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Brighter Day

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by pokenutter, Dec 18, 2014.

  1. pokenutter

    pokenutter Warrior of Time

    Rating: This fanfic, as a whole, contains strong language, violence, and discussion of fictional religions and the metaphysics thereof. Basic morality of the main characters will also be called into question, and frequently. Just to be on the safe side, I'm rating it PG-13. You have been warned.

    Please also note that this story is a spinoff of Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Journal, another fanfic of mine on this site. The majority of the story is self-contained, but a few references to the former will be included. If you are curious about the source work, it can be found here.

    Chapter 1

    It’s funny. Lately, I find myself thinking a lot about the last time I spoke to my dad. It was the day I left town for the last time. I remember seeing him by the old forest, where Natalie and I used to spend a lot of time. I hadn’t thought about it before, but I don’t know how he knew that we’d be leaving that way.

    Now, the old Sceptile had this habit of dispensing little bits of wisdom- the kind that sounded really profound to anyone under the age of four, and annoyed everyone older than that. Little things, like “A Poké saved is a Poké earned,” “A stitch in time saves nine,” or “A Fletchling in the hand is worth two in the bush.” The sort of thing that you only think sound good when you’re the one saying them.

    But anyway, he called me over, and put me on his knee. He looked down at me, and asked me an unexpected question. “Eric, have I ever told you that one saying about how the road to hell is paved with good intentions?”

    I remember rolling my eyes, both at the fact that he was lecturing me, and the fact that he’d used that one fairly often over the past fifteen years with almost everyone he had a close relationship with, myself included. This seemed a good enough answer for him, and he continued. “Do you know what it means?”

    I remember replying in a deadpan how he’d always explained it when I was younger. “It means that a good idea on paper can be a bad idea in practice.”

    He nodded, and then turned the conversation in a direction I didn’t expect. “Why do you think it’s a road, Eric?”

    I paused, unsure. He continued. “Why isn’t it ‘The pits of hell are lined with good intentions?’ Or ‘The slippery slope to hell is frozen over with good intentions?’ Both of these convey a similar message, so why a road?”

    I gave him an annoyed look, eager for him to get to the point. He sighed. “Because you follow a road with the purpose of getting somewhere. If it isn’t leading you where you want to go, you can always turn around.”

    I groaned. “I made this very clear, Dad. I’m not coming back. After what happened to Mom-”

    He winced a little at that remark, but continued as though my remark hadn’t stung him. “Listen, Eric. This is probably the most important advice I’ve ever given anyone. Many blunder along the road, never realizing where they’re going. These people are dangerous. Some people look around, figure out where they are, and dash for the path of righteousness. You will never find stauncher allies. Some realize where they’re headed, but forget that they can turn around. These people are so sure of their own damnation, they become even more dangerous than the first group. The last group, however, is the most dangerous of all. This group knows where they’re headed, and simply doesn’t care. Damnation is acceptable, or even necessary, for them to achieve whatever goal they have in mind.”

    I was silent at that, trying to figure out what that had to do with me. After a few moments, he placed me back on the ground. “Eric, I’ve done my best to raise you well. Your mother did for as long as she could. I like to think we raised a good-natured, perceptive son. If at any point you look up and see the gates of hell looming over you, please...”

    His voice broke a little. “For the love of Arceus, please turn and run. I don’t care who you leave behind in the process, or where you run to. Just get out of there.”

    Not knowing what else to do, I nodded. It was his turn to be silent for a few seconds, and then he looked out into the forest. “Natalie’s father was doing a good job of pulling together a mob to hunt her down. If you want to chase after her, do so now before you’re expected to do so with a pitchfork.”

    I nodded, and ran. I don’t remember looking back, but I somehow know that he didn’t move until I was out of sight.

    It was about five minutes before I caught up to Natalie. For a Scatterbug, she moved almost supernaturally quickly. She still does, but I remember being particularly confounded by it when we were younger.

    She turned to face me as I approached. She seemed genuinely surprised to see me. “Eric? You’re really coming along?”

    I nodded solemnly. “I did say I would. It isn’t like there’s a lot here, and you’re my closest friend.”

    She sighed, shaking her head. “I guess I didn’t make this clear enough. I don’t want you to follow me. I understand that you want to be my friend, but what I want to achieve is going to require... well, it isn’t going to be an easy job. What’s more, I worry about what the work could do to you.”

    I huffed angrily. “You made that very clear. I’ve spent some time thinking about it, though, and I have an unpopular errand of my own that I want to achieve.”

    For the first time in months, she seemed confused. She asked me to explain, and well... I don’t think I’ve ever seen her that shocked over something I’d told her. After a moment of contemplation, she nodded. “Okay. I guess we’re traveling together, then.”

    It could have been my imagination, but I think she was smiling just the tiniest bit as she began crawling again. I never got to see for sure, as I picked that moment to grab her from behind, and hoist her onto my shoulders. She flailed for a moment, not expecting to be pulled into a piggyback ride. “Eric, what the hell-”

    I laughed a little, looking up at her. “Just relax. I’ll carry you a bit of the way. Consider it a benefit of having me along. Besides, Bagon are supposed to be faster than Scatterbug, anyway. This way, I’m guaranteed to be in the same spot you are most of the time.”

    She didn’t argue, instead remaining silent for the next few seconds. I heard a small chuckle behind her words as she finally spoke. “Okay, then. From here, we keep moving in a straight line. It’ll be a few days before we hit a trade outpost. Once we do, we can try and figure out which direction we’re heading,”

    From that point onward, the pair of us traveled. We never stayed in any one place very long- just enough to do small bits of research, or restock on supplies. Natalie picked out our routes, and I carried her the whole way.

    It wasn’t as though those days were perfect. There was the occasional time we would get lost, or run out of food a day early, not to mention the occasional skirmish with bandits. Natalie was nearly defenseless in fights, so it fell to me to protect the pair of us. Sometimes it went well. Sometimes, the pair of us were beaten into submission and robbed.

    And if the bandits weren’t on top of us, nature itself would occasionally demonstrate its cruelty with storms, heat waves, and on one occasion, a tornado. The pair of us were lucky to have survived as long as we did, but we somehow managed to pull through.

    And miraculously, the two of us managed to stay together through the whole thing. I mean, there was the occasional fight. I remember one in particular, after a storm and a bandit attack on the same day. I was busy contemplating turning back when for the first and only time in all the years that I’ve known her, Natalie physically assaulted me. It was only a slap, but it was still shocking enough that the both of us ended up spending the rest of the night in silence. I still don’t know how we ended up making up after that, but I know we were friends again after about a week.

    ...Okay, so it was actually kind of awful in retrospect. But it was better than where we came from, and that was what mattered. At least, until we made the decision to stop.

    It had been two years since we’d left home. We were staying in an inn that happened to cater to a lot of adventurers. A Weavile by the bar had been waxing nostalgic with a Charizard about their days at the Edlis Academy. Natalie had been curious about what kind of place it was, and their answer blew both of our minds.

    They spoke of an exploration guild that had expanded enough to completely encompass a nearby town. With time, an influx of guild recruits with varying interests and skills led to a gradual expansion of the guild's functions, as well as what it was capable of teaching. The family that controlled it realized the potential to expand the guild, and shifted it towards a college with an emphasis on exploration and self-defense.

    Natalie asked what the library was like. An hour later, we were on the road to Edlis.

    Over the next month and a half, I began to marvel at how different travel is when you have a destination in mind. We moved faster, ran into fewer obstacles, and the pair of us were far more positive overall. And it was unclear whether this was coincidence or related, but during the single bandit attack we endured during that period, Natalie and I both evolved.

    As we began closing in on our target, we began developing covers- we could hardly just waltz in, discussing our plans openly. Eventually, we determined that Natalie was a social outcast due to her religion, and I was her bodyguard. Plausible backgrounds, given Natalie’s family’s staunch agnosticism, and the number of times I protected her along our journey.

    We finally arrived around sundown in mid-August. The road to the walled city had been dyed red, and long shadows had begun to creep across the road. The gates had been slowly sliding closed as we approached. I don't think I've ever charged a door faster- Natalie had almost been thrown off. We were right outside the city, and after weeks of travel, I was not about to spend the night outside because of bad timing.

    A mad dash, a leap, and a skid, and we were applauded wildly by the Machamp who was closing the door. After a moment, he approached us. "Welcome to Edlis, home of the Edlis Academy. What business do you have here?"

    Natalie answered for us. "We were hoping to study at the academy. Are we too late?"

    The Machamp shrugged. "Depends on what you're here for. Mandatory classes like adventuring have a new one starting up every two weeks, whereas classes like cooking or philosophy only start at the beginning of each semester. What are the two of you here to study?"

    Natalie looked down at me, inviting me to answer. I smiled, unsure of whether he could see my face or not. "I think we're both undeclared. We might figure out something down the line."

    He nodded. "Well, you'll have plenty of time to evaluate your options- we just started a new semester here. Just take some of the mandatory classes for now. Anyway, admissions is in Treasure Town Square, by the statue of the Alakazam. They'll set you up with a place to stay."

    We nodded, and were about to leave when he leaned down close to us. “Oh, and one more thing: we get a lot of people who come here and break major laws. I want to make this clear- you’re walking into an entire town full of adventurers. If you’re here to steal, murder, or other things like that... Well, good luck.”

    He pulled back, and Natalie nodded. “I understand your concern. But rest assured, we come with the best of intentions.”

    I felt uneasy at her wording, but it seemed to placate the guard. He leaned back, and the pair of us entered the town.

    Even at dusk, the town was in a state of hustle and bustle. I shouldn't have been that surprised- it had a reputation for being the destination of adventurers, explorers, students, historians, and more. But none of the places Natalie and I had traveled to had been this dense. From the moment we left the gate, other Pokémon pushed past us, almost knocking Natalie off of me. We began to push for the center, trying to get a good look around, and maybe find some landmarks.

    As I scanned the area, dozens of different sights greeted me. A flutist on a street corner. Pokémon with signs, apparently in protest of something. What might have been a bake sale.

    Eventually, we managed to spot something in the distance- a sparsely populated hill, leading up to an unusual building shaped like a Wigglytuff. Natalie shouted something down at me, but she was difficult to hear over the throng. I moved my head slightly in the direction of the building, and she seemed to understand, nodding.

    So began the walk through the crowd. Twenty minutes of pushing, shoving, and in general, being buffeted around. By the time we arrived, I was fairly certain that I’d accumulated a few bruises. Natalie seemed to look fine.

    A crowd of Pokémon were assembled outside of it, apparently waiting on something. As we observed them, the sound of a bell ringing in the town square sounded, resulting in even more hustle and bustle from the crowd below. Somehow, within about thirty seconds, most of them had made it inside buildings, or into small clusters like the one we found ourselves standing by.

    A throat was cleared near the back, and a Blastoise stood up. She turned, and addressed the group. “Right, then. Welcome to Local History. My name is Gwen, and I’ll be your instructor.”

    She had to have been a year or two older than us at most, and she was a teacher? Interested, I listened in.

    “Now, some of you may be curious as to why the first lesson in this course is taking place outside of the classroom listed in the catalogue. Truth be told, we were supposed to do this inside, but I’ve discovered that I, for one, pay attention better when I have the opportunity to move around a little. Now, before I pass out a syllabus, or ask for names, I want to know- does anyone know what this building right here is?”

    A number of hands went up. A moment passed, and Gwen pointed to a Zigzagoon in the first row. “Yes, Mr....?”

    He answered quickly, eager to share his answer. “Roderick. It’s the faculty building. Repurposed some two hundred years ago from a guild hall when the Edliss family bought Treasure Town.”

    Gwen nodded slowly. “You’ve read the brochure, then. Do you know its historical significance?”

    Roderick shook his head. “I know it had something to do with a crisis of some sort...”

    Natalie fidgeted slightly from the top of my head, and I looked up at her. She was motioning towards the square again, at a large, bronze statue of an Alakazam.

    I took a look back at the class, and began moving towards the statue as Gwen facepalmed a little. “Do the words ‘Temporal Tower’ ring any bells for anyone?”

    A general murmur of recognition, followed by Roderick’s loud “Oh, yeah!” followed us down the hill. Natalie sighed. “I was honestly curious to see if any of them would get it. I guess this does make our job slightly easier.”

    I raised an eyebrow. “You’re judging the perceptiveness of the entire school based on one first-semester student?”

    She nodded. “In a week, that’s us. As long as we keep our heads down, that may as well be all we are, and they’re the only ones we’ll have to worry about.”

    Unsure of her confidence, I continued down the hill, and meandered through the now-barely-occupied streets. But a lower population did little to decrease the activity present. A Litwick, a Gastly, and a Phantump passed us to our right, giggling about something. A quartet of Kecleon called out to passers by about various wares they were selling. I’m fairly certain I even saw a Froakie snatch a wallet off of a Dunsparce completely undetected.

    Eventually, we arrived at a table with a Quilava seated behind it, asleep on top of a large binder. Unsure of what to do, I looked up at Natalie for advice. She rolled her eyes, hopped off of my head, and nudged him slightly.

    In an instant, he was awake, flailing his arms. “No, Husk, sir! I wasn’t sleeping again! Just giving my brain a short- wait a minute...”

    He shook his head slightly as he looked at the pair of us. “Oh, sorry. Um... How much do I have to pay for your silence about that?”

    Natalie shook her head. “We were told to come to admissions? We’re new students, and we just arrived.”

    The Quilava nodded, and opened up his binder. "Right! Do the pair of you have names?"

    "Natalie Spewpa and Eric Shelgon."

    He began sorting through his book, occasionally stopping and inspecting it. After a few minutes, he looked over towards her again. "No Natalie Spewpa in here. Did you guys enroll under different names?"

    Natalie looked at me confusedly. "We have to enroll?"

    I shrugged. "I was never told that. But then again, neither of us thought to ask..."

    The Quilava facepalmed a little. "Seriously? Isn't that common sense?"

    Natalie looked ruffled. "We came all this way to be stopped here?"

    He nodded, stretching out a bit. "Unless you can find a way to-"

    Before he could finish, Natalie interrupted him. "Husk... That's a Ghost-type name, right? And given that you addressed him as sir, he's a figure of authority. And your lying about falling asleep indicates that you really don't want him to know that. My friend and I know where the faculty building is, and now we know who to look for to report you..."

    A look of absolute terror crossed the Quilava's face, and he began paging through his binder again. "Maybe I missed you. Ah! Here we go..."

    He scribbled something down in his book, and slid a key towards us. “Dojo Dorm. You can figure out the situation with your beds when you get there.”

    Natalie picked the key up with a smirk. “I’m afraid I’m not familiar with the building. What am I looking for?”

    He sighed, and gestured off to the side. “A couple blocks that way is a large stone building with a gigantic skull on top of it. You seriously can’t miss it- it’s in between a jobs board and a bakery.”

    I nodded, and the pair of us began walking. The second he was out of earshot, I looked up at Natalie. “Weren’t you the one talking about keeping your head down just a few minutes ago?”

    She shrugged. “You really think he’s going to say anything? He’d have to admit that he fell asleep, and he’s terrified of this Husk person. And it isn’t like we made a scene, either.”

    I shook my head. “That is not how you do stealth, Natalie. Our stay here depends on you not doing stuff like that.”

    She sighed. “You’re overreacting. Point is, we’re in. That’s all that matters.”

    I turned my head to the side, and was startled by the sudden appearance of the Dojo Dorm sitting immediately to my left. I began moving towards it, still quite baffled at Natalie’s overconfidence.

    I pushed the door open, and was surprised to see a mostly-bare room filled with about thirty other Pokémon of various species, all looking about as lost as I felt. There were a number of cots on the ground, but far fewer than the number of people in the room. A large, bolted, wooden door stood in the back, oddly out-of-place in this environment.

    A sudden buzzing voice came from behind me. “Hey. You coming in?”

    A Scyther was leaning by the door, looking rather bored. I looked into the room, and back at him. “This is the dojo dorm, right? I’m not in the wrong place?”

    He nodded. “Find a place to sit. In a short while, the RA is going to come and talk to you guys.”

    I looked confusedly back around the room. “...Isn’t it a bit overcrowded in here?”

    He sighed. “Look, if it’s any help at all, the situation will be remedied before you actually need to use a bed. For now, mingle. Get to know the others here. You just might see some of them in your classes.”

    Natalie suddenly spoke up. “How long until the RA shows?”

    The Scyther poked his head out the door, apparently looking for something. He pulled it back in a second later, shutting the door behind him. “Anywhere between ten minutes and right now. Tough to say- it’s never clear when he’s taking his job seriously. In any case-”

    There was a knock at the door, and he poked his head back out. A second later, a small crowd filed in- no less than a dozen Pokémon, each one wearing a satchel. I began to wonder what was going on when a voice in the back of the room spoke up.

    “Will there be enough room to move by the time the night’s over?”

    One of the newcomers in the front, a Shelmet, shouted back a reply. “Oh, believe me. There will be.”

    I didn’t like the sound of that.

    One final Pokémon filed his way in after them- a Chandelure. He nodded to the Scyther at the door, and then addressed the room.

    “Good evening, one and all. My name is Husk. Welcome to Edliss Academy. ...Is normally how I start my address to the new students. But to be frank, I think we all know that’s not what any of you are.”

    He paused for effect, and was about to continue when a Sneasel near the front of the crowd raised a claw. “Um, what?”

    A Croconaw from the middle of Husk’s group guffawed a little, and responded. “It means you all cheated your way in, and we know it.”

    Dead silence greeted this reply. I glanced upwards at Natalie, who seemed to be trying to shrink into my shell. Husk continued as if there had been no interruption.

    “Some of you have altered your existing academic record to make yourselves look better. Some have snuck in. Some have attempted to blackmail people in the staff, or bribe them. One of you even swiped a key. And we want to make it very, very clear- what you have done is hardly unique to you. It has been done many times in the past. It will continue to be done in the future. And why not- our academy is one of the best on the continent. A good future might be secured for you if you manage to graduate.”

    It was around this time that a small number in the back of the room had started shouting, and the few around them quickly joined in the protest. Husk paused for a moment, and nodded at a pair of Pawniard in his group. The pair of them stepped towards our crowd, and with an audible high-pitched scraping of steel, the pair’s bladelike arms doubled in length.

    The sudden sound silenced most of the protesters, and Husk sighed. “You came here, and broke our rules. If you continue to protest, you will be thrown out of the school.”

    The Sneasel near the front looked confused. “...Isn’t that what’s going to happen anyway?”

    Husk shook his head. “Not yet. Because there’s a certain value to outside-the-box thinking and deception. While unoriginal, transparent, easily-tracked, and frankly a very stupid approach overall, it is an alternative to the problem of entry that most don’t even consider. And it has gotten you as far as lodging here, hasn’t it?”

    Silence greeted his words. He nodded, and continued. “Talent knows no age. It knows no species, gender, creed, and, what is the most likely obstacle for a good ninety percent of you, income. We at Edliss offer a good number of financial aid options for students here. And in the event that you are allowed to stay, you will be set up with one. It was an old practice of the Wigglytuff Guild to subtract 90% of the bounty from the income of apprentices. That is how your tuition shall be paid.”

    I’m fairly certain that no one here wanted to miss out on that much money, but the threat to throw us all out if we protest kept most of our mouths shut... Except Natalie's.

    "...In the event we're allowed to stay?"

    Husk nodded. "There is a series of tests that, should you pass them, you will be allowed to stay. They are all rather difficult, however- if you want in after breaking our rules, you need to impress us. If you want in, you cannot fail a single one of these tests. You fail even once, you’re out. You will not be given a chance to even out your score. That will be it.”

    He paused again, this time tilting his head to the side, as if inviting questions. Natalie spoke again, sounding a bit more confident. “And if we pass all the tests?”

    A Slugma in Husk’s group answered. “They forget that you snuck your way in. First opportunity, you’ll be moved into an ordinary dorm, with an ordinary class. The only people that know you aren’t supposed to be here are Husk, the lot of us, and you. And whoever you pissed off to end up here.”

    Another voice in the crowd called out. “Yeah, and if we don’t?”

    One of Husk’s Pawnaird chuckled. “Well, then you’re expelled. A group of us will escort you from the school, you’ll end up on a blacklist, and you won’t be coming back.”

    Silence followed this statement. Husk waited a moment or two before continuing. “The first test will begin in half an hour. Partner up. If there’s an odd number here, the odd man out is going home. This group of upperclassmen will head into the Mystery Dungeon in the basement. Each one carries a bag of glass orbs in a bag. Your job will be to locate them, and answer the questions they ask you correctly. If you answer incorrectly, you will have to fight them for their orbs. And rest assured- they will use any means necessary to defend their prizes. You all have eight hours to claim the orbs. You need four to pass. There are twelve opponents, each one with a differently-colored orb. Each orb you collect much have a unique color in order for it to count. Any questions?”

    Before anyone could ask anything, a Sableye behind Husk shouted out to us. “Oh, by the way- these orbs are simply colored glass. Not the adventuring tools. And they’ve got no street value, either, so selling them does nothing for you but mark you as a cheater. There’s no point in hoarding them.”

    The Sneasel looked confusedly at the door. “Aren’t Mystery Dungeons usually infinite in their configurations? The odds of us encountering even one of them in there are astronomical...”

    Husk shook his head. “This Mystery Dungeon is less complex than normal, thankfully for our purposes. There are about twenty configurations. And you have eight hours- more than enough times to comb the five floors multiple times.”

    Another voice called out. “You’ve discussed the win conditions- what are the loss conditions?”

    “Simply fail to obtain your four orbs in eight hours. Fainting in there will not be counted against you, but it does slow you down- you will lose an hour every time your faint. Whether you’re actually unconscious that long or not.”

    No more questions came from the crowd, and Husk motioned to the door in the back of the room. The upperclassmen filed towards it, entering one-at-a-time. Husk turned back to us, and spoke one final time.

    “Partner up. I will see you again in eight hours.”

    With that, he exited the front door, and the Scyther moved in front of it. I glanced up at Natalie. “...Well?”

    She sighed. “Okay, not what I was planning. But still salvageable.”

    I nodded. “Salvageable, yes. But if you do anything like that again, I worry about our chances of sticking around are.”

    She seemed like she was about to respond at first, but then almost seemed to deflate a little. “...Alright. I can do that. In the meantime, I assume we’re partnering up?”

    I chuckled. “You need to ask?”

    We were silent for a moment, and Natalie stared over towards the door in the back of the room. “...So. We wait now?”

    I nodded. “Yeah. Now, we wait.”
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2014
  2. Akiyama

    Akiyama Awake me if Ash wins

    This is where the tension of the scene starts. It feels like a good amount of family problems have occurred in his life. Nonetheless,it hints at motivations, and characterizes his father while foreshadowing.

    Well, then, that just makes me curious. Additionally, it's good that Eric and Natalie seem to know each other already. Seems like a good use of starting in the middle of things.

    Seems common. If I take you at your word, it means the world is quite filled with bad pokémon if bandits are around that much. Maybe we'll see why later, it probably relates to the plot.

    A supporting detail. Probably implies a lot of things concern them in this world.

    Sneaking bookworm jokes in? Funny.

    I noticed this detail, but it may be missed by other readers. Indeed, it's sort of important, and this is only referred to once more with Eric Shelgon. It may benefit you to comment on how Eric felt about the evolution at the time so that readers won't be stuck on bagon.

    For example, at this point, she, as a spewpa, may have nearly used her fur to attack on instinct.

    Aw, it may help to hint at what they were protesting. Could be something important later on if youwant.

    I think I want an emotional reaction from Eric sometime about all this theft.

    Really impatient. The quilava may have let them have an alt way to enter the college without so many issues, but I'm glad she's characterized from it. Then Eric comments on doing stealth? All right, that makes me wonder what he's trying to do. Stirring rebellion? Okay, I'm open for anything.

    Does that imply there was a high school? By the way, they suck at cheating, and the good cheaters are in school but not caught. Oh well, they're caught, and I guess they'll be trained to be good cheaters and con pokémon later.

    What? "To even out" I think you meant "to contest."

    To be fair, it's not explained why this college is so important. I did some crazy stuff in my PMD game with just my partner and starter.

    Well, it was a good start. The things that bug me are the pair's goals, the problems in the world, and the college's purpose to the pair. I am fairly sure that these things will be addressed later though.

    Also, Eric's emotions may be lacking throughout this chapter. He didn't seem affected by leaving his father, nor did I feel his frustration from the bandit attacks. Even when Husk reveals that he knows they all cheated, Eric doesn't feel anything. Stress and worry would fitting emotions for that scene, but he only observes. He's not a mere observer, his fate is in the balance when Husk talks.

    I do recall "annoyance" with his father, but that was just about the only emotion by Eric. Natalie's slap also conveyed some emotion. Overall, a character sheet of what emotionally moves Eric (pet peeves, what he likes and dislikes) can help show the reader that he is a character. Of course, you may instead show Eric as an emotionally stunned pokémon due to some tragegy, but I have to believe it.

    Still, the chapter set everything up. With what's happening in the background of the story, it's possible for interesting things to happen later on. Looking forward to it.
     

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