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Battle of Wills (One-Shot)

Discussion in 'Completed Fics' started by Psychic, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. Psychic

    Psychic Really and truly Staff Member Moderator

    My entry for the Requiem Tragedy contest, which came into the very nice third place. Excellent beta job done by purple_drake, whose patience and helpfulness have, as always, left me in her debt. I am definitely proud of the end result.

    This fic is rated PG-13 due to the theme – remember, this isn’t tragedy for nothing (there is but one joke, however). I can’t completely pinpoint the inspiration for this, but Zerodius and RaikouRider certainly played some part in it. All I can really think to say now is that I hope this story makes you think twice about a thing or two.

    As always, all comments are welcome, and I hope you enjoy.

    Battle of Wills

    Pallet Town. The town of new beginnings. The town of answered questions. The town where everything was made right.

    So it had always affectionately been called, ever since the great Professor Samuel Oak had taken residence there. One of the most renowned and respected minds of the scientific community, not only had he brought his lab and his knowledge to the small town nestled in southern Kanto, but he had also created the roots for trainers just beginning their journeys as well as those for his own family. Since his initial arrival Pallet Town had been the home of many new professors arising from his bloodline, each taking their place as one of the sharpest minds of their day. Each generation therefore had a great deal to live up to, yet all met them with great success, and was a great pride to the community.

    The current proprietors of the laboratory were Rosaline and Harrison Oak, the great-grandchildren of Professor Gary Oak, known primarily for his groundbreaking papers on the habits of revived ancient Pokémon. The first siblings to share the title of greatest Kantonian Pokémon Professor and to successfully work together without trouble (unlike their grandfather and his brother who had accidentally burned the lab down in one of their more heated feuds), Rosaline and Harrison worked in perfect tandem. Rosaline was the field expert; she worked up close with the Pokémon being studied, performing any tasks requiring their handling, collecting the field data. Harrison remained in the lab most of the time, inputting the accumulated information into the processors, working to file and study the data and to find the answers and solutions to his sister’s questions and problems.

    Consequently, Rosaline was often outdoors and traveling, while Harrison remained in the lab. This had always worked to their advantage in that each did what they preferred and were best at, and usually saw just enough of one another that they could rarely get into a fight. The pair was a role model for many a couple working together, and were constantly commended for their ability to do so in such a professional manner.

    Such were the thoughts of Lawrence Silver as he stood timidly at the bottom of the small hill, on which the Oak laboratory was nestled at the summit. The teenaged trainer had been thankful to have finally caught sight of it; after his three-day trip to Pallet Town, he had been wandering through the quiet neighbourhoods for hours in search of the lab, having been too shy to ask any of the locals for help. Mentally chiding himself for his ridiculous hesitation, he made a motion to slap his forehead, but seemed to think better of it. Instead he ran a sweaty hand through his spiked blue-black hair, raising his eyes to the sky above with a sombre face.

    Earlier that day it had been bright blue and clear, but as he had moved south, a cluster of grey clouds had seemed to race him there and were now beginning to slowly fill the afternoon sky, covering the sun and turning the previous warmth to uncomfortable humidity in the darkened day. It seemed as if the weather was taking a turn for the worse, so, Lawrence reasoned, he was lucky to have found the lab when he did.

    As a howl of wind suddenly filled his ears, for a moment he thought he could feel tiny raindrops on his bare arms, reminding him that he still wasn’t safe from the elements. Turning his dark green eyes from the heavens, he set them on the long marble staircase leading up the grassy hill to the laboratory at the top, adjusting the position of his backpack as he did so. Hurrying to the stout brick posts flanking the iron gate guarding the property, he searched for the intercom system he knew had to be there. Aware of the security camera blinking and watching his every move, he scrambled to press the first button he saw. A shrill buzz quickly followed, causing Lawrence to jump at the loud sound.

    “Who is it?” asked a sharp, mechanical-sounding voice from the small speaker on the post, carrying a hint of annoyance and indistinguishable gender.

    “Er, my name is Lawrence. I, uh, I just want to speak with Professor Rosaline and H–Harrison Oak,” the boy stammered in reply. He heard the camera making some kind of bleeping noise, but tried not to look at it.

    “Professor Rosaline is not in at the moment. Do you have an appointment?” the monotone voice at the other end asked. It sounded as if it ought to be accompanied by a roll of the eyes.

    “Um, no…” he faltered, and began inspecting the rough material of his t-shirt in embarrassment.

    The voice was about to reply with something snappy, but Lawrence’s head snapped up and he quickly regained his wits. “But it’s really important. I…I know that at least Professor Harrison will want to see it!”

    There was a pause which seemed to drag on for ages, and he could still feel the camera’s sharp gaze on the crown of his unprotected head. “Please wait a moment,” the genderless voice droned, trying to mask its irritation with boredom.

    Shifting uncomfortably as he waited, Lawrence’s hand strayed from his shirt, making its way to his belt. His fingertips brushed against the cool metal of one of his Pokéballs, but he quickly pulled it away. Don’t even think about it, Silver. Don’t even think about it, he mentally chided himself. He ran both his hands through his hair again, then began tracing the patterns of the iron fence with his eyes. He was just beginning to count the number of bushes lining the staircase to the lab when the intercom buzzed again.

    “Proceed,” said the same mechanical voice from before, still bored and annoyed as ever.

    Muttering a thanks too quiet for the voice to hear, Lawrence watched the gates swing open and didn’t waste a second hurrying up the steps two at a time, his heart having suddenly jumped into his throat. As he ascended the stairway the Oak laboratory grew larger, until he could finally get a proper view of the building’s true height. Though he knew that along with the laboratory itself there were also pastures and fields in which Pokémon were kept for feeding and study, the structure itself was still quite large. There were multiple sections that rose high above the ground, four turbines with rotating blades that were hard at work, accompanied by the solar panels Lawrence knew to be mounted on the roof to provide power to the lab through natural means (with multiple backup electrical generators just in case, of course), making the grounds quite eco-friendly. As another gust of wind whipped at the teen’s clothing, he could see the windmills’ speed increasing. Once again he thought he could feel raindrops on his arms, but told himself that they were probably just goosebumps.

    As he finally ascended the last stairs, the main entrance came into view. Standing in the doorway was a man in an incredibly white lab, the ivory interior of the lab inside seeming to glow behind him. Thin but not reedy, he was on the short side, and it was clear that his coat had been taken in at the bottom so it wouldn’t drag on the floor. His face was long, his cheeks bony, his brown hair thin, and the bags under his cool grey eyes gave the impression of an overworked man. Nevertheless, he had a look that seemed to show his contentment and a welcoming smile graced his thin lips, so that despite his odd appearance, Lawrence felt as if he was still welcome.

    “You must be Lawrence. Lawrence Silver, I believe?” the renowned Professor Harrison asked in his gravelly voice, looking the trainer up and down as he approached.

    “Yes, Professor! I, er, actually got my starter from you six years ago,” Lawrence replied, startled that the man knew his name.

    “Yes, yes, along with a Miss Gargory and Miss Woodhouse. I do believe that you took a Squirtle,” the researcher said with a wry smile.

    Lawrence tried to blink back his shock, not noticing the somewhat smug look on the man’s face. “Er, yes, Professor! How could you –”

    “I remember every trainer who has walked through these doors, boy. I have an absolutely wonderful memory; you need it when you do all the research I have done, don’t you know!” Professor Harrison grinned, then let out a gentle chuckle. “But I hear that you have some most pressing news to deliver, and my sister and I have an open-door policy to any trainer we helped see off. I had been in the middle of a paper on Slowbro anatomy, but a break wouldn’t be so bad, and I am quite willing to listen to whatever you wish to say, even if it’s just to ask for help on fixing a broken Pokédex.” The professor’s good-natured smile widened, and there was a small twinkle in his eyes.

    “Trust me, Professor; it’s much more than that. I have a Pokémon that…should be looked at,” Lawrence replied nervously, trying to let out a small laugh, but his throat was dry. There was another sudden gust of wind, and as he glanced up, the teen could see that the sky was beginning to darken as more clouds rolled in.

    “Hm, I see. Well, please come in; looks like the weather is taking a turn for the worse,” Professor Harrison instructed, indicating that the boy follow him inside. Lawrence nodded and stepped eagerly through the doorway into the white-tiled lab, hearing a faint beep as he did (which, the professor explained mildly, was the metal detector indicating that Lawrence wasn’t carrying any weapons or devices which might interfere with the equipment).

    Closing the large door behind him, Professor Harrison led the way through the brightly-lit, hospital-clean hallway of white walls and white doors, dotted by a few potted plants and the occasional painting on the wall depicting Pokémon in their natural habitats: a herd of Tauros in a field, a Slugma by a pool of lava, some Tentacool and Kingdra by the seaside. A few aides walked past them after giving a quick greeting to the professor and a curious glance at Lawrence, their lab coats swishing behind them. As the two began making a few lefts and rights and headed past multiple flights of stairs, the trainer came to realize just how huge the complex was, and was just beginning to wonder when they’d stop when Professor Harrison stopped and punched multiple numbers into a keypad by a door marked “Lab A”. The lock beeped in confirmation before the professor turned the brass handle and gestured for Lawrence to enter.

    Inside, the florescent lights were even brighter, the large room filled with multiple workstations, including desks with computers, multiple vials and all sorts of instruments and pieces of machinery with purposes the teen could only guess at sitting neatly atop them. A chamber separated by a thick glass wall took up a large side of the room, with all sorts of wires and cameras and gauges and tubes inside and an elaborate control panel outside. As he looked about, Lawrence felt a jolt of nervousness upon looking around. Everything looked so…clean. So artificial. He looked out the single tiny window near the ceiling, though the grey clouds which occupied most of the view were hardly a comfort.

    Professor Harrison pulled up two wheeled chairs by one of the desks, and Lawrence took his gratefully, knees shaky as he sat down. He twisted his fingers together on the smooth surface of the table, careful not to touch the papers and equipment scattered about it as he continued looking about, extremely sensitive of the sudden weight on his belt.

    “Eh-hem,” the professor coughed gently, forcing Lawrence’s quick green eyes to fall on the older man, who had taken his seat on the other chair. “I believe you had something you wished to say,” he reminded the trainer politely, crossing the arms of his white sleeves.

    “Oh, uh, yes, Professor!” Lawrence stammered in reply, hand fumbling to unhook a Pokéball from his belt. He held it timidly in his hand, touching it only with his fingertips as if it was covered in spikes, and placed it cautiously on the table. Professor Harrison raised an eyebrow.

    “I…I caught something a few days ago, Professor,” Lawrence began to explain, unable to look at the researcher, instead staring at the Pokéball sitting almost harmlessly on the table. “It…uh, I really had no idea what it is. It just…jumped out of nowhere right at me. M–my first reaction was – well I just sorta…I wasn’t really thinking.” He paused, biting his lip, throat dry. The professor’s eyebrows were drawn slightly together, but he seemed to be in no hurry. Taking a deep breath, the boy continued nervously. “Clarice – my Haunter – thought fast and trapped it with a Mean Look, and then…I…I don’t really remember all of it, but there was a battle, and I threw a Pokéball and…and I caught it! I was too afraid to let it back out – it looked really powerful – so I…” he suddenly faltered, and shifted his eyes from the sphere, swallowing nervously. “I s–scanned it with my Pokédex. But, Professor… it couldn’t identify the Pokémon! It wasn’t listed in the d–database.” Lawrence shook his head, his hands turning into nervous fists until his knuckles turned white, feeling as though Venonat were tumbling about in his stomach.

    Professor Harrison was completely mystified by the boy’s tale, but he could understand Lawrence’s fear; the Pokédexes contained every bit of information on every single Pokémon known to man. For something not to be in a Pokédex was like a calculator not knowing multiplication; it was impossible, and it was an idea that set many on edge.

    “Well then, the only logical thing to do would be to find out what Pokémon you have found,” he said confidently, plucking the Pokéball off the table and trying to act as though he wasn’t bothered by the fact that, apparently, nobody had ever heard of this Pokémon before as he walked to the observation chamber at the other end of the room.

    “But, Professor, I told you it’s dangerous!” Lawrence cried out as he leapt up, eyes wide.

    “I am well aware of this, but we have a state-of-the-art research facility. Countless experiments have been done here; not even a Tyranitar could break this chamber,” the researcher replied as calmly as he could, trying to ignore the increased beating of his heart. Rosaline was usually the one who operated the thing and though he knew how to use it, he wasn’t always comfortable with it; after all, he wasn’t the one who usually worked with the Pokémon.

    Shoving his worries aside so as not to alert the trainer, he inserted the Pokéball into a small nook on the control panel and pressed a few buttons, causing a small glass screen to close around the Pokéball and multiple electrical beeping and whirring sounds to emanate from the machine.

    “We’ll put up all the available precautions, since we don’t know its abilities,” the professor muttered, more to himself than to Lawrence, staring at a small screen as he continued flipping switches and pushing buttons as if he had been born to do so. The boy looked doubtfully through the glass to the chamber inside, watching as multiple pieces of machinery began moving about. Three nozzles appeared out of the wall, each shooting a different thin gas into the air, slightly fogging up the interior.

    “Ready to find out what your Pokémon is?” Professor Harrison asked, turning to the trainer with a careful smile. Still nervous, Lawrence Silver hesitated a moment, casting a wary eye towards the Pokéball, now encapsulated in glass. Biting his lip, he gave a curt nod.

    Taking a deep breath, the professor pressed the “release” button, and as the two watched on with bated breath, a bright red light filled the chamber with the sound of a deep series of clicking, slowly taking shape…

    Reduced to nothingness.

    There is little left of me. I can no longer see or hear or smell or taste or feel or release. I can not see the wide, rolling plains or hear the wind howling in my ears. I can not smell fresh forest pine or taste sweet freedom on my tongue. I can not feel my heart racing in my chest nor release the pent-up energy flaring inside me. There is nothing. Nothing but my own racing thoughts and my Spark. My Spark of life. With every moment I remain here, in this place where time and space no longer exist, my Spark crackles within me. With every passing moment it grows and becomes stronger, and I can feel it pushing against my being, pressing, urging me to release it. But I can do nothing to alleviate the pressure, to make the pressing sensation go away. Somehow, my environment seems to try to absorb the power of my Spark in a way I can not, but it is not near enough; naught but a feeble attempt to calm a raging beast. It is disturbing.

    It has not yet reached the point of being unbearable – that is a stage I must avoid at all costs, yes. Now it is a prickling sensation, and despite my lack of a physical form I can still feel the constant presence of my Spark as it weighs upon my soul like a boulder on my chest. If only I could release! I have to alleviate the pressure before…no, I have to get my Spark under my control. I have to –

    LIGHT! THERE IS SIGHT! SOUND! SMELL! TASTE! TOUCH! All my senses are bombarded so quickly that it makes my head swim. First bright, bright light, so great that it burns my eyes. I can hear loud sounds, unlike any I have ever heard before, seeming to pound in my eardrums. A sharp scent burns my nostrils, like a mixture of fire and ice that I have never before smelled. A bitter taste fills my mouth that makes me want to gag, one so unlike any natural thing I have ever tasted. My paws scrape against a cold and lifeless ground, and the air penetrating my fur and stinging my skin is chilled and stagnate, making my fur stiff and stand on end. This place feels as if it has never known the warmth of sunlight or the motion of a breeze. There is just…a complete absence of life. As if the life has been ripped out of it. Or perhaps there has never been any life here at all.

    A sudden throb deep within me sends a sharp wave of pain throughout my body, from the very core of my being down my legs to the tip of my snout and tail in every muscle and nerve ending, and for a moment the whiteness of my surroundings consumes my vision. I let out a roar of pain, but am shocked to find out that I can barely hear my own cry! My Spark is still charging, and I can still feel it – I always can – deep inside me, making its presence painfully known. I have to release it! And now that I have escaped those horrible confines that defied time and space, I can.

    Craning my neck downwards, I charge up the electricity that is always gathered in my body, drawing it from my Spark outside to my fur. Small sparks that feel surprisingly weak shoot across my body as I focus all my power into the lavender clouds on my back, allowing my voice to build up in the back of my throat as I concentrate on harnessing all my energy for one great release.

    “RRRRRRRRRRAAAAAI!” I bellow, thrusting all of the pent-up energy from my Spark out of my body with the tremendous force of a thunderbolt. But it is like trying to draw rain from empty clouds; it is as if the air itself is absorbing all my power, then pushing it back into my body as if I have done nothing at all! Once again, I can not hear my own roar when I cried out in pain as all my power is thrust back into me. Not even releasing the energy unrelated to my Spark can help quell the beast inside me, and instead of controlling it, it just grows stronger.

    The horrid, encompassing bright whiteness fades from my vision so that my colourless surroundings look somewhat darker. But still, all I see is whiteness! Snarling, yet releasing little more than a hiss to my ears, I swivel my head about in confusion and frustration. It is then that I realize just how tiny this space is. All the white is preventing me from being able to tell very accurately, but even from the stagnate air alone I can tell that this place is too small for any creature. There is no open sky nor rolling plains; just white, white, white. Where has it all gone? Where is the warmth and life? Where are the open spaces I need so badly to tame my Spark?! Why am I here? What sort of foul twist of fate would steal me away from that which I love, which I need?! Where are my siblings? We usually run together – racing across the countryside without a thought but the great game – but, and I am thankful for it, I had not been with them before ending up in this place, but are they safe? I mentally curse myself in the name of Ho-Oh for going off without them. Are they now suffering similar fates? What has become of them? I desperately hope that they are still running happily and free, and that is when a rolling wave of loneliness washes over me. Reaching out my mind to them, I search for their presences as I have done so many times before, seeking out their minds for the comfort and love I am so accustomed to. But no matter how far I search, I can not see their beautiful forms in my mind’s eye; all I can feel is the bitter cold of my confines. And the white. I suddenly feel a sharp pang, not from my Spark, but the feeling of being incomplete without the touch of my siblings’ minds. Have they been consumed by this whiteness, too? A swell of terror rises within me at the thought, and I feel sick. In the name of Ho-Oh, let this fate be not their own!

    Then I smell a sweet, sticky powder around me, falling from heavens that have no place here. A glittering blue powder gets embedded deep into my fur, getting into my eyes, blurring the whiteness and making my eyelids heavy. I am overcome with a sudden sleepiness, a desire to rest that is so strong that I can not help but succumb to it. As my vision fades, my muscles relax, but even as sleep overcomes me I can see nothing but whiteness all around me and feel nothing but my pulsating Spark.

    Professor Harrison and Lawrence Silver had gone to the laboratory’s huge library. Joined by two aides the professor had managed to snag along the way, they were now rifling through books, searching for some sort of hint at what the mysterious Pokémon might be. None of the computer files had been of any help, and they had even searched under the Pokémon that had been rumoured to inhabit Sinnoh before their government had revealed them. It had actually been an aide who had been passing by them who had suggested looking up mythological and legendary Pokémon, and while the professor had instantly disregarded the idea as foolish and childish as soon as she was gone, Lawrence had, in his desperation for an answer, urged that they at least check it out. One of the aides added that the Pokédex database had been recently refurbished so that the old Pokémon of the many myths and religions that had once littered the ‘dex had been taken out, so having a look wasn’t such a far-fetched idea. Despite what he called his “better judgement,” the professor was curious enough that he submitted in the end, and now the four were buried under piles of books pertaining to all the Pokémon that had never been confirmed to exist. Granted, some, such as MissingNo and the Chorris of one ancient cult were Pokémon whose existences had been proven false, but others, such as Celebi, Midori and Darkrai were much harder to confirm, their origins unknown save to the religions nuts whose absurd claims were pushed aside.

    It was, however, the professor himself who had found the most likely candidate. After remembering the multiple acclaimed sightings of the beast of the northern wind, Suicune, and the theories about it having siblings, he dug up a few books and found that the most probable explanation was that the creature was Raikou, the embodiment of lightning…or something to that effect. The supposed sightings were mainly in the Johto region from about the time that Professor Gary Oak had been a trainer; however, the artist’s depiction of the beast didn’t match the Pokémon in the chamber exactly, though the Pokémon had not remained long enough to give the watcher the perfect view. Even then, thought Lawrence, who couldn’t help but stare at the picture, the parts that were similar – such as the thunderclouds on the creature’s back and the black stripes gracing its fur – hardly did justice to the grace and power of real thing.

    The real thing that had released enough lightning to kill a man, the trainer reminded himself, running his hands through his spiked hair nervously. The little data they had accumulated before inducing sleep upon the beast showed that its electrical powers were off the charts. After having the professor and his aides agree with his guess of the Pokémon’s identity , they began reading up on Raikou, searching for every piece of information they could find, one of the aides even doing an internet search for even the faintest rumour she could get her hands on.

    In the end, the most they had gathered that they had reasoned to be true was that:
    A) Raikou was an electric type Pokémon.
    B) Raikou was carnivorous.
    C) Raikou spent most of its time racing about Johto and Kanto.
    D) Raikou was part of a trio much like the birds of Kanto and had siblings with similar abilities.

    Confirming any of these facts, of course, required a great deal of research yet, especially since so little was known about Suicune, let alone Entei. In the meantime, Professor Harrison insisted that Raikou’s presence in the lab be kept quiet so as not to alarm the general public. The professor had, of course, contacted his sister with the exciting news, and Professor Rosaline had been ecstatic to hear about her brother’s findings. Unfortunately, she was doing important field research in Orre in relation to healed Shadow Pokémon which she could not abandon, but expressed great regret at not being able to attempt to handle such a Pokémon. Even over the telephone she could tell that her brother was incredibly nervous about the ordeal; she was probably the only one who could tell just how jumpy he was about the whole affair, but reassured him that he would do fine, even without her. Though doubtful, Professor Harrison knew that insisting that she was better suited to the job would do little good while she was unable to return to Pallet Town, and he resolved to do the best he could under the circumstances.

    Lawrence did not feel the least bit easy about the entire affair either, but he knew that he would rather have the research done on the beast before he attempted to battle with it, and either kill someone or get arrested for illegal Pokémon handling. Though he was curious to see the extent of this Pokémon’s powers, he still felt fearful with the knowledge that that thus far, nothing was known for absolute certain – not even if this creature really was the mythological Raikou.

    Meanwhile, news about the presence of the unknown Pokémon spread quickly throughout the laboratory, and many aides were dropping by Lab A to catch a glimpse of the creature, even looking for excuses to grab a form or piece of equipment. All of this meant that the place was getting a tad too chaotic; consequently, the professor had called an emergency meeting, informing all the staff about Raikou and how it would only be handled from outside the chamber for now, also giving specific instructions not to go public with any of their information. Everyone was to resume work as usual, and only a select few would be chosen to help deal with the thunder beast. Though many knew that any newspaper or news station would pay big for a story like this, most valued their jobs of working so near to the famous professor – and Raikou, of course – too much to jeopardize their position, at least at this stage.

    In the meantime, the trainer who had been lucky enough to capture the legendary Pokémon was given a temporary residence within the lab and was granted full access to see the Pokémon which he technically owned, even if he had given the rights to the beast to the lab. His Pokémon were allowed to stretch in the lab’s pastures with the others, spending time playing and having mock battles while Lawrence took a break from training.

    He didn’t go often, but when he did visit Raikou, he would be all nerves and full of apprehension. He couldn’t quite explain why, but there was something…something about Raikou that made him worry. His concern was, of course, mainly for those handling the beast, because no matter what they said, he still feared something going terribly, terribly wrong.

    I must run.

    I was born to run. Running is what I do best. Running is my freedom. Running is my reason for living.

    Running keeps my Spark tame.

    I do not know how long it was until I began to realize that I am not alone. At least, not in the physical sense; for while my siblings are still out of reach, I know there are others. They are nearby, so close I can almost hear their heartbeats.


    I have never been fond of those creatures; we usually made a point of avoiding them as we raced across the land. Though I used to feel more annoyance than any sort of hate; I had been captured by them once long ago, but I had also been saved by them afterwards. They are certainly curious creatures, to be sure, and though I hate to think about it, it has crossed my mind more than once that they are the ones responsible for my horrible position.

    I do not understand where I am or why, but such questions are the last thing on my mind. Instead, thoughts of clear blue skies, healthy greenery flashing by and the whooshing wind in my face constantly fill my thoughts. And yet a desire as simple as this is being denied me! I have done nothing but live my life in peace, so why am I being put through a torture no living being should have to live through?!

    My Spark flares painfully inside me at this question which, despite its simplicity, seems to carry the intensity of a thunderstorm. Yes, it is still growing, strengthening, pressing against me as if trying to escape the confines of my body like the lightning before a rain. Yet I can do nothing. I am stripped of all that I need.

    With the minds of my siblings outside my grasp, I feel a gaping hole inside me, for I need them, too. I can only pray for their safety, and though I wish they would come to my side and help me, I fear that the same fate would befall them. Yet, what am I alone? There is nothing for me if I am without them, running in our eternal game to tame the beasts raging inside us. My Spark threatens to burst from my chest, and the loneliness smothers me. I have never before felt isolation like this.

    My life has been reduced to living inside the White. Sometimes the spores come down and I would sleep, and a few morsels of food would appear upon my waking. I eat most things that have inexplicitly appeared out of sheer hunger, though I can not bear to eat most of the flesh. I try my best to keep from thinking about running, eating fruits and berries and the rare feathered beast as I chose, but at times my legs beg me to allow them to move, to run, and the temptation is so difficult to resist. Still, even as my Spark grows and grows within me, I can do nothing, for every time I have tried to release my electricity the bolts refuse to take shape in the air, and every time I try to physically attack the walls my attempt is futile, for not even a mark appears on the White, and as if fighting back, the spores rain down upon me and cast me into sleep.

    Little headway had been made with Raikou. Professor Harrison was still hesitant to do anything but watch and feed the beast, searching for any hints or clues about its lifestyle through its basic actions and reactions. Thus far, he knew that Raikou tended to be aggressive and kept trying to attack whatever it saw, but the walls were resistant to nearly all Pokémon attacks and the “rubber air” in the tank conducted any electricity the beast tried to unleash. Raikou’s breathing was fast and short, its heartbeat unnaturally quick, even for a Pokémon. It was as if it were showing stress after a fierce battle, its heart and other vitals speeding up greatly during its fits. It had been found to prefer fruits and vegetables to meats, save for avian Pokémon (most notably Doduo and Noctowl). That was about all they knew.

    Most of the aides had pressed him to place Raikou in a larger chamber considering its apparent restlessness, but the professor’s fear of its power was far greater than his curiosity, and in any case, he would much prefer if Rosaline handled such things. He contacted her every few days to give her a basic report and ask for advice, begging her to return to no avail, and her suggestions and words of encouragement did nothing to change the professor’s mind or be of much comfort. He was as uneasy as ever.

    I now know that I am indeed kept here by the will of humans for purposes I cannot understand. Some have tried to make contact with me, but in their hands they hold strange, unnatural objects with strong, unnatural smells, and I do not let them near me. I can smell their fear and hear their heartbeats, and I know that they do not mean well. I know it is they who decide when I pace around the White and when I sleep and when I eat. Numerous times strange devices that emanate strange sounds would appear from the White itself and attempt to attack me, and each time I retaliate ferociously, trying to use it to release whenever I can.

    And still my Spark flares brightly inside me. Its throbbing presence is constant, sending short spasms of pain throughout my body. I try countless times to release it, concentrating it into as little an area as possible and pushing it out with all my might, but nothing works. At times the sensation to release it is so strong that I resort to attacking the wall with the blunt force of my head or body, but all I manage to do is exhaust myself before the spores come again and I plunge into sleep. Yet even in my unconscious state, my Spark still builds up inside me, and sometimes the sheer pain wakes me from my slumber, and I attempt to cry out, but it is as if the very air has stolen my voice.

    My legs ache and cry out, begging me to run. Every inch of me longs to race across the land once more with my siblings by my side, feeling the wind in my face, the sun on my back, the feeling of being absolutely free to do anything without limitations. My soul longs for it more than it has ever longed for anything. At times it is all I can ever think of; when I’m awake, in my dreams, I always see myself running and running and never stopping, side-by-side with my siblings. My Spark is naught but a pleasant twinge, crackling as if with joy as I feel the invigorating freedom filling my heart with joy. Sometimes I long for it so much and it just feels so real that I forget if I am in the White and not racing through the wide open plains.

    I still know so little about where I am or why. The only thing I can say for sure is that I must run the same way I must breathe, and I am beginning to suffocate.

    Somehow, it was let slip that a Pokémon of myth was being studied in the Oak laboratory. Instantly the media began flocking to Pallet Town like a pack of Mightyena to their prey, and it became all that anyone could think about. It had been a messy business trying to deal with the dozens of cameras and reporters, and in the end it could no longer be hidden: Lawrence Silver had captured the legendary beast of thunder, Raikou.

    There were countless interviews, mainly with the trainer himself, who had apparently remembered exactly how he had encountered, battled and caught the beast, every detail embellished to the point where he was hailed a hero and role model by some. Professor Harrison Oak himself refused all interviews and would not comment on most questions. Professor Rosaline Oak was still nearly unreachable, disappointing everybody; Professor Harrison because he still wanted her advice, and the media because they knew she was the sibling more likely to accept an interview.

    It seemed to the staff of the lab almost as if Raikou’s condition was worsening with the arrival of the media. Though only a select few pictures had been released to the press and none were allowed to see the beast, Raikou had begun to stop accepting its food. It had begun to sleep erratically and tended to engage in self-destructive behaviour more and more with each passing day. Visible muscle spasms in the legs still made many of the staff urge the professor to allow Raikou to exercise in some way, but Professor Harrison refused under the grounds that with the now constant presence of the media, should Raikou escape a less controlled environment the results would be horrid. Because the professor refused to accept the opinions of any other experts, never mind his own aides, there was little to be done except continue to wait.

    How long have I been here? Time no longer matters. Everything has melded together; everything is the same. When I am waking I am asleep and when I am doing neither I am running with my siblings. I do not see the food placed in front of me. There are humans around me, but I am completely alone, away from my home and my siblings. The White is everywhere, the White is all the same, and there is nothing but the White. I feel my Spark every single moment of it all, and it feels like a wild beast inside me thrashing about in an attempt to escape, threatening to explode. I try and try to release it, but the air steals my power and my voice. The pain blinds me; the pain is pure white. It is white like the cold, unfeeling White all around me. It takes hold of me, wrapping itself around me and suffocating me, squeezing me and only causing the pressure of my Spark to tighten. Everywhere it is cold, and the White is death’s steely grip. I writhe in pain, trying to escape, but nothing I do can stop the White or stop the Spark. It is too much. The pain of the Spark pulsates in every inch of my body and the White envelopes my entire mind. The White and the Spark and the air have stolen everything from me.

    I see myself running. I am not alone; I am with those who care for me the most. I see the world in all its beauty, and I drink in every lake, every tree, every cloud. The sun warms my limbs and the wind tickles my face. I smell the forest and I taste freedom.

    Freedom is so close, I could almost–

    Professor Rosaline’s return had, in the end, been too late.

    The beast of thunder was eventually forgotten; its presence meant only that there were more and more unknown Pokémon to be discovered and claimed. Even Lawrence Silver eventually put Raikou out of his mind after its death, determined to become a great legendary-hunter.

    After all, there were always new Pokémon to catch.
  2. Gardevoir Girl

    Gardevoir Girl is NOT a girl

    Beautiful. Just beautiful. It's like you can see directly into Raikou's soul.

    I was biting my nails when the trainer was talking about his capture, and in the beginning I was convinced it was MissingNo. And poor Raikou, trapped in the room, unable to exercise, imagining its siblings meeting the same fate...

    Just one mistake:

    Rubber doesn't conduct electricity, it blocks it.

  3. Bay


    I say, I quite like this. Like Gardevoir Girl, you protrayed the Raikou's thoughts and emotions really well. Also, very interesting ending, how one legendary sighting can cause a domino effect. Very tragic indeed.

    There's only one thing I want to say. I felt you could've perphaps do more showing on Lawrence and the others. Part of it is because the first part with that trainer and the professor you showed how the two met and dicussing the capture, but then after you went to telling the rest of the events. Then again, perphaps if you try expanding some more scenes this one shot will get too long. XD

    Again, great work on this fic. Congrats on winning third place! =D
  4. bobandbill

    bobandbill Winning Smile Staff Member Super Mod

    I too quite liked it. The description was fantastic really - nice attention to detail and was fun to read. A good concept as well there, found it interesting and you did well in pulling the heart strings ther of Raikou, by showing its POV every so often. :)

    I too feel that you could have showed a bit for from the sides of the humans, with some more showing rather than telling possible. The ending in particular was just a touch too rushed for me as well, could have been a bit longer for my part. It felt rather sudden - although I think it was purposeful maybe, with the pace slowly increasing from the slow beginning as the tragedy unfoled, it felt a bit too much of a jump there. But that may be just me.

    The beginning did feel a little bit drawn out for my liking as well, just a bit too much focused on the beginning there.

    But overall I really liked this. Raikou is an awesome Pokemon, and you protrayed it very well here, and again really liked the concept. I can see how you got into the top three, there. :)
  5. duncan

    duncan Well-Known Member

    Very nice, very nice. No doubt, one of the best one-shots in the contest. I tend to get very nitpicky when review very good fics like this, so bare with me okay? :)

    This section seemed a slight bit choppy to me, how the description seems to stop and start a bit. A hard to notice detail, however. While I liked the beginning, you probably could have shortened a bit of it to get the fic going quicker, but that's also a small nitpick.

    Bolded part seems a bit unnecessary in my opinion.

    Now this I liked very much. The wind and clouds fit very nicely here, and the symbolism wasn't lost on me. Very nice.

    Wrong tense, here, I believe.

    Excellent scene change here. No time to think about it, just flowed perfectly straight into it.

    Only typo I found. But wow, is it a bad one. :p

    This really carried the fic, this last bit right here. At first (not remembering your Raikou banner) I instantly figured it was Mewtwo. XD As I continued reading, though, I finally caught on. You got into Raikou's mind so well, and the White really was nicely done. I can't seem to say that enough, but the whole thing just feels well executed, with good attention to detail and great characterization. I certainly enjoyed it, and congratulations (albeit a bit late) on the third place. Well deserved indeed.
  6. The Great Butler

    The Great Butler Hush, keep it down

    ....This didn't win? Not to take away from the well-deserved victors, but I would have chosen this in a heartbeat, no doubt.

    It really is flawless. Maybe the only thing I'd change is put a more defined boundary between POV shifts. That's it.

  7. Psychic

    Psychic Really and truly Staff Member Moderator

    Gardevoir Girl: Thanks! And aside from the banner, I was hoping to catch people a bit off guard with what had been captured. ^^

    Wow, I totally did not know that/totally forgot. o.o Makes sense though, since water and rubber shouldn't both be doing the same thing. XD Thanks for pointing that out!

    Bay: That completely didn’t cross my mind! But now that you mention it, it really makes perfect sense. o_o I’m definitely going to consider that, but yeah, this fic is already really long for some reason, and I dunno what that would do length-wise. I can probably spare a quarter of a page or whatever, so I think I’m going to have a good look into that.

    Anyhow, I’m glad to hear that the rest was good! Thanks a bunch! ^^

    bobandbill: Yeah, I’m definitely going to have another look at the researching scene and actually show rather than tell. That sounds like a good idea, but as I said, I’m worried about adding too much more length. Some parts, such as where Harrison has a meeting with his aides, might look decent as its own scene, but I don’t want to make that entire slice of human PoV into scenes, and it would be a bit weird to be telling that entire bit, then suddenly have this meeting scene as showing. I really need to find a decent balance here. :S

    I’m not entirely sure about the length of the end; I do want it to be short and concise, but certainly not rushed. I tried to slow it down a bit from the original, but the change isn’t huge. I just want it to end sort of curtly. The jump was done on purpose, but yes, winding it down a bit more might be a good idea…and XD I don’t really know how I can shorten the beginning. I wanted that bit to be a starting point where things seem just about normal and going at a decent pace before everything spins out of control. Hm.

    Thank you, though. I certainly hope I did the beats of thunder proud! ^^ Thanks, and congrats again on joining the Mod team.

    ^^ Thank you! That means a lot to me. And hey, nitpicking is still being helpful (at least the way I see it), and I'd prefer that over mindless praise any day. :3

    A lot of people have been saying that the beginning's slow, so I'm going to have another look at it. But I see what you mean...and for some reason, I think that splitting it into two paragraphs may help. I'll have another look at that bit...

    Meh, just there to stress his importance, especially during this first meeting to remind the reader who he is. *shrugs*

    Oh dear Chuck Norris, somebody did get the symbolism! *happydance* =DDD And in a way, it is partly literal; Raikou is, after all, the beast of thunder, and it just seemed appropriate that the clouds would follow her wherever she’s taken. But of course, the symbolism is a bigger part of it.

    Hm, you know, that reminds me; I should probably make mention of the weather if I can in another human PoV part...

    o_O Not sure what you're on about here; far as I can tell, it's past tense, just like the rest of the human PoV parts.

    =D Thank you, glad you think so and D: can't believe I missed that appropriately.

    ^^ Thanks. I always love to play around with some sort of physical thing which represents/is associated with an idea or feeling. …aka symbolism, really. xD Thank you, though, although I am a bit disturbed now and am wondering if I didn’t make Raikou seem wild and feral enough if you mistook her for Mewtwo. That or everyone just likes to associate me with him. Not that I really mind that. =D

    Thanks again! ^^

    The Great Butler: Heh, you’re too kind; haven’t seen Burnt Flower’s entry, but I still think purple_drake deserved first. ^^

    Thank you for your kind words, though. And like I told the judged, the scene switches are meant to be a bit more sudden and unexpected. Plus I’m not really a fan of the line dividers, but that’s just me. :p

  8. Dragonfree

    Dragonfree Just me Staff Member Moderator

    Well, so I finally got around to reading this (while also training my Nincada on Diamond and listening to Phoenix Wright music - yay for multitasking). In my normal review format (written as I read, so what's at the beginning applies to the beginning of the story and may make erroneous assumptions about the rest of the piece and such).

    In the beginning, I found the whole elaborate backstory on Professors Rosaline and Harrison a bit off-putting; I'm not sure how relevant any of this stuff is going to be beyond the fact that Harrison and Rosaline work together and maybe that Rosaline is usually in the field and Harrison at the lab. Couldn't it at least be integrated better into the story? To suddenly say that a character was thinking all that stuff didn't really save it, because it was rather jarring and the first thing I thought was "Well, he sure seems knowledgeable about the history of Pallet Town and prone to musing over it in elaborate detail."

    I do love what comes immediately after that, however; I'm not quite sure when I last read your stuff (that one-shot at PE2k?) but the writing here felt particularly smooth and I enjoyed the mood-setting about the weather, as well as the description of the androgynous monotone voice of the intercom.

    Just... read this sentence again. It's incredibly awkward and redundant, not to mention the repetition of "lab".

    This description seems unnecessarily lengthy; I'm sure you could do this in a more interesting way.

    I really don't like this dialogue tag. Most problematic is the unnecessary inclusion of "the renowned"; it makes it sound like some sort of a news article. "Renowned Pokémon professor speaks against Pokéballs" or something. Using "renowned" here seems really irrelevant and odd. "in his gravelly voice" also struck me as a bit odd since it sounds like the reader is familiar with the fact his voice is gravelly when it is the first line he says, but that may just be me.

    ...so what's with the locked gate and intercom, then? o_O

    Haha, great moment. Here it really hit me that he had Raikou (for some reason, despite knowing what this was about, I didn't realize it until then), and you established that with just all those subtle but meaningful prods about the clouds. :3

    I can't help wondering why they haven't stepped inside already, though. :/

    I found this repetition of "stop" a bit jarring.

    I couldn't help thinking you might have been overdoing Lawrence's fear a bit when he's explaining how he caught Raikou. Even if the Pokédex couldn't identify it, it would seem more logical to me for him to find the prospect of possibly having discovered a new Pokémon to be more exciting than frightening. When he began to have that reaction, I thought he'd either had its immense power demonstrated to him the hard way (by killing or severely injuring his Pokémon or something) or caught it and found out afterwards what it was, in which case it would make sense for him to be pretty freaked, but I can't really buy him having enough faith in science to be struck with fear simply at the discovery that the Pokémon he just caught is an unknown one. o.o

    The sudden switch to first person was a bit jarring, but that's not the main problem. Mostly, I thought the writing was a lot more awkward in the first-person part; it's too elaborately described and third-person-esque in wording while very inconsistent in formality to feel like a smooth train of thought. I think this part would have worked much better in third person, really, while still being from Raikou's point of view and just changing the pronouns.

    A grammatical error: the semicolon doesn't work there because "naught but a feeble attempt to calm a raging beast" is not a complete sentence. Change it into a comma. Incidentally this sentence is also one of those that seem very awkward in the first person POV; the beginning of it is much more casually worded than the last, and while that can work in third person, it is very jarring to have Raikou's thoughts flow straight from "Somehow, it seems to try..." to "naught but a feeble attempt to calm a raging beast" (incidentally, I have a hard time picturing Raikou referring internally to anything at all as a "raging beast"; we humans can think of raging beasts because we perceive ourselves to be sophisticated and civilized, while Raikou is himself pretty much the epitome of a raging beast). Other things that bugged me are the talk of his Spark of Life, as if he would actually specifically call it that and then internally explain it to himself (first person past tense works as retelling events to someone else, but first person present tense should really be written more as internal monologue).

    This again feels a lot more casual than the flowery language in the previous part.

    Ouch. And this is really, jarringly, achingly informal. See what I mean?

    More of the same for the rest of that paragraph; it's really casual all of a sudden and it doesn't feel at all like the more serious, dramatic Raikou you were setting up in the first paragraphs of his POV. In fact, the change is so prominent that I don't think it could work unchanged even if transformed into third person. :/

    Then you have Raikou talk about nerve endings as if he has any idea what those are. Talking about nerves is everyday language enough to fall under artistic licence, but nerve endings are a bit too advanced for that. I also can't see him referring to the lavender clouds on his back, either; if it's a part of you, you'll have found one term to use for it instead of having to resort to something like "lavender clouds".

    It also seems odd he would think of himself as specifically bellowing "RRRRRRRRRRAAAAI!"; surely he would think of it as just a roar if it has no meaning.

    Random past tense slip alert! Don't worry, it happens to the best of people when trying to write present tense.

    "unrelated to my Spark" feels particularly iffy to me. The word "unrelated" doesn't seem right here at all. Use something else.

    Well, you get my drift. Short version: I think your first person is really, really awkward, particularly when compared to the beginning scene with Lawrence, which as I already detailed I found quite lovely in its writing style.

    All right, we're back to first person! Yay!

    ...is that a Chuck Norris joke?

    The second first-person part is a great deal better than the first. This is possibly partly because it actually is an internal monologue of thoughts so it's more difficult to screw up, but still. The following ones are even better. You might have improved in the process of writing it; Raikou's voice has become more balanced and characteristic as opposed to the awkward and abrupt changes in language of the first first-person segment.

    I enjoyed the format of switching POVs more rapidly as you went on; it worked. And I really liked the last bit of Raikou's POV as he's dying. Yes, yes, I have a morbid thing for the deaths of characters I like.
  9. Legend of Lucario

    Legend of Lucario Songwriter

    Hi Psychic+

    I liked your story. It was a fun read and that is exciting that it took third place. At first I was think "Wow, he caught a Raikou." I thought it might not be too good but then when I read it I was like Wow, this is amazing." It's true you can tell that Raikou is saddened and burdened.

    Great Job!
  10. Morgie04086

    Morgie04086 temperamental artist

    This was a wonderful story but very depressing... poor Raikou. That's all I can think. I hate Proffessor Harrison now. *starts rambling*
  11. ChloboShoka

    ChloboShoka Writer

    Well Psychic, congrats on winning third price that off course is an achievement itself. After all, it's not the winning, it's the taking part that counts.

    Well, I think this one-shot was pretty stunning, I enjoyed reading it. The reason is because I think it's truly well written and the emotion and flowing of the words ad dialogue really shine through.

    If you hadn't of stated that it was going to be a tragedy, I would not of noticed judging from the start. But the introduction was pretty nice and very chunky.

    I found this part to be the most intense part of the fic. The senses references was strong as well.

    I found this part nice as well.

    A very gentle way to end the one shot.

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