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A Balance That Can't Be Kept

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by VRainbow, Dec 28, 2018.

  1. VRainbow

    VRainbow Member

    William Callahan only wanted to be a Trainer. To travel across the Magturae region, maybe one day becoming Champion. But he's found himself amidst a web of deceit, where the lines of right and wrong blur and William is left to wonder what being a Trainer really means.

    Very little Pokemon knowledge is required, but would enhance the material.

    I will post a new chapter every 1-2 weeks on Friday or Saturday, though I can't make any promises.

    Content warnings: There is little to no swearing, and no sexual content. Contains some dark themes and, on some occasions, death, though none is in great detail.

    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019 at 1:20 PM
  2. VRainbow

    VRainbow Member

    Chapter 1

    No one wants to be a Pokemon trainer.

    That’s what my mother told me, trying to change my mind. She told me of all the Trainer deaths that occurred annually, of the many injuries and mental traumas that so many suffered from. It’s true that it is one of the least popular professions, and that most don’t make it past their first year as a Trainer for one reason or another, but it’s not really my decision. I have to do it. Every night since I was ten, I’ve had dreams. Dreams I can’t remember, but fill me with an overwhelming desire that I can’t refuse.

    I’d brought it up with my family, who had trouble believing me, but knew in this strange world we live in anything is possible. If only the requirements to be a Trainer were the same as they were many years ago! Then I could have become a Trainer as soon as I was ten. But no. For three years I’ve felt hollow, like I’m depriving myself of an essential life function.

    Not anymore. I have passed the requirements. It’s the day they recruit new Trainers, and I have just turned thirteen. It’s time for me to go. I walked inside Professor Aspen’s lab, my shoes pounding against the floor as my heart pounds with excitement. Three years ago, I would have been terrified, but now I felt as though my life was about to be completed. I breathed in the smell of chemicals and opened the door to the main laboratory.

    “Ah, William, you’re the first one here!” Professor Aspen exclaimed, throwing her hands out to her sides. She was wearing the traditional white lab coat, with a few faded, different colored stains on it. She almost looked like a child who had made a mess with fingerpaint, but the paint was chemicals, and Professor Aspen was a fully grown adult. She straightened out her coat and waved for me to follow her.

    “So, do you know which starter to pick? They’re from the Unova region this time.” she said to me as we walked down the hallway, her high heels echoing.

    We live in the Magturae region, one of the many minor regions without any unique Pokemon that we know of, as Pokemon from almost all of the other regions had been imported and exported to and from them. This means each town has a batch of starters from one of the larger regions. Our town of Euthalia usually gets whatever Pokemon are left over once Argus town, the town closest to us, is done with them. We happened to live between Unova and Kanto, so it’s usually from one of those two that we get our starters.

    We stood at a locked door, and I thought for a moment before answering her question, “I think I have a good idea of which one I want.”

    “That’s good, that’s good.” she nodded, a little distracted by putting the key in the lock, “It’s important to pick the right one or your experience might go a little less than optimal. Ah, we’re in!”

    The room was nothing special appearance wise but it lacked the chemical smell of the other rooms I’d been in and instead smelled rather nice. There were tables, chairs, bookshelves, and computers scattered around with no clear order, and in the center of it all was a round table with three indentations. These were made to hold one thing and one thing only. Pokeballs. Beneath each ball was a screen showing the three starters, Snivy the grass snake, Tepig the fiery piglet, and Oshawatt, a blue otter with a shell on its stomach.

    If Professor Aspen said or did anything, I didn’t notice, I was so absorbed in my thoughts. I had to pick the right one. If only I could see what their personalities were like, so I could make a better decision…

    But I had done enough thinking. I wasn’t getting anywhere. I already knew which one I wanted, all I had to do was take it. It felt like a force was keeping me in place, my indecisiveness grounding me to where I stood. I fought against it, and walked up to the table. I took a deep breath and confidently grabbed Snivy’s Pokeball.

    Professor Aspen smiled, “So, you’ve chosen the Grass starter, Snivy? Brave choice.”

    I was a little taken aback by her choice of words, but shrugged it off. I had done it, I had become a Trainer. I allowed myself to grin, and then broke into nervous laughter. I had just made both the best and dumbest decision of my life.

    A short time later, I had received my Pokedex, five empty Pokeballs, and a Trainer card, which had my ID, other info about me, and could be used like a credit card to make purchases. I stepped outside the lab, and waiting for me was my mother, father, and best friend, all knowing this may well be the last time they see me in person. I wished my brother, George, was there too, but he was at college to be a Pokemon doctor.

    My mother is caring to a fault, and although she is unwilling to let me go, she understands that I need to. I often wondered how she would act on the day I left, and she was surprisingly composed, on the outside at least.

    “So, which one did you pick?” she asked.

    “I chose Snivy,” I stated, unsure of how they would react.

    “Wow, Snivy? No offense, but it’s not the most powerful Pokemon of the Unova trio. Can I see it?” my friend, Charley, asked eagerly.

    I didn’t know how to tell him that it might not be a good idea to have my new Pokemon bond with people that I’ll have to leave soon anyway. I couldn’t even fully accept that I was leaving them myself.

    After a few seconds of awkward silence that felt like ages, my mother spoke up. “Are you ready William? You’re going to want to leave with at least one other Trainer, just like we planned.” She said to me, gently stroking my hair, something she often does when she’s nervous and I’m nearby. I nodded, not trusting myself to speak for fear of crying.

    Charley didn’t have the same amount of self control as I, and began to sob. “I-I’m going to miss you. It’s just… Without you I’ll go back to being hated!” he exclaimed. This outburst was a surprise to me, as he was a very upbeat person usually.

    I had never seen him show so much emotion before, and I felt sorry for him. I really did. In fact, I first became friends with him because he didn’t have anyone else. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. I learned most of what I know about Pokemon from him, as he wanted to be a Professor one day, and was obsessed with them. I often joked that he would be a better Trainer than I, but he refused, claiming he wasn’t nearly in enough shape to go traveling on foot everywhere.

    “That’s not true, Charley,” I said, comforting him. “You can make friends, you just have to try. And I’ll still be calling you like crazy. I don’t trust the Pokedex as much as I trust your knowledge.”

    Charley visibly steeled himself, wiping the tears away. “You’re right, I’m being too dramatic.”

    My father hadn’t said a word yet, and I wondered if he was also holding back tears. Then again, he never really said much anyway, he was kind of a “strong but silent” type who only said what he had to. So it surprised me when he pulled me into an embrace, and told me in a hoarse voice, “I know you’ll do us proud. Go get ‘em.”

    A tear trickled down my face as he slowly let go. Mother was the next to hug me as she too began to cry.

    Our goodbyes were interrupted by another group of people, who walked up to us and asked, “Excuse us, but is this Professor Aspen’s place?”

    “Oh dear,” Mother said, wiping her tears, “Yes, this is it. Is one of you going to be a Trainer as well?”

    A thin, brown haired girl in a bright pink dress responded eagerly, “Yes, I’m Emily Kimberly and I’m going to be the new champion! I’ve trained all my life for this. Charley, I hope you’re not thinking of joining, I doubt you’ll make it very far.” She noticed the Pokeball in my hand, and shifted her focus on me, “You might get a little farther, but trust me, I’ll win in the end.”

    What fabricated world is she living in? Are there people who actually think that way? I wish I was that confident. Emily was in my grade, and she wasn’t all that popular mostly because of her personality, though she did have some devoted friends that I was surprised she was willing to leave behind.

    “Well, which Pokemon did you pick?” she asked me.

    “Snivy,” I tried to sound as confident as she was, “I was just about to head north toward Route A. What about you?”

    “I’m going to Route C first, maybe we’ll cross paths sometime. No offense, but I don’t want to travel with anyone, and I don’t think we could be rivals, either. Anyway, I’ve got a starter to choose.” With that, she sauntered into the lab with the rest of her family, who never said a word to us the entire time.

    “Charming young lady,” Mother muttered sarcastically.

    “I definitely would be better off traveling alone,” I said to my mother, hoping that she wouldn’t make me go with Emily.

    “Well, let’s wait and see if the third Trainer will make a better travel buddy than Emily,” she agreed.

    Despite the three years of planning that we had, one thing we couldn’t properly prepare for was finding a travel buddy. When someone decides to become a Trainer, they tell the nearest Professor their plans so they can be registered a Pokedex and enough starters are prepared. The only people the wannabe Trainer can tell about their future is their immediate family, who in turn can’t tell anyone else. This makes it very difficult to plan ahead in finding other new Trainers to travel with. It’s a law with a hefty fine, yet I had broken it in telling Charley. My family never hesitated to express their frustrations on this particular rule, as well as many others that were put on Trainers. It is bothersome, rarely followed, and only served to be a frustration for new Trainers. Yet, we could do nothing about it.

    We waited around a few minutes, making small talk, and by the time the third person arrived, Emily had already left, having not said another word to us. Then we saw someone in their middle teens carrying a large backpack approach the building with no one else around him. He had scraggly brown hair and a somewhat wide, muscular frame. At first I thought he might be an intern or something, but then he greeted us warmly.

    “Hi, I’m Alan Dominick, I take it I’m the last one to get here?”

    Charley looked away shyly, which wasn’t an uncommon action for him, and I confirmed to Alan he was indeed the last one.

    “That’s fine, I’ll take whatever Pokemon is left,” he said cheerily.

    “Has anyone came with you to say goodbye?” Mom asked.

    “No, we said all our goodbyes before I left,” Alan responded quickly.

    My dad decided to speak up, “This might be a little much to ask, but are you willing to travel with my son William? He’s a Trainer too and needs someone else to go with him.”

    “Sure can Will! It won’t be a problem at all, since I don’t want to go alone either. I just hope you can keep up.” He smiled at me.

    “I can try,” I chuckled.

    As he went into the lab, Mom handed me my own backpack, full of the essentials, like food, water, a tent, sleeping bag, and clothes. I put my Pokeball inside. All of it combined was a little too heavy for comfort, but I would have to get used to it. I suddenly wished I had exercised more.

    “Can you carry all of that?” Charley laughed.

    “I sure hope so, because we’ve got a long journey ahead of us.” Alan had just exited the building carrying a Pokeball in his hand. “I got Tepig. Which one did you get?”

    “Uh, Snivy” I responded simply, not knowing what else to add.

    “Well that means I have the type advantage,” he teased, “You’re going to have to train twice as hard as me.”

    With that, it was finally time to go. I strapped my backpack on and followed Alan as we walked toward Route A. My family and friend continued to wave and say goodbye as long as I could see and hear them, and I did the same. As they left my line of sight, Charley made a phone gesture and yelled “Call us soon!” Then we turned a corner, and they were gone.

    Even as I was walking away, I couldn’t believe I was doing this. My life had been normal until that point, and now I was going to leave it all behind. I was sure I would fail, maybe even die. But I knew I had to try. So as I left Euthalia, the town I grew up in, with nothing but a backpack, a stranger, and a single Pokemon, I could only hope that whatever was causing my dreams knew what it was doing.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  3. VRainbow

    VRainbow Member

    Chapter 2

    “So, what are you going to do first? Do you want to head to the nearest gym right away, or train for a little while?” Alan asked, making small talk as we entered Route A.

    Route A was mostly flat field with a few trees. If our town were to ever expand, it would be there. Until then, it is a neglected area full of weeds and tall grass, so much that whatever path there might have been was gone, and we had to rely fully on the GPS on our Pokedexes. The grass waved in the wind, tempting us with its secrets.

    “I want to train, of course. I can’t win battles if I haven’t practiced.” I answered.

    “That’s why you chose this path, right?”

    I nodded. I chose Route A because I figured it would have the most Pokemon. This was a contrast to the often used Route C, the path Emily chose, which was always clean and had few Pokemon.

    “Speaking of training, do you want to have a battle? We haven’t met our Pokemon yet, and there’s no better way to get to know them than with a battle!” Alan said excitedly.

    I only partially agreed with him. I would rather have met and bonded a little with Snivy before battling. However, I didn’t want to seem ungrateful to a new friend, so I agreed to the fight.

    He smiled, “All right, don’t worry, I don’t think Tepig knows any fire moves yet, so it should be pretty balanced. Go, Tepig!” Alan threw the Pokeball and it released the fire red pig. It grunted as soon as it formed, and ran around in circles excitedly.

    My heart beat fast as I gripped my Pokeball. I was a little nervous about meeting my Pokemon for the first time. I could only hope it would like me. I threw the ball and yelled, “Go, Snivy!” It just felt right to say something.

    The green, snakelike Pokemon raised its head high, fanning its leafy tail and standing with its two stubby legs. It glanced at me with its large brown eyes for a second, then focused its attention to Tepig, as if analyzing it.

    Alan made the first move. “Tepig, tackle attack!”

    The pig ran straight for Snivy, lowering its head in preparation for the collision. Snivy spun gracefully away, dodging the attack. Tepig took a moment to stop running, and looked around in confusion when it realized it hadn’t hit anything.

    It was time to retaliate. “Snivy, tackle it back!” Snivy looked directly at me, as though considering if what I said was in fact the best option, and then complied, collapsing itself on top of Tepig, who reacted by tossing Snivy onto the ground, and with another command from Alan, tackled Snivy into surrender, quickly ending the battle.

    “All right! We won!” Alan cheered. His Tepig ran up to him, jumping in celebration. He knelt down and picked it up, causing its springy tail to wag furiously.

    The Pokedex in my pocket beeped, and I pulled it out, wondering why it had made the sound. I opened it and saw my balance on the screen before it went down by a few Pokedollars. Alan’s ‘Dex had apparently done the same, as he checked it as well.

    “Oh yeah, since I won the battle I won a little money from you,” he said, “But I don’t want to take anything, maybe we can battle again and you’ll get it back?”

    There was a big risk to battling, especially when starting off. When we became Trainers, a small amount of money was but into a bank account specifically for battles like these. Whenever a Trainer wins or loses, the money is either taken in or out of the account, which the Trainer can then use for whatever they want. If this account is ever completely emptied, one legally has to either take money from another of their bank accounts and put it into their Trainer balance or give up all their Pokemon and stop being a Trainer. I wasn’t too worried about the loss, as I had saved up quite a bit of money for this purpose, and my parents had agreed to lend some of their money if I’m ever in a tight spot.

    “No, it’s fine, you can keep the money,” I said kindly, “You won fair and square.”

    “All right, if you insist,” Alan didn’t pursue it any further.

    I went over to Snivy, who had pushed itself back onto its feet.

    “Are you okay?” I asked it, crouching down and petting its head. Its skin was smooth, like a leaf. It blinked, looking up at me. Its large eyes telling me all I needed to know. I smiled, “That’s a relief. Don’t worry, we’ll get them next time.”

    “It looks fine to me, maybe a little winded,” Alan observed.

    “Yeah, I know,” I confirmed, standing up and looking down at Snivy, “I don’t think it needs a Pokemon Center or anything yet.”

    “That’s good. So, now that that’s done, let’s keep going! I think that maybe we should keep our Pokemon out for the time being, it’ll be more fun that way.” Alan suggested, lowering Tepig back to the ground where it continued to run around in circles.

    “Yeah, let’s do it!” I said excitedly. The battle, even though I lost, had really gotten my spirits up. I had a Pokemon, and we were going to get stronger together. “Let’s go Pokemon hunting!”

    With that, we began moving forward, scanning the grass for any Pokemon to battle or capture. Snivy was difficult to keep my eye on, barely rustling the grass as it slid through it. Luckily, it stayed near me. Alan wasn’t so lucky.

    “Tepig, we aren’t going that way, get back here!” he called. A patch of grass several yards away rustled and grunted, and Tepig began to run back toward Alan before getting distracted and running sideways. I laughed as Alan had to chase it down.

    “Hey, Tepig found a Pokemon!” Alan exclaimed, “It’s a Zigzagoon!”

    I ran over to Alan and whipped out my Pokedex. Tepig and Zigzagoon were already beginning to tussle playfully, moving around rapidly. I scanned the Zigzagoon with my Pokedex, not to learn more about it, as I already knew a considerable amount, but to register it. After all, my end goal was to see and maybe capture every Pokemon in the world. Alan did the same, but let the Dex read off the description.

    Zigzagoon, the tiny raccoon Pokemon. This Pokemon is curious about everything it sees, and as such often travels in a zig-zag pattern. It uses the spiky hairs on its back to mark its territory.

    Alan pondered for a moment, looking at his Pokedex. “Hmm, I don’t think I want this one. It doesn’t seem to be all that useful. What about you, William?”

    “No, I don’t think so either. You can go ahead and train on it.” I had few Pokeballs and very little money, and I only wanted Pokemon that I knew I could become close with, at least for the time being.

    “All right, Tepig, do what you do best!” Tepig obeyed, tackling the Zigzagoon. It cried out in pain, caught off guard by the attack. Once it realized what was going down, it braced itself, growling angrily. Tepig was clearly a bit worried now, but continued its attacks on it.

    In the end, the battle was an easy victory for Alan. The Zigzagoon collapsed onto the ground, whimpering in fear. Alan and Tepig celebrated, in much the same way they did after they defeated me and Snivy.

    “You’ve had your fun, but next time, I get to battle the Pokemon,” I teased, “and it won’t take nearly as long as you did.”

    Alan laughed, “Still salty over the loss? Who knows, maybe the next Pokemon we find will be more your speed. Anyway, we have plenty of time before night, so we can stay here as long as we like.”

    So that’s what we did. It took several minutes for each encounter, but we managed to find and defeat several Rattatta, Bunnelby, and a few other things. We were feeling more comfortable with our Pokemon and their abilities, and even learned a few attacks, Ember for Tepig, making that its first fire attack, and Vine Whip for Snivy.

    However, not every Pokemon encounter went so smoothly. A couple of hours had passed, and I was too busy looking down at the grass to notice the Pokemon eyeing me up in a nearby tree.

    The sun was still bright in the sky, and I was starting to sweat from the heat and exertion required to simply trudge through the absurdly tall grass. “I need a break.” I announced, and went under the shade of the tree, leaning against the trunk. Snivy silently followed suit, relaxing at my feet. I looked down at it and felt proud. Proud that I had not only given this little animal an owner, but that I had helped it grow stronger as well. I was confident that we could handle whatever threats this route had to offer, because all things considering, most Pokemon that decided to live here weren’t very strong. But life has a way of proving you wrong one way or another, as was the case when a Tailow swooped down from the tree and attacked.

    Tailow are little black birds that are extremely territorial, and I guess I decided to rest under the wrong tree, because it was assaulted me, crying loudly. I shouted in surprise as it swooped down from a branch and made direct contact. It would have appeared comical, me swinging my arms furiously at the air, hoping for a lucky hit, but I felt the stakes were too high to make room for humor at the time. Its beak was frighteningly sharp, and it used it to puncture holes in my clothes and skin.

    After hearing my shout, Snivy perked up, and saw the black streak that was Tailow, of which there were now two. It used its vine whip to try to smack the birds away from me, and after several failed attempts, a few vines accidentally hitting me, it made contact. The Tailows turned their attention away from me and immediately began attacking Snivy. Snivy was a little better off than me, being able to defend itself with its vines, but Tailow still managed to get several hits off.

    It wasn’t until Alan’s Tepig scared it off with its ember attack that we felt safe again. We decided to sit out in the sun rather than risk going to another tree and have another Tailow after us.

    “Are you all right?” Alan asked me, now that we were out of danger.

    “Yeah, just a few scratches. My bag has a first aid kit with bandages, so it’s no big deal.” While what I said was true, what I didn’t want to admit was that they stung more than I felt an injury of that size should, though maybe I was just unused to pain.

    “You might need to patch up your clothes, though.” Alan pointed out. I looked down at my shirt, which with its creamy yellow color looked a lot like Swiss cheese.

    “What about you, Snivy? Feeling all right?” I asked. It looked a little worse for wear, with a few bruises and a defeated look in its eyes.

    “I think you should return it to its Pokeball, to give it a bit of a break.” Alan suggested.

    I agreed, pulling its Pokeball from my belt and pressing the button. Snivy lowered its head and allowed the red beam to envelop it, causing it to slowly dissolve into the same red energy and return to the confines of the ball. Alan decided to do the same with Tepig, and so we sat alone together.

    “You know, I’m really glad I got Tepig.” Alan said, “Its really energetic and fun to train, and it makes sure it gets what it wants across to you, and won’t stop bothering you until you listen,” he chuckled, “but with your Snivy, I don’t know how you know what its thinking. It just kind of stares into space, if you catch my drift.”

    I nodded, “Snivy doesn’t seem to do much, but its intelligent, and I feel I can usually understand its feelings, at least a little. Tepig is too much of a handful if you ask me.”

    “Different Pokemon for different people, I guess,” Alan looked at his Pokedex, “Well, we have a couple of hours until dark, but I think we should start finding a place to camp for tonight, to give us enough time to figure out how to build the tents.”

    “You don’t know how to build a tent?” I asked incredulously, “It’s not too hard, I can show you.”

    Some time later, we had both of our tents up. We decided to set them up a good distance away from the main path, as we didn’t want to take any risks with other people taking our things. There were plenty of groups out there that would be more than willing to steal our Pokemon. I got mine up first, showing Alan how to do it, but he still struggled when it was his turn. It didn’t help that the tent he had was old and worn, making it a lot harder to set up properly. We lay around for a while as the sun set, then I took out some of the food that was in my pack for dinner.

    “Let’s have supper, then we’ll go to bed, alright?” I asked Alan. I was feeling more comfortable with him now that we had been around each other for a while.

    “Oh, I, uh, forgot to bring any,” he said awkwardly. “That’s OK though, I can hold out until we get to Argus town tomorrow.”

    I laughed good naturedly. “No you’re not. Come over here and I’ll split this sandwich with you.” He obliged without complaint.

    I didn’t want to state the obvious, but I had put the clues together. Alan must not have had the richest of families. Maybe he was becoming a Trainer to support his family. If that’s the case, there were many other jobs that paid much more than this. Whatever the reason, I didn’t want to bring it up with him. He would talk about it when he wanted to.

    I was glad I let him keep the prize money, in any case.

    “Our Pokemon should probably eat, too.” I mentioned, pulling out a bag of Pokemon kibble.

    “Good idea.” Alan said, taking the Pokeball out of its holster on his waist and tossing it. Tepig appeared with a flash of light, and immediately started running toward Alan. He laughed, picking Tepig up and holding it to his face. But then his face fell.

    “Man, I didn’t prepare very well, did I? Can I borrow some of your food, and I’ll be sure to pay you back once we get to Argus town.”

    “Of course. No problem, I have plenty.” I told him, releasing Snivy from its Pokeball. “All right, Snivy, are you ready for dinner?”

    It looked at me as though it didn’t know how to respond. I took a piece of food from the bag and handed it to Snivy. It gently took it out of my hand, smelled it, and swallowed it whole, not bothering to chew. I guess that’s to be expected from a snake.

    “I can’t promise that it tastes good, Mom made it and it was her first time,” I said. I gave one handful of kibble to Snivy, and another to Alan.

    “Hmm, maybe I could taste test it,” Alan said, studying a piece.

    “That stuff is for Pokemon. It’ll probably taste terrible to us no matter how high quality it is,” I warned.

    “Let’s see about that.” Alan smiled and put one in his mouth. As soon as it entered his mouth he spit it back out, couching and retching dramatically. “You were right, holy Arceus that’s bad!”

    I laughed as he continued to spit and rinse his mouth with water from his bottle, gargling it like mouthwash. Tepig found the kibble Alan spit out and ate it. I laughed harder.

    “Eww, come on Tepig, I have a whole handful of food here!” Alan exclaimed, lowering his kibble filled hand to the ground. Tepig ran up to Alan and sloppily ate it, most of the handful pushed to the ground by Tepig’s nose. Tepig didn’t care and ate the rest off the floor.

    “Geez, guy has no manners,” Alan joked, wiping the crumbs off his hands.

    Once we had finished eating the sun had set almost completely, and the moon had appeared, stars slowly appearing one by one after it. I looked back on what had happened today. A big change had been made. I was leaving my old life behind, and a new one was in front of me, looming with an aura I couldn’t yet determine. I heard Hoothoot start their nightly calls. They were louder here than at home. Small things like that served as a reminder that this is real. This is finally happening, and I was excited.

    “Good night William! We want to wake up early for tomorrow!” Alan said to me as he went into his tent, zipping up the flaps.

    “’Night,” I replied sleepily, receding into my own tent. I hoped I wouldn’t have too much trouble sleeping in a new area. I had been camping around this area before, but this felt different. I tossed and turned in my sleeping bag, thinking about my new Pokemon and all that came with it. After some minutes, I fell asleep to the sound of the nocturnal Pokemon’s cries.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2018
  4. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    Hey, welcome to the forums! It's always nice to see a new journeyfic around here; they're some of my favorite stories. I look forward to finding out what William's going to encounter on his journey. Given that he's already having mysterious prophetic dreams, I have to imagine it's not going to be simply your usual swing around the gym system!

    And William's an interesting character. For someone who's been driven by some kind of almost primal need to become a trainer, he seems to approach things in a pretty careful, meticulous way. Not the sort of person you'd expect to throw caution to the wind and devote himself to a dead-end archaic career, but it does seem like he's gone about it his own thoughtful way, working to save up a lot of battle-money for himself, making sure he has the food all set for his pokémon, and so on. Alan seems more like the impetuous type who might just throw himself into pokémon training without thinking it through. It'll be interesting to see how William's temperament serves him on a big messy journey and possibly big-deal mystic quest, if that's what his dreams are hintng at.

    When it comes to preparation, though, I'm pretty surprised that William's parents didn't try to arrange for some sort of traveling companion for him ahead of time, if they're worried about how he'll do on his own. Just kind of hanging around and hoping that somebody suitable comes by doesn't seem like the best strategy if it's potentially a matter of life and death, you know? In any case, Alan seems like a decent foil for William, and I'm sure he could have done worse for traveling companions. I'm looking forward to learning more about him in the future.

    I'm also curious to see what about Magturae makes it so much more dangerous than the pokémon regions we're accustomed to. Thus far it's sounded like William's been most worried about general thieves, who might or might not be part of some sort of larger plot, but it's clear we aren't dealing with some kind of post-apocalyptic hellscape, at least. That's probably something that will become clearer when we reach a larger city, or get a look at what a gym battle's like. You're working with a whole new region here, so don't be afraid to do a bit of world-building!

    For the most part your writing is nice and solid. There are just a couple of things you want to watch out for, one of which is dialogue punctuation. You do this correctly a lot of the time, so I don't know whether you're just missing some stuff in proofreading or what, but keep in mind that when you have a piece of dialogue followed by a speech tag, like "he said" or "she asked," it should end with a comma instead of a period. So here:

    It should be "'I chose Snivy,' I stated, unsure of how they would react." Comma after "Snivy" instead of a period. Same deal here:

    It should be, "'That's not true, Charley,' I said, comforting him."

    Another example is this exchange:

    In the first two paragraphs you punctuate the dialogue wrong, with a period instead of a comma. But then in the last paragraph you do it right! So if this is a punctuation rule you're already familiar with, just keep an eye out for any slips.

    Another thing to watch out for is switching tenses. The story in general is in past tense, but you sometimes slip into present tense for a paragraph or two. Here, for example:

    The first sentence is kind of jumping into William's head and getting his thoughts directly, which is a bit odd because it's not something you usually do. It's in present tense, as is the sentence right after it: to make it consistent with the rest of the story, you'd want it to be "I already knew which one I wanted, all I had to do was take it."

    This one is interesting because the second half of the sentence, after "and," is correctly in past tense, but the first part is in present tense. It should be "my father hadn't said a word."

    And this whole paragraph is more or less in present tense.

    This kind of tense changing didn't happen in the second chapter that I could see, so maybe you've figured it out and fixed the problem, but if not, keep an eye out!

    And, finally, the plural of pokémon names are the same as the singular, so one rattata, several rattata, one bunnelby, several bunnelby, and so on. In the second sentence I think you want either "the pokémon" or "our pokémon," not "their pokémon."

    Anyway, welcome again to the forums, and I look forward to seeing where you take William's story! If you trainer fics, you might enjoy reading TheAlpar's The Child of Thorns, which is based on Platinum, or Chibi Pika's The Legendarian Chronicles, which has lots of Team Rocket shenanigans. Feel free to join our Discord server if you'd like to chat more with other writiers, or if you'd like more feedback, check out the Review Game to help another writer out and put your story up to receive a review.

    Good luck with your writing!
  5. VRainbow

    VRainbow Member

    Thank you for the review! I'm always looking for ways to improve my little hobby.
    The grammatical mistakes are an oversight on my part, and I will edit the chapters to be more up to par, and be more conscious of these mistakes in the future.
    This... is a plot hole. Luckily I think I can provide some additional context and incorporate it into the story much better than I did, but I don't know if I'm allowed to make semi-large edits to the chapter like that. (EDIT: Done!)
    I'm happy to join this community, I'll enjoy both reading and writing here.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
  6. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    You can edit your chapters as much as you like! I've completely deleted and rearranged some of my own before. It's no big deal.
  7. VRainbow

    VRainbow Member

    Chapter 3

    I woke up with the early rising sun in my face. I made a mental note to point the tent window away from that direction next time. I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and was hit with a jolt of panic. It felt like something was missing. I quickly checked my bag. Everything was still there, including Snivy’s Pokeball. So what was this feeling?

    Then it clicked. I hadn’t had a dream tonight. I had become so accustomed to waking up with the message of a fading memory that it felt strange to not have had one. Now that I was a Trainer, I had a feeling those dreams were gone for good. With that positive thought in mind, I checked the scratches on my upper body. They were nothing but fading scars, so I took the bandages off and changed into a new shirt. I got out of my tent and got some breakfast, being sure to save some for Alan.

    A few minutes later Alan crawled out of his tent, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes. “What time is it?”

    I checked the time on my Pokedex. “It’s seven o’clock,” I answered.

    “Really? That early? I usually sleep in really late. Thought I’d either miss half the day or you’d get impatient and dump cold water on my face,” he said.

    “I might have, but we don’t have much water right now,” I joked.

    Alan ate his breakfast without much comment and we fed our Pokemon. Tepig was as energetic as ever, and Snivy was still rather indifferent about the whole situation. I expected as much. It would take a little longer to completely win over its trust. We left our Pokemon out of their Pokeballs, as according to Alan it was more fun that way, and it took us a good part of half an hour to get our tents apart.

    “Sleeping in a tent is going to take some getting used to,” I complained, “There’s not much between your back and the ground.”

    “I can’t wait to sleep in an actual bed tonight,” Alan agreed, “How’s your injuries, by the way?”

    “Ah, they’re fine. I took the bandages off this morning. I expect it won’t be the worst injury I’ll get on this journey,” I remarked. Alan neither agreed nor disagreed with me.

    As Pokemon Trainers, we had access to select hotels for heavily discounted prices and sometimes for free. I can only assume that none of them are exactly five-star, as the hotel in our town that is part of the program is bad, to say the least. You would think it was abandoned at first until you walked inside and saw the sleeping doorman. Hopefully because Euthalia is one of the smaller towns that will be the worst they get. We don’t get many visitors from Trainers anyway, as Euthalia has no gyms.

    We continued our journey into Route B, where the plains begin to end and the forest draws closer. I hoped to find some Pokemon there that would make good additions to my team.

    “I’ve hunted here a few times,” Alan remarked, “Ever had Stantler jerky? That stuff’s amazing.”

    “Shh, not in front of our Pokemon!” I exclaimed, only half joking.

    Alan laughed, “What? They aren’t the same species or anything. If we see a Stantler, then I’ll shut up. Though Pignite bacon is pretty good too...” he stared at Tepig menacingly. Tepig wagged its tail and sneezed a small fire plume. “Never mind, it’s too smoky for my taste.”

    I looked around the trees silently, hoping for a bug or flying type to come our way. The sun shone through the gaps in the leaves, making lines of light that left polka dot patterns on the grass. I saw a rustle in a bush and jumped at the opportunity, but it was a false alarm. The wind had gently blown it, fooling me into thinking it was a Pokemon. Then I noticed the wind was beginning to cause everything to sway, making the sunny patterns flow like they were in water.

    “Looks like it might rain today,” Alan commented, looking at what little sky we could see through the trees. “The wind is starting to pick up. Think we’ll be able to make it to Argus before we’re soaked?”

    “Maybe if we hurry,” I said doubtfully, “but I was hoping to catch some Pokemon here.”

    “We can always come back once the rain has stopped,” Alan said.

    “I guess you’re right,” I conceded.

    Just then I heard a cry. It sounded almost like a bird’s, and if I didn’t know better that’s what I would have thought it was. But thanks to Charley and his obsession with everything Pokemon, I identified it almost immediately.

    “That sounds like Snivy!” I exclaimed, “It came from over there!”

    “What do you think happened?” Alan asked. I sensed some worry in his voice.

    “Let’s find out.” I ran over to where the noise originated. I saw Snivy in battle mode, its eyes focused intensely and its vines raised. And on the opposing side was a Nincada. The bug Pokemon jumped at Snivy, using its claws to scratch at it. Snivy swiftly jumped out of the way, retaliating with its vines. Before Snivy’s vines could hit, Nincada’s body shone reflectively and the vines bounced off, not seeming to have done much damage.

    Now that I had assessed the situation, I took action. “Snivy, keep hitting it! It can’t hold out forever!”

    Snivy acknowledged my orders, continuously whipping Nincada with its vines. The Nincada gave up on defending itself and quickly dug up some loose dirt, tossing it at Snivy. Snivy’s attacks slowed, the sand in its eyes making it difficult to see where Nincada was. Nincada took advantage of this by attempting to run.

    “Don’t let it get away!” I cried, pulling a Pokeball out of my bag and chasing after it. Snivy shook its head violently, shaking most of the dirt off, and pursued the fleeing Pokemon. It stopped at the base of a tree and started digging, trying to go where we couldn’t reach it. Snivy pulled it out of the hole with its vines and tackled it, flipping it over. As it struggled to right itself, I threw the Pokeball.

    The ball opened, covering Nincada in a white light and absorbing it. The ball shook as Nincada tried to escape. It wobbled one, two, three times, and then it stopped. I picked up the ball and smiled. “We got it!”

    “All right!” Alan celebrated, jumping and pumping his fist in the air. That might have been a slight over reaction considering it was just a Nincada, but I wasn’t going to complain.

    “Send it out, I want to see it!” he said. I shook my head.

    “It’s weak and afraid right now. Once we get it to a Pokemon center I’ll let it get to know us better.”

    “Well then what are we waiting for? Let’s go! Let’s not get caught in the rain now, after all this.” Alan walked off deeper into the forest, Tepig waddling behind. I looked down at Snivy, who saw me shift my attention to it and stopped cleaning its face to look back at me.

    “You did great, Snivy,” I thanked it. It stared at me, its eyes as intelligent as ever. I couldn’t tell what it was thinking. Maybe it didn’t care what I thought. Maybe it couldn’t even comprehend what I was saying. But then it squeaked out another cry, so quiet I could barely hear, and I knew the feeling was mutual.

    The sky was beginning to darken with clouds, and we continued our fast pace through the forest. We saw a few more Pokemon, all of which ran away as soon as they saw us. Alan remarked that he wanted to catch a Weedle that he had seen, once we came back after the rain of course. The forest began to thin, and we could see some buildings past the trees. We were approaching Argus town. Standing between us and the town was another Trainer. I could tell from the Pokeball holster she wore around her waist like a belt. She looked a few years older than we were, standing a few inches higher than us. I saw no badges displayed anywhere on her outfit, a simple pair of jeans and a T-shirt, which was a good sign. As soon as she saw us, she confidently walked over.

    “Hey,” she said, her eyes glistening with excitement, “My name’s Alice. Either of you looking for a battle?”

    Alan looked at me, the same excitement shining in his eyes. “Mind if I take this one?”

    “Go ahead,” I waved him on, “but it’ll be my turn next.”

    Alan threw Tepig’s Pokeball without hesitation, “You asked for it Alice, I hope you can handle losing!”

    “Oh, I think otherwise. I just caught this one, but your Pokemon still won’t be able to hold a candle to mine!” With the one-liners over, Alice threw her Pokeball and with a mysterious, ghostly sound came a Litwick.

    The ghost and fire type Pokemon looked rather unimpressive, a candle with a face and a purple flame, but I knew not to judge Pokemon by their appearance. I wondered where she found it, as early on as she must have been on her journey. I pulled out my Pokedex and scanned it, I wanted to read its entry later.

    “Litwick, use Astonish!” Alice cried. Litwick stood still for a moment before quickly launching itself at Tepig, who was too slow to dodge and took the blast full force. Astonish was a unique move in that it attempted to catch the opposing Pokemon off guard. If it is successful, the opposing Pokemon would flinch, rendering it unable to use attacks for a short period of time. Charley loved to use that move in the battle simulations he often played with me, to my frustration.

    Tepig shook itself and charged at Litwick with tackle.

    “No Tepig, use ember! Ember!” Alan seemed exasperated. Tepig continued charging toward the Litwick, but instead of hitting it, Tepig passed right through.

    Alice laughed. “Your Tepig needs some more training if it thinks it can hit a ghost type with normal moves like that. Litwick, smog attack!”

    Litwick’s fire burned brighter and a purple smoke emerged from it, enveloping Tepig in its cloud. Tepig finally decided to listen to Alan’s pleas, flames pouring out of its open mouth. As soon as the fire hit Litwick, it collapsed to the ground, its waxy body appearing to melt like an overused candle. Alice returned it, smiling cruelly as Tepig squealed in pain.

    “Tepig, what’s wrong?” Alan asked worriedly. I looked closely at it. It was wincing, and a dark purple liquid was beginning to pool around its mouth and ears.

    “It’s been poisoned,” I said somberly, “Until you return it, it will take continual damage until it eventually faints.”

    “And the battle’s not over yet,” Alice smirked, “I know this won’t be the best type matchup, but I don’t think it really matters at this point. Go Bulbasaur!” Her second Pokemon emerged from the Pokeball’s light, a small green reptile with a closed plant bulb growing out of its back.

    “Come on Tepig,” Alan encouraged, “This will be easy! Just launch a few embers at it and we’ll win!” Tepig stood, its legs shaky, and threw another fireball at Bulbasaur. Bulbasaur leaped out of the way, but not fast enough to avoid being grazed by the fire.

    “Bulbasaur, hit it with your vine whip!” Bulbasaur’s vines emerged from the base of the bulb, lashing out at Tepig. Tepig didn’t have the strength to avoid the flurry of blows, but instead used another ember attack while Bulbasaur was preoccupied with its own attack. Its bulb burst into flames, and Bulbasaur relented as it began to run around in a blind panic, the bulb on its back beginning to wilt and burn away. Alice quickly returned it, glaring at Alan. Tepig collapsed onto the ground.

    “All right, you win. But you have to admit, that was pretty fun, right?” Alice said eagerly.

    “Yeah, whatever,” Alan said dismissively, running over to Tepig, crouching down to comfort it. Alice shrugged and walked away. Alan carefully examined Tepig. It didn’t have the strength to stand anymore, yet kept trying anyway. “Tepig, you’re gonna be okay, I promise.” Some of the purple liquid was dripping from its mouth, and some was forming around its eyes. It snorted in a weak attempt at positivity before fainting, not moving outside of quick, light breaths.

    “You’d better return it right now,” I advised, “we need to get it to a Pokemon center.”

    Alan obeyed, and when he stood up I saw a faint sign of tears in his eyes. “That was hard for me to do,” he said, “how could I ask Tepig to push itself that far?”

    “I don’t know,” I replied, “I guess that’s what we’re supposed to do as Trainers. When we battle our Pokemon, sometimes we lose.”

    Alan blinked. “Yeah, you’re right. Tepig and I, we learned a lot from that battle. Now we’ll know better next time, and with more training we’ll never get that close to losing again!” The excitement in his voice returned, and I smiled reassuringly. But inside I felt differently. Is this my job now? Are my Pokemon going to have to go through things like that several times a day? I could hardly imagine Snivy or Nincada in the same position as Tepig, or even Litwick and Bulbasaur’s for that matter. Alan seemed to accept it, and once Tepig was healed, it would probably be ready for battle again too.

    But as I heard Alan’s Pokedex beep, indicating his victory was not only personal but monetary as well, I couldn’t help but question whether doing this was right. And whichever way I looked at it, the answer was no.
  8. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    Glad you got another chapter up! It's pretty short, but we have both our first capture and first battle here, so it's pretty eventful. There isn't much to say about Nincada, since we haven't really gotten the chance to meet it yet, but the battle's a different story! Definitely a more brutal fight than you usually see at the outset of a journey. What was most interesting to me was William's reaction to it, though; you rarely see trainers bothered by the violence of pokémon battles. It's also very unusual to see a fic with a trainer who floats the idea that the entire idea of training might be wrong! I'm definitely interested to see where that thread goes, and to see a bit more of Magturae and what training looks like there.

    I'm not quite sure why the paragraph about trainer hotels was kind of hanging out by itself between Alan and William's morning routine and the start of training. Maybe it would be better to bring up when they get to a trainer hotel later?

    It's interesting that William keeps thinking of Charley in this chapter. I'd kind of expected him to be a one-off character, much in the same way I'm not expecting we'll see too much of William's parents in the future, but perhaps he'll return? In any case, it does add some nice realism to William's character, where he doesn't immediately forget about home the instant he sets out on his journey.

    I like the hints we get here about where the story's going to head in the future--William's dreams disappearing, of course, but also his reaction to the pokémon battle. I'm curious where you intend to go with that, and how this is going to differ from a typical pokémon journey. Looking forward to the next update!
  9. VRainbow

    VRainbow Member

    Thank you for continuing to review my story @Negrek! I appreciate seeing another person's thoughts on it. If there's any chapter that I'm hoping to have some feedback on, it's Chapter 4. So, without further ado:

    Chapter 4

    We walked into Argus town with little fanfare, too busy looking for a Pokemon Center to sight see. The sky was dark with clouds, and rain was starting to fall. We wanted shelter fast. The town was larger than my hometown of Euthalia, sporting better kept and well used roads and many tall buildings. One could say it’s a town ready to grow into a city. Of course, this could be because it is closer to the region's capital than our town. Each building had a cozy feel to it, making me feel right at home despite my family only ever going there to shop for things that our town’s shops didn’t have. After some wandering and looking at the map on our Pokedexes, we found the Pokemon Center, recognizing it by its signature red roof and doorway with a Pokeball above it.

    Inside the Center was one large yellow and orange room, and opposite the doorway was a counter with Nurse Joy behind it. Her official title is nurse, but she mostly acts as a receptionist. The layout of the room had three sections. The back wall was Nurse Joy’s counter, and a door that read “Employees Only”. The left side had computers connected to corded phones. These allowed Trainers to communicate with people far away, as we’re not allowed to have portable phones of any sort. That was a rule introduced in the same law that raised the age requirement of Trainers. On the right were tables and multicolored cushioned chairs. There were several Trainers there, conversing among themselves. I assumed that it was a waiting area of sorts. The entire room smelled of overpowering perfume, like it was desperately trying to cover up another smell.

    “Welcome to the Pokemon Center!” Nurse Joy said to us once we were at the counter. “We restore your tired Pokemon to full health. Would you like to rest your Pokemon?”

    “Yes, please,” I said, giving her Snivy and Nincada’s Pokeballs. Alan did the same with Tepig. Nurse Joy put them on a tray, which was carried away into the “Employees Only” section by a Chansey. I had never really been in a Pokemon Center before, having only heard of its functionality, so I watched with fascination.

    “This will take a moment as our doctors heal them up,” Nurse Joy said cheerfully, “Feel free to use the phones, computers, or just chat with other Trainers in the meantime!”

    “Thanks!” Alan said as we stepped away from the counter.

    I glanced at the rain through the glass doors. “I think I’ll call my family while we wait for our Pokemon,” I said.

    “Okay. I’ll just go hang out with the Trainers over there,” Alan pointed his thumb at the table, “Once you’re done feel free to join if you still need to kill time.”

    With that I went over to the nearest computer that wasn’t being used and entered my Trainer ID into it.

    “Welcome William Callahan,” the computer screen read, “what would you like to do today?”

    Under that dialogue was a list of choices, including “Browse the Internet,” “Manage Pokemon in PC,” and “Use calling service”. I chose the third option.

    I entered my family’s home phone number and held the receiver to my ear, waiting for someone to pick up. As I expected, my mother was the only one home at the time, and she answered the call.

    “William! Hi! You made it to Argus!” Mom exclaimed, “Why didn’t you call my cell, then we could use the face chat?”

    “Yep. It was an exciting trip, but I made it. And you never have your cell phone on,” I replied.

    “I have it on all the time now that you’re gone,” Mom clarified, “So, tell me everything that happened!”

    I knew I was a terrible liar, and I didn’t want to lie to her anyway. So I told her about the whole trip, downplaying, but not completely leaving out, the parts I thought would make her uncomfortable or afraid. The Tailow attack resulted in a simple scratch, and I glazed over the Pokemon battles, only saying who won or lost.

    “Wow! Sounds like you had a lot of fun!” Mom said enthusiastically. Almost too enthusiastically. I felt kind of bad, thinking of her trying to support me despite not agreeing with my choices.

    “Yeah, and it’ll only get more exciting from here,” I said. There was silence for a few seconds, and I decided I had said enough. “Well, I still need to call Charley, so I guess it’s goodbye.”

    “Okay honey. Stay safe! Bye!”

    “Bye.” I hung up. Moments later I had dialed Charley’s cell number, and since it was Saturday, he picked up immediately.

    “Will!” he gasped, his face red with excitement, “Tell me everything! What Pokemon did you see? Did you have any epic battles?”

    I laughed, “Calm down a little! I’ll tell you everything, don’t worry.”

    So I once again recalled all that had happened, giving a little more emphasis on the battles and Pokemon this time since that was what he was most interested in.

    “Whoa! A Litwick? Those are, like, really dangerous if you don’t watch out!”

    “Really? Why?” I asked, knowing this simple question would cause him to go on a nerdy rant.

    “Didn’t you read your Pokedex? They hang out in forests near haunted houses and pretend to be guiding you to a safe place, but they really are slowly sucking the soul out of your body to fuel its flames!”

    “Creepy,” I commented, “are you sure it’s not just a legend?”

    “Oh no, they tested it on other Pokemon, and there was definitely...” he went on for several minutes, describing the behavior of Litwick and the forms it could evolve into, namely a lamp that feeds off spirits of the dead and a chandelier that causes the spirit to leave the body. I found it mildly horrifying, but Charley was fascinated.

    When I stood up from the computer, having finished my calls, I felt much better than before. It felt good to talk to them again, reminding me that my life hadn’t completely changed, and that everyone was still there for me. Unlike Alan, who wasn’t at the table that he said he would be. In fact, he didn’t seem to be anywhere in the Pokemon Center. I checked the time on my Pokedex. It was about noon. Had I really been talking that long? An alert on the Pokedex told me that my Pokemon had finished recovering fifteen minutes ago. I took them back from Nurse Joy and decided to ask one of the other Trainers if they knew where Alan had gone.

    “Excuse me,” I said timidly, addressing the Trainers that were laughing at some inside joke. They were a strange bunch, at least in their taste in fashion. “I think my friend Alan was with you guys before. Do you know where he went?”

    One of the dudes with bright yellow spiked hair and as little clothes as the “no shirt, no shoes, no service” motto would allow spoke up. “You mean the newbie? Yeah, he said he was going to get some lunch. Surprised he hasn’t come back yet, the food court’s right around the corner.”

    “He probably thinks you’ll try to take his food,” one of the girls piped in. I felt I needed sunglasses just to look at her, as she wore neon everything. She even dyed her hair neon blue.

    The guy laughed, “I never do that. Well, sometimes. Probably just can’t find the place. It’s not like he asked for directions or anything.”

    I thanked them and walked out of the Center. The rain had mostly stopped, though there was a light sprinkle and clouds that threatened a heavier torrent. I looked at my Pokedex GPS for the nearest restaurant or grocery store. If the other Trainers were right, he might not have known about the nearby court and went to a restaurant or store somewhere else in town. I would just have to check them all. I would check the food court first, since it was apparently the closest. As I wandered, I examined the places and people I was passing by. The architecture felt warm and inviting, and the people even more so. Many greeted me with smiles and warm hellos as I walked past. They weren’t singling me out, as they did it with each person they came across, but regardless I started to feel a little shy from all the attention I was getting.

    I was so worried about responding to the people that were passing me by that I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going and wound up hopelessly lost. There weren’t any people down the alley I found myself in, so I decided to retrace my steps back to the path my Pokedex was trying to lead me. As I was about to turn the corner, I ran into a man with a dark blue jacket and sturdy frame, nearly slipping and falling over on the wet road.

    “Oh, sorry! I didn’t see you there,” the man said, using a different tone of voice than most other people that had spoke to me on the streets. The difference felt almost uncanny. I brushed off the feeling of unease.

    “Uh, no problem,” I said. I glanced at my Pokedex. “Hey, can you tell me how to get to the food court?”

    I saw his face perk up when he saw the Pokedex. “Ah, so you’re a Trainer? I am too! Want to have a battle?”

    Looking around, I said, “Here? Around all these buildings?”

    “We won’t destroy anything. Not unless your Pokemon are especially destructive,” he laughed, “come on, I haven’t had a good battle in a long time!”

    “All right,” I conceded. I took out Nincada’s Pokeball. This would be a good chance to see its battle prowess. “Nincada, go!” The mole bug appeared, chittering and looking around confusedly. It felt the ground beneath it and attempted to dig, but the hard stone road stopped any attempt at fleeing.

    The man eyed Nincada and smirked. “This will be too easy.” He threw a Pokeball and a Charizard emerged. The creature’s dragonlike figure was only about as tall as I was, yet it loomed over me threateningly. I pulled out the Pokeball, intending to return Nincada and surrender to the man, but it was too late.

    “Charizard, Flamethrower!”

    The lizard’s mouth opened wide, and a torrent of flame enveloped Nincada, the air warping and the wet road drying from the incredible heat.

    “No!” I cried in desperation. I stepped back, feeling as though my skin was boiling just by standing near it. Several agonizing seconds passed by before Charizard’s attack finally ended. The road and the nearby building walls were charred black, the heat still permeating the air. I searched desperately for Nincada, my heart nearly pounding out of my chest. There was no way… was there?

    I found it, burned as black as the road it was on. I didn’t check to see if it was moving, just returned it and ran as quickly as I could back to the Pokemon Center.

    Or at least I tried to.

    “Where do you think you’re going?” the man grabbed my arm. I pulled against his grip, caught off guard.

    “Let me go!” I screamed, using my other arm to try to pry my arm out of his hand. He grabbed that arm too, and threw me, my head hitting a wall. I held desperately onto consciousness, feeling it slipping away. I stayed on the ground, not daring to stand back up as he loomed over me.

    “Hand over your Pokemon,” he snarled, “Now!”

    The lingering heat was causing me to sweat, panic leaving me gasping for air. I struggled to obey his command, shakily reaching for my Pokeballs. My hand brushed over my Pokedex, and I had an idea. I slid the Pokedex behind my back and as I pretended to slowly take my Pokeballs out of their holster, my other hand pressed the emergency button on the Pokedex.

    This was the only communication feature allowed on the Pokedex, that broadcasted your signal to the police so they could help you if you were in trouble. There was a fee for using it, but I didn’t care, this was truly an emergency.

    “Well, come on!” the man demanded.

    “No,” I said shakily.

    Apparently what I said was funny, because he burst out into hysterical laughter. “No?” he said, “Then I’ll just rip them from your cold, dead hands!”

    I needed to keep him talking. I had no idea how long it would take for the police to get here. “Why do you want my weak Pokemon anyway?”

    He sneered at me, “Oh, I don’t want them. I just want them away from you.” He ripped off his jacket, the buttons flying off. Underneath was a plain black shirt with a large, white R in the center. I recognized the symbol immediately from a school lesson. It was the Team Rocket logo.

    “You see, in Giovanni’s original vision, Pokemon are nothing but tools. A means to an end.”

    “No they’re not!” I spurted, still buying time. “They’re animals! You need to care for them!”

    His face lost its exaggerated sneer and took on an expression of righteous anger. He crouched down, his face uncomfortably close to mine. I could see in detail his dark brown, rage filled eyes. “You hypocrite. Don’t you dare try to talk to me about loving Pokemon. ‘You need to care for them!’ Ha! Is this how you do it? Pitting them in battles where the winner is the one who can last the longest? Forcing what would otherwise be a calm, fearful creature to become a killing machine? It would almost be better if you treated them as objects rather than the pet monsters you view them as now.”

    “Freeze!” A voice shouted. I looked past the Rocket member and saw several police officers, pointing their guns at him. Their leader, Officer Jenny, had a Mightyena by her side and was the one speaking to the criminal. “Step away from the boy!”

    The man complied, moving to the other side of the alley, where he raised his hands in surrender. Yet, he didn’t seem defeated.

    “I see. You managed to call the police. Well you’ll never take me alive!” he yelled at the officer, “Once our vision becomes a reality, all of you will regret what you’ve done! Your corrupt government, your stupid, barbaric enslavement of innocent animals, all of it will die! Carson is trying to kill off Trainers, making laws more restrictive and dangerous for them. You want to know why? They see Trainers as a threat. They want all the Pokemon for themselves so they can rule the world! Well I won’t stand for it! Pokemon will once more be free!” His voice was steadily rising, and at this point he was screaming at the level of insanity. He moved his hand down into the near invisible breast pocket of his uniform.

    “Freeze!” Officer Jenny yelled again, the others aiming their guns at his hand.

    The man took a deep, shaky breath and quietly, calmly said, “May Arceus bless me this day.”

    Then in a flash he took out a pill from the pocket. The police fired and shot his hand, but it was too late. He had tossed the pill into his mouth and swallowed. He looked at the newly formed hole in his hand and laughed. Then he laughed harder. And harder, a disgustingly loud and forced imitation of humor. He collapsed to the floor, shaking with laughter, his breaths becoming more and more shallow and raspy until they stopped altogether.

    The Team Rocket member was dead.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019 at 6:41 PM

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