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A Slow Debut

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by The Teller, Dec 30, 2018.

  1. The Teller

    The Teller King of Half-Truths

    Aye, putting this up in the longshot chance that it gets nominated for something for the 2018 Fanfic Awards. This is my Holiday Gift Exchange entry, which was intended for @The Walrein. The prompt I decided to go with was "A Durant is kicked out of her nest for having the Truant ability, and has to join forces with a Slakoth whose own Truant ability is active during the opposite times Durant's is in order to survive." It took forever and a half to write, and I'm proud of its length, and I even got actual published authors to beta the first half! (They liked it, thought I used passive words too much; I also gave them a "generic" version with all the Pokemon stuff edited out and replaced with alien sci-fi terms.) So is it a tear-jerker, a laugh out loud comedy, a war epic? You'll have to read on to find out!

    A Slow Debut

    Perhaps it was the intense heat that was the catalyst to an entire colony’s worth of resentment becoming uncorked. Even though home was several miles below the surface, the effects of the midsummer’s heat could still be felt by everyone. It was perhaps, then, that the hot air and mugginess simply caused everyone to become too hot and bothered to put any effort into concealing their feelings towards a particular Durant. This special little Durant was called “Durant,” as all Durants are called, because all Durants know how to tell the difference between each other in magical, inhuman ways and thus never developed the concept of a “name,” but for the purposes of this story, she shall be named Yennefer. Poor, poor Yennefer. It was not her fault. Her body simply betrayed her one too many times for her colony’s liking. Why, it was only yesterday that she was carrying a gigantic boulder twenty times her size from the outside battlefield to home via The Hole With The Very Small Trickle On The Right-hand Side And One-Two-Three Smooth Pebbles On The Inner Lip (a rough, abbreviated translation of what the Durant call that particular entrance to the mound), when she suddenly felt very sleepy and simply buckled her many knees and slept right there, right at the entrance, boulder still clutched tightly to her back. She had completely blocked the entrance and halted progress to over one hundred Durants. It took minutes for several Durants to move her body out of the way, which meant that the entire colony was delayed by minutes. When she had woken up, she could tell that she had fallen asleep again. The workers would not speak to her. Worse yet, her boulder was gone. How would she ever appease the Queen if she did not have her boulder? The Queen did not like her to begin with.

    Speaking of, one of the workers informed her then and there that the Queen has summoned her. Yennefer was not pleased by this. Surely, news of her latest episode had reached Her Royal Highness, and She would not be pleased with her latest performance. Yennefer did not even have a boulder to be present with when seeing the Queen. Her Royal Highness would think she was slacking again. With no choice in the matter, Yennefer trudged along the narrow pathway to the royal chamber. Everyone she passed by would not look at her, much less speak to her. When she finally entered the royal chamber, one would expect all eyes to turn towards her, leering at her as if she had halted an entire factory with a Yennefer-shaped wrench. But, they didn’t. Not a single worker turned to even glance at her, with many moving swiftly around her, hurriedly trying to get as much work done as possible in the shortest amount of time. Only the Queen seemed to notice her, which was quite a feat, considering how silent she had been, how busy the royal chamber was, and how preoccupied the Queen was. On the other hand, the Queen was suspected of having supernatural powers, and one does not simply become the Queen by being ordinary. The Queen beckoned her forward.

    The following is a rough, translated transcript of the conversation between Her Royal Highness: The Resplendent Queen Durant the MMDCCCLXIX, and Yennefer.

    “Yennefer! The slaves have reported yet another blockage at one of the entrances! The cause of the blockage has been reported to be the same as other incidents involving yourself! You are therefore guilty of having caused this most recent incident!”

    Yennefer does not respond, as she has not been granted permission to speak yet.

    “This interruption and disruption cannot and shall not be allowed to continue! You are a disgrace to the colony! You will bring disaster to us all! You threaten the lives of your fellow workers and, more importantly, your Queen! You are then faced with a decision you must decide upon immediately! You will either patriotically submit to beheading, where your remaining head will be proudly displayed in The Hall Of Unfathomable Disgrace for all of eternity, and your remaining body will be severed and fed to the Magnanimous And Infallible Elder Ones, for your failure shall not poison your physical body and you may still serve a greater purpose in sustaining those who came before us! Or you will disgracefully submit yourself to exile, forced to leave your home that gave you life and shelter from the battlefield, forbidden from contacting anyone from the colony, forbidden from ever returning on threat of beheading! Your choice you make will be burdened to you for the rest of your life! Choose wisely! Choose now!”

    The Queen’s words hurt poor Yennefer deeply, and yet she knew it was no use trying to explain herself to her Queen. The Queen would not care even if she understood that Yennefer did not mean to cause the colony any harm. It did not matter to the Queen that Yennefer had no control over her body. The Queen’s wrath was not unfounded and not surprising to Yennefer in the least, and she felt that she had deserved it, even though a small part of her felt that the whole affair was unjust. Yennefer was only now granted words, but only so few. Not enough to explain herself, of course, but enough to voice her decision.

    “Exile,” she said, fearful that her “choice” was wrong and retaliation would take the form of her other option instead.

    And in a rare moment of tenderness and mercy, the Queen used her softest and quietest voice to console Yennefer, for she knew how hard this must be on her.

    “MAY ARCEUS BE WITH YOU, CHILD!!!”

    And thus Yennefer was dismissed from not only the royal chamber, but from the only home she has ever known, thrust out onto the battlefield to fend for herself.

    Triss was a sickly young girl, always has been. Her Truant ability always seemed to clash with the others in her community. Always asleep when everyone else was awake, and vice versa. Always coming down with something, forcing her to need to sleep even more than a Slakoth already did. Always needing someone to gather berries and other herbs to keep her healthy. In a Slakoth community, which is already well known for moving very slow, she was considered as something dragging them down. This would be impressive if it wasn’t sad.

    To add misery upon woe, the woods the community had lived in was quickly being deforested by humans. In addition to the usual Trainers coming in and catching community members, never to be seen again, other humans were coming in to catch members, “to help speed up the process of ushering all the wildlife out of the forest” had said the ancient Xatu. It had become quite clear: they would have to evacuate the forest. With only the Vigoroth having enough energy to stay awake long enough to combat the humans, they simply did not have enough firepower to put up much of a resistance. With the community numbers dwindling, there was a mad slog to gather up everything and move to a faraway forest the Xatu had told the Slaking about. With time of the essence, only the most necessary things could be collected and brought with them to their new home.

    Triss was not necessary.

    One day, poor little Triss woke up from her sleep to discover the hollowed out remains of her former home. There was not a soul left behind. Her family had taken great care not to wake her while they were slowly gathering their belongings and evacuating, lest she ask to be taken with them. All the food supply in the home had been emptied. There was nothing to help heal her the next time she had gotten sick. She had been left to die. And so Triss cried and cried and cried. She cried for her family. She cried for the wisdom of her elders. She cried for her friends, of which she had none to begin with. And when she had spent all her energy crying, she fell back asleep, alone and hungry.

    The next day, she woke up and remembered why community members were leaving in the first place. The humans were coming to destroy their homes. She would have to leave as well, and in a very slow hurry. Maybe, if she was fast enough, she could catch up to her family and rejoin them in the new home. They would take her back. After all, they’re family, right? And so, she crawled her way out of her home and slowly made her way towards the edge of the forest.

    What certainly felt like years later, Yennefer was wandering the battlefield. She felt miles and miles away from her home. Though her journey had been a harsh one, she had survived. Her time at the colony had gifted her with many skills needed to survive on the battlefield. Where was she heading? What drove her to take this particular path? What did she expect to find at the end of her destination? She did not know. She knew only that she was moving. Just outside a Hairless Bipedal That Stinks Of Heatmor Dung Colony Hill (a rather remarkably accurate Durant translation of “human city”), she saw sleeping underneath a palm tree, a Slakoth. It had been the first thing she had seen that wasn’t either prey or predator. She skittered over to it, though she knew not why. The Slakoth stirred.

    “Oh, hello there. Good morning,” the Slakoth said, sleepily.

    This creature did not even bother to get up or stretch. One would think it to be dead if Yennefer had not seen it open its eyes just now. Yennefer continued to stare at it.

    “My name is Triss. What’s yours?” Triss asked.

    She was being overly friendly to a complete stranger, especially considering her tragic background story. Though then again, she was probably also desperate to make new friends (and family?) just to alleviate her feelings of loneliness.

    “Yennefer,” she answered, finally given permission to talk, at least enough to answer a direct question that had been asked of her. And remember, she really said “Durant,” but we’re giving her a name here, and it’s not like a Slakoth would know what the Durant species is to begin with, as Durant are secluded to their mountain and immediate surrounding areas and Slakoth don’t venture that far below the ground and oh my, Triss is talking again, we should listen in.

    “That’s a funny name. You’re funny looking. Why do you have so many legs? You don’t seem to talk much. That’s okay. I’m kind of slow, too. Where are you going? Why are you alone? Did you see my family go into that city over there? I’m trying to find them.”

    “I go where my six feet take me, and…” Yennefer began, and then felt very sleepy. “I must rest now…”

    And then she moved next to Triss and plopped down and fell asleep.

    “Awww…I was just really getting to know you. Don’t worry. I’ll wait for you to get up. Then we can go to the city together.”

    And so Yennefer slept while Triss kept lookout for…well, she didn’t really know what to look out for, but she figured she would probably know what it is if she saw it. A few hours later, Yennefer woke.

    “You’re still here,” she said, her sleepiness overriding her manners to not speak unless commanded to.

    “Yep, and now I’m getting sleepy. I seem to sleep at all the wrong times. It’s like my body knows when to sleep when I don’t.”

    “So it happens to others as well…” Yennefer said, processing this new and enlightening information. Was she perhaps not as unique as she thought? Was she simply…cursed?

    A new thought entered her cranium. It seemed odd that every time she fell asleep, this other creature was just waking up, and when it fell asleep, she was just waking up. Surely this was not just a coincidence. She voiced her concerns to Triss.

    “Oh,” she yawns, “that’s interesting…”

    And she was out.

    Yennefer looked around. There was indeed what Triss had called a “city” nearby. She had said that her family may have wandered into the city. Perhaps this is why Yennefer’s six legs had led her here? To help this pitiful creature find her family? She certainly didn’t want Triss to feel what she felt when she was exiled from her own home. With steely resolve, for she was a Durant and that’s the only kind of resolve a Durant can have by law, she easily picked up Triss and marched her way towards the city.

    Inside the city, the squishy bipedals ran to and fro, anxious to get somewhere in a hurry. Yennefer wondered if they, too, were in a panicked rush to perform a task for their queen. Perhaps they suffered from sudden sleep as well? She would not find an answer, though, as the stinky things spoke in a strange tongue indecipherable to Durant. The Durant all therefore thought that the language was inferior to theirs and beneath them to learn.

    Yennefer started scanning the area for other creatures that looked like Triss. Upon seeing none, she set out in search for them. It was a huge city, after all. She searched a Battlefield Before The War (a park), around The Final Destination For The Disgraced (the gym), a Training Ground For Survival And Etiquette (a university), and a pool (a pool…no Durant word equivalent). There were no signs of other Triss-like creatures. She tried to climb the Giant Mandible That Pierces The Sky In Defiant Rage Against His Enemies (a skyscraper), but one of the bipedals saw her and put a stop to that. With Triss on her back, she couldn’t chance fighting against this stupid bipedal without injuring her, so she escaped instead. Despite all her setbacks, Yennefer was undeterred and was determined to find Triss her family.

    The duo stopped outside a loud, vibrant, and colorful building. If Yennefer could read the human language, she would read the sign on top of the building as “Pokéstar Studios.” She did not know why, but something was compelling her to go in. Perhaps Triss’ family would be found in here? Speaking of, Triss started to wake, no doubt from all the noise being generated and the constant flashing lights.

    “Huh? Sounds like fun…” she said, slowly looking at her new surroundings.

    “We are in the city,” Yennefer informed her.

    “Wow…the city is so pretty. Look at all the pretty lights. There’s a pretty Pokémon I’ve never seen before over there.”

    “Yes,” stated Yennefer, who had no real opinion, much less on what “pretty” was.

    The flashing lights, the loud noise, the alien aroma…it was all making poor Yennefer very sleepy.

    “You must try to find your family while I rest,” she said, searching for a place to lie down that wouldn’t be too of an inconvenience to everyone else.

    I must warn you, dear reader. This is where the story derails entirely and starts to get weird.

    “Oh my my! Just look at the sight of you two! My, you ARE an unusual sight, aren’t you?!” came a flamboyant voice.

    The unfortunate duo turned around and saw a fabulously dressed old man, with fabulous hair and fabulous shades and a fabulous walking cane and an okay smile. Standing next to him was a gray Meowth, who also looked inexplicably fabulous, despite not wearing any clothing at all. It must have been his stance, his multihued aura radiating off of him.

    “Yes, lovelies, he’s talking to you,” said the Meowth, in perfect English.

    “I’m the founder of Pokéstar Studios, Mr. Stu Deeoh!” exclaimed the exuberant old man. “And I, darlings, know talent when I see one. Or two, in this case, hmhmhmhm!”

    Yennefer and Triss did not have a clue as to what he was talking about.

    “Yes, I can see the diamond in the rough that resides in you two. Ooh, you DO make a pair! Cooperation and trust between coworkers is SO hard to find these days, mmhmm! I bet the two of you would be just terrible on your own. Plus, great duos aren’t too common at the moment, which is great news for me! I’ll corner the niche market with no competition! Ah-hahaha!”

    “What our gorgeous founder and auteur director here is saying is that you two simply must become our latest stars in showbiz,” “explained” Meowth.

    “We must find this girl’s family,” said Yennefer, barging straight through the dense nonsense that Stu and Meowth had just laid out before them.

    “Oh, my lovely ladies, you simply must tell me your life stories,” said Meowth.

    And so Yennefer and Triss both regaled their tragic and surprisingly similar backstories to Meowth, who in turn told Stu what they were saying. Needless to say, they were moved to tears.

    “Oh! You poor darlings! Ex-communicated! Left behind! Misunderstood creatures! Oh, how we feel your pain! We’ve all been there before. Why, the reason why I founded a place like Pokéstar Studios is so that there was a safe place for all kinds of outcasts such as us to congregate and meet each other. I’m moved! Speechless!”

    If Yennefer and Triss were a little savvier, they might have been able to recall this exact speech being used for a rather bizarre acceptance speech at a recent film awards ceremony. Nevertheless, they believed Stu’s words to be genuine, and they were…somewhat.

    Stu continued to rope in his newest toys.

    “We’ll set you up with a new family, a bigger one, a more loving one, one that won’t betray you just for who you are! You’ll have millions of adoring fans. Your names will be everywhere. Everyone will be speaking them with passion. You’ll never be lonely again! And I know just how to get over that pesky little sleeping problem you both seem to have.”

    This last tidbit got their attention. They were pretty desperate for a solution and thus quite hopeful that this strange man would have an answer for them. Yennefer could only hope that she could stay awake long enough to hear it.

    Six months later…

    The curtain opened. There stood a hideous creature. It looked like someone had stuffed a Durant and a Slakoth into a slinky red cocktail dress, with both their heads popping out of the top, one Slakoth arm poking out of one side and two Durant limbs poking out of the other. They were thankfully the same size, so both could fit in the dress and, though you couldn’t see it due to the dress, both stand on one foot so the two could emulate a Jynx better. Strangely, it looked as if the Durant head was fast asleep while the Slakoth head was wide awake. The audience, which consisted of entirely Pokémon, roared. It took a full minute and a half for them to calm down enough to allow this unholy abomination to speak.

    “Good evening, Saffron City! We’re so glad to be back. We just flew all the way from Melemele Island and boy are our arms tired!”

    The Slakoth then waved her arm franticly to mimic a Spearow in flight to help illustrate her point, and the Pokémon in the audience, especially the flying-types, laughed.

    “We’re sorry we’re late though! While we were flying, we kind of got lost and had to ask for directions. We found a Doduo flying the opposite way and stopped them for directions, but they just looked at us and said ‘Sisters?’ And then they fell to the ground.”

    A ba-dum-tiss could be heard from the Octillery on the drum set. The audience laughed again.

    “When we got to the Saffron City International Airport, we saw a bunch of Trainers getting into an airplane so that they can fly somewhere, too. We were at the terminal and I overheard this little Lillipup ask her mom ‘Are those the Poké Balls that Trainers go into?’”

    More laughter. Then the Slakoth fell asleep and the Durant woke up so some simmering laughter. She waited a beat before speaking.

    “I don’t know what it is you just said to them, Triss, but I have no doubt that it was stupid.”

    The audience was in tears.

    “No, you people don’t understand. I need her like I need a hairstylist.”

    A Charizard in the audience was laughing so hard that he was accidentally spewing flames from his mouth.

    “I’d say that Saffron City is so boring that it puts me to sleep, but-”

    “So there we were, snapping some pictures of Pokémon with our friend Todd, but he just kept pestering us…”

    The Durant had fallen asleep again and Triss had woken back up.

    It would be another wildly successful night for The Alluring Narcoleptic Sisters, Yennefer and Triss. Standup comedy was still relatively new to their brand, but the gamble was paying off big time. It helped that their fans they had acquired from their latest major motion picture, “My Wacky Yuletide Story,” had followed them from cinemas to theaters. Not to mention the commercials, the TV spots, the interviews, the book series, the dolls, and the aerobics video they had done. Stu Deeoh may be a massive weirdo, but he was also a genius businessman, and Meowth knew how to reach Pokémon audiences in ways Stu couldn’t even imagine.

    Yennefer and Triss wound up becoming massively famous around the country, and all the Pokémon knew their names. They would not have to need anything anymore. For Yennefer, she kept to her word and never set foot inside her colony ever again, nor did she ever attempt to contact anyone from her home. News of her success never reached her colony, as they didn’t communicate with the world outside their home. She knew this, and accepted it. She would never get them back, but that didn’t mean that she couldn’t make a new colony for herself.

    For Triss, the poor girl quickly forgot about finding her family. Perhaps deep down she knew, that her family had abandoned her, and that they wouldn’t take her back if she still had her sleeping problem. If they knew about her new life, she wasn’t informed. They might have considered her as good as a captured Slakoth to them. She, too, figured that a new family, consisting of all her fans and new friends and Yennefer, was better than none at all. They showed that they wouldn’t abandon her, even if she constantly fell asleep.

    The audience applauded, which was done in a variety of ways. They all loved the sisters. Stu knew what he was doing. He marketed the pair’s odd narcolepsy as something unique and worth seeing, and heavily featured it in everything that they did. The duo bowed and thanked the audience for coming. They absolutely adored all the positive attention they were receiving, much different than the negative attention they had received all their lives. The amount of fan letters (don’t question how that works!) they had received in the past six months spoke volumes (literally) about how genuine the love they had received was. For the first time in their lives, they didn’t feel that their condition was something to be ashamed about or hidden away anymore.

    Yennefer and Triss had found each other after being cast out of their homes and found some way of surviving, despite all odds.

    And that, I think, is a perfect way to end this story.
     
  2. The Walrein

    The Walrein Well-Known Member

    So, I know I'm way too late on getting around to this, but I just wanted to say thanks to @The Teller for this gift-fic! I liked the unique ways of describing things the Durant society had, and the ending certainly went in a way I wouldn't have expected. A few comments on random things throughout the fic:

    Heh, I liked the phrase 'Yennefer-shaped wrench'.

    I think these were the funniest Durant Definitions in the fic. Although I'm not sure how much sense it makes that the Durants would, even despite being secluded to their mountiain, know enough human society to have come up with a phrase for universities, which they'd presumably need to refer to very rarely, but still have no term for pools of water.

    And this was the funniest part of the stand-up routine to me.

    Once again, thanks for writing this for me, and happy extremely belated Yuletide!
     
  3. The Teller

    The Teller King of Half-Truths

    Thanks for the belated comment! I just wanted to take the prompt that you gave me and use Literal Wording to pervert and twist what you most likely intended to have happen into...whatever this was. I had a lot of fun writing the Durant society! I'm glad you liked the story.
     
  4. gwen-watson

    gwen-watson A Marvel Baby

    I thought this was a super adorable story! Yennefer and Triss finding each other was so lovely and poetic and such a sweet way of utilizing the Truant nature.

    I'm happy both Pokemon found happiness in the end!
     
  5. The Teller

    The Teller King of Half-Truths

    I'm glad that you found the story to be good! The Truant twist was literally @The Walrein's idea, but I thought it was the most interesting of the prompts he gave me, so I ran with it. And what good Christmas story ends with a sad ending?!
     

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