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Caging Destruction (Interpretations Spiritual Successor Oneshot)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Umbramatic, Dec 10, 2014.

  1. Umbramatic

    Umbramatic The Ghost Lord

    Hey all! This is... my first proper fanfic published on this site. Wow.

    Anyway, this here oneshot is a spiritual successor to a oneshot I wrote for the Interpretations contest on this very site. When the contest results came in I decided the original story was flawed enough that I wanted to create a new story with the same ideas and themes, and what you see below is the result. It took longer than usual to write, but I hope you enjoy it! Be warned, it has mild swearing and drug references. Also note it uses a headcanon that certain more powerful Legendaries can take whatever form they please.

    But without further ado...

    Caging Destruction

    A woman entered a small sub shop late at night and looked around. She saw a lone girl and her Purrloin eating the last of their French fries, the latter stealing them while the former wasn’t looking. She then turned her attention to the cashier, who was sending a text while his manager wasn’t looking. She marched over to him and slammed several dollar bills on the counter.

    “Be a dear and get me a Unovan cheesesteak,“ she said, “And make it snappy.”

    The worker, after backing away quickly, hastily prepared the woman’s sandwich and handed it to her. The woman left the money on the counter and sat down at a table.

    “Ah, nice to finally settle down and eat.” she said, smiling, and moved to take a bite of her sandwich.

    ”Yveltal,” said a voice.

    The woman looked up to see a blue-haired, red-eyed man in a blue and silver business suit.

    “Shh!” she said. "People will hear you!"

    "I have erected a... Glamour of sorts around this table," he replied. "We will go unnoticed."

    "Fine, Dialga. Tell me what you want."

    The man sat down.

    "You've been... Unusually active as of late."

    "Yeah, so?"

    "For a Legendary of your caliber, it's rather risky."

    Yveltal raised an eyebrow. "Can't you say the same about yourself?"

    "History shows I'm more... disciplined in terms of self-control than you are. Especially since you recently were unsealed after a thousand years."

    "I'm fine."

    Dialga crossed his arms. "You could drain the life from every being in this restaurant if you lose control."

    Yveltal smirked. "Implying you couldn't just turn it all to dust if you did the same."

    Dialga scowled. "That's enough. Meet me in my home dimension."

    "But-"

    "Now."

    Dialga got up and left the restaurant. Yveltal sighed and did the same, carrying her sandwich with her.

    ------

    Yveltal looked around Dialga’s home dimension. It seemed to be composed of a strange blue haze, with enormous glowing crystals floating through the aether and flashing scenes from throughout the history of the universe. The haze formed a “ground” of sorts around Yveltal’s feet, though she wasn’t entirely sure how flimsy or not it was.

    Meh, thought Yveltal. Needs more stuff blowing up.

    She yawned and stretched her wings- having reverted to her birdlike, red-and-black default form- when she noticed Dialga approaching. To most people Dialga’s current form would resemble a steely blue and silver dinosaur or wingless dragon; to Yveltal he resembled an overgrown, deformed Ponyta.

    “Now, Yveltal,” he said. “Tell me why you’re here.”

    “Because you’re a prick?”

    “Try again,” he replied, not changing his tone in the slightest.

    Yveltal rolled her eyes. “Fine. Because I endanger people and Pokemon by roaming about?”

    “Precisely. You must remember, Yveltal, you are the embodiment of death and destruction – not something that should be taken lightly.”

    “I can control myself.”

    “Really? What about the time you drained the life out of everything in a five mile radius before your latest slumber?”

    Yveltal shifted nervously. “That… Was an accident.”

    “Or the time you immolated an entire kingdom?”

    Yveltal flinched. “I had a damn good reason for doing that.”

    “Or the time you caused a mass extinction?”

    “I’m learning, OK?!”

    Dialga scoffed. “Yveltal, you are dangerous. Thus, you need to isolate yourself from humanity.”

    “Bah, you’re no different. Just look at the time that Cyrus freak tried to-“

    At this Dialga gave a truly venomous leer and stomped a forefoot on what was the rough equivalent of “ground” in his dimension, sending vibrations that shook Yveltal’s body.

    “Enough! You know the hierarchy. I’m the senior Legendary, and you obey my orders. Understood?!”

    “…Fine. I will.”

    With that, Dialga stormed off. Yveltal sighed.

    “Hey,” said a feminine voice. “My brother giving you a hard time?”

    Yveltal turned to see a white –and-pinkish dinosaur-like creature with a long neck approaching, looking worried.

    “What do you think, Palkia?” replied Yveltal.

    “Eh, he’s always bossing good mons around. I wouldn’t worry about it.”

    “But…”

    Yveltal sighed again.

    “I just woke up after a thousand years thanks to that whole Team Flare fiasco. I could use some freedom.”

    “I know… Hopefully he’ll ease up eventually.”

    Palkia’s expression then brightened considerably.

    “You could hang out with me! I was just about to watch a Valiant Knight Skarmory marathon!”

    “Thanks, but I think I’ll go home.”

    “You could hang out with me, ladies,” said a third, masculine voice.

    A third, gray-and-gold dragon emerged from a portal nearby.

    “Giratina! Were you listening in on private conversations again?” said Palkia.

    “Maybe. Just saying, I’m the cool one to hang out with.”

    “Yeah, right. Yveltal, you can go home now.”

    “Thank you, Palkia,” said Yveltal, and she left hastily.

    ----

    Yveltal sat on her perch on a desolate mountain, rocks and scraggly trees filling her vision all the way down to a valley below, where a human city lay, its form seeming to taunt Yveltal. In the meantime, a Latias was babbling in her ear.

    “…And Tornadus and Thundurus blew something up. Again. Any questions?”

    “Nope,” said Yveltal, “I’m good.”

    “Thank you! Now can I go? I have a human friend I wanted to vi-“

    “Fine!” snapped Yveltal. “Shoo!”

    The Latias gulped and quickly flew off. Yveltal gazed back at the city sourly.

    Maybe Dialga is right, Yveltal thought. Maybe I should stay away from humans.

    As the sun set in the distance the lights began to flicker on in the human city.

    But humans are so interesting. They don’t know when to stop creating- and even better when to stop destroying! I hardly even have to do anything sometimes! And they’re far more dynamic and open to change than we Legendaries are…

    She smirked.

    And besides, they’re fun to hang out with.

    Her mind skipped back to the subject of other Legendaries and suddenly felt a pang of longing.

    And then there’s Xerneas… He can be a bit of a buzzkill too and we fight a lot, but he’s my friend and I miss him. He could be out there, anywhere.

    Yveltal fidgeted a bit, then stretched her wings.

    To hell with it. I’m going.

    She flapped her wings and flew off towards the city.

    ----

    A now-human Yveltal weaved her way through a crowd in a city park, making sure not to bump into anyone. There was a celebration going on, and the air was filled with various sights and smells, some pleasant and others not so much.

    Suddenly a man tapped her on the shoulder.

    “Hey, have you seen a blonde girl in a Zelda t-shirt?”

    “Let me guess, your girlfriend?” said Yveltal.

    “Uh, yeah, why?”

    “Ew. Romance. I don’t get why you hu- er, everyone is so gaga about it.”

    “…I’ll ask someone else.”

    The man left in a huff.

    What? Thought Yveltal. I really don’t get it.

    She then felt something pulling on her leg and looked down to see a Helioptile.

    <You got any food?>

    “No. Shoo.”

    The Helioptile frowned and scampered off.

    Great, thought Yveltal. Now I feel guilty.

    She moved away from the crowd and rested her hand on a tree.

    Aside from those little mishaps, so far, so good. See, Dialga, I’m doing fi-

    She suddenly felt a surge of energy through her arm and looked up to see the tree’s leaves withering.

    Gah! She thought as she recoiled her hand. Keep it under control, keep it under control…

    She looked around and became further flustered when she saw a pink-haired young woman in a Valiant Knight Skarmory t-shirt.

    Palkia! OK, keep your cool, you just have to avoid her seeing y-

    “Hi Yveltal!” said Palkia, who was suddenly right next to her.

    Yveltal jumped to the moon and let out a yelp. “Don’t scare me like that! How’d you get over here so quickly?”

    “Deity of space,” replied Palkia, stopping to sip a drink.

    “Whatever. Just… don’t tell Dialga.”

    “Like I’m going to tell that buzzkill.”

    “I’d suggest not calling me that again,” said a third, seething voice.

    A human Dialga stepped in and gave Yveltal a glare that could freeze the sun.

    “And look who’s already disobeying orders.”

    “Hmph,” said Yveltal, “Can you just buzz off?”

    “I’ll “buzz off” when you actually listen to me.”

    “Er, guys?” said Palkia. “There are people here…”

    “Look, I’m just trying to learn how to fit in.” said Yveltal. “Is that so bad?”

    “It is when you’re a risk to everyone around you,” replied Dialga.

    “Maybe I wouldn’t be one if you left. Me. Alone!

    At the “alone” a pulse of dark energy fired from Yveltal’s mouth straight at Dialga. It collided with him and sent him flying straight into a tree, and the sound of wood splintering echoed throughout the park.

    The crowd of people heard the noise, saw the crumpled Dialga, and began to yell and panic.

    Dialga staggered to his feet, and his eyes began to glow.

    Around him, Palkia, and Yveltal, time flowed in reverse. The tree de-splintered several pieces of wood at a time, the crowd’s panic transitioned smoothly back into celebration, and when the glow in Dialga’s eyes ceased and time started flowing normally again nothing seemed to have happened.

    Dialga then spoke as coldly as he possibly could.

    “Palkia, take us home. Now.”

    Silently, Palkia blipped them away.

    ----

    The crystals in Dialga’s home dimension gave off an audible buzz as the three Legendaries –now in their default forms- gathered between them.

    “Well.” said Dialga. “I believe we all learned a lesson today.”

    Yveltal opened her beak to retort, but just as quickly closed it.

    “Yveltal,” continued Dialga, “You will be re-assigned to the most remote corner of the planet. And if you attempt to leave I will report you to Arceus himself. Understood?”

    Yveltal sighed and hanged her head. “Yes…”

    “Woah woah woah,” said Palkia. “I have had enough of this. It wasn’t entirely her fault!”

    “She fired a Dark Pulse at me!” said Dialga.

    “Because you were pressuring her!”

    “Well what was I supposed to do?”

    “Give her a chance?”

    “I already gave her-“

    “A real chance?”

    “…Fine.”

    He turned to Yveltal.

    “We shall do battle. If you display sufficient control of your power during it I may let you off easy.”

    Yveltal immediately shifted into a battle position but squawked and ducked when Dialga spat a pulse of turquoise energy her way.

    “You’re going to have to react faster than that!” said Dialga.

    “Oh, I most certainly will!” said Yveltal, firing a pulse of dark energy that racked Dialga’s steely hide.

    Dialga grunted and pooled the light shining off his scales into a beam that struck Yveltal and nearly knocked her out of the sky.

    “No, I can’t lose this!”

    Yveltal fired her own beam from the center of her body at Dialga, pushing him back a bit but barely making him flinch. However, it was enough for Yveltal to blast his face with dark energy, disorienting him.

    At this, Dialga began glowing; Yveltal panicked and bullrushed him, raking him with the claws on her wings in a desperate attempt to stop his attack. But it was too late; an explosion of energy pulsed from Dialga’s body as he roared, blasting Yveltal away and leaving her crumpled on the ground.

    “Ugh… I’m sorry…” she said. “I failed…”

    “No. You succeeded.”

    Yveltal looked up to see Dialga smirking.

    “You displayed admirable control of your power in that battle. I feel that merits going a little easier on you.”

    “Yes!” said Palkia, pumping a claw in the air.

    “Yes!” said Yveltal as well, shooting back up into the air. “I knew I could do it!”

    “However,” said Dialga. “Given the incident today I feel the need to appoint a supervisor.”

    “Eh? Who?”

    Dialga suddenly turned his head.

    “Giratina! I know you’re there. You’re the supervisor.”

    A portal opened, from which the gray-and-gold dragon emerged.

    “Yo ladies! We are gonna par-tay, am I right?”

    Yveltal stared blankly for a few seconds before giving a satisfied smirk.

    “Totally worth it.”

    --------

    The next day a human Yveltal and Giratina were together on the side of a city street, the human Giratina being dressed in a long coat, fedora, and scarf.

    “Now,” said Yveltal, “You aren’t going to be embarrassing me, is that clear?”

    “If you say so,” said Giratina.

    “Good. Now-”

    She noticed something sticking out of Giratina’s mouth.

    “…Is that a joint?!”

    “Maybe.”

    Yveltal quickly grabbed the joint and tossed it away, where it hit the back of a young man’s head.

    “What the-“ he said, looking around.

    “Ack!” said Yveltal. “I’m sorry!”

    “Oh, it’s OK!” said the young man.

    Yveltal suddenly noticed the young man’s platinum-blonde hair and blue-and-black hoodie and felt a twinge of familiarity.

    “You know, I feel like I know you…” she said.

    “Who, me? Well, maybe you do. I wander around. Try to live my life to the fullest because, well, I love life. Viva la vida and all that.”
    He rubbed the back of his head sheepishly.

    “Of course, I shouldn’t be using that particular phrase. I’m Kalosian.”

    Yveltal stared at him for a few more seconds before the realization hit her like a ton of bricks.

    “…Xerneas?!”

    She embraced him. Xerneas embraced her back.

    ***

    Thanks to Shurtugal and my Creative Writing teacher Tim Waggoner for revising help.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2015
  2. Venia Silente

    Venia Silente [](int x){return x;}

    Ah, I was 2/3rds expecting this to get published so that I could say some things about it, because I read (and participated in the preread a bit) of the original Interpretations entry this is built on top of.

    As per custom I won't get into stuff like grammar or plot but rather on the character design, the worldbuilding and or the flat out just why I like the story. In other words, I'll do my business.

    For the most part I have a selective disdain for stories that deal with Pokémon as if they were humans. I watch / play Pokémon for the Pokémon, and for them being Pokémon; whereas if I want "humans with superpowers in fursuits" and all that it entails I can just switch to the Justice League, Marvel's universe or something like that. At the same time I'm very fond of stories that show Pokémon connected to nature, yet trying to deal with a world that is not, truly, their own, and showing how integrate such a world into their lives, or not. This story manages to walk very conveniently the path of being both things at once, without needing to actually go anywhere with it or taking any sides. The issue the story deals with are the Pokémon as personalities and as higher concepts, not the world around them.

    I like how the story speaks of things at different levels, even if with a simple approach. We humans antropomorphise the elemental forces of nature a good lot, our early cultures were bassed around trying to relate to them, and this story does mostly a good work on presenting them as something that could pass for human. Which is where things actually begin. "Caging Destruction" as a statement implies, in as much as humans can do with language, that we'd have it confined to a shape or a lower-concept form that can be limited so as to be able to erect something around it. And that's what we have here in almost all of the scenes: confinement - even the opening scene at the bar and before Mr. Spruce Dialga shows up, the choice of location for a creature that kills by touch and seems to spread disdain and or apathy speaks of confinement as well.

    The way the main character reacts to the further threats of confinements, in my opinion, is very relatable (you know, for this about being a fictional deity and stuff). In particular seeing Ms. Yveltal as a deity that encompasses a concept, but also her seeing that the concept itself exists beyond her, or even despite her. This part is cliché enough in just the right way to sell it:

    And I am requoting this because it deserves a second look and it stands at the basis of the following paragraphs:

    (Gee thanks, Yveltal. I'm suuuuuuure Mr. Openheimer back then would looooove the compliment. Would you consider him any close to being a fair competition? As for the rest of us, well, thanks, too. We aim to please.)


    Second, is the personalities chosen for the various Legendaries in the cast. Most of them I get, and I think they would be kind of expected in the fandom. Yveltal as a being of destruction that is destructive (duh), dismissive (...duh, as well) and rough, while appearing to be a onedimensional character is executed fairly well. She's been Outside™ for a short while since last time and there's a "catching-up stress" that shows. Her dismissive attitude spreads out to other people she interacts with, just as does the death she deals out if she touches anyone or anything. Giratina as a party mon, while far contrary to what we know of canon and to personal headcanon, functions well because he acts within the same parameters than the Giratinas we know: for example in the anime, he flat out shows up when you're doing boring things, and drags you for the ride - and you know it'll be a wild one. IMO it could have been switched for Kyurem in the design stage without any gain or detriment to the story - it's just how things flow.

    The little bits we get from Xerneas are just a bit short of what you'd expect to have for contrast if you are already used to this interpretation of Yveltal by this point. I think he deserved more exposition - given that he's the most immediate thing we *should* have to contrast Yveltal's personality with.

    Dialga, on the other hand... stuck out to me like a sore thumb. I felt like he's far too constrained for the level he'd have to be at if he stands against the other characters in the role he seems to have (apparently even superior to its *siblings* Palkia and Giratina). This quote is relevant:

    Like, dude, you just narrowed an issue that can potentially wipe out any of 720-something-plus-one species to having a concern for *one* select species.

    Or, you know, you just threatened to return Yveltal to the same crap she just got out from shortly ago thanks to Timmy, his Chespin and a bunch of load characters led by a repeatedly friendzoned girl.

    If Yveltal stands at a given level of "conceptual power" such as killing by touch and risking populations simply by virtue of being around, and in some ways spreading a dismissive mood overall, then Dialga stands to such a high conceptual power of time that he shouldn't really need, or even want to bother, with such things as "erecting a glamour". He seems to act with haste and gives the impression of a strict manager under pressure who wants things done NOW - yet with the power enough to hypocritically know that it's just as easy to have them done at any given time including yesterday if he had actually given a damn, and is just instead looking for someone else to pin the blame on. You and me both have met people like that, if you have a job; if you do not, I half compliment you on avoiding one of the nastiest facets of human psyche to be found on other people, and half remind you that you could be out there getting a good job right now. Which I wish you luck with.

    (If you ask me, Dialga having been called out on the whole Cyrus matter is completely deserved and a good nod to the "caging" aspect as presented in the franchise.)

    Granted, picking a Legendary for this role and have it not be Da Boss is pretty hard and I can¿t really see eg.: the Tao Dragons or Rayquaza dealing with having to instruct others of their own kin like this. Partly because of headcanon and partly because of the implications of them also being presented as higher concepts, and most likely fairly biased at them.

    That and I can't really imagine Human!Arceus as anything more than one of those Esoteric Life Management TV marketers dancing with a golden ula ula while they preach about the order of the cosmos and how it's present in the way you peel off a papaya. And I almost feel bad now.

    It's interesting to see that a giver of death is seen as something that must be forcibly called out and constrained, yet a similar giver, this time of possibly eternal life, which poses an equal danger, just happens to frolic around outside and implied to be given a lot of freedom. Or did already go through the nastiness and the testing, but we don't see any of that and the lack of it shows, in that it probably makes the treatment of Yveltal to appear harsher than it actually is.

    The ending of the story was a nice surprise though again I'd say it could have been exposited upon a bit further given the characters involved, partly because the natural contrast that would have been useful to have.

    As for other minor aspects that were brought to my attention:

    * Yveltal seems to lack real description beyond just "being a woman". whereas in contrast the human avatars of the other Legendaries at least get something such as their clothing.
    * The scenette with the random Helioptile seems to cut abruptly and serve no purpose except reminding us that Yveltal can speak "Monese".
    * How HARD did Yveltal throw a *joint* that it hit a person that was not close enough to not be noticed earlier?

    All in all the characters are baked well and the worldbuilding too, in my opinion. The plot is self-contained and well enclosed, it doesn't really need to present big twists or defiantly change things. I'd give it a "would read a short miniseries following the same concept in British procedurals format/10".

    I still want more Xerneas though. But if he ever sings Livin' la Vida Loca, I am donating ¢10 to Dialga chewing him out.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2014
  3. Dragonfree

    Dragonfree Just me

    I think your opening paragraph reads a bit oddly. The second sentence about the girl and her Purrloin sounds like you're introducing a topic, but actually neither that girl nor her Purrloin ever get brought up again - you could cut out the sentence and nobody would notice. I actually had to read the scene a couple of times to convince myself the girl really is just a random background mention. If the point of the sentence is just that there is nobody in the sandwich shop except the girl (because Yveltal doesn't want to attract too much attention, presumably), then it should be worded to emphasize that - e.g. "The only ones in the shop were a lone girl absent-mindedly staring out the window at a corner table and a Purrloin devouring her French fries. Perfect."

    The mention of the cashier sending a text while his manager wasn't looking also seems sort of random - tying it into something more relevant might be a good idea, such as either noting she sees the cashier texting when she's scanning the room, or that he looks up from his text in startlement when she suddenly slams bills on the table.

    This dialogue punctuation isn't quite right. Either she's saying one sentence - "Be a dear and get me a Unovan cheesesteak, and make it snappy" - in which case the "and" should not be capitalized, or she's saying two - "Be a dear and get me a Unovan cheesesteak. And make it snappy" - in which case there should be a period after "she said".

    Also, very minor thing, but you've got the wrong curly quote there after the first quote - it should be ”, but for some reason it ended up as “. It's probably your word processor's fault - you may have accidentally inserted a space before you made the quote and then erased it, for instance, in which case it thought you were starting a new quote and didn't fix it. Just something to watch out for when you proofread.

    This feels repetitive - just after saying she sat down to eat, you have her literally say out loud that it's nice to settle down and eat. It's a good idea to try to avoid repeating similar phrasing so soon after its first occurrence.

    Aside from that, though, this just seems like a pretty unusual thing to do - why would you announce out loud to a near-empty sandwich shop that it's nice to settle down and eat? Characters in fiction talk to themselves a lot more often than real people do, but usually they do it in settings where there's nobody who would notice or care, not in a quiet public place where people are going to look at them funny if they suddenly say something to nobody at all.

    This could be a nice thing to include in a fic like this, mind! After all, she's a Pokémon, and doing something very weird that normal people don't do near the very beginning would be a fun way to clue the reader in to the fact she's not a normal human being. But you don't write it here like it's supposed to be odd - nobody reacts to her or anything - so I assume it's not what you were originally going for.

    Finally, that period at the end of the quote should be a comma, since it's followed by a dialogue tag ("she said").

    In both of these cases, the ellipsis is merely conveying a pause in a single sentence, rather than the first sentence trailing off and being followed by a separate sentence. In such a case, you shouldn't capitalize what comes after the ellipsis. When in doubt, try pretending the ellipsis isn't there - you should only capitalize what comes after the ellipsis if there would be a period where the ellipsis is.

    Otherwise, this conversation works out nicely - their characters are immediately distinct and play well off one another, and you get across Yveltal's somewhat cocky, adolescent-like confidence and Dialga's cool authority in a short space, all while introducing the main conflict in a fairly natural way.

    I think it's pretty vague to describe it as a "ground of sorts" that's "flimsy or not". While I get what you mean, it's not exactly a vivid image that makes the scene easier to picture. I'd suggest describing something like how it feels beneath her claws - that's a lot more stimulating to the imagination than "ground of sorts".

    Again with the capital after the ellipsis.

    The conversation here is again a high point - it's just fun to watch these characters interact, and Yveltal's poor, defensive excuses for the times when she's lost control show nicely how she's not really as confident and self-assured as she makes herself out to be. For me, at least, it just made her quite likeable and sympathetic.

    Why just humanity, though? Isn't she equally dangerous to Pokémon? Why not say she needs to isolate herself from others in general? It makes sense to bring up specifically that she keeps hanging out with humans if that's mainly where she's causing a lot of risk, but he acts like her being around Pokémon isn't a problem at all.

    I also find that "thus" kind of awkward and think the line flows better without it, but maybe it's just me.

    The quotation mark got turned the wrong way around again.

    Reminding us again of the ground-but-not here is a bit distracting; I'd just remove that bit entirely and leave it at stomping.

    Why is Dialga the one to storm off after the conversation, though? They're in his home dimension; if he wants to definitively end the discussion, it makes more sense for him to tell her to leave than to storm off himself.

    You seem to have put a space there between white and the hyphen, which caused Word to autocorrect it into a dash.

    You don't need these paragraph breaks; this is all Yveltal speaking and acting, so it can all go in the same paragraph (and that makes it a lot clearer that Yveltal is speaking both of these lines, too). You only need a paragraph break in dialogue when you shift from one person's speech/actions to another's.

    Same thing here.

    The bit after Giratina appears feels a little forced; his appearance is kind of random and they go on to basically just ignore him and leave anyway, so it feels sort of out of nowhere and not really like a part of the story. If you really want Giratina to make an appearance here, I'd suggest having him say something relevant, or otherwise prompt some relevant dialogue between Palkia and Yveltal.

    My brain really wants that last "Yveltal" to be "her". It's not exactly an immediate repetition, but one way or another it manages to come off that way, at least to me.

    Again with the opening quote that should be a closing quote.

    Presumably this is the same Latias from Mingle?

    I really like how Yveltal snaps at her when she brings up that she's about to see a human friend, then gazes sourly at the city. It's just this sort of thing I was getting at in my review of your Alpha and Omega entry - you show through Yveltal's reaction how hearing that Latias is about to go down there to visit a human when Yveltal's not allowed to upsets her, without having to make her explicitly think that it was upsetting. It's really nice to see how you've managed to implement that advice in this story! Being able to improve quickly based on feedback is an awesome quality to have as a writer.

    There are things I like and don't like about this passage. On the one hand I quite like that this is Yveltal's reason for liking to hang out with humans so much - it just feels like it makes sense that a legendary Pokémon of destruction would be fascinated by these short-lived creatures who create and destroy and grow and change in such a fluid, adaptive way. I read that and I get what she means.

    I'm less fond of the presentation, though. I feel like this should be a pretty pivotal bit, because it's exploring an interesting part of her motivation - I can't help but think it would feel more that way, and convey better how she feels, if you expanded it a bit and went somewhat more in depth regarding her view of humans. What exactly does she mean when she says humans are far more dynamic and open to change? How exactly does she feel like humans do her job for her? Knowing just a bit more would help us really see humanity through her eyes.

    Meanwhile, I'm not sure why she smirks - a smirk is kind of a smug expression, and I can't see why she'd be smug about people being fun to hang out with. It almost seems to suggest by "fun to hang out with" she really means "fun to tear limb from limb" or something, which I don't think is what you meant to imply.

    Also, I think this kind of weakens the whole thing about why she likes humans specifically - suddenly it's like actually what really gets her to go to the city is just that she hopes Xerneas might be there.

    This seems a bit over-the-top and silly, with the almost blurting out "humans" - I'd imagine it would be hard for Yveltal to forget when she's talking to a human that she shouldn't be talking about humans as a separate species, since she never really talks to humans when she's not pretending to be one of them. I feel like at least something more ambiguous like "you people" would preserve the joke while sounding more natural (though it could still use adding something that sounds more like an answer to him looking for her, like "Are you sure you're not better off without her?" - right now she's just randomly choosing to express her opinion on romance without really answering him).

    Also, I must admit my mind didn't jump to "girlfriend" when I heard that "a man" asked about "a girl" - I started imagining it was a father looking for his daughter. Showing us the details that make Yveltal come to the conclusion it's his girlfriend he's looking for would make this flow a lot more naturally, and could even give an interesting insight into how Yveltal sees humans.

    Thoughts have the same punctuation/capitalization rules as dialogue, only without the quotation marks. Because you're saying that Yveltal thought the word What? rather than that she just thought in general, it's part of the same sentence as the "thought Yveltal", and thus "thought" shouldn't have a capital T, even though you usually start a new sentence after a question mark.

    This is a cute reference to Mingle, but as it stands it feels awfully extraneous: you could easily cut this bit out and the story would make just as much sense. That's never a good thing - any part that doesn't contribute anything to the story should generally be cut. If you want to include the Helioptile for the sake of referencing Mingle, you should try to integrate it better so that his appearance plays a part in advancing the plot or establishing some significant part of Yveltal's character. (The man looking for his girlfriend at least served the purpose of showing how awkwardly Yveltal interacts with normal humans and how much she doesn't understand of human behaviour, even if that isn't quite relevant to the plot.)

    Why did this sudden surge of energy happen? It sounds like it's supposed to be simply coincidental, but in that case it seems kind of contrived: why would it happen now, just when she's rested her hand on a tree, just when she was thinking about how she's doing fine? That's a sort of irony that can work for comedy, but you don't really play this humourously, and you probably shouldn't, given Yveltal's ability to control her powers (or lack thereof) is what your actual plot is about.

    If I were you I'd try to indicate clearly that there's a reason Yveltal loses control just now: perhaps her annoyance towards Dialga makes her unconsciously use her power when she thinks of him here, for instance, or she's been expending a lot of effort to keep it at bay since she got there but here where she tries to relax she lets her guard down, or something. In addition to making this particular incident feel less random, it would give the reader a better idea of exactly what the problem Yveltal is facing is, which makes it a lot easier to truly understand and get invested in the conflict.

    Is "jumped to the moon" some sort of idiom I'm not familiar with? If not, I think the extreme hyperbole is odd here.

    This is just a fun, amusing image - though bringing up first that she was holding a drink (or that she just conjured a drink out of nowhere, or whatever) might help.

    That dialogue should end in a comma, not a period.

    Yay time powers seeing some use! Plus, it's a pretty nice paragraph.

    More dialogue that should have a comma.

    Here, on the other hand, because the "You will be re-assigned..." is a continuation of the sentence Dialga already started to say, it should not be capitalized.

    Another quote turned the wrong way.

    Unfortunately, I'm afraid I really can't see in what way Yveltal demonstrates admirable control of her powers in that battle with Dialga. Sure, Yveltal uses a few attacks, but nobody ever thought she couldn't attack; the worry is that she can use her powers by accident and cause damage without meaning to. No part of that battle required Yveltal to show restraint or fine control - or, at least, if it did, you don't show that at all. In fact, during the battle you describe her panicking and improvising wildly, which is basically the opposite of being in control. This means it's incredibly unconvincing when suddenly Dialga declares Yveltal shows admirable control of her powers: when I was reading the battle I thought she seemed to have no idea what she was doing (and assumed that was the intended point), so how can Dialga watch that same battle and come to such a radically different conclusion?

    This is the main problem with this story, I think: I just can't buy the resolution of the conflict here at all. To boot, the battle is extremely short, so the climax also simply feels rushed. If you choose to make revisions to this story, this is probably the main thing you should address. If Dialga is going to conclude Yveltal has good control of her powers after all, you need to write her trial so that it shows that. Personally, if I were Dialga I wouldn't make the trial a battle - battles usually aren't the best opportunity to test restraint. But if you do want it to be a battle (I suppose it could make sense if Dialga wants to make sure she won't falter even in stressful situations), you should carefully choreograph it so that Yveltal really does demonstrate admirable control, and the reader can see that even before Dialga states it out loud.

    In particular, whatever the reason was for her accidentally wilting that tree earlier, you really need to convince us that's not going to happen again, because otherwise the reader is forced to conclude she might just as well accidentally release a pulse of death in the middle of a crowd of people next time. If it happened because she started thinking angry thoughts, show her thinking similar angry thoughts, catching herself and managing to reel it in anyway; if it happened because she lost her concentration for a moment, show her managing to maintain her focus despite distractions. The most climactic way to do it would be if she had some sort of crucial realization about how she can keep her power in check at a pivotal moment in the battle, and then she used that realization to do something that required extremely fine control. Either way, you need to establish carefully both that she has control (so that we can buy Dialga's sudden confidence in her) and how she gained that control (so that we can buy her having control now when she clearly didn't before).

    While playboy Giratina is amusingly different (though I'm having sort of a hard time reconciling him with Giratina as he appeared in Mingle), I can't help but think he just doesn't quite make sense. You've already established that Yveltal regards romance as a peculiar human thing, which would seem to imply legendaries in general are asexual beings even if they present as one gender or another. Giratina's interest in "ladies" seems petty bizarre in that light: exactly why is he hitting on them? Why does he care if they're "ladies"? What is his idea of "partying" with "ladies", and why is that attractive to him? I suppose it could just be that Giratina is emulating the behaviour of human men without understanding the reasons behind it (which could also explain the joint later), but if so I think it should be commented on in the story, because it's a pretty ridiculous thing to do.

    Another incorrectly punctuated bit of dialogue - either that should be a period after "said Yveltal" or a lowercase y in "you", depending on whether you want to imply Yveltal says this as one sentence or two.

    Closing quote the wrong way around.

    I'd put all of this in one paragraph, to make it more obvious that this is all him talking. If not, though, there should at least be a double line break between the first quote and the next paragraph.

    The end feels somewhat random because we don't really have a very good sense of Yveltal's friendship with Xerneas - you've only briefly brought it up once, so we haven't exactly gotten very invested in seeing them reunite. Developing further that Yveltal has been searching for Xerneas would probably give this more impact - though I'm honestly not sure Xerneas is necessary to this story as it stands at all and these brief mentions of him could simply be cut.


    So. All in all I think this story could have used a slightly clearer focus. The central conflict here is Yveltal's desire to be among humans and how her inability to control her power makes it dangerous for her to do that, at least as Dialga sees it. You don't spend a lot of time really showing us why Yveltal wants so badly to be among humans, though - you have one scene where she explains a glimmer of it, but then when she does go to mingle with humans, we don't exactly see her being ecstatic to be there or willingly doing much of anything she couldn't do anywhere else. She's not eager to interact with people, savouring all the delicious human food, watching mesmerized as some street jugglers perform an act they put together as if creating stuff is no big deal, or anything else that could really give us a sense that this is something she really cherishes and would hate to lose, even though that's supposed to be her stake in the plot. In that respect, Mingle in a way did better - Latias clearly loved pretending to be a human and doing silly everyday things with her human friends, and as a result, if somebody had forbidden her from mingling with humans, it would have been very easy to viscerally feel like there's a lot at stake for her. So I think you should definitely try to show more clearly how much being able to enter the human world means to Yveltal, to establish the central conflict and its stakes more clearly.

    Then there's the resolution, which I've already talked about - we need to see Yveltal actually learn to control her power if we are to believe that she really isn't dangerous anymore and find it a satisfying conclusion for her to be allowed back, given we've seen her actually inadvertently cause some destruction.

    All that said, however, I think this story shows a lot of improvement. Yveltal oozes character, is generally fun to watch, and has some great moments of subtlety, and Dialga is similarly distinct and the two of them play well off one another, making for entertaining scenes. Of your three stories I've read so far, I definitely found this one the most enjoyable overall because of these aspects that made me just like these characters and want to read more about them. There's still stuff to work on, but you're getting a good thing going and I look forward to seeing you continue to improve.
     
  4. Sike Saner

    Sike Saner Peace to the Mountain

    ONE-SHOT READING TIME. LET'S DO THIS.

    Yveltal has (what I can only assume is) good taste in sandwiches.

    At least he let her bring the sandwich.

    Kinda sounds like one, too.

    Next time, bathe before you go into town. Fewer lizards will beg you for food if you don't smell like a sandwich.

    I get the feeling he has to do this often.

    She should be glad steel doesn't resist that stuff anymore. :p

    Oh god. Can't say I'd take that news as well as Yveltal did.

    Pffffff of course he has a fedora.
     
  5. Spiteful Murkrow

    Spiteful Murkrow Early Game Encounter

    So, I'm pretty sure that most of what I can offer in terms of critique has been touched on before one way or another, but...

    This was a part that I initially thought was a slip-up, but after a while, I realized that you meant 'glamour' in the archaic sense of 'magic', which is certainly befitting of a creature that would have a different understanding of time than most anything else. I'm a little curious though as to why you chose not to play the aspect up in Dialga's other lines.

    I think this is a rather compelling argument for teaching Yveltal how to use an internet browser.

    These were cute little cameos to see. Do you see the gang roaming about different regions from time to time in their disguises?

    This part more or less encapsulates what I think is the biggest weakness of your fic. There's chunks of your story that are incredibly sparse on detail, which admittedly is a trap that I also find easy to fall into.

    This read rather sudden for an ending. While it's a cute scene, it just didn't quite feel like a denouement and more like a cliffhanger.

    Nitpicks aside, I thought that this was a rather fun and refreshing depiction of an uncommon interpretation of how Legendaries interact with the world around them. You seemed to have a rather firm grasp and command on your characters, which made them compelling to follow.

    I'm glad that this fic caught the attention of the nominators this year. Rough edges aside, it's a charming premise that I hope that you'll revisit and play around with in some of your future stories.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015

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