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Book of the Hermit (one-shot series)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by JX Valentine, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine ██████████

    Author's Note: To keep this short and sweet, December 31 is Bill's birthday, and every year, I like to celebrate it with fanworks. Unfortunately, this year, most of my time was chewed up by real-life endeavors, so I couldn't go all-out like I did last year (wherein I did a fanmix, chapters of AEM, and all kinds of other bells and whistles). So instead, I decided to go the less extravagant route: fanfiction. Lots and lots of fanfiction. While this means you'll eventually get a chapter of AEM (although it won't be a main chapter) and a request fic I've been sitting on for months, it also means that this thread you're in right now is a thing.

    This book -- which seriously needs a better title -- is actually a series of ficlets that clock in under 5000 words a piece. Quick fics, in other words, with each one focusing on Bill one way or another. Some of them (like this first one) are going to be silly. Others are going to be serious. There might even be AEM-level dark fics mixed in. Point is, one fic a day until Bill's birthday... and maybe even a few after that. Depends on how busy I get, how my internet is, and whether or not people actually like these.

    So without further stalling, I hope you enjoy the first in the series! :D

    Table of Contents
    Story One: Noodle Incident
    Only seven people know what happened to the dean's car, and only one of them is in the room. (Comedy)

    Story Two: The Stars Call For You
    Bill had never really seen the stars before he left Goldenrod. The catch he's about to throw away wants to change that. (Drama)

    Story Three: Parable of the Fox
    Lt. Surge never expected much from the frail-looking challenger that stepped into his gym one day. That was his first mistake. (Other)

    Story Four: A Study In Rose
    A corpse in a garden, a disturbed bush of roses, and what looks like a solved case. Except it isn't. (Mystery)

    Story Five: Halcyon
    They lie in wait at the end of the world, separated by completely different circumstances. (Romance/Sci-fi)

    Book of the Hermit
    Story One: Noodle Incident

    There were certain traditions when it came to inducting new members into the programmers’ circle.

    To be more accurate, there were certain traditions according to Bebe. There really weren’t any traditions at all because most of the programmers met each other before the storage system came into existence, and Celio didn’t really count because Bill declared that he was going to be a part of the group. One just didn’t argue with Bill if one wanted to either win or walk away in any other kind of mental state besides utterly confused.

    That was part of the reason why Lanette didn’t argue with Bebe’s statement that there were traditions. Bill had asked her not to because Bebe was going to be Bebe, and Lanette didn’t really argue with that because it was Bill who asked. She could have argued with Bebe all day long until she asphyxiated, but that would only happen when Bill or Brigette (usually Brigette) didn’t try to stop her.

    Still, Lanette couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for Amanita. The girl couldn’t have been older than ten — too young to be on a pokémon journey, even — before she was subjected to Bebe’s idea of induction. Luckily, the proceedings, from what Lanette could tell, seemed to entail gathering the programmers in one place (Bebe’s house naturally), testing the newcomer by having them crack the security codes on one of the storage system’s ports, forcing them to recite an oath Bebe apparently made up on the spot, and briefing them on the eccentricities of the group. Fennel, who came to Hearthome with her sister, failed miserably at the test and disappeared into another room with Brigette, no doubt to partake in a calming tea in order to avoid choking Bebe. However, Amanita was a natural.

    Lanette, who sat in a corner of the lab with her feet on her chair and a cup of tea in her hands, had to marvel at the kid. She really was something else. Code-cracking came as easily as breathing to her, she picked up on Bebe’s fast-paced run-down of the programmers instantly, and when her elder finally stopped, she was well-equipped with the right kinds of questions.

    Or, rather, she was equipped with the only one that mattered in Lanette’s view.

    “So what’s Bill like?”

    Across the room, Amanita sat at the computer with Bebe standing beside her. Amanita was nearly obscured by Bebe’s computer chair; Bebe had been leaning over her for the entirety of the proceedings. As soon as the question crossed Amanita’s lips, Lanette craned her neck, trying to see around Bebe’s chair in order to catch a glance of the young girl’s face. She could see part of her profile: the round nose, the sharp frown, and the tiny hand gripping Bebe’s mouse. Nothing about that sliver of an expression signaled anything troubling to Lanette, but Bebe immediately straightened, her visage shifting into seriousness. Whatever was on that girl’s face, it had to be enough to shock Bebe.

    Lanette had a feeling she was going to like that kid.

    “Whadda ya mean?” Bebe asked as she slipped her hands to her hips. “Haven’t you talked to him already?”

    “Through e-mail, yeah,” Amanita replied. “And I know what Bill is like, but I want to know what he’s like, you know?”

    Suddenly, Bebe’s expression flitted from blank to understanding and then to something sly and snake-like. “Oh! You mean you want dirt on him, do ya?”

    Lanette shot her legs out from under her and smacked her feet onto the floor, preparing to bolt for Bebe’s neck if need be. “Bebe, don’t you dare!”

    At that, Bebe flashed her a smile. “Oh, c’mon! It’s not like Bill’s hiding anything really stupid! Besides, it’ll help her to feel more comfortable around him if she knew not even our little English patient is all that perfect.” Then, before her colleague could respond, Bebe turned back to Amanita. “Okay, first thing you’ve got to keep in mind is that his accent’s fake, okay?”

    “Really?” Amanita breathed.

    At the same time, Lanette set aside her cup and stood. “Bebe, really! Do you know how rude it is to talk about someone who isn’t even here?”

    “Oh come on! Like he’d care! Can you imagine Bill flipping out if we told the ickle newbie about the Post-Finals Incident?”

    Amanita’s frown deepened slightly. “Post-Finals Incident? What’s that?”

    “Nothing,” Lanette said quickly. “Bebe, if you share one detail of that—“

    “I don’t see you diving for me, so I’m going to take that as a go-ahead!” Bebe interrupted happily. “And it’s only nothing because the details get a little weird at the end, but anyway, yeah, Bill’s accent is fake. He’s definitely not as posh as he makes himself sound; he only forces himself to speak that way because he hates it when I make fun of him.”

    “No,” Lanette added harshly. “He uses that accent because people have difficulties understanding his native one!”

    “So it’s true?!” Amanita gasped.

    Lanette blushed and hid her face in her hands as Bebe, knowing her companion tripped herself up on her own, laughed raucously. It took a moment for Bebe to breathe properly again.

    “Oh yeah! His real accent’s this thick, ridiculous Scottish thing, ‘cause you know, he came from that weird part of Goldenrod where all the immigrants settled, right?” Bebe continued through breaths. “Anyway, keep that in mind because that’s going to be important for the best part of the story. Got it?”

    “Got it,” Amanita replied obediently.

    “Good. Lanette, sit down. You’re embarrassing yourself,” Bebe said. “The Post-Finals Incident. It’s probably the best story we’ve got on him. See, it all started back in college. Brigette, Lanette, Bill, and I all met when we were going for our undergraduate degrees at Saffron University. Well, at Saffron, there’s also this thing called the Scream. That’s this event that happens every semester, right after finals, where anyone who’s still on campus runs around screaming their heads off to let off steam. Sometimes, you get people who streak—”

    “Oh no!” Amanita exclaimed. “Don’t tell me he was streaking!”

    Bebe cracked a grin. “Patience, little one. He wasn’t. See, there’s this other group of people who like to take advantage of the chaos to inflict a little chaos of their own on the campus. We like to call those people ‘seniors.’

    “So anyway, it’s our senior year, final semester, final day of finals, hence why we call this the Post-Finals Incident. Celio and Lanette just came out of their last exams, and we’re all hanging out at the library… except Bill, who none of us can find. He just up and disappeared that morning without a trace. Wouldn’t answer his pokégear. Wasn’t found in any of his usual hiding spots. Nothing. But he was a pretty quiet kid in terms of troublemaking even back then, so we figured he was just off somewhere tinkering with machines in a computer lab or something, right?

    “That day, the Scream was going to happen in the afternoon because the last exams concluded during daylight hours so the underclassmen could get the hell—“

    “Language, Bebe!”

    Bebe shot Lanette a glare before continuing. “So the underclassman could get the hell off campus. And as the Scream got closer, we still couldn’t find Bill. We were all starting to get worried before he just texts us to meet him in the campus quad for some reason. Nothing else to the text. Just ‘meet me in the quad at this hour,’ and that’s it. So because Bill’s, well, Bill, we go and do what he says, and we wait and wait until the Scream starts happening all around us. People are pouring out of the dorms, screaming their lungs out, flashing all the bits that would offend Lanette’s delicate sensibilities, you name it.

    “And then, all of a sudden, the crowd parts, and Bill comes bolting right down the middle of the quad with four campus police officers right behind him. Swear to Arceus! Four of them! And he was in nothing but pants and what we’ve all hoped to gods was just blue body paint, and you know what he was screaming as he whipped past?”

    Amanita shook her head.

    With a broad grin, Bebe struck a pose, fists up in a fighting stance, as she mimicked a Scottish accent as best as she could (which, to Lanette, translated into the worst Scottish accent imaginable). “You may take my life, but you’ll never take my freedom!

    At that, Amanita lost it. She burst into laughter and drew her head away from Lanette’s view. What Lanette could see instead was the girl’s feet kicking frantically over the armrest.

    “What-what did he do?!” Amanita asked.

    “To get four campus police officers on his butt?” Bebe leaned into the chair and smirked. “No idea. No one who wasn’t directly involved’s been able to figure out exactly what he did, and the people who know for certain won’t talk about it. We’ve got hints, though. One, all of the card readers throughout campus — even the ones bolted to concrete walls — went missing for the entirety of graduation week. Two, no one ever did find out where the dean’s car went. Three, the only reason why Bill didn’t end up being the only senior ever to be expelled after completing his education but before he received his diploma was because Professor Oak secretly thought whatever he did was simultaneously revolutionary and bloody hilarious. Technically four if you count the rumor that Bill supposedly used whatever he did to the dean’s car to build the transporter for the storage system. The dean still hates him, though. That’s why Bill did his other degrees at Celadon instead.”

    Amanita burst into another fit of laughter as Bebe fired a smug glance at Lanette. Lanette, meanwhile, fiddled with her pokénav in irritation as she waited for Amanita’s shrieking giggles to die down. She was about to get up and move to another room (because calming tea in lieu of choking Bebe sounded like a great idea) when the door swung open to let Bill walk in.

    “Sorry I’m late!” he called. “Hello!”

    “Ah! Just in time!” Bebe responded. “I was just telling Amanita a few stories!”

    Bill hadn’t even taken three steps into Bebe’s home when he stopped short and allowed his expression to darken slightly. “Which one?”

    “The Post-Finals Incident,” Lanette told him tonelessly as she drew her knees to her chest again and stared at her pokénav.

    “Oh.” Bill said the word as if it was a relief that Bebe was only talking about a mildly humiliating part of his past. “That’s okay then.”

    “Speaking of which, what did you do that day? To get those cops on you, I mean.”

    Bill gave her a genuine smile. “Funny story about that, actually.”

    There was a pause as Bill took off his jacket and scarf. Amanita peeked out from around the chair, and she and Bebe stared at him expectantly.

    “Well?” Bebe asked.

    Bill blinked at her. “Well what?”

    “Are you ever going to tell us?”


    With that, Bill calmly walked across the room and disappeared into the hallway. Lanette followed suit not long after.

    Calming tea sounded like an incredible idea at that point.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  2. Quilava42

    Quilava42 Blazing Flowers

    Ok, after reading this three times, I found it very casual and comedic in a way. It's quite interesting seeing on those computer technicians that we knew are actually college graduates.

    I spotted some errors in your story though..........

    See what I mean? You forgot to capitalize Pokemon since they are beings, not just simple words. It's the same for the other Pokemon related objects you said.

    So this is of how they scan a report of a girl huh? Or their daily lives of them being friends and how they try to embarrass one another? Sorry if this whole thing doesn't sound good to you. But I do like it though. The plot seemed a bit like an introduction and slow, even though it is.... 8/10 due to the capitalization errors.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
  3. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine ██████████

    Actually! Capitalization is entirely a stylistic thing when it comes to words related to the Pokémon franchise. See, there are two camps. There's the "you must always capitalize camp," which believes that you must always capitalize every Pokémon-related word because it's copyrighted/it's done that way in the games/take your pick for an explanation.

    However, there's also a second camp that says you shouldn't capitalize Pokémon-related words because it doesn't make grammatical sense. To be more specific, most words that people of the always-capitalize camp insist should be capitalized are actually common nouns. To make things a bit clearer, take a look at this sentence:

    The Pikachu scurried across the floor.

    Now, take a look at this one:

    The Mouse scurried across the floor.

    Why did I capitalize the word "mouse" in the second sentence? Good question (if you happen to be asking yourself that). See, "Pikachu" and "mouse" are functioning the same way in both sentences. They're both nouns, but they're not names of specific creatures. Instead, they're referring to a generic mouse and a generic Pikachu. So whenever you capitalize "Pikachu," you're doing the same thing as capitalizing the word "mouse." That's why the second camp exists: because to them, there's really no reason why you should capitalize Pokémon-related words for the most part.

    Of course, which ones should and shouldn't be capitalized tend to be trickier and boils down to the writer's preference. I, for example, never capitalize the word "Pokémon," Pokémon species names, and most Pokémon item names (unless there's only one of them or unless I think it's a brand name -- like Red Orb or Master Ball), but I do capitalize special items and move names (the latter because I see move names as the names of special techniques). The only time I capitalize everything (within reason) is outside of fanfiction to avoid the discussion.

    So, yeah, the reason why I didn't capitalize "pokémon" and "pokénav" in this fic is because I see them as common nouns, not proper ones. You're not incorrect in your thinking, though, but it's definitely up to the writer's style so long as they're consistent about it.

    It's their daily lives -- a slice-of-life story, if you will. As noted in the title and author's note, these are all one-shots, so they're self-contained stories. ;) In this case, the story was about a fragment of Bill's past, and the rest of them will focus on Bill in some way without being related otherwise to any other story posted in this thread. Not every ficlet will be a slice-of-life story, but I will have to say that not every single one will be action-packed either, just as a warning. It's hard to say what I'll be doing because I haven't planned out every single one yet, but I do know the next one is going to be more of an introspective piece.

    Thanks for the review, though. b)'')b Glad you liked it!
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
  4. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine ██████████

    Author's Note: As a note in addition to what I said concerning capitalization in my review response, I capitalize Pokémon species names when they're also serving as individual names. For example, Ash's Pikachu is named Pikachu, so I would capitalize his species whenever I'm using it as his actual name. In this story, you'll meet Pokémon named Abra and Bulbasaur, so... yeah. When they're capitalized, they're actual names.

    That being said, the next story. Enjoy!

    Book of the Hermit
    Story Two: The Stars Call For You

    Bill hadn’t really seen stars before he left Goldenrod City. He knew what they were of course. Ever since he was a toddler, he read about them in books and memorized star charts when he could find one. But he lived all his life until he became a trainer under the lights of Goldenrod, and the lights of Goldenrod, even in the darkest parts of the night, were so bright they obscured everything except the moon and the most brilliant stars in the sky. Before then, he never really minded much. Sure, he was curious; he wanted to see what the Milky Way and all the other stars looked like. However, this want never really burned hot enough in his mind to drive him into doing something about it. So he never ventured out of the reach of Goldenrod's lights, and he didn't know what the sky looked like when it was full of stars.

    He didn’t know a lot of things. That was why he left. He was tired of people expecting him to know things when he didn’t. He was tired of his teachers wondering why he couldn’t spell or why he was deliberately giving them the wrong answers. He was tired of his parents wondering why they would send him off to school earlier and earlier in the morning, only to get calls from his teachers asking them why he was late again. He was tired of his teachers’ rules, his parents’ expectations…

    …The way his classmates looked uncomfortable when they were in the same room with him.

    Was it really weird to want to do something a normal kid would do for once?

    Yes, he was running away. He freely admitted that, and he didn’t have a problem with it. Why would he? He didn’t belong in Goldenrod City. He wasn’t sure where he belonged instead, but it wasn’t there. The trainer’s journey just happened to be a convenient way out. A legal way to skip school and escape the confines of the city. A means of obtaining his freedom.

    The funny thing was, he actually didn’t care about pokémon back then. He knew what they were; his father was a walking encyclopedia for pokémon knowledge. It was just that Bill didn’t care. Why should he care about something his father was obsessed with? Besides, he took a mildly sadistic pleasure in the surprised looks he would receive every time he dashed someone else’s assumption that he was just as great a pokémaniac as his father. Anything to stop everyone else from defining who and what he was.

    Unfortunately, taking an active disinterest in a subject that ties closely to one’s chosen occupation was generally considered a bad move. In Bill’s case, it meant that he was a terrible trainer because he had no idea what he was doing. For the first nine days of his journey, he faced loss after loss, with his bulbasaur partner being beaten into the ground by the local wild pidgey and nidoran, and it took half of the tenth day for him to gain enough of an understanding into Bulbasaur’s moves to catch his first pokémon.

    He just wished he knew that wild abra could only use Teleport before he caught one.

    That was why, late that afternoon, he sat at his makeshift campsite staring at his pokédex and the ball containing his new catch. No matter how many times he pressed any of the buttons on the encyclopedia, it still chirped the same thing at him.

    “ABRA, the psi pokémon. Known moves: Teleport. Abra cannot learn any other move naturally until it evolves. Evolves into kadabra after a moderate amount of battling experience. See KADABRA.”

    Sixteen attempts later, Bill sighed in exasperation and stuffed the pokédex back into his backpack. He kept abra’s poké ball in hand, and as he propped his chin on his other hand, he studied the orb’s plastic surface with narrowed eyes.

    Okay, so Abra was a dud. He had two choices then: he could either train it somehow until it evolved or release it and find a new pokémon. Then again, he had only a limited number of spare poké balls, and at the rate that he was going in terms of training, it was unlikely he would make enough money from trainer battles to restock. He literally couldn’t afford to waste a single ball.

    Not to mention he only caught Abra because it was the weakest thing he had come across. Bulbasaur couldn’t handle the pidgey or the nidoran that also lurked in those woods; how could Bill possibly hope to capture anything besides wild abra?

    On the other hand, if he kept Abra, that meant he would need to rely on Bulbasaur to help train the psychic, and although the seed pokémon adored battling for him, it wasn’t fair to keep relying on her. Besides, Bill had enough sense to do a little research into where he was going to earn his first badge, and the gym in the next city would tear a grass-type to shreds. He needed another pokémon — one that could battle.

    He sighed for a second time. “Maybe I should just ask it what it wants to do.”

    It was a note of sarcasm, but the more he thought about it, the more it made sense. Besides, it wasn’t as if he had better things to do. He wasn’t about to test whether or not Bulbasaur could hold her own against nocturnal pokémon, after all. So he pointed Abra’s ball away from his body and waited as the object cracked open and released his very first catch.

    The fox-like creature sat a few feet away from his master with his head bowed and his eyes tightly shut. Bill didn’t need the pokédex to tell that it was asleep, and he already reviewed everything it had to say about Abra to know that this was perfectly and unfortunately normal.

    He would have mentally kicked himself again for the catch, but his psychological foot was already bruised enough over that. So instead, he got up and bent over his pokémon with his hands on his knees and his mouth stretching into a thin, straight line.

    “Abra?” he said. “We need to talk.”

    In response, the psychic-type slightly parted one set of eyelids — just enough to allow Bill to see the sliver of one of Abra’s glistening dark eyes.

    “I’m sorry I caught you. Honestly, I have no idea what to do with you. You can only use Teleport, right? Well… I’m a trainer. I’ll work hard to teach you other moves, but you’ll have to be able to battle first.” Bill straightened his back. Up until that point, his voice had been nervous and shaky, but now, it was strong and as assertive as he could pull off. “If you don’t want to be trained, now is your time to leave. Otherwise, we’ll—”

    Abra winked out of sight. For a few brief seconds, Bill thought he had just solved his biggest problem of the moment… until he heard a rustling behind him. Whirling around, he was just in time to catch Abra pulling his pokédex from his pack and then vanishing once again.

    “Hey!” Bill shouted.


    Following the sound of the growl, Bill glanced up into a tree at the edge of the campsite, and he was horrified to find Abra sitting calmly in one of its branches with the pokédex in his lap.

    “Give that back!” Bill demanded as he dashed at the tree. “I don’t care if you decide to go, but you can’t take that with you! I need that!”

    The psychic opened one eye again and continued to growl. He watched as his trainer jumped for the branch but fall several feet short of touching its bark. Not to be bested, Bill turned his attention to the tree and attempted to grab onto its trunk to climb it instead.

    Unfortunately, among Bill’s inventory of things he didn’t know then was how to climb a tree. Almost immediately after he started up, he fell backwards onto the ground with a thud. This process repeated itself a four more times before Bill switched to attempts at coaxing Abra to teleport back to him.

    “I’m sincerely sorry,” he cooed. “Why don’t we start over? Let’s be friends, okay?”

    He also didn’t know how to talk to pokémon either. That lesson would come years later, but for right then, Abra merely regarded his attempts to coax him down with another growl. As soon as Bill realized that the psychic saw right through his attempts not only because they were insincere but also because the fox was psychic, he slapped his forehead and gave up.

    Sighing for a third time that day, Bill crossed his arms and glanced back at his backpack. He couldn’t use Bulbasaur to attack Abra. The creature was psychic, and besides, he kept himself out-of-reach and nestled between branches. Bulbasaur would never be able to land a hit. Bill squinted at the campsite with that thought in mind, his brain scrambling to come up with something he could do as Abra’s trainer to get the fox down.

    Eventually, another thought came to him — a thought so simple he was almost ashamed he didn’t think of it in the first place. With a smirk, he walked back to the campsite and picked up Abra’s poké ball and his backpack. Stepping carefully towards the tree, he pointed the ball at the psychic and recalled his pokémon. To his surprise, the psychic, with the pokédex firmly clutched in his claws, went inside without much protest at all.

    “Great,” he said to himself. “Now all I have to do is release him and…”

    As soon as Abra reentered the outside world for a second time, he dodged Bill’s fingers by teleporting into the tree’s branches again. This prompted Bill to cry out in frustration once again, to which Abra responded with another low growl.

    “Okay, fine, plan C,” Bill muttered as he stuffed the ball into his backpack.

    He didn’t quite know what plan C was until his fingers closed around another object jammed into his satchel. Pulling it free, he realized it was one of his bags of rations — trail mix, to be specific. Smiling, he tore open the bag, placed it on the ground, and took a few steps backwards. As he predicted, his pokémon teleported to the ground and dug a set of claws into the bag.

    This plan would have worked, of course, if Abra wasn’t faster. By the time Bill finished his dive face-first into the ground (which he originally intended on being face-first into Abra), the psychic was back in the tree, plucking nuts and dried berries from the bag with the pokédex nestled in his lap. Bill sat up and rubbed his nose as he shot an angry glare up the tree.

    “Fine! Take it! I don’t care! In fact, I release you as well! Go on! Be free!”

    Standing, he pulled his backpack onto his back. Just as he was about to walk away from the tree, something hit him on the back of the head. It bounced and spilled to the forest floor, sending nuts and dried berries all over the dirt. Whirling around, Bill shot another glare at the pokémon and opened his mouth to shout something.

    He stopped when he noticed that the abra was standing on the branch and staring at him expectantly. He couldn’t explain what it was about that expression, but the pokémon almost looked older, wiser — as if he stared into the depths of eons.

    Abra pointed to the sky. Then he pointed to Bill’s backpack. After that, he teleported to another branch and waited.

    Bill blinked and stared at the pokémon for a minute before setting his bag down. What did the gesture mean? He had no idea where to begin analyzing it at first until he unzipped his bag and opened it wide. Crammed against the back was Bulbasaur’s poké ball and a coiled length of rope.

    Seconds later, Bulbasaur was by his side; her vines flicked outward, twisted into a loose braid, and wrapped around the lowest branch to form a net. While Bill had no experience climbing trees, he had plenty experience in scaling chain-link fences, so Bulbasaur’s braided vines were beyond easy for him. It took no time at all for Bill to reach the first branch, pull Bulbasaur up, and order her to create another ladder. All the while, Abra teleported out of his reach, further and further up the tree. Bill still couldn’t tell what the psychic wanted from him, but he knew for certain that as soon as he reached the top of the tree, Abra wasn’t going to run. He wasn’t sure how he knew that; he just had a feeling that was what would happen.

    Eventually, Bill reached branches that wouldn’t hold both his and Bulbasaur’s weight, so he switched to the rope, wrapping it around the trunk and pulling back until he could use his own weight to scale the rest of the tree. He furrowed his eyebrows as he stared skyward. The sky was no longer the pinkish red of sunset; it was the dark blue of early night. All around him, the temperature was quickly dropping, and he could see his breath in the moonlight that filtered through the tree branches.

    Yet he wouldn’t give up. Suddenly, the climb became less about reaching Abra and more about getting to the top. All he could think about was pushing upward and staying in that tree until he curled his fingers around the highest branches. He no longer thought about Goldenrod or how terrible of a trainer he was or of all the things he was leaving behind. The journey was just about his now, his future, and everything inside him right then.

    He wanted to see the stars. And right then, that want was burning hot.

    It felt like hours passed between the moment he first started the climb and the one where he yanked himself onto the last branch. Abra sat there patiently, his legs crossed and the pokédex sitting in his paws. When his master swung up beside him and sat down nestled in the joint where the trunk met the branch, Abra opened one glowing blue eye and glanced at the human. He could almost feel the way his master’s arms ached and the way the winter air burned his throat each time he panted.

    “There,” Bill gasped. “Now will you give me back my pokédex?”

    Calmly, Abra pointed skyward. Bill cast another annoyed glance at the fox but stopped short of telling him off. Instead, he followed the creature’s finger and looked up.

    Bill didn’t know how much color the night sky had until then. He always assumed that stars were just white on black, but they weren’t. Above him, he saw twinkling reds, glittering pinks, faint cyans, warm yellows, and entire clusters of different shades of white and silver crowding out almost every bit of the deep black-blue void space could afford them. The hazy arm of the Milky Way stretched a glowing, bottle-green cloud from horizon to horizon, and the fat, pale-yellow gibbous moon dominated the night sky.

    A few moments passed before Bill wrapped an arm around the trunk of the tree to steady himself. His lungs sighed once again, this time to release a breath he didn’t realize he was holding.

    “Oh,” he breathed. “Oh.

    He nearly jumped and fell off the branch when he heard a voice in his head.

    The stars were calling you. I did not want them to be disappointed.

    Bill looked around for the source of the voice until his eyes settled on his pokémon companion. The fox smiled knowingly as he held the pokédex out for his master to take.

    Yes. I am the one speaking to you. Now you are willing to listen.

    Shakily, Bill took his pokédex from the creature and sat there in wonder. For once, he couldn’t find the words to say in response. It was as if this pokémon and the stars above them had struck him mute.

    Journeys are not about running away, Master, Abra told him. They are about much, much more. How do you feel, reaching this branch? Your journey will be like the climb. It will be difficult for you at first, and you will face many painful things…

    Abra paused to look up. Bill followed his gaze and found himself staring at the North Star.

    …But it will end with wonderful possibilities. This is your world, Master, and indeed, it is filled with things that are beyond your imagination now. Things that you will begin to understand someday. I cannot wait to watch you do great things yourself for the sake of them.

    “Does that mean you’ll let me be your trainer?” Bill asked quietly. “Even if…”

    Abra chuckled. Your place in this world will reveal itself in due time, and you may be surprised with what it is. In the meantime, do not worry. You will be all right.

    “Is that… is that so?”

    That is what the stars say, yes.


    Abra rested himself against his trainer’s side, and together, they watched the night sky until the moon finally set. Only then, albeit reluctantly, Bill recalled Abra and climbed back down to the ground. Although he didn’t sleep much that night, he lay awake in his sleeping bag and stared up at the sky through the branches of the tree, watching the stars twinkle until the gray dawn forced them to fade away one by one.

    When he broke camp, he was tired and sore, but he still pressed onward that day. He didn’t know why, but something felt new about his journey. While he didn’t particularly care for clichés, he knew it felt exactly like a weight was lifted from his shoulders. He no longer cared about whether or not he was a good trainer or whether or not he could possibly meet anyone else’s expectations. All he cared about was pushing forward, inching day by day to the purpose Abra told him about that night.

    And every part of him was ready to meet it.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2012
  5. Quilava42

    Quilava42 Blazing Flowers

    I used to hate that Abra until I realized that both of them has the same purpose. And Bill's early remembrance was touching. Guess that wild animals like Abra do have that kind of dream.
  6. The Great Butler

    The Great Butler Hush, keep it down

    I hope you won't mind me just reviewing the first entry right now. I'm really behind on my schedule too, but I want to give this some review.

    Three parts of this are incredibly amusing to me: the idea of Bebe's telling the others that there are traditions, the concept of Celio not counting, and Bill being the type who will never yield in an argument without leaving you confused.

    Nobody loves Celio. :p

    I am loving Bebe's lunacy so much already, and it hasn't even happened yet!

    I notice you're keeping your theme going with Lanette and Bill's relationship as far as I can recognize, which is great.

    I want to read a fic about this. This is classic.

    Well, that's a turn I didn't expect. I wasn't expecting this to be from Lanette's POV, which it kind of sounds like now.

    I love the way this group interacts.

    Well that explains one thing, with his accent.

    Oh so protective, Lanette.

    I could read these characters forever with how entertaining they are. I love them all.

    Oh my God, that's so delightfully weird and yet it makes perfect sense.

    I could see all of this happening. It just has such a real feel to it.

    Okay, I gotta stop there and mention that I think it's amazing Bebe just said it anyway.

    What the hell? I just broke out laughing.

    The theory I just put together in my head for what happened is utterly incredible, and if it's at all accurate, you're brilliant for thinking of it.

    I agree with Lanette, that calming tea does sound like a pretty good idea. XD;

    I really enjoyed reading this. Every character has their own distinct personality and they play well off each other, which makes the story incredibly amusing and fun to read. That's probably your strongest suit.
  7. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine ██████████

    Awesome. Good to hear I managed to get Abra's character across properly. ;D Thanks!

    Aww, thank you! <3

    He's like the tagalong kid. Bebe, Lanette, and Brigette just humor him when he says he's a real system admin because Bill tells them that they have to. *sage nod*

    Haha, yes, she is indeed the terrible friend who will one day sit next to at least one of the programmers in a jail cell going, "That was AWESOME."

    Thank you! And absolutely. :D Nothing can convince me that those two aren't close on some level. And game!Lanette is just too serious for Bill's shenanigans in any canonverse.

    About Amanita being awesome? That may eventually happen. ;D

    Oh yes. I need to write more fics from Lanette's POV because she's really an interesting character. Or at least interesting insofar as being the Fluttershy of a group that includes all Pinkie Pies. *shot for MLP references*

    Thank you! :D

    Yep. Ever since someone pointed out that Bill's accent is really obviously forced (even from an American perspective), I wanted to create headcanon that explains why. And why did I decide to make his real one Scottish instead of Southern? Because I'm not fond of PokéSpec, and David Tennant. Yes, "David Tennant" is actually a reason all on his own. I mean really.

    She's totally the sensible one who goes around making sure that Bebe and Bill don't do stupid things. Except only one of those two actually listen to her, and his name isn't Bebe.

    Thank you! I have a lot of fun writing them. Obviously. XD

    *le bow!* And now you know why his father in AEM sounds like Sean Connery.

    Thank you! Helps that I based the way Bebe tells a story on someone I know. ;D

    Haha, thanks! I know I would say it if someone told me off for my language, so I figured Bebe would too. XD


    Also, I think it's worth it to note that I nearly put Bill in a kilt. Nearly.

    Oh do tell. I love theories! 8D

    But to verify it if you wanted to, I based the dean's car bit on something Scotty said in the 2009 Star Trek movie. To be specific...

    Scotty: "Had a little debate with my instructor on relativistic physics and how it pertains to subspace travel. He seemed to think that the range of transporting something like a... like a grapefruit was limited to about 100 miles. I told him that I could not only beam a grapefruit from one planet to the adjacent planet in the same system - which is easy, by the way - I could do it with a life form. So, I tested it out on Admiral Archer's prized beagle."
    Kirk: "Wait, I know that dog. What happened to it?"
    Scotty: "I'll tell you when it reappears. I don't know. I do feel guilty about that."

    Can't blame her in this group! XD

    Thank you! Like I said, I have loads of fun developing characters -- these ones especially. So I'm really glad you enjoyed watching them mess with each other. :D

    Also, apologies for the lack of updates! The next part is taking a bit longer than I thought, but I'll be able to post it with a new part hopefully tonight. Or tomorrow. Whichever. b)'')b
  8. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine ██████████

    Author's Note: This is actually a gift to Ememew, who requested (as part of her HUGE SUCCESS in scoring the 300th comment to Anima Ex Machina) a story about Bill winning a match for once. I was going to post this in its own thread, but since I was doing this whole shebang (as in, the series of one shots designed to go on about how awesome Bill is sometimes), I thought it'd fit in more with this instead. This doesn't really require knowledge of AEM in order to get what's going on, but the ending might just be a bit more powerful if you knew much about AEM-verse Bill.

    For those of you who haven't read that fic and are curious, basically the only thing you'd need to know is:

    A long time ago, Bill used to be a trainer. That part's canon. What's also canon is the fact that his father is a great Pokémaniac. Meanwhile, my own headcanon is that his father was the Move Tutor of Crystal and is therefore an awesome battler, so battling skills are meant to run in the family. However, as yesterday's the last one-shot in this series established, Bill took an active disinterest in Pokémon and had a fairly rocky start, but he showed a lot of promise if he learned enough about Pokémon and how battling actually worked.

    Unfortunately -- and AEM canon starts here -- he decided that his third badge should be earned in Viridian City... and he was mowed down by its gym leader (yes, Giovanni). Multiple times. One of which nearly killed his Pokémon.

    Consequently, Bill suffers from a condition resembling stage fright that only gets triggered when he's actually battling by himself, with no one to push him into acting. Like, literally. Clams up and everything. And he gets really uncomfortable in gyms now too.

    I KNOW. HAPPY STORY, RIGHT? Luckily, Em specified a happy ending for this one, so you don't see the universe kicking Bill's *** here.

    Downside is that this is hilariously not the story I wanted to present today or yesterday. No, that story is actually still in the works. But it's worth it. I promise. Or worth it for some of you who might like Sherlock Holmes anyway.

    In any case, for now, please enjoy~! :D

    Book of the Hermit
    Story Three: Parable of the Fox

    The door to Vermilion Gym swung open, and Lt. Surge and his trainers looked up at the challenger as he walked into the darkened room.

    Or, rather, they looked down.

    It should be noted that this wasn’t the first challenger they had that day, and Surge was certain it wouldn’t be their last. He also already had an estimation ready for how long it would take to finish the battle: five minutes. That was, after all, exactly how much time it took for Raichu to Thunderbolt all six of the challengers into submission.

    Besides, this new challenger was a pipsqueak, and he had the air of a green trainer about him. As he walked past the gym trainers, the newcomer didn’t even reach any of their chests, not even considering the additional inch of height the wild, chestnut waves on top of the boy’s head. Although he wore baggy clothing — shorts, purple hoodie, running shoes that seemed too large for his feet — the boy looked like he was hiding a frail frame that lacked the meat one would need to survive the elements, and his clothes looked too new to have been out on the road for long. Most tellingly, though, were the kid’s eyes: wide, brown, with a hint of nervousness pulling down the edges of his eyebrows. Surge was going to break this kid before beat him; he almost felt guilty about having to accept his inevitable challenge.

    With a deep breath, the boy visibly ground his heels into the gym’s smooth cement floor before announcing, “I’m here to challenge the gym leader to a match.”

    His accent was notably Johtonian. Western Johtonian too. Surge, who had traveled from American base to base across the globe, knew better than to trust stereotypes, but he heard about Johto’s reputation. Even Hoenn, the most rural of the regions, saw Johtonians as beneath them. So the kid was new, tiny, frail, and most likely brash and foolish on top of everything else. Surge really felt guilty about having to accept his inevitable challenge.

    Nonetheless, he crossed his arms and cracked a grin.

    “How old are ya?” he asked gruffly.

    The newcomer blinked in confusion. “T-ten, sir.”

    “An’ how long have you been on the road?”

    “Four months, sir.”

    “An’ is this your first badge?”

    What Surge was doing must have dawned on the trainer right then because the nervous look on his face disappeared, and it was replaced quickly with a steady, determined glare that sent a sudden shiver down Surge’s spine. It wasn’t the first time he had seen such an expression — rather, it was actually the seventh — but the fact that it appeared so quickly threw the gym leader off. Who was this kid?

    “No, sir,” the newcomer replied firmly. “It’s my second.”

    Surge raised an eyebrow. “An’ what was your first?”

    The newcomer grinned confidently. “Saffron’s.”

    All of Surge’s trainers started and turned, flashing their leader uncertain looks. At the same time, the lieutenant’s expression hardened as he looked over his challenger. He knew about the gym leader of Saffron at that time — the one that came before Sabrina, her father. He also knew the man was a powerful psychic and that it took powerful pokémon and extremely quick thinking to best him. Most trainers waited to attempt that gym until they were trying for their fifth or sixth badge. To tackle it as one’s first — and to win…

    Who was this kid?

    Slowly, Surge’s smile returned. Whoever this boy was, he was going to be a challenge. Probably more of one than he expected.

    “Well then, baby, you know gyms got procedures,” he said as he crossed his arms. “What’s your name?”

    “William,” the challenger replied quickly. “Of Goldenrod City.”

    The gym leader scoffed. “Got a last name with that?”

    “Does it matter?”

    The kid was spunky. A good sign. Surge turned and walked to the other end of the room, snapping his fingers halfway to his destination. Immediately, the room flooded with light, revealing a simple gym floor and high metal walls. William looked up and glanced around in the first wide-eyed bewilderment that ran across his face since he entered the gym.

    “Nah, I guess not,” Surge said. “So, baby! Let’s talk about rules! One on one, no time limit, gym leader sends out first. Ya got me?”

    “Sounds fair to me,” William replied.

    All of the other trainers scrambled out of the way, allowing the boy to step forward into the challenger’s box. Only one remained, loitering at the edge of the battlefield as the referee. She lifted her hands straight into the air as she glanced at the gym leader and his challenger.

    “The battle between Lt. Surge of Vermillion City and William of Goldenrod City is about to begin!” she announced. “Both trainers have agreed to the rules: one on one with no time limit and no substitutions! The battle will only be over if one side's pokémon is unable to continue! Lt. Surge has agreed to send out first! If both challengers are ready, begin!”

    Surge yanked a ball from his belt and flung it into the middle of the field. “Raichu, let’s get going!”

    The ball split open at the height of its path and released a small, bulky pokémon that stood on two round paws. Raichu twitched his crescent-shaped ears as he growled his species name and drummed on his round stomach with one of his stubby forepaws. Across the way, William kept his dark brown eyes on the mouse as he pulled a ball from the pocket of his hoodie. He murmured something into the orb before tossing it into the field.

    “Abra, I need your help!”

    In an instant, a fox-like creature materialized on the field, sitting feet from his opponent with a golden tail curled lazily around his body. The psychic’s eyes were shut tightly, and his chest heaved steadily with the pacing of deep sleep.

    Surge nearly laughed. He certainly heard some of his trainers bursting into fits of their own, but he was an experienced gym leader. As an experienced gym leader, he knew better than to laugh at a green trainer’s choices. Or at least laugh at the choices of anyone who won Saffron’s badge.

    “Yo, baby! You sure you want to rely on that?” Surge asked.

    “Trust me, Abra is more than capable of handling anything Raichu tries to do to him,” William responded confidently. “Let’s go!”

    “Heh. Suit yourself,” Surge drawled. “Okay, Raichu! Hit it with your Thunderbolt!”

    The mouse’s yellow cheeks sparked as he reared back. Yellow light ebbed off his orange fur while the sparks grew into snapping tendrils of electricity, and his voice climbed in volume until twisting electric blossoms danced on his cheeks.

    In split seconds, the electricity snapped away from Raichu’s body and shot across the field. A boom of thunder filled the arena. Dust billowed into the air. Yellow light nearly blinded every human in the room.

    Then, when everything cleared, Surge found the spot that the bolt had struck completely empty, save for a black pit in Abra’s place. The fox himself sat three feet to the left, completely unharmed.

    Surge wasn’t shocked by the fact that Abra teleported. In fact, he expected it; every trainer who owned one knew all too well that an abra’s abilities were limited to that move unless it underwent special training. What shocked Surge was the fact that William didn’t say a word to order it. In fact, the kid stood calmly — almost unnervingly calmly — across the field from him with his arms crossed and a smirk playing across his face.

    But the gym leader wasn’t going to let it scare him. No, Surge had seen far too much in his lifetime to be spooked. He set his jaw and narrowed his eyes at the abra, struggling to determine where it might teleport to next.

    “Raichu, Thunderbolt again!”

    The first thing he always bred into his pokémon was obedience, and Raichu was no different. Without questioning him for a second, Raichu charged another pair of electric blossoms on his cheeks before firing another lightning bolt directly at the fox.

    By the time the dust and light cleared, Abra sat two feet behind Raichu. His hiss drove Raichu to whirl around and slam all four paws into the ground and bare his teeth with a frantic growl. Once again, William hadn’t said a single word.

    “Again, Raichu!” Surge barked. “Keep firin’ until you hit it!”

    Raichu shot another bolt of lightning at Abra, but Abra serenely appeared to Raichu’s left in the same second. Desperately, the mouse followed his target, spinning and slamming his paws into the ground as he fired off bolt after bolt. No matter where he aimed, however, the fox was just a step ahead, vanishing and reappearing in a different spot on the field before the slightest spark could touch him. Each time a bolt cracked the floor, Surge shouted a new command, but William remained completely and utterly silent.

    After some time, Raichu stopped. His fur stood on end, and his mouth hung open as he panted in weariness. Directly across the field, in the exact spot where he started the battle, Abra sat quietly, as if he hadn’t lifted a finger throughout the match. Surge surveyed his opponent cautiously, studying both the abra and the boy. Another chill ran through him when he noticed that the kid was looking up instead of at the field — as if the battle wasn’t even interesting anymore.

    “What is this kid?” Surge mumbled to himself. Then, a little louder, he announced. “Okay, Raichu! Crank it up! Fire a Thunderbolt in all directions!”

    Grinding his paws into the ground, Raichu gritted his fangs and narrowed his eyes at his opponent. A domed field of electricity crackled around him as his body glowed brilliant yellow. His voice rose once more into a cry, louder than his first and louder than any other he screamed after that, until it reverberated off the walls and nearly drowned out the snap of the electricity around him.

    Then, he fired.

    Bolts shot in all directions. Humans dove out of the way as errant tendrils rushed past them. Deep trenches of black carved across the field. Thunder rose to near-deafening levels, and the light and heat were nearly unbearable even for Surge. The dust kicked up from disintegrated fragments of flooring created a nearly impenetrable brown fog that lingered in the air long after the raichu had finished.

    When it cleared, Abra was nowhere to be seen. Only Raichu stood in the middle of the field, panting and trembling on all four of his paws.

    “Hey!” Surge shouted. “Where’s that abra?!”

    William, who lowered the arms he was using to shield himself, smiled innocently and pointed at the ceiling. Surge gradually glanced upward, only to see a patch of gold and brown clinging to a light fixture that hung directly above his raichu. In the quiet of the gym, he could hear the soft scrape of the pokémon’s claws on metal and the whoosh of the tiny fox’s body slipping through the air. Raichu turned his dark eyes towards the sounds, but his muscles had already given out. He could do nothing but tremble on his paws as the creature cut through the air and landed squarely on him with a thud. The mouse emitted a strangled cry as his opponent neatly bounced off his head and landed daintily on all fours. A small grin stretched across Abra’s muzzle as he watched Raichu’s legs collapse, sending the rodent flopping onto his side.

    Every human except William stood in stunned silence for a moment before the referee lifted one of her hands.

    “Raichu is unable to battle!” she cried. “Abra is the winner!”

    The fox vanished from his spot and immediately reappeared on William’s shoulder while the boy put his hands on his hips and sent Surge a confident glance.

    “Well. It looks like I’ve won,” he said.

    Before Surge could do a thing, one of his trainers stepped forward. “You didn’t do nothin’, pipsqueak! What was that?!”

    At that, William shot a glare at the trainer. “Battle of exhaustion. I knew I wouldn’t win if I took Raichu head-on, so I had Abra wear it down first. The rest was just figuring out the best place for Abra to be to knock Raichu down and then having gravity do the rest. Simple really.”

    “A gym match is supposed to test the trainer’s skill, runt! How’s that supposed to prove you’re strong enough to earn our badge if all you do’s sit back and wait for your opponent to get tired?”

    “Seems to me like it proved plenty,” Surge said.

    The trainer jumped and took several steps backwards. He stood at attention as the gym leader passed and only regarded him with a steady, serious gaze for a second. Then, he strode forward, addressing the trainer more than William despite the fact that he stared straight at the boy.

    “Part of what every good soldier’s gotta know is how to plan out a strategy. Sometimes, outsmartin’ the enemy’s just as good as beatin’ them down with force, an’ this kid’s shown that enough.”

    With that, Surge thrust out a hand and turned the gigantic palm up. In its center glittered his gold and ruby badge.

    “Seems I underestimated you, kid. You earned the Thunder Badge, fair an’ square!” he boomed. “But before you take it, somethin’s on my mind.”

    William — who had stared at the badge with wide, awestruck eyes — looked up at the gym leader at once. “What?”

    “What’d you say to your abra at the start of the battle?” he asked. “How’d he know what to do when you didn’t tell him anythin’?”

    “Oh, that?” the boy grinned and scooped the badge out of Surge’s palm. “I told him a raichu’s Thunderbolt was powerful enough to make a dragonite faint and that he can do whatever he wanted in the match so long as he stayed out of Raichu’s range.”

    Surge’s eyebrows raised. “You mean you didn’t even order him to use Teleport to get the lights?”

    William shrugged. “Well, I gave him ideas. While he was teleporting, I was looking at spots he could use. Abra have the power to read minds. He took a few suggestions based on where I was looking and what angles I thought he should use. It’s hard to do physics and watch a battle at the same time, so I thought physics was more important.”

    At that, Surge frowned. He could feel his expectations sink like a stone. “Issat so? One other question, then. How’d you win against Saffron?”

    “Same way.” William shrugged again. “I told Abra and Bulbasaur to do what they needed to do to disable the gym leader’s pokémon, and they did it based on my best suggestions. Abra did the Teleport trick on Kadabra. Ivysaur put Alakazam to sleep and drained him with Leech Seed because I told her the only hope she had was if Alakazam couldn’t attack. Very simple, really. I had to do it that way because it would confuse the gym leader and prevent him from guessing my strategies through reading my mind. In your case, I just did it because I could tell it would startle you based on how you reacted when I told you I won a badge from a psychic gym leader, and I was right.”

    For a few seconds, Surge stared at the boy in another stunned silence. Then, slowly, he said, “You mean to tell me that you just let your pokémon do whatever they want, an’ that’s your entire strategy?”

    “Well, not all of it,” William answered with a laugh. His voice regained that innocent edge, and once again, he looked like the young, harmless trainer who walked into the gym and challenged Surge so nervously. “My pokémon take suggestions. If they think a move would work better than the one I have in mind, they’ll use it instead, but generally, they’ll listen to me if I tell them which angle is best or if I tell them which weak points to exploit. I think it’s rather silly to do anything else; I know I wouldn’t like it if someone told me to do something when I know something else would be more effective.”

    Surge’s stunned expression slowly shifted into an exasperated one. “Ya know that’s not how the League wants you to battle, right, kid?”

    William grinned and shrugged for the third time. “Well, I always thought the League’s rules were stupid anyway. Thank you for your time, but I really must go. It was a pleasure battling you!”

    Before Surge could say another word, William shook the man’s still-outstretched hand before he turned and trotted out of the gym with his badge in his pocket. The gym leader, still lingering in his half-destroyed gym, was left to wonder whether the boy would be the greatest or the worst thing to happen to the Pokémon League.

    Luckily, six months later, the Viridian gym leader took care of that.

    Last edited: Dec 30, 2012
  9. Ememew

    Ememew Emerald Mew

    Happy New Year! I’ve been away for a bit, so I’ll start with the fic you wrote for me and post my reviews of the others once I get around to properly writing them up. I’ve read them, just haven’t written anything on them yet. Sorry!
    :) :) :)

    And Bill intimidates back!

    I like how the tone of this sounds like a person telling a story to someone else so far. That also helps details like this fit in without seeming to break out of the tone of the story, because an “as the events happened” tone would make it hard to explain how Surge knew Sabrina would succeed her father as Saffron’s leader.
    I get the feeling that even though Abra and the stars tried to convince him that he doesn’t need to compare himself to his family, Bill still feels he has something to prove.

    I’ll be honest and say I didn’t catch him whispering to the poké ball before the battle on my first read through. A nice touch added innocuously.

    Calm and smirking . . . almost sounds like Adam. ;) Surge is in trouble now.

    Electric blossoms. I would never have thought of that description, but it works.

    If at first you don’t succeed, huh Surge?

    About time you thought of an alternative tactic, Surge (though from what I remember of the anime, it certainly fits his character).

    Sure you got all directions?

    The enemy’s gate is down! *shot*

    It’s good to see Lt. Surge being able to remain cool-headed and mature. He’s a good Gym Leader, that’s for sure.

    Yep, that’s Bill!

    Looks like Bill’s good at reading people. Or is Surge just that easy to read?

    This line had me smiling. I guess the fact that he’s so nonchalant about it that makes it so awesome to read.


    This really reminded me what I like about how you write battles. Everything from unusual descriptions for attacks (electric blossoms) and good pacing to the inventiveness of winning with teleport by using all the possible angles of the gym. Shame teleport doesn’t work like that in-game…

    Sorry I couldn’t find a lot to correct (wait, is that something one apologizes for?). I read the others too, but I’ll post my reviews of them later. But . . . do my eyes deceive me? Did I just read three Bill fics by Jax that weren’t dark? In a row? Wow.
  10. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine ██████████

    NO I SHALL BE UNREASONABLE AND Totally okay. XD Take your time. It's the holidays, so!

    He's like an ickle little Shinx. :D You have no idea how something tiny and adorable can have intimidate, but all of a sudden, your all-powerful eldritch abomination embodiment of the elements themselves is tinkling in fear.

    Thank you, aaaaand yep. ._. That's the tough part about writing in a time period when most of your potential characters are the same age as your protagonist.

    *le nod* Unfortunately, the poor overachiever probably still has issues with that.

    Thank you! :D That's good to hear. I'm trying to get some practice slipping in tiny details like those that feed into the main plot totally not because of AEM. So it's good to hear that I got the exact effect I wanted out of it.

    Makes you wonder how much that parasite changed him. ;D

    Thank you~!

    Like a true American. *shot!*

    Yep. He probably didn't actually learn much from this battle, given the way he goes up against Ash.

    XD Appropriate and beautiful.

    Absolutely. 'S probably why he's still one in Ash's time, despite being a jerk who wipes out almost every trainer who comes his way with enough force to put them in the ICU.

    "Science or battling? .... FOR SCIENCE."

    XD A little from column A and a little from column B. Bill's good at picking up on the little details and interpreting on the fly; Surge is... Surge.

    And he still has that attitude today. 8D The League hates him for asking why their limit on Pokémon a trainer has on hand is "so arbitrary."

    Or, actually, the League hates him for a lot of reasons. They just put up with him because the last guy who ran a transfer system of some kind for them sort of blew up his own laboratory via totally mysterious means.

    Thank you! It helps that I had plenty of training. ;D ASBing really taught me the ins and outs of thinking creatively about moves. (ASBing on a system that wasn't Serebii's, anyway.) That and it's one of the things I like about writing intelligent or experienced characters. They think outside the box, so they push me to do the same to come up with the kinds of strategies they'd use. Like Bill? Totally hates getting violent, so even as a kid, he'd probably look for a strategy where he doesn't exert a lot of force on an opponent. Buuut he explained that thoroughly enough. ;)

    Haha, totally fine!

    Inorite? Totally a miracle. 8D The next one (which I swear will be up soon) isn't dark either.

    But no promises about the last one (which I've started work on).

    In any case, I'm glad you like it! For serious too. You're an awesome person, so it was a lot of fun cooking up something based on one of your requests. <3
  11. TheSirPeras

    TheSirPeras The end of an era

    Not to sound ignorant but what does AEM mean? :p
    And I know I'm late for this but I just saw this pop up now so xD

    This was a funny beginning! The fact that you mentioned Bebe and Celio (and Bill too of course xD) was also pretty hooking for me, because I've always wanted to know more about those storage creators

    Again, this was funny too xD I like this kind of humour haha, really random but still funny

    Hm, this is interesting. I like how you basically haven't described Bebe and I already know what she is like, good job :)

    Hahaha! I really never imagined them like that lol. I like the contrast you made between these 2 characters (Lanette and Bebe).

    lmao (that's all I have to say here)

    I don't know why, but when I read the Scottish thing part, I just started reading the rest of the paragraph in a very bad Scottish accent. But seriously, the way you made Bebe's personality is great! Very imaginative

    lol, not very constructive criticism, but just lol xD

    Anyways, very creative, I must say. Your description of the Post-Final accidents was well detailed, and the way you portrayed each character was great, sticking to different personalities for all of them. I like your sense of humor, it's similar to mine lol. I will read the others later
  12. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine ██████████

    Anima Ex Machina, my main fic. I haven't updated it in a long while, but a chapter's due for it soon. You can find it in my sig if you'd like.

    Well, you're in luck… because that's pretty much who I write about 99% of the time. ;D

    Thank you!

    Awesome! I'll admit I work with these characters a lot, so I sometimes forget that practically no one knows what Bebe or Lanette look like (and that people only vaguely know what Bill looks like and that no one ever knows what Amanita looks like). Sooooo… it's good to hear that the story functions without me mentioning that. XD

    Thank you! It's my headcanon that they fight like cats.

    Mission accomplished. >8D

    *le bow* Not gonna lie, Bebe's fun to write, especially if I throw her in the same room as… pretty much anyone. Headcanon says she's a terrible person influence.

    Haha, it's cool. XD

    Thank you! These are without a doubt my favorite characters in the entire Pokémon franchise, so it's a lot of fun working with them and sharing them with other people. In other words, I'm really happy you liked them!

    Take your time with the others of course. ;)
  13. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine ██████████

    Author's Note: Not gonna lie. I nearly threw this one out. But then I didn't because blending Sherlock Holmes with Bill and Lanette's relationship seemed like a good idea at the time.

    On a serious note, this is the second-to-last entry. Maybe. See, the fifth entry (the intended last) turned into one massive shipping fic, and as such, it'll be posted separately to the Shipping Fic forum. (There will be a link somewhere in this post or another one when that happens.) But that seems rather silly, ending the fic series with the fifth fic outside of the bundle, so I may cook up a very short ficlet to add to this one soon. Maybe. Unless people are tired of this already. *le shrug*

    In any case, have some Bill being pissed off at society! :D

    Book of the Hermit
    Story Four: A Study In Rose

    I won’t say exactly why I’m writing this. If I had to give any explanation at all, it would be because someone highly suggested it for the more trying moments of my life. Apparently, there are studies that say keeping a daily account of one’s activities alleviates stress. Having had no strong interest in human psychology, I can only say it sounds valid; I can’t verify those claims myself. However, I have nothing to lose but time in writing this, and my partner can be very trying now and then.

    For most people, the term “partner” would be a relief; by definition, it indicates a person with whom one shares responsibilities — an equal. Don’t misunderstand. My partner and I are most certainly equals. It’s just that I have the simultaneous pleasure and misfortune to be partnered to a man with the imagination and intellectual brilliance of Nikola Tesla at the peak of his career… coupled with the eccentricity and psychological stability of Nikola Tesla during his love affair with a pidove.

    When I’m in Hoenn, people talk about the system we created together as if it was mine alone, but when I go anywhere else in the world, the first question people ask me is what it’s like to work closely with Bill McKenzie. Although I could be here describing all of the requirements needed for being his partner, it can best be simplified to the fact that when I’m with him, I function as not only a colleague but also a caretaker, a translator, a bodyguard, and more. I’m the one who keeps him grounded and focused in public. Otherwise, if it’s not about pokémon, there is a very high risk that his attention may wander, and if Bill’s attention wanders, there’s no telling what would happen after that. He may be wandering into a thatch of territorial pokémon to study them, or he may be attempting to build a high-output electric generator out of a toaster.

    Perhaps I’m being unfair to Bill, though. He has his methods, and he gets results from them. While he may get into trouble now and then because of his luck or his tendency to find trouble, the fact of the matter is if he decides to do something, it gets done. That may be why people speak so highly of him, although many more are well aware that the first step in seeing results from Bill is to coax him into deciding to take interest in the subject first.

    I’m getting too far ahead of myself. The reason I say all of this is because of an incident that occurred not too long ago. My uncle, a detective for the Cherrygrove Police Department, requested my presence at a manor just outside the city for the explicit purpose of requiring a pokéologist on a recent case but having no one he could trust more than me. I had a feeling he would also require a pokémon ethologist, and among my colleagues, I knew of only one whose skills were unmatched — that person naturally being Bill.

    Of course, I had plenty of experience dealing with Bill, so I knew exactly how to invite him on such an adventure. I left out the part about how we would be going to a manor, and I emphasized the part where he would be generously rewarded with the best coffee his home region could offer. Bill’s response, albeit obviously restrained in terms of emotion, could not have been quicker.

    His enthusiasm waned on the day we went to the manor, naturally. In my personal opinion, the mansion and its grounds were peaceful. The property stretched across expanses of green fields far enough away from the city that no other building could be seen at its front gates, and the house itself… it was magnificent. Easily twenty rooms, brick facade, the architecture of an old English mansion, perfectly trimmed rose bushes on either side of the lane leading up to it, and the quaintest front door one could imagine. I, of course, pride myself in having very refined tastes in things and can therefore appreciate that kind of beauty, but despite his lifestyle choices, Bill was — and still is — harder to impress. As soon as the manor came into view, I could see the obviously bored expression on his face, and it didn’t leave when the taxi we had taken from the train station left us at the front entryway. Before we even stepped up to the door, my partner had something to say about the entire situation.

    “Why am I here?”

    I rang the doorbell before dignifying his question with an answer. “My uncle asked us to come.”

    “You mean he asked you to come,” Bill corrected. “Is this your Uncle Mortimer, the one who works for Cherrygrove’s police?”

    “He needs the advice of well-trained pokéologists, and I thought he could use a pokémon ethologist among them,” I replied. “And before you say anything, yes, it’s Uncle Mortimer. Promise me you won’t comment on his abilities as a detective, Bill.”

    “I won’t say a word. In any case, why me?”

    “You’re the best pokémon ethologist I know.”

    “As much as I’d love to take that compliment gracefully, I’d hate to remind you that I’m a paleo-ethologist. Unless your uncle’s crime was committed by a kabuto…”

    The door opened before my partner could finish his thought. Behind it stood an man dressed in a black suit — a valet, if my terminology is correct. After all, the details were telling: immaculate clothing, old-fashioned white gloves, and all the look of a typical butler etched into the wrinkles of his round face. He regarded us with narrow, gray eyes before he spoke.

    “Professor Lanette Chastain, I presume?”

    “Yes,” I answered before motioning to my partner. “And this is my companion, Professor Bill McKenzie.”

    “Ah yes,” the valet continued. “The lady of the house has been expecting you. Please follow me.”

    We walked into the foyer and hallway — which, might I add, were lined floor to ceiling with more artifacts of the extravagance of the place: painted portraits set evenly apart, fine woven rugs leading down perfectly kept tiled floors, chandeliers, and all. As expected, Bill was even less impressed with the front of the building; I could see his frown deepening with each second that we continued deeper into the manor. As the valet lead us on, I hung back to speak with my partner privately.

    “Allow me to establish a few rules,” I said. “First, you are not to wander out of my sight without my permission. Second, you are not to insult my uncle or anyone else who lives in this house. Third, best behavior, Bill. That includes manners.”

    “Are you really worried about me that much?” he asked as he examined one of the walls.

    “I can tell by your face that you would rather delve elbow deep into a muk’s excrement than be here.”

    “Is that so? I’m very sorry, Lanette, but you know how comfortable these places make me feel.” He tapped his fingers on the wood running along the bottom half of one of the walls. “Hm.”

    “You’re not uncomfortable in your lighthouse,” I pointed out.

    “The Sea Cottage is a live work of art. It’s neo-Gothic with hand-carved details; it’s meant to be the way it is because the architect wanted to express himself. This place is a mock-Tudor mansion from the mid-20th century. You can tell by the wood paneling. It’s pine with no visible signs of aging, even considering the upkeep.” He put his hands on his hips and stared at the ceiling, clear signs that he hardly approved of the subject of our conversation. “This place was designed as a display of wealth, not artistic expression. I don’t think I need to explain why I’m not comfortable here.”

    “I would be impressed with your analysis if you didn’t insult the lady of the house,” I commented.

    “Why would it be insulting? She would already know about it. After all, she was the one who commissioned the house to be built.”

    “How can you be so sure of that?”

    “We’re seeing her and not the manor’s lord, aren’t we? Clearly, this woman is someone who’s assertive. She insists on making decisions. The other possibilities are that her husband is away or that her husband is dead, but both are unlikely. It’s clear this house is well-maintained but old-fashioned in style. The woman is of the mindset that the lady of the house is only expected to be the lady of the house. She wouldn’t be earning the income needed to maintain this household, and while an inheritance could be in the question, this mansion was built, not inherited. Therefore, it had to have been the husband’s money that built this house, and considering much of this architecture is very new, the husband is thus still alive. I can’t say whether or not he’s here, but I can tell that either way would be moot because it was his wife who decided that this be built to her specifications because of the wood of the wall. They’re an older couple, you see. You can tell because a younger wealthy couple would go for a more modern style of house; they’d seek out and buy up an old and authentic manor if they wanted anything else. However, as I’ve said, the woman is the lady of the house, and as such, she's probably not as well-versed in carpentry as she would be in other matters that would have more to do with her interests. Why pine paneling, after all, instead of something significantly more tasteful and less flammable?” He tapped the wall again to punctuate his point. “Therefore, the victim of your uncle’s case is an older woman roughly fifty to sixty-five years of age, well-educated but not in matters of architecture or carpentry, conservative enough to believe herself to be the lady of the house, and equipped with very solid proof that she is.”

    “The only reason why I’m impressed is because you can figure all of that out based on wood, yet you don’t know who our prime minister is.”

    “People can tell the difference between one prime minister and the next?”

    Had we been anywhere else, I would have laughed, especially knowing that my partner's question was sincere, but at that moment, we arrived in a sitting room at the end of the hallway. It was a spacious place with ornate and clearly expensive decorations — vases, paintings, and so forth — lining the walls. In the center of the room, there was a mahogany table with a china tea set sitting neatly on its top, and two white and gold couches flanked it on either side. Clearly, the woman had better taste in furniture than in building designs, if my partner’s analysis was to be believed.

    More importantly, on one couch sat my uncle and two police officers, including one of the local Officer Jennies. Across the table sat an elderly woman no older than sixty, and to her left a younger woman of thirty sat with her hands wringing a silk handkerchief. Behind the couch stood three maids, all of whom looked rather nervous to be there, and beside them stood one roserade who looked like she was trying her hardest to contain her anger.

    “Fifty-five to sixty,” my partner whispered. “Bingo.”

    “Behave,” I told him.

    Once the valet announced our arrival, I stepped forward. My uncle was on his feet right away to approach us.

    “Lanette, it’s good to see you. Thank you both for coming,” he said in a low voice.

    “We came as quickly as we could,” I answered. “How can we help?”

    “It’s an unfortunate affair, I’m afraid. We have an accidental death.”

    “An accidental death? What happened?”

    “We’ll get you up to speed shortly. But first, I would like you to meet the Lady Tabitha Blackthorn-Wiles and her niece Penelope.”

    “How do you do,” the lady responded politely. “I do hope this matter can be cleared up rather quickly. The entire thing is positively dreadful!”

    The police officers stood to make way for my partner and me. We both sat on the newly cleared couch, and one of the maids quickly set about pouring us tea. In the meantime, I could see out of the corner of my eye my partner regarding both the tea set and Penelope carefully.

    “Yes, I would imagine so,” I said. “Would you mind telling us what we need to know?”

    “Of course!” the lady responded. “It was my maid, you see. The oldest and most loyal personal servant I had besides Winston here. She was the one who died. We found her in the garden, Penelope and I. Positively dreadful!”

    “When did you find her?” I asked.

    “Just the other day, in the early morning. Every morning at eight o’ clock sharp, I take a morning walk around the gardens to visit my collection of roselia and roserade. Since my niece Penelope arrived at the estate, she has accompanied me for each of these walks. The morning we found Vanessa, we strolled around the garden as usual, and there she was, lying in the pathway.”

    “I see. Did you notice anything unusual that day?”

    “That was the other thing. Lately, the roselia and roserade have been unusually hostile to me during my walks. They never attacked me, of course, but whenever I caught the slightest glimpse of my darling roses, they would growl until I passed! It has been as if they were about to attack me! Poor Vanessa must have gotten caught by a particularly irritated one.”

    “Is that so?” I asked.

    Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my partner glance in roserade’s direction. I had a feeling I knew what he was thinking.

    “Yes! Just ask the police officers!” the lady replied.

    “It’s true,” my uncle told me. He took a vial out of his coat pocket and leaned over to press it into my hand. “We extracted this from the victim’s clothing. Poison Powder from the resident pokémon.”

    I held the vial up to the light and shook the powder inside. It was a dull purple dust — Poison Powder for certain, but questions rose in my mind immediately, despite my uncle’s accuracy in identifying it.

    “Oh, you must do something!” the lady begged. “I’m afraid that if this continues, they may attack the house!”

    “Unlikely,” I responded lightly. “Tell me. When did this start?”

    “Why, seven days ago, just before Penelope arrived. They were so darling to me before then!”

    I folded my hands in my lap. “I notice you specify that they were nice to you. Were they aggressive or less friendly towards anyone else?”

    “Well… only one person, I’m afraid.” The lady bowed her head. “They were never fond of my husband, you see. He used to wear this cologne that drove them absolutely mad. Even the slightest hint would send them into a frenzy! Why, I even had to change clothes before going into the garden, just in case there was a lingering whiff of it in the fabric!”

    “I see,” I said. “Did they ever become violent with either of you?”

    “Why, no, never!” The lady hesitated. “Well… they have always wanted to attack my husband, but I gave them explicit orders against it. They would never harm a soul! You must understand, these flowers were the gentlest creatures before this! All they ever did concerning my husband’s cologne was growl when he approached!”

    “Lady Blackthorn,” my partner finally said, “would you mind if I asked you a few personal questions?”

    She blinked at him, and I honestly couldn’t blame her a bit. “Why, no, I suppose not.”

    “How is your relationship with your husband?”

    Penelope gasped and hid her mouth behind a hand, and Lady Tabitha’s eyes went wide. I myself cast a warning glance at Bill, but he was unfortunately too focused on the lady to notice.

    “I beg your pardon?” she asked.

    “Your relationship with your husband, madame,” he repeated. “The two of you aren’t close, I presume?”

    “We love each other deeply, thank you!”

    “And what about your relationship with Penelope here? Have the two of you always been close?”

    “I don’t see what this has to do with the roselia,” the lady snapped.

    “It may provide some of the most vital clues we have to solving this mystery,” my partner responded. “Please, madame, if you wouldn’t mind.”

    The lady inhaled, and judging by her expression — narrowed eyes, pursed lips, and folded hands, for starters — I could tell she was restraining her irritation. “This is the first time in nearly twenty years that I’ve seen my niece. She is from Unova, after all. This was meant to be a relaxing family reunion.”

    “So you haven’t actually seen Penelope for the past twenty years.”


    “No pictures?”

    “What exactly does this have to do with Vanessa’s death or the roselia’s current behavior?”

    “And your husband is away on an extended leave?”

    “My husband left on an emergency business trip two days before Penelope was to arrive.”

    “Two days? How unusual. And what’s Penelope’s relation to you, then? Is she your blood relative or relative by marriage?”

    “I refuse to answer any question that has nothing to do with the roselia!”

    At that point, I touched my partner’s arm. He finally looked at me, and we locked gazes for a second. I didn’t have to say a word; he normally knows exactly what I mean in those states.

    “Very well then,” Bill said calmly. “One last question, and this is more obviously related to your garden.” He pointed at the roserade behind the lady’s couch, who was by then glowering dangerously at both the lady and Penelope. “Do the roselia consider that roserade to be their pack leader?”

    Believing this to be the beginning of the answers she was looking for, the lady visibly relaxed. “Yes. This roserade has been with me since I was a little girl, so the others follow everything it says. Normally, she accompanies me throughout the house, but ever since Penelope came to stay with us, she’s been rather elusive.”

    “Well, then, I believe I’ve figured out the identity of your murderer,” Bill replied.

    Even I had to start at that statement, despite the fact that I had theories of my own.

    “Murderer?” the lady answered. “Isn’t that a bit brash? The roselia certainly didn’t intend on—”

    “On the contrary,” Bill interrupted, “the roselia had nothing to do with your maid’s death, other than to protect you, and all things considered, they’ve been successful so far.”

    “Protect me?!”

    “Yes. Allow me to explain. The most important clue was the Poison Powder. Lanette, I do believe you know the secret to that one, so I’ll let you explain.”

    I unfolded my hands and examined the vial in my lap. “Yes. I found it strange that you discovered Poison Powder on what was supposedly a victim of the roselia, Uncle. You might not have realized this because roselia aren’t native to Johto, but I’ve seen them enough to know that they can’t use Poison Powder. All of their toxins come in the form of sap that coats their thorns. Their actual pollen isn’t poisonous enough to kill an adult human being. At worst, they may cause severe allergic reactions in individuals who are already allergic to the pollen of ordinary flora.”

    The lady gasped. “But Vanessa isn’t allergic to flower pollen!”

    “I thought not. Otherwise, you would have attributed it to anaphylaxis shock thanks to a perfectly ordinary pollen allergy.”

    “It’s forgivable that you blamed the roselia,” Bill added sternly. “These pokémon were bred as pets, not for battling purposes.”

    The lady’s expression hardened into a glare at once. I nearly chided my partner, but he was swift to cut off the both of us.

    “However…” He reached over to pick the vial up and examine the contents. “This is most definitely pollen from a flower pokémon, as opposed to spores from a mushroom pokémon or the pollen from a grass- or vine-based one. That narrows the list of possibilities of what the culprit could be down to at most thirteen possibilities. I assume you have no other flowers in your garden?”

    “No,” the lady said harshly.

    “And did you see Vanessa at all before your walk?”

    “She served us morning tea. It must have been at least a half an hour from the moment we left her to the moment we found her body.”

    “I assume you didn’t see any blood or vomit about the victim? Had the color of her skin changed?”

    “No! Not at all! Her face was the most dreadful pallid color imaginable, but…”

    “Then the toxin was fast-acting, but it was severe enough to induce an allergic reaction. Her throat closed. That was how she died.” My partner took a deep breath. “Madame, there is only one pokémon that excretes toxic pollen to force its prey to choke to death, even if that prey had no signs of a pollen allergy up until that point. Your murderer owns a vileplume.”

    “A vileplume?” the lady repeated shrilly. “But I don’t know anyone who owns a vileplume!”

    “Perhaps you do,” Bill continued. “Your roselia began acting out a couple of days before Penelope arrived. That was when your husband supposedly left. They continued behaving abnormally each time you took your morning walk because they could smell his cologne.”

    “That’s impossible!” the lady cried. “My maids have washed every garment I own thoroughly! The roselia wouldn’t be able to smell it on me at all!”

    “I never said they smelled it on you. You see, madame, Vanessa was out in the garden that morning for the same reason that the roselia have been uneasy. They both knew something was going to harm you. Servants and pokémon hear plenty of things, after all. Treat them well, and they’ll put themselves on the line to protect you.”

    “I treat my pokémon and servants with the utmost care!”

    “Apparently you do. Far better than your husband, anyway.”

    “I fail to see what that has to do with—”

    My partner raised a hand. “Here is what actually happened that morning. Vanessa caught a glimpse of the pokémon that was sent to kill you—”

    “Kill me?!”

    “—the vileplume that’s been wandering about your grounds without your notice. She tried to stop it, but as you can see, she wasn’t particularly successful.”

    Lady Tabitha covered her mouth in horror. As I watched the lady and her niece, I began to notice a darkening expression on Penelope’s face.

    “Meanwhile, the roselia have been sensing your husband’s cologne on someone close to you.” Bill lifted his chin and narrowed his eyes at the handkerchief Penelope held. “…Perhaps on a handkerchief she carries with her everywhere she goes?”

    “Why, that’s absolutely preposterous!” the lady protested. “Penelope has never…”

    Her voice trailed off, and the woman looked increasingly dumbfounded. My partner leaned in to speak to her in a low voice.

    “The Lady Tabitha Blackthorn-Wiles. Blackthorn, for the family that founded Blackthorn City; Wiles, for the wildly successful banker from Goldenrod City. You’re a very wealthy woman either way… but especially so with the inheritance from your father. Isn’t that right?”

    “That’s right,” the lady said vaguely.

    “Your husband is cheating on you,” Bill told her frankly, as if he actually cared about her well-being (which he most likely did, despite his disapproval of her lifestyle — what with it being in his nature to do so). “The reason why your husband’s cologne is on Penelope’s handkerchief is because your niece is scandalously close to your husband. They were planning on killing you to get your inheritance so your husband and his mistress could run off together.”


    The cry did not come from the lady. It instead came from her niece, who had leapt to her feet at the conclusion of Bill’s theory. She looked positively livid with her eyes widening at my partner and her handkerchief balled into one of her tight fists. At the sight of her, Bill merely leaned back and smiled.

    “Am I now? Roselia are awfully territorial, you know, so I doubt they would lie. But I wouldn’t be surprised if I got a detail or few wrong, so please enlighten us.”

    By then, I noticed that the roserade behind the couch was growling menacingly. Her bouquets were glowing bright purple as she crouched and readied herself.

    “You can’t prove a thing,” Penelope said with a sudden grin. “You’re just making things up!”

    “Oh, I think you’ve proven me right enough. You’re panicking, Penelope. Your face is paler. Your voice is just an octave higher. You’re shaking. Might I truly be scaring you that much?”

    It was true. Penelope looked much like a mouse slowly realizing she was caught in a trap. Even as my partner continued, she seemed to grow angrier and angrier.

    “You know, there’s an easy way to find out,” he said. “I have a kadabra, Lanette has several suitable pokémon, and I’m sure the police have growlithe. All we’d have to do is send them into Lady Blackthorn’s garden to hunt down your vileplume, which I have no doubt is wandering about the grounds among the roselia. Maybe that’s why the roselia have gotten so agitated too. It must be rather uncomfortable having an intruder in one’s home, after all.”

    Penelope still refused to speak. In fact, I was certain that with each passing second, she was growing paler and paler, and her expression was slowly turning into one of fear. These kinds of moments were the ones where I had to appreciate my partner’s skill. He certainly had a way of finding a person’s strengths and weaknesses. On most days, this wouldn’t be such a problem because he would never be the kind of person who would use the information he gathered against another person. He is by far unlike Bebe in that regard, and for that, I’ve always been more than thankful. On the other hand, if he’s in a particularly bad mood — such as he was then because of how uncomfortable our environment made him — he was more than willing to use everything he had to relieve… tension. For example, it was more than effective on Penelope, who was nearing the end her patience towards my partner.

    “What will it be, Penelope?” he asked. “Will it help you make a decision if I told you I also know you have no intention of marrying Lady Blackthorn’s husband? You’re young and nervous. It’s taking you quite a bit of effort to control yourself at a simple interrogation. I don’t believe you would last long in a marriage based on murder.”

    “Murder wasn’t even part of the plan!” Penelope shouted. “All we were supposed to do is drug the woman, force her to sign the divorce papers, and take back everything this witch leeched from him!”

    While most of us sat in silence, Bill, being the extraordinary judge of appropriateness at any given moment, sat back and chuckled.

    “Ah, so part of it is true, then!” he said triumphantly.

    “Of course it’s true, you little twerp, and you want to know what else? I wasn’t intending on marrying her husband, either! I would have pulled the same stunt on him and taken everything for myself! Did you see that in your analysis?”

    “Yes,” my partner replied. “I was hoping you weren’t that uncreative. But it’s good that we got that cleared up. I assume you’ll go quietly, then?”

    Penelope laughed, and I admit I lost faith in my partner’s skills for a brief second when she did. I was scared. I’m ashamed to admit it, but how could I possibly help myself? Especially when she pulled a gun from a thigh holster and pointed it at us.

    “Finally, something you’re wrong about!” she said. “No, I’m going to walk out of here, and all of you are going to sit there quietly and—”

    Luckily, the roserade took the opportunity to jam one of her glowing bouquets into Penelope’s back. Penelope collapsed over the fine china set, and I regret to write that the entire set was broken.

    While the police busied themselves with cleaning Penelope off the floor, the Lady Blackthorn watched with the most horrendously confused look on her face. Her mouth hung agape, her eyes were wide, and I don’t believe I’ve seen any face paler than hers was then.

    “Dreadful situation indeed,” my partner said. “Madame, the roselia shouldn’t trouble you any more… if the police are quick about collecting your husband and his mistress’s vileplume from the garden, in any case. You should be proud that your pokémon care about you so deeply they would keep an eye on you so closely. What will you do now?”

    The lady relaxed slightly as she, most understandably, stared in distress at her broken set. “Quite honestly, I don’t know.”

    “Well, if you need some suggestions,” my uncle stepped in. “I would propose finding a good lawyer and filing for divorce after all.”

    The lady daintily fanned herself with a hand and sighed. “Oh, all of this is simply awful, but I must thank you for your help. Is there anything I can do as a reward?”

    My partner naturally took the opportunity to reply, “Well, I do believe someone in this party promised fine coffee.”

    By a stroke of luck, the lady was somehow happy to oblige. It took the entirety of the travel back to town to explain to Bill that he had incited a murder, but I highly doubt the lesson sank into his brain. I can say this, of course, because this was only the first of many, many adventures he coerced me to endure with him.

    Then again, I can’t entirely fault him for doing what he does best by making my life far from boring. Perhaps that’s why I can’t argue with him whenever he requests my assistance.


    Author's Note: Also!

    Book of the Hermit
    Story Five: Halcyon

    Try the shipping forum.
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2013
  14. Ememew

    Ememew Emerald Mew

    I’m back! I’ll review the first two this time (and the last two when I get around to it).
    Hmm, I think this might be better phrased if you said she didn’t look like she was even ten yet. Otherwise, “couldn’t have been older than ten” sounds like it includes ten in the range of ages she could be, and if it included ten, she could be old enough for a pokémon journey.

    It’s amazing just how much Bebe’s personality is defined just from the first few paragraphs involving her.

    So just how much dirt exists regarding Bill, anyway?
    The interaction sounds very natural, like these are real crazy people. Nicely done.
    This line got a chuckle.

    Also, even though the story is being told through Bebe, it never feels like you’re telling rather than showing. There’s enough detail to the “story” that it reads as much like it’s happening as the scene that allows Bebe to tell it. Bebe sounds like a natural storyteller (and, I would imagine, like she could weave a tale to get out of trouble with a moment’s notice should the need arise).

    Hmm, part of me wants to point out the changing tense throughout this paragraph while the other part keeps pointing out that this is dialogue and people don’t speak in grammatically correct ways when retelling stories. It sounds organic enough that the changing tenses just sound like the way a person would tell a story, so it isn’t a problem, but part of me wants to point it out anyway.

    This scene. Fanart. I want to see it.

    Also does he have the green hair of anime! Bill for this scene?
    I wonder just how much truth is in this rumor . . .

    I’m not sure about the phrasing of the bolded part. It sounds like the door’s opening of its own accord in order to be polite to Bill and let him through. Maybe “the door swung open and Bill walked in” might be better?

    You can almost hear the terrible scenarios passing through Bill’s head as he tries to figure out which story is being broadcasted to the newest programmer.

    The ending was great. I actually burst out laughing when Bill responded with a to-the-point “No.”

    This was a very amusing piece overall and I really like the snapshots of Bebe and Amanita’s personalities alongside characters I’m more familiar with you writing about. Bebe in particular feels really fleshed out – do you know someone like her in real life?

    When I quoted this to read over, I (or rather, Microsoft Word) spotted an extra space between the bolded words.

    I can sympathize about the stars. I don’t live in a “big city” or anything, but the streetlights and such leave a lot of the stars obscured by the glare of electric lights. Being able to see the dimmer stars filling just about every inch of the sky on the rare occasions when I’ve been able to get away from the lights is amazing.
    This felt really genuine and really made me feel for Bill. Sometimes running away is what your sanity needs.

    Just pausing to say I like this line.

    It’s also good to see that even someone like Bill, who can beat Gym Leaders with only Teleport, also overlooked the possibilities of the move at first glance. It helps him seem more realistic if he goes in with the same expectations as others and then figures out how to use it to his advantage than if the thought “it’d be cool to make something that only knows Teleport awesome” immediately.

    Even the Pokédex can have sentence fragments!

    I think the part where Bill weighs his options goes on a little longer than it needs to, the middle paragraph being the weakest of the three, in my opinion. Maybe find a way to put both of the “keep” arguments (low poké ball supply and unlikelihood of catching anything better than an abra next time) in the same paragraph, as the “don’t keep” paragraph also contains multiple ideas (not relying on only Bulbasaur and needing a pokémon capable of battling).

    “Fall” is present tense after a string of all past tense, “only to fall” or just “fell” would work better.

    Either that “a” was supposed to start the word “about” or it managed to sneak in there uninvited.

    This scene is quite amusing. Lucky for Bill, he’s as stubborn as Abra.

    There’s a reason Psychic and Ghost types have so much potential to mess with people’s heads be interesting additions to fiction.
    I’m not sure, but I think “was” should probably be “were” because it refers to both the poké ball and the rope rather than only a single object.

    And Abra’s managed to encourage some good out-of-the-box thinking – if you can’t climb the tree, make a ladder and climb that instead.

    Pretty. I have to admit I’ve never been able to make out different colors among the stars, but this imagery here is wonderful.

    That could have been an embarrassing way to end his journey . . .

    Or that one.

    Too bad the “stars” calling him are actually parasitic aliens.

    A beautiful lesson told in an entertaining and then gorgeous way. I like how Abra takes on a “trickster/teacher” role to troll Bill get Bill to realize his journey should be about himself rather than others’ expectations of him.

    Two more reviewed, two more to go!
  15. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine ██████████


    She miiiiight be. ;D

    (I actually meant to include ten, but looking at her art again, that might actually be considered aging her up. Wow. ._.)

    *bows* As you can tell, I adore writing about her relationship with Lanette. ;D

    Enough to take up a sizable chunk of Bebe’s hard drive. ;D

    Thank you! I miiiiiight have taken tips from the way my friends chat with each other.

    Bwahahaha INDEED SHE CAN. In my headcanon, you’ve got Bill the leader, Lanette the snarker, Brigette the grounder, Celio the follower, and Bebe the troublemaking drunken party girl with, like, zero sense of shame. She’s very good at talking her way out of situations and conning the **** out of Bill.

    She’s also the go-to girl for telling tall tales and scary campfire stories. Which is to say that Bebe is not allowed to tell stories after dark in Lanette’s vicinity ever.

    Noted! Admittedly, when writing this part, I just sort of let Bebe “borrow” my voice. As in, she tells a story the way I tell one in real life. Which is to say I seriously do not know how to speak most days. orz

    For that reason (read: I think it’s hilarious to make fun of myself), I’m tempted to leave it as-is, tense-inconsistencies and all, just because I’m right now imagining Bebe throwing her hands in the air and going, “OH MY GOD FOR SERIOUS MY LANGUAGE IS TOTALLY A-OK, OKAY? **** THE RULES.”

    If only I were a better artist. I would be on this in a heartbeat. XD

    Not for the flashback, no, unfortunately. I like to think he started dying his hair after he left college. It’s a hell of a lot easier to maintain funky colors when you’ve got a good income.

    *whistles innocently*

    The door was totally just being polite because Bill is the equivalent of Chuck Norris in that world. :V

    Seriously though, noted and will be fixed! (I honestly like your suggestion, so!) Thank you~!

    And at least one of them involves a rubber Mareep, someone else’s car, a pack of bubblegum, and sixteen repels.

    And I did mean that in the plural there.

    Bill’s... not allowed near other people’s cars without ample supervision anymore, yes.

    That’s Bill for you. ;D Taking questions literally since forever.

    Kinda sorta. Bebe’s a mix of a lot of people I knew in college with a bit of me mixed in for good measure. In that I talk like Bebe in real life, but my friends are more likely to get drunk and steal a canoe from my alma mater’s boathouse. Or some of them would be, anyway.

    Weird. I’ll look into it, but I’m guessing Google Docs just doesn’t like anyone ever.

    YES. I’ve heard the Milky Way’s amazing, but yeah, I went from suburbs to city. :( THERE IS NO SKY HERE.

    Pretty much. *pets him* Poor thing. You just can’t be a crazy-*** genius kid without people looking at you funny or expecting something from you.

    Thank you! I thought so too. It’s definitely a lot more fun to see his character as someone who had to figure out a lot about Pokémon on his own (because he initially didn’t care) than it is to see him as someone who just knew everything always. The latter just felt way too... I dunno, generic? Like all the potential problems and conflicts he might’ve faced were already solved?

    In any case, it’s definitely a lot of fun to see him struggle. >8D

    Because when you’re chased by a wild something-that-you-haven’t-seen-before-but-it’s-clearly-made-of-teeth-and-rage, sentence fragments are sometimes okay for conveying information. *le nods*

    Hmm, that’s a good point, and looking back on it, I’m inclined to agree. I’ll play around with that bit and see what I come up with, as always, but I like the idea of keeping every like concept in one paragraph.


    Remember how I said earlier that Bebe’s hilarious tendency to tense-hop was totally based on the way I speak? That is my explanation. *nods... and then scuttles off to fix that*

    And this is also why we don’t rush the proofreading stage, kids.

    Bill is totally a Capricorn. *nod*

    Oh yes. Especially if the trainer in question is susceptible to that kind of abuse.

    It should be were. Funny story? For this part, I went back and forth between whether I wanted Bill to use the rope or Bulbasaur, and at the last minute, I decided he should use both. ...But then I guess I failed at fixing things up so that the language reads properly to reflect that. XD; Sorry.

    Exactly! You can tell Bill’s already one step ahead of Ash.

    Thank you!

    The research for this part was so much fun. One half staring out a car window while riding through the country and one half abuse of Google Images.

    Luckily, Bill is protected by cartoon magic. You just can’t kill him. And even if you do, some kind of magic science will just resurrect him again.

    Who totally just want to be his friends and will never force him to fight in wars or anything. *solemn nod*

    Thank you~! I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed that I don’t give myself more opportunities to let Bill interact with his Pokémon, especially Abra/Kadabra. I’ve got all these personalities worked out for them, and Kadabra in particular is my favorite, just because he’s wise, protective of his master, and the Pokémon the others around the Sea Cottage look to as a leader.

    And also, he’s the only voice of reason who puts Bill in his place most days. Besides Lanette, anyway.

    You can do eet~! 8D

    But seriously, take your time. XD New material for any of my fics is taking a long time to produce for reasons that can be summed up with “**** real life.” So, you shall not be flooded from my end of things, I assure you~! :D

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