to look at it before she smiled warmly. “My goodness, is it Rosa come back here? It's been so long; you've grown into a lovely young lady.”

    “It seems like a long time,” Rosa agreed. “I came to get my Pokemon and those of my friend healed up.”

    “Of course, I'll get right to it,” she said, taking the Pokeballs to the machine. “So are you taking the League challenge now?”

    She nodded. “Yup, that's what we're here for. Oh, and what hotel would you recommend here now? Nate's off talking with somebody, so I'm taking care of it.”

    “There's a few good ones around,” Selena said. “Is he your boyfriend?”

    “No, he's not,” she said, trying not to get worked up about it. “We're just friends and I like it that way.”

    “I suppose that is the important thing,” she said. Then she giggled. “Sorry, I just got into reading romance novels about teenaged Trainers that go traveling together and end up falling in love along the way. Some of them are really cheesy, but I still love them. In the last one, they didn't even finish up the League challenge because they found it wasn't what they were searching for.”

    “I've read a few like that,” Rosa said, smiling. “I don't expect that to happen, but I guess it would be nice.”

    “You never know. About where you can stay, there's a nice place just down the street that caters to Trainers and their Pokemon. It's...” She paused a moment to think, then told Rosa where to find the place.

    It didn't take long to get there and arrange for rooms for the two of them. As Rosa was leaving the hotel, she heard the familiar ringing of Curtis' Xtransciever. “Hey, good afternoon!” she said cheerily on answering.

    “Hey Rosa,” Curtis said, sounding dispirited. “Um, I don't know how long I'll get to talk with you. I had to sneak off to the roof and they might get mad at me, but...”

    “What's going on?” she asked.

    “Do you mind if I rant for a bit?”

    “Hang on a sec.” Rosa looked around; the number of pedestrians was increasing and she'd be in the way if she stayed here. So she walked over towards the end of the street. “I just had to make sure I wasn't in the way of anybody. Go ahead.”

    “Thanks... though I'm not sure where to start. Things around here have been crazy lately, although some of it is me just now realizing what's going on. I heard somebody say a while ago that those who burn bright too fast end up burning out. With all the talk about keeping up with the hype and what's happened, I get the feeling that those around me don't care if they push me into burning out. Some might even want me to so they can drop me and pick up on the next hype.”

    Hearing that made Rosa feel mad. “Well if they really feel that way, they don't care about you and you shouldn't have to listen to them.”

    “I'd love not to listen to them, but it's complicated. Contracts, you know. They act very nice and treat me well to my face, but I've overheard them speaking otherwise. And I know my manager is already scouting for someone new to focus on; I heard him interviewing others and what he has lined up for me is... ugh, most of it is cashing in for as much as they can while they can. And the thing that isn't that, I really don't want to do. It's way too gimmicky.”

    “What is it?” Rosa said, pausing by the fancy iron fence that stood at the end of the street. Past here, there was a few feet of grassy land before a sharp slope led down to the bay. At this point, one could see the shore of Driftviel in the distance.

    “They're setting me up with a blind date later this month,” Curtis said with distaste. “Which I wouldn't mind as I've done something like that before, but the way they're choosing my date this time is just ridiculous. It's going to be decided with a small Pokemon battle competition that's a part of the build-up to the grand opening of the Pokemon World Tournament Stadium in August. What's even worse is that I'm not even going to be a part of the competition, just the prize.”

    “That is crazy,” Rosa agreed. She was briefly distracted by seeing that strange frigate in the water again, but turned her attention back to Curtis.

    “Isn't it? In a way, I can understand what they were getting at. I've got a couple strong Pokemon, but we battle so little that it won't be much of a challenge. So they contacted some dedicated battlers to be the actual challenge, and those guys wanted a Doubles challenge. I understand that that's what they like doing. But I'm going to end up having a date with someone who is probably also a dedicated battler, someone I wouldn't be able to compete with. Or even a guy, if that's how it happens.”

    “You could also end up with two girls,” Rosa piped up. “Most guys wouldn't mind that and you could always sweet talk your way out of doing battle.”

    Thankfully, that did make him laugh a little. “I guess that's true. You're not worried about saying that to me as a girl?”

    “Well, it is only one date,” she said. She looked over the water, thinking of something. “Have you talked with your parents about it? They might protest.”

    “Actually, they helped plan this,” Curtis said, unhappy again. “I, I just don't know what to do about them. I know I should respect them, but I don't feel like I can trust them. I could trust my uncle and aunt; if they had heard about my work friends taking me out to bars, they would've thrown a fit and grounded me. My parents don't care. My mother even asked me the other day why I wasn't doing that lately. And with what I found the other day... argh, I think that nobody can have a weirder life than me sometimes.”

    Rosa bit her lip. Then she said, “I bet I do.”

    “That's unlikely.”

    “No, really,” she said, leaning on the fence. “I mean, my life was normal for years, cause I thought I knew everything about myself, that I was just some clumsy cheerful girl from Aspertia. But then the strangest things started happening, first of all when I met Nate because he fell out of the wall onto my bed.”

    “What?” Curtis asked flatly.

    “I'm not kidding! It seemed like he was just the weird one at first, because he can see other people's memories sometimes but doesn't know his own that well. But then stuff started happening to me too, like my necklace turns into a sword and Pokemon medicine seems to work on me much better than it normally does on humans. Then my mom came to visit us yesterday and she said that I'm actually the reincarnation of Keldeo.”

    “Umm...”

    “That's what I thought! I trust my mom and dad, though. Plus my mom's usually really bad about playing jokes, cause I can tell by her expression that she is. She didn't seem to be joking that time. It doesn't seem sensible. But you know, I've always been fascinated by water and no matter how much I try to think of something more reasonable, I have this feeling that won't be shaken, that this is real. I'm not sure how I'd go about finding proof to this. Maybe meeting one of the others like Cobalion, but those three are really hard to find.”

    “That is really weird,” Curtis said. “But... you know, I’ve never met you in person, but I feel like I can trust you. I mean, you don't speak to me like those who just want my favor. You speak like you really care about me.”

    “That's cause you're my friend now,” she said.

    “Yeah, a real friend,” he said. “Aw geez, now you've got me tearing up.”

    “Oh, don't cry!” she said in a cheerful tone. “We're both in weird situations, but smile and hope for the best.”

    “Well... I'll try. Hah, that's how they want me to act, but it's been a while since I actually felt that way. Although... she said that you were Keldeo?”

    “That's right.”

    She heard him snap his fingers. “I remember... last year I was doing a shoot and there was an elderly couple having a picnic. While the guys were setting up, I talked with them a little and they told me a story about Keldeo that supposedly happened at that very spot. It was... there was a waterfall, I remember that.”

    A story about Keldeo? Why hadn't she thought of that? Find some stories about Keldeo, then try going to the places they told about. “What was the story?”

    “It's...” someone yelled at Curtis. “They found me,” he muttered, then yelled back, “I'm taking a break because you haven't given me one! No, I don't consider that a break. Let me hang up at least.” He sighed, then said, “Sorry about that.”

    “Bad timing on their part,” she said. “If you can remember more about the story, just call me later. Or call me just to talk more.”

    “Right, I’ll see if I can remember where that was. Well, thanks for listening again. Talk to you later.”

    “Sure thing,” she said, letting the call disconnect. Looking back across the bay, she saw the frigate pull closer to Driftveil. “Still wish I could see inside that ship,” she said to herself, then hurried back to meet with Nate.

    When she got back to Join Avenue, a few people were passing through but not stopping. Nate wasn't there. However, the two boys with the hat shop were still there, sitting on the counter now and discussing ideas. “Maybe we should try Driftveil Market,” one said.

    “But then we'd have to walk across the bridge everyday,” the other said. “Dad will definitely find out.”

    “You made the store without your parents knowing?” Rosa asked.

    “Umm,” the second boy turned pink.

    “Dad wanted us to deliver papers to earn extra money,” the first boy said, disappointed. “But there weren't any openings at the first newspaper office, and the other didn't want any paper boys at all. I thought I could get lots of money by owning a whole mall! It was really complicated, though, and the other shop I got going closed in a day because our friend thought it was too much work.”

    “Well we could only be open a few hours too,” the second boy said. “Somebody even stole a few hats and patches earlier when we had to be doing chores at home.”

    “Is there anybody else to run the store?” she asked.

    “Nuh-uh,” he said, shaking his head. “They had where I could hire another clerk, but that would have taken more of our profit away.”

    “But if your store could be open more, you'd make more money. Um, was there something you were saving for? I'm sorry if I'm butting in.” she smiled, curious about what they were doing.

    “Well as long as you don't tell our dad,” the second boy said.

    “We want to join a scout camp in another region later this summer,” the first boy said. “But our parents wouldn't agree to the cost. So we thought we'd earn enough money to pay for the camp we want instead of going to the Sarasota camp as usual.”

    “You came in with that guy they made the new owner, right?”

    Rosa nodded. “Yeah, he's my friend.”

    “Do you think he'll let us keep the store? We really want to go to the camp and we'll earn the money if we have to.”

    “If you tell him what your goal is, I'm sure he'll work things out with you,” she said. Then she clenched a fist. “And if not, I’ll make him.”

    Both of the boys broke out in grins at that. “Thanks!” the second boy said.

    Rosa talked with them a little more until Mr. Cartridge and his posse came out. If they noticed the boys still there with the merchandise, they paid it no heed and headed right away to their next place of business. A minute later, Nate and Patience came out of the office as well. The Eevee walked carefully by and just behind Nate, while he was reading something on his Xtransciever's screen.

    “Hey, how'd it go?” Rosa asked, waving to him.

    “It looks like I own this marketplace now,” he said, flipping down the screen on his wristphone to look over at them. “Oh, you're still here. Hey, don't feel too bad about being fired as owner.”

    “Why's that?” the first boy asked.

    He crossed his arms over his chest. “I suspect that Mr. Cartridge fully expects this place to fail. Maybe he's trying to avoid paying the taxes he should, I don't really know why. I had no intentions of doing something like this. But you know, the way he spoke to me was deceptive and demeaning and I don't like that. That makes me want to see this place succeed, maybe something more than that too. I need some time to think about it, but it could work.”

    The second boy looked quizzical. “Huh, wait, so you know that he's lying to you? But you're going to do what he asks anyhow?”

    Nodding, Nate said, “Because he thinks money will get him out of anything. Perhaps, but I'm willing to try humiliating him.”

    “Whoa, you're, like,” the first boy had his eyes wide as he fumbled for his words. “It's crazy, but kinda awesome!”

    Nate scratched his head. “I don't know abut awesome. Crazy, yes.”

    “But you'll need to get stores for this place first,” Rosa said. “Well these two have been working hard, so why not keep their store? Go on, tell him.”

    “Oh yeah,” the first boy said, then explained about his and his brother's plan to earn money for a scout camp.

    Thankfully, Nate listened to them. “I see. What are you selling?”

    “Patch Hats!” the second boy said, touching the white and orange hat he wore. There was a patch of a Skorupi on it. “They're awesome cause you can swap out the patches any time you want to make a different hat. See?” He pulled the patch off his hat, showing the velcro behind it. Then he put it back on, crooked by accident. “We've got the hats and patches.”

    “Anything else?” Nate asked.

    “Um, no,” he said.

    “We collect patches more than anything else,” the first boy said. “But the store that was selling them in Nimbasa stopped a while back. Some of our friends have come by to buy new patches, but we haven't sold as much as we thought.”

    “Patch hats are cool, but I like my visor,” Rosa said, patting her hair. “I can't make these pony tails with a hat.”

    Nate went up to the counter and looked at their store. There was a lot of empty counter and storage space. “Well... first of all, I think you should tell your parents what you're doing.”

    “What, really?” the first boy asked, not really wanting to.

    But he smiled at them. “You tried to run an entire shopping mall, so you're certainly trying all that you can to get the money for your camp. Then we'd have to consider what to do with the shop when you boys are away at camp. Would you want to run it again when you came back?”

    “Maybe,” the second boy said.

    “Oo, what about your scout troop?” Rosa said, clapping her hands. “Maybe if you guys talk to your scout leader and get your troop involved, you can earn a business patch or something.”

    “Hey, that'd be cool,” the second boy said. “And we could take turns.”

    “I'm pretty sure you could do that, although I'd need to check the rules more thoroughly,” Nate said, flipping up his Xtransceiver screen again. “Which I was planning on. But I think if you want to be successful, you should try selling more that just the hats and patches. Are there other collectable items that are popular with kids around here?”

    “The hats are good enough for us,” the first boy said.

    “Um, there's some guys at school who like to collect Robomis,” the second boy said. “They're little robot toys that are used in a game that came out earlier this year, but once you buy the starter kit, you can only get them from vending machines in Castelia. I like them.”

    Nate turned around so that the two boys on the counter could see his Xtransciever. “You're in luck; I saw that vend stalls are an option earlier. And if Robomis is that new, you might be able to catch it when it goes popular. You can still sell the hats when there's a worker here, but the vending machines would always be open for people to buy stuff.”

    “That'd be great!” the second boy said, leaning over so he could see.

    “So it wouldn't matter if we went to camp later on,” the first boy said. “We might have to hire a worker though, since the camp here is at the same time. But then next year, maybe we could all go on a trip!”

    “There is something you have to keep in mind,” Nate said, taking on a serious tone. “If you run a vending stall, you'll be given keys to the machines and be responsible for taking the money from them and turning it in to the office workers. You need to be honest and give them all the coins and bills you get from the machines. Do that and the office will pay your wages every two weeks. I will be checking the data from the machines against what you turn in.”

    “We can be responsible,” the second boy said, straightening up.

    “Yeah, scout's honor,” the first boy said. “You won't have any trouble with us.”

    “Then show that you are worthy as scouts,” Nate said, nodding. “What other kinds of vending machines would you like to have? You'll want to appeal to as many people as you can.”

    “Um,” the first boy looked to his brother.

    “We could have drinks and snacks,” he suggested, pointing out to Route 4. “There might be buildings out there, but it's still sandy and dry, so travelers might like having that right here at the entrance. Oh, and stickers! I know some kids who always get sticker sheets with parts of their allowance.”

    “How about Fluffies?” Rosa asked, brightening. “They're so little and cute!”

    “Fluffies are girly,” the second boy said.

    “But you should have something that girls would like too,” Nate said.

    The two boys were reluctant, but eventually agreed to have Fluffies and another collectable vend machine that would appeal to girls. It would take a day to get the shop changed over, but the first shop for Join Avenue under Nate was allowed to stay open.
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

    Fluer Noir- A story of a black flower, a shameful history, and magic.

  24. #99
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    No ruins. Instead, we get commercialism! If you think about it, Join Avenue is just weird. The guy who built the place just gives it to you within seconds of you walking into the Avenue. And he doesn't care if you ignore it, only showing up as you build the Avenue's levels. All well; while nobody in real life is going to throw a mall at you and say 'Here, just talk to people and you're doing your job', it can be fun to play with. It's nice to have the NPC services the Pokemon games usually scatter all over the place all brought to one area.
    Pokedex OS- Still trying to capture every single Pokemon out there in words: 648/718 Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, and Sinnoh complete!

    Fluer Noir- A story of a black flower, a shameful history, and magic.

  25. #100
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    A Double battles tournament? With two "dedicated" battlers? Yeah, Subway demonstration battle here we come...

    And the Join Avenue is just weird. It's really useful if you've spent a couple of hours trading things in from various games but if you're on your own then it takes ages to get anything really decent out of it. On the other hand, if you have the money for it, the ability to level up by eight is insanely useful. Technically, if you're absurdly patient, you can reach level 100 at this point without ever needing to do anything more than battle all the resetting trainers and checking the Raffle Shop. You will of course be bored to death by this point, but that's half the fun, isn't it?
    "Nothing is impossible- The word itself says, 'I'm possible!'"- Audrey Hepburn

    One crazy trip: The adventures of a beret-clad boy and his best friend the sky. One day I will learn how to forum-format at a decent speed. Promise.

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