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A Time for Everything (R)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by SilentMemento, Nov 17, 2014.

  1. SilentMemento

    SilentMemento Lone Wolf

    Credit and obvious disclaimer: Permission given by JXValentine. Credit goes to Knightfall for the story title and for helping me iron out details. I do not own anything from Pokemon, especially not the games X or Y: if I did, I’d be a multimillionaire and would be out getting hammered, flipping off the paparazzi for no reason other than to make people go ballistic, and generally doing whatever the hell I want. But I’m not, and therefore, I will keep this to fanfiction and not profit off of any of it in any way, shape, or form.

    This is my own interpretation of X/Y that involves both legends instead of just one. Obviously, I’m not going to write X/Y all over again, so there’s going to be quite a few things that are different. What they are, I cannot say, but don’t expect the plot from X/Y or even the motivations of the characters to stay exactly the same as they were, even though I will not deviate from their canon personalities.

    Warnings: This story is rated R, and as such, people under the age of seventeen should not be reading this. The reason for that is because of a few major triggers that I must mention: mental illness and animal (Pokemon) cruelty and neglect. I will not skimp on those scenes; I fully intend on making them hit you as hard as possible, so consider this your only warning. Also, for those who are really faint of heart, there will be a fair bit of cursing (up to the “f” word, but no further) and violence that is suitable for an R-rated fic (including subjects like terrorism). So please, if you wish to continue reading this fic, keep these warnings in mind.

    So, without further delay, let’s get started, shall we?


    "1 There is a time for everything

    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    2 a time to be born and a time to die,

    a time to plant and a time to uproot,

    3 a time to kill and a time to heal,

    a time to tear down and a time to build,

    4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,

    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

    5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

    6 a time to search and a time to give up,

    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

    7 a time to tear and a time to mend,

    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

    8 a time to love and a time to hate,

    a time for war and a time for peace."

    The Book of Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3, Verses 1-8.


    Kalos had always been a very proud region. It was a place where the rich gathered to show off their prestige, where those in high-standing were treated as gods...and where the others were left out in the cold. Nobody had more personal experience with those unwritten rules than Vladislav Korolev, a Sinnohan immigrant who was currently stuck in the same situation as when he arrived fresh off the boat: owning nothing except the tools of his trade and the clothes on his back.

    Korolev let out a sigh as he unpacked three juggling torches from his duffle bag. There were times where he wished that he had other skills to help him find other lines of work. It wasn’t that he hated his current job; as a matter of fact, he loved to show off his tricks in front of anyone who took the time to watch. But with all of the bigger cities like Lumiose starting to crack down on performers in the streets and the general mistrust of immigrants, the man was having a tough time finding any line of work. Even the jobs that few people wanted were more likely to go to a Kalos native than someone who was not born in the region, even if the latter was more qualified.

    “Bailey, come here.” The man beckoned to a muscular humanoid Pokemon with a rather large nose. The Gurdurr picked up his iron beam and ambled over to his trainer with a bored look on his face.

    “We’ll practice for an hour or so, and then we’ll take a break for the day, all right?” Korolev coaxed gently.

    Bailey stared at the man for a second before letting out a grunt of resignation. The fighting-type lumbered over to the bag and searched through it to find what his trainer needed: a kerosene lighter and a fire extinguisher. Korolev took the items from Bailey’s paws and nodded his thanks.

    The man silently chided himself for wanting more as he wiped the sweat from his bald head. He had a job that he loved, a Pokemon who had stuck with him through thick and thin ever since he had adopted him as a Timburr, and he had made quite a few friends in Kalos, despite the fact that he was not a native son of the region. And even if the entire collective city of Lumiose had a stick up their ass, at least Camphrier still allowed him to ply his trade in their streets.

    Korolev checked the area around him to make sure that he was practicing safely. There weren’t any windy conditions, and he was in a place with no trees or grass. Perfect. He flicked the lighter on, quickly lit the wicks on the torches, and picked all three of them up before tossing them into the air. The fire seemed to dance in the night sky as the street performer moved from beginning to advanced techniques with a grace that belied his gangly appearance. His brown eyes never once shied away from the torches, and he moved only to catch them when they fell.

    The torches went out on their own after a while, and Korolev bowed to Bailey. The Gurdurr rolled his eyes in response, letting out another bored grunt. The man smiled and shook his head incredulously.

    “And here I was, thinking that you were my biggest fan,” he said with a chuckle.

    Bailey was about to tell off his trainer again when he heard something that sounded like glass shattering. The fighting-type whirled around in the direction of the noise, causing Korolev to notice as well.

    “What’s wrong, Bailey?” he asked, his expression lined with worry.

    The Gurdurr let out a snort and pointed in the direction of the local berry farm. His eyes widened from their normal half-asleep state when he heard another crash in the same direction. This time, his trainer heard it as well.

    “What in the world…” Korolev trailed off when he heard a high-pitched scream. “Come on, Bailey!” he snapped in a sharper voice than he had intended. “Leave the bag; we have other things to worry about!”

    The man raced off in the direction of the farm, his Pokemon hot on his heels. Korolev was in shape from years of walking down city blocks, but Bailey was noticeably winded. When they got to the farm, the Gurdurr was panting hard.

    “I really need to get you on an exercise program, Bailey,” Korolev muttered mostly to himself. He heard the sound of someone sobbing and immediately went quiet. It seemed like it was coming from the large white shower-house nearby.

    Korolev bit his lip to keep himself composed, as the person who was crying seemed to be a very young woman, from the sound of the voice. He walked into the building, opening the door with a soft creak. He smelled a faint scent that seemed to be blood, and he rushed to the sound of the sobs. He looked into a nearby shower stall, and his heart immediately filled with sympathy.

    The mirrors had been broken by her bare hands, by the look of the blood marks on the surface, but she didn’t seem to notice her wounds, huddled up around the shattered pieces of glass on the floor. Her tousled red hair didn’t even touch her shoulders, and it was only a little darker than her blood. She was audibly sobbing and muttering words that didn’t seem to make much sense to the man.

    “Dark winged monster needs to die, it can’t die soon enough, I miss them every day, gods, I just want them to come home, please, please, please come home, I wanna go home…”

    Korolev instinctively walked near her, but he maintained his distance. “Miss?” he asked. “Miss, are you okay?”

    It was a stupid question, and he immediately knew it the moment it rolled off his tongue, but the young woman didn’t seem to notice. She continued to mutter to herself, not showing any signs that she had even heard him.

    Good Arceus, she can’t even be thirty years old. What happened to her?

    Korolev took a deep breath. “Miss? Can you hear me? What’s wrong? Do you need a doctor?”

    He glanced at her more closely. Her clothes were dirty and ragged, but there were six pokeballs clipped to her belt that had obviously been polished recently. It was then that Bailey came into the room.

    “Bailey, keep a lookout,” the man said quietly. “I’m going to call someone.” He looked at the woman. “Miss, I’m going to call the police, okay? They’ll be there shortly, and they can help you.”

    This time, there was a reaction from the young woman. She stretched out from her curled-up position and turned around to stop his heart with a green glare of pure hatred.

    “You…” she whispered in a trembling voice. “You’re here for me as well? Wasn’t my family enough for you, Yveltal-follower? I-I won’t let you take me! Help me! Get them away from me!"

    Korolev flinched at the ferocity of her screams, but before he could do anything, he was grabbed from behind with his arms locked and something red and sticky wrapped around his mouth, preventing him from making a sound. He saw something with feathers and talons grab Bailey from behind when the Gurdurr was too slow to react. Without warning, the talons drew themselves across his Pokemon’s throat, cutting off the fighting type’s gurgling cry.

    Korolev desperately kicked at his assailant as hard as he could, but the grip only became tighter. He saw something large with four arms walk over to his bleeding Pokemon and grab both of the struggling Gurdurr’s arms with powerful ease. It then proceeded to bash Bailey’s skull in with a sickening smack.

    The man barely had time to process the horrific turn of events before the thing that had grabbed him turned him around and started to stab him relentlessly in his torso, ignoring his howls of agony. He saw a shiny black figure that seemed to look like a Greninja holding on to him before it let him drop to the ground on his back.

    Korolev coughed out a glob of blood from his ruined lungs, feeling it splash on his face. He saw the young woman walk over to him, her green eyes still hatefully staring at him. He tried to choke out the word “why”, but his body failed him. She shook her head and held a hand to her forehead before staggering away from the scene. The man's panicked and confused thoughts eventually faded moments before his vision flickered and went out like a birthday candle’s flame.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015
  2. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.

    I like the title drop right at the beginning through the poem, though I can't say it gives me a glimpse into what the story will be about. Guess I'll see.
    I like the information you give here nonchalantly, like greninja's shiny status and name. If this character comes back though I think you could put much more here. You imply that the champion is unconscious. If so, why? Why not give the girl's name instead of age? Talk about the difficulties it took to get there briefly. Etc.
    I like the realism you put into his situation.
    My favorite sentence so far.

    I like that the roles between pokemon and human here are switched. Usually it's the pokemon with the special superhuman powers.
    I think you could have gone into more gory details, but it was surely a surprising scene that I wasn't expecting! Well executed. I'm interested to see what you have planned for this story. It should go without saying that Kalos is my FAVORITE region for some reason, so I'd love to see your spin on an AU.
  3. Bay


    I have the same thoughts concerning diamondpearl's comments on the first scene, though I'm sure those questions will be revealed later.

    This is mostly minor, but I feel the mentioned of Korolev as immigrant/Sinnoh immigrant four or five times is a bit repetitive. I'm assuming for that scene you're going for his POV? If so, I don't think Korolev will refer himself as an immigrant that often (once or twice should be fine).

    Have to say, the prologue sure starts off with a crazy end! I'm very interested over that young lady's deal with Yveltal.

    I'm not able to say much as it's only the beginning, but I very look forward to what you have in store for this story!
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2014
  4. Firebrand

    Firebrand Indomitable

    On a technical level, things seem to be sound here. No commas out of place, and only a few run-on sentences that can probably be chalked up to a stylistic bent, so really nothing to worry about. But like Bay said, you mention that he is an immigrant or a street performer several times, and honestly, the reader gets it after about two. Anything after that can probably be summed up with his name, "the man" or simply "he". Using simpler terms helps to keep the rhythm of the story intact, and breaking it up too often can be jarring and not in a good way. So yeah, it's not a heinous offense here, but that's something to be aware of going forward.

    You also use a lot of adverbs in your narration, which, while not bad on its own, becomes a bit tedious if used in excess. It's something I'd advise you to be careful of, though if it is your style, that's fine. Still, oftentimes other readers may look at it as amateurish or poor form.

    On the whole, an interesting and dramatic prologue that shows promise for the story to come. Suitably dark and compelling with very little that is wrong with it. Do your best to keep the quality up, and things are looking good.
  5. Creepychu

    Creepychu The horror

    I'm of two minds about this one, mostly because it feels a bit like I have read two separate prologues. On the one hand, there's the story of Korolev and Bailey, who you've characterized quite effectively in a rather short space of text. The characterization in turn lends dramatic weight to their disturbing encounter in the farmhouse which makes the whole segment do its job quite effectively. The woman's rambling isn't anything terribly inspiring, but the fact that I had gotten rather on board with the idea of following Korolev and Bailey throughout the story means that I did care about what happened to them which did make me invested in seeing what comes of all this. In short, the Korolev part of the chapter all worked quite well for me.

    On the other hand, however, we have the preceding segment with an unnamed girl claiming a champion title from an unspecified and undescribed champion in an undescribed battle before making an unspecific pact of sorts with a Greninja of whom I know nothing except that it's shiny. The comparison really doesn't work out in the new champion's favor. Standing on its own, her segment feels superfluous; we learn nothing but the kind of basic inroductory details (she's fifteen, she's new the champion, and she's got a shiny Greninja) that we could have gotten from any introductory scene at any part of the story and doesn't really bring up any interesting information or implications to create suspense or expectations for the future. As a lead-in to Korolev's story, it doesn't pull its weight because the event of an unnamed girl defeating the champion has no apparent connection to Korolev's story or the conflict he faces. It's referenced in the opening lines, but since getting gutted by a malicious mystery entity really isn't a conflict of prestige or prejudice, those lead-in lines are pretty much where the connection between the two scenes breathes its last.

    Now granted, I don't know where you're going with all of this yet and the girl's victory might acquire more meaning down the line, but as it currently stands, it has no impact on the pertinent events of the chapter and therefore would probably best be saved for a later chapter that delves more into her character, the consequences of her victory or the pledge she made with Greninja. Placed where it is, it just feels like a false start that doesn't really go anywhere.

    Speaking of misplaced things, my only other notable gripe with what I'm seeing is that you have a slight tendency to repeat information, have characters relate information they don't necessarily know and - at times - focus on information that doesn't really fit with the matter at hand. To give a few examples:

    You already noted that the champion was defeated; considering she's looking down at said defeated champion, it seems fairly obvious that she is the new champion without telling us so. Optionally, you could simply call the defeated champion her opponent and tell us she is the new champion (making her opponent's identity clear through implication).

    Given how you are not even naming the people involved, it seems strange to prioritize explaining what a Greninja looks like. The girl has probably been its trainer for a while, so she'd probably be quite used to what it looks like and not focus on it much and your audience is pretty exclusively pokémon fans who'd already know what one looks like without the telling.

    You use a lot of distancing pronouns (first 'the street perform' and later 'the Sinnohan' immigrant) to refer to Korolev, which starts reading a bit awkward, especially since for most of the places you are doing it, the fact that he is a street performer or an immigrant really doesn't have a bearing on the matter at hand. As others have already mentioned, repeating that he's an immigrant and a street performer over and over also feels a bit like you're hammering the reader with the information. I appreciate that you're trying to vary up your narration, but your avoidance of simple pronouns like 'he' ends up hampering your otherwise well-flowing prose rather than improving it.

    By contrast, this is the kind of place where referring to him as 'the street performer' feels right since he's in fact in the middle of a street performance.

    If the scent was faint, how does he reach the conclusion that it's blood that quickly? I wouldn't expect a juggler to be that familiar with what blood smells like.

    I'd suggest being careful with using gemstones to describe eyes or things related to them. 'Emerald-green glare' is a line I'd expect out of a shipping fic, and it clashes with the dreary, miserable mood you've been building up here, especially since the color of her eyes really isn't the relevant thing to focus on here.

    Gripes aside, Korolev and Bailey really carried this chapter for me. You've done a good job with the dialogue and character interactions; I particularly liked his little 'are you alright?' since that's such a typical human reaction to an extreme situation like this, and your prose on a whole is competent and flows well. In general, I'd say have confidence in your ability to let your characters and their actions speak for themselves; the places where your prose stumbles tend to be where you get caught up in narrating what the characters feel, whereas it shines the brightest when you instead focus on what they're saying and what their body language is like, allowing those feelings to play out on their own. You have a good sense for the latter, so I'd definitely like to see more of it.

    All in all, an intriguing enough introduction to get me interested and a solid enough start for a story. Color me interested in seeing where you go from here.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2014
  6. Sidewinder

    Sidewinder Ours is the Fury


    It might make the story flow a little bit better if you took out the first 'it was over'. seems a tony bit repeaty

    Lmao awesome name for a Greninja

    Race and immigration are two things I feel like are under explored in Pokemon and I like that you're touching on it. These are real issues that plague people and it's actually a pretty disheartening and sad situation. I'll be interested to see where you take this as it provides a lot of opportunities for character motivation


    Haha love it. Nice touch!

    Well, it certainly seems to have happened to the bright eyed and bushy tailed girl from eleven years earlier. The Yveltal portion is pretty interesting, and the thought of a cult is one that gets me pretty excited

    ****ing perfect way to end the chapter

    Put me on the PM list!
  7. Sike Saner

    Sike Saner Peace to the Mountain

    I'm probably speaking for a lot of people here, but I can't read that particular Bible passage without hearing a certain song, heh.

    Oh hi, shiny.

    Idk if they're paws so much as hands... okay, now you've got me really thinking about this. On the one hand/paw/giant metal beam caddy, Gurdurr (as far as I'm aware) doesn't walk on them. On the other, they don't seem to have opposable thumbs.

    Idk, the science side of SPPf could probably answer that one.

    I'd be in a nasty mood all the time if I had to live there, too. Boy that place gave me headaches.

    Of course then I found my brain and started using the taxis, heh.

    Oh dang. Poor guy. :< Kudos, incidentally, for making me give enough of a frell about Bailey within the span of just a few paragraphs to actually be affected at all by his death.

    Best I can tell, girl from the beginning = girl with the pokeymans who killed Bailey and his trainer. Gotta wonder, of course, just what sort of Yveltal-related thing happened to her between the first and second scenes to make her snap that hard...
  8. Cutlerine

    Cutlerine Gone. Not coming back.

    It's really taken me far too long to get around to this review! And it was worth the wait -- for me, anyway. I won't presume to say whether or not the review is any good to you.

    First of all, I love how this is clearly going to be a story that glances at the little things. One of the places where this prologue shines brightest is in the way it gives insight into so many parts of the Pokémon world that just don't get mentioned that much in fanfiction: in the nod to Korolev's immigrant status; in the glimpse of the politics behind Lumiose's very neat, super-bright streets; in the tacit reminder that Pokémon are living creatures and can be spoiled just like any other. That's my favourite one, actually -- Korolev being fitter than Bailey. It's just such a wonderful inversion of what you'd normally get, and it, along with all the rest, bodes really well for the worldbuilding we can expect in the story to come.

    It works well as a prologue too, with the twist at the end leaving you itching for more -- up to a point. There's my first real criticism: Creepychu already touched on this, but as a prologue this is weakened quite a bit by splitting it in two as you have done, and in fact that first little bit is pretty much superfluous. The second segment is by far the stronger, and the details given in the opening bit could easily be worked into the story later, leaving you with a much sleeker and more impactful prologue that would make a highly effective hook. If you're concerned about getting in all the information that you wanted to, I don't think you need to be: the attack at the end of the second segment gives the reader enough clues for the time being.

    Additionally (and here I feel I should say that I'm being a little nitpicky, because of the general high quality) it sometimes feels like the setting could use more work. Once the plot had moved to the white shower-house, I had to stop to figure out how these locations fitted together and where exactly Korolev was. I know it's only a prologue and isn't necessarily meant to convey too much in the way of location, but just in case that sparseness is something that recurs in the main body of the story itself, even just an extra sentence or two here and there would help solidify the scene immensely.

    Expanding on that, I think that part of the issue is that you rarely allow the description a sentence or even a clause to itself. It always gets tacked onto other, more directly plot-furthering sentences -- Korolev wiping his bald head, the girl's green glare, the blood and the ruined lungs. That's by no means a bad thing -- normally, I'd suggest to people that they do more what you're doing, to avoid getting bogged down in long passages of description. But you do seem to take it to a bit of an extreme, with the result that some sentences that ought to be pretty swift and punchy end up weighed down with a few too many excess details. Case in point:

    Some of this information has already been covered; some might benefit from being rearranged a little, shunted into a new clause or sentence. As it stands, the sentence doesn't flow as well as it might. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating stripping the sentences down to their bare bones (I've always believed that textual superfluity done right is pretty), but in this case things could use a little editing. Concision is fine, but it's OK to give your prose space to breathe too.

    Last little issue I have: you do have a tendency toward tautology. 'Native son of the region', 'entire collective city' -- it might be related to what I just said, about perhaps packing a lot into short phrases, but sometimes information gets doubled. 'Collective' and 'entire' are doing the same job in that phrase, as are 'native' and 'son' in the other. Creepychu has written already cogently about your occasional repetition, so I won't go any further into that, but I thought I'd point out that it sometimes happens on a smaller scale too.

    But, stepping back from the page a little, my only big issue is the division of the prologue in two. The rest of what I've pulled out is minor stuff, nothing that would take more than a general polish to resolve. Everything seems to point towards this story heading off to intriguing places: the picking out of underutilised details, the novel take on the X/Y legendaries, (which I've always thought are just begging for some interesting fanlore); the murderous and pleasantly bewildering set-up; the effective characterisation, which leaves your reader concerned about Korolev in the space of just a few paragraphs. I'll be watching avidly to see what the story proper does with what you've set up here in the prologue.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2015

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