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Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by [Imaginative]:[Clockwork], Jul 17, 2012.

  1. [Imaginative]:[Clockwork]

    [Imaginative]:[Clockwork] X-treme trainer

    Whew! It's been a long time, for Chromatic and for me writing fanfiction in general! After graduating college and working two jobs for a while, I'm happy to say that both of things have combined to get me a sort of stepping stone job to my dream career. I finally have a normal work-week job, so I'll hopefully have more free time to write and review ^^;

    So I've had this written for a while, but for whatever reason I was incredibly unsatisfied with it. I've revised it multiple times over the course of probably a year, and when I opened it again yesterday, rereading it and changing it as usual, I finally found that I was actually satisfied. It's a little short for such a long wait, and I'm sorry about that, but if anyone here remembers this story I hope you enjoy it! Thank you!


    The wild growlithe ran happily down the Vermilion City street. The concrete was hard under the wild growlithe’s little paws, but he didn’t mind a bit. There was far too much good to worry about the bad. The smells! The people! The ocean! It was a blast of sensations he was powerless to resist. The temptation alone had led him out of the wilderness and into the unique wilds of Vermilion City. Now he found that time was moving too fast, that he could never see everything before it was time to go home. He had to be fast, and fast he was.

    He sprinted energetically through a crowd of tourists. With a mixture of laughter and gasps, they dodged to the side as the orange ball of fluff zoomed by. He had places to be, anyone could see that. Where those places were, though, remained to be seen, or rather smelled.

    His first destination was the scrumptious smell coming from the marketplace. With a tongue-flapping gallop, he charged across the cement and into the maze of tents and tables filled with fresh fruit, handmade crafts, and exotic smells of unidentified but fascinating origin.

    It was certainly a manic scene. Scents attacked him from every angle. The dozens of hands reaching town to scratch him behind the ears only added to the sublime chaos. After a minute of obliging the adoring fans, he shook them off and trotted purposefully forward. He trusted his nose to lead him to the smell.

    When he finally found it, it was quite literally the best thing he had seen in his short life. A meat stand, a smoking table of carnal decadence, a simmering lesson in humanity’s expertise in indulgence. The growlithe was transfixed, but his body shook anxiously. It had to be his.

    A trained growlithe may have whined a little. Wide-eyed pleading had been an effective method used by house-trained pups worldwide. Unfortunately, this growlithe was fresh from the wild and only knew the laws of the untamed.

    With a fierce bark, he jumped onto the table and shocked the poor man manning the tabletop grill. While he stumbled backward, the growlithe scooped a hot steak into his jaws and leaped away. Not daring to savor the meal in the market, he sprinted away, ignoring the angry shouts with oblivious glee. He arrived in a small alleyway and chowed down.

    Within seconds, he had forgotten about even the concept of hunting. With the smallest of effort, he had what could possibly be the absolute best meal of his entire life, past and future. Whatever pokémon was in his mouth, whatever the human had done to it, it was better than anything he could chase down in the wild.

    Eager to see more of the city and satisfied that he had licked every ounce of flavor off of his paws and chest, he took off again. He sprinted down the docks, bumping a sailor standing on guard into the ocean. He rolled in the magnificent dirt surrounding the piles of bricks at a construction site. He even visited the gym, where he knocked several trashcans over before being chased away. And just when he thought his day, the city, and life couldn’t get any better, he met another pokémon.

    It was a sparking, yellow, spiky thing, about his size but much skinnier. As a girl yelled things, the growlithe and his new friend tussled in the streets, just like he had done with the rest of his litter in the past. People even gathered to watch! It was a blast, an absolutely rousing good time. Until it wasn’t.

    At a certain point, the growlithe began hurting too much. Electricity surged through his body, causing involuntary yelps to slip out of his mouth. Despite his best efforts, his bites seemed to do nothing, while those of his opponent were almost unbearable. He clawed and barked and spat fire, but he was always overpowered.

    Before he knew it, he was panting on the ground. A hard object knocked sharply against his head, and everything went dark.

    His pain, which until that moment had been great and inescapable, became a dull throbbing, one that seemed spread over his entire being instead of at specific points of injury. He couldn’t breathe, but he didn’t need to, and although he could still hear everything, it was too distant to feel immediate. There was no trying to run, because there was no trying anything; he merely existed, floating shapelessly. The blue skies were dark. The laughing people were dark. The food was dark. The girl and her pokémon were dark. Darkness was his entire existence, and it bound him. Then, slowly, he felt his energy begin to drop until he was inert.

    The next time he was released, it was in a cold building with smooth floors and several people sitting around. The girl scratched behind his ears and said something in a cooing tone, but the growlithe shook her off.

    His whole body felt refreshed, as if he had been born brand new. Gone was trembling energy of survival, as well as the thrill and fear of the wild. Even his scent, a healthy mix of dirt, sweat, and prey, was sanitized into something unpleasantly human. There was a disturbing absence of background noise, and he sensed no hostility in the people around him, which only made him suspicious. With a nervous growl, he turned toward the glass doors and ran, but blanched when they slid open with a frightening swish, giving the girl just enough time to return him into the blackness, where he stayed for some time.

    When he once again saw the light of day, he was outside, in a field, and with several other pokémon gathered around the girl. The pokémon all looked at the growlithe with dull eyes that communicated no hostility and only the faintest sense of friendliness. The girl spoke to him, again softly and without aggression, but it was false somehow. Her pokémon meant no harm, mostly because any ability to think for themselves seemed to have been drained from them a long time ago. Wild pokémon he had encountered in the forest had absolutely meant him harm, but it was an honest intention, and one that he was able to reciprocate without guilt.

    The girl, though, was different: she had trapped the growlithe but spoke kindly; she had attacked the growlithe but seemed to want friendship; she had taken the growlithe away from everything he knew, but she never gave the final blow and ended it. Nothing about the girl made sense, and the fear made the growlithe take off once again, across the grass, through a patch of wildflowers and toward the trees. This was it, his perfect opportunity. He didn’t recognize the place, but he knew its parts. The twittering in the branches. The smell of everything combined into a mass of familiarity. His soft pads skipped across the dirt deftly, his normal clumsiness restrained just long to enough to get out of sight. He was almost to the tree line. Almost home.

    He was once again sucked back into the darkness.

    The next time he was released from the darkness, he was standing in front of a little pokémon, a dark pod with blades of grass sticking out of the top of her head. Immediately something felt different, and the growlithe realized that this pokémon was wild. This pokémon was him, but no longer. The balance had been shifted, placing him on top of the hierarchy, and as the girl shouted commands at him, he felt compelled to obey, to match the girl’s energy even if he couldn’t understand her words. The enemy seemed to mean him no harm, even after he had attacked her, and within minutes, she was on the ground, burned and unconscious. It was victory. It was betrayal. It was his life now. With a jolt of fear, he took off once again, and without surprise was called back, the world fading away.

    Things continued this way for many months, and eventually the growlithe stopped running. When he was called out, it was usually to fight another pokémon, and he liked to think he performed admirably. Soon enough, the bitter taste of a fight without friendship or the intent to kill left his mouth, and he learned to enjoy battling. Sometimes he lost, usually he won, but the girl was always proud. She would scratch the pokémon behind his stiff ears, and despite the fact that he still missed his home, achingly, he eventually began to enjoy the girl’s presence, and even crave it.

    Life moved along. He no longer had to fear for his life, or anything really, and relied on the girl’s commands to control him. Most of the time, he just rested, expending no energy and wanting for nothing. He never loved any place because he would get only peeks before being returned to his ball, and it made the fact that they were always moving easier. No familiar scents, no familiar sights. Everything he had known was gone, and when he accepted that, he was able to find a distant enjoyment in the places they went. At a certain point, the girl and the other pokémon were his only constants, and he gripped them tightly.

    One day, after a particularly intense battle against a dark-clad man and his purple, smoke-spewing pokémon, they made their way to a seaside path to the east. It was a sunny day, and the girl released all of the pokémon to enjoy it. She approached the growlithe smiling widely and pulled a glittering orange stone out of her bag.

    He could feel the energy coming from it. His whole body shook with anticipation. His fur stood up on end. When she pressed it against him, he felt as if he had exploded.

    His body grew. His mind warped. The power inside him flared from an ember to a bonfire. He could see farther and more clearly. He could hear everything. He was stronger and faster than he had ever been.

    After a tight hug, the girl lay on the grass, followed by the rest of the pokémon. But the arcanine couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t stop moving, not now. The restrictions of the last several months felt meaningless to him now. He wasn’t trapped anymore. He felt like he could do anything.

    Bigger paws, longer legs, a stronger jaw. His energy was peaking, far beyond what he knew would eventually be neutral. With a burning in this throat, he remembered the last time he felt this way. The hot concrete. The cooked meat. The girl.

    Smoke seeped out from between his jaws as he looked at her lying innocently on the grass. She had ruined him. She had taken him away from his home and brought him far, far away, where he could never return. He was big now, and strong, and all of them would be asleep in a few minutes. He could do it. He could ruin her. The pokémon would attack, but he might live long enough to finish it.

    If his instinctual brain was capable of hate, he was feeling it now. It was wrecking his mind, burning away logic. He shook, almost violently, and dug his paws into the dirt. He glared at her, feeling his new strength coursing through him. As fire began swirling inside his mouth, he felt the familiar and comforting rush of blind instinct.

    But he stopped. The ocean. The ocean was the same. He could smell it, and he remembered. He knew his home was in the north, and he knew it was by the ocean. He had to be close. She had taken everything away. He could take it back. He could have everything back. The hunting. The family. The forest. The skies. The freedom. He shuddered.

    He looked at his teammates, anger replaced by fear. They were all asleep, sunning themselves peacefully. They knew. They had to know. They always knew. They always caught him. Every single time.

    But he was stronger now. Smarter. Faster.

    He looked north. It was up there, somewhere. He could almost smell it. His breathing was shallow.

    This time was different. It had to be. He was desperate for it to be different. With one last look at the girl, he turned away and braced himself for one last attempt. He lowered his front legs. He cocked his back legs. He inhaled deeply.

    He ran.
  2. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine Ever-Discordant

    That ending.

    On a more coherent note, I think that's what I like most about this fic. Like ... the way the Pokémon franchise structures its stories, nine times out of ten, a new but rebellious catch will be BFFs with their trainer by the time they evolve. But you don't take that route here. Instead, there's always that note of rebellion and hatred towards the trainer, always that intent on escaping. And it's justified, too, because ultimately, that's what training does: removes a living creature from everything it knows.

    The other thing I like about this situation is the fact that it's not about family or an undefined hatred for humans, which are probably the two most common explanations behind a pokémon's need to go back to where it came from. Instead, it's all about the simple act of returning home, which honestly just makes more sense. I mean, the entire first half of this fic is one long explanation for how happy he felt living in the wild, so of course he would want to go back to that using any means he could.

    It was heartbreaking to watch this growlithe struggle so hard with that exact point. Like ... even when he seemed to give up and slide into his role as her teammate, it wasn't a note of change but rather of defeat—like one step below legit Stockholm syndrome. So when he finally evolved and gained enough power to consider escaping again, it's fascinating to see that his relationship with the girl and her involvement in his strength and evolution don't even factor into his decision. (It's even interesting to see she never gets a name. Sure, the story is told from the point of view of someone who wouldn't understand the concept of human names, but at the same time, it's almost like saying she never deserved one.) Rather, it's all about whether or not he could. And part of me held my breath because of this because I was just expecting him to use some of that power (to kill the girl, specifically), but instead, there's just this burst of freedom with that final line (which itself is so very powerful).

    I know. Rambly, but I think the long and short of it is I'm fascinated by where this short went because it's so unlike the natural progression of a relationship in the Pokémon universe. But at the same time, it makes sense for what it is: a dive into the mind of a wild pokémon who never really leaves the wild.
  3. [Imaginative]:[Clockwork]

    [Imaginative]:[Clockwork] X-treme trainer

    Thank you! I don't necessarily have a problem with the more traditional capture-to-BFFs plot, but I did want to try something different here that at least attempted to show an unsuccessful version of that type of story. I generally support the idea that pokemon and humans work well together and enjoy the teamwork of battling and whatever else, just because it makes it a lot easier to understand and justify most canon, but it seems sort of wild to imagine that every pokemon a trainer captures would get super close to them. I tend to imagine pokemon as especially intelligent animals rather than magical creatures, so it makes more sense that as often as not a captures pokemon would rebel.

    I'm glad you liked that! What I wanted to show with this one was energy being drained. That can be related to loss of family or being captured by whatever growlithe might view as an enemy, but I thought the most powerful way to do that was to take away what made him the happiest, which was just bein' able to do stuff the way he liked. It also worked well with the traveling aspect of training. He can accept his teammates as a sort of family and learn to love an enemy, but the fact is that a home is almost irreplaceable, especially when you're never in one place.

    It was important for me that he was never happy during his time on the team, even if he accepted it as his life. Like I said, I support canon's friendship stuff, but I don't want that to be the only kind of story to tell about this. He doesn't like the girl, he's not friends with the other pokemon, and even when he kind of gives up what he really wants is to go home. That base desire is the only thing that overpowers the situational instincts that are telling him to kill the girl. He knew that with the burst of his energy and being let out of his poke ball that this was his best chance to do one of the two things he really wanted to do, but not both, so I wanted that final scene to be an extremely powerful beast experiencing vengeful fight response and desperate flight responses. So I'm glad that tension of wondering what he might do was there, because that's what I was hoping for ^^;

    No, I loved your review! It felt like an organic response to the fic instead of a more structured one, which is fun to read. I'm glad you liked it! :)

    Ok, but this is great. Again, it’s very different from what you’ve written in Chromatic so far, but that’s a great thing considering how dynamic orange is compared to blue or grey. And seeing you write from the POV of a Pokemon was a real treat.

    I agree with Jax that this was a really interesting take on the “wild Pokémon gets captured against its will” plot, and you really nailed that down with how the energy of the one-shot progressed from being very high to becoming more subdued and then ending it on a note similar to how it started. All throughout the one-shot I could feel the Growlithe’s energy and fear, and that really shows how well-written this is.

    I think the only thing I would’ve wanted was a bit more on the girl and her other Pokémon, but I also think that the little space you use to describe them highlights just how detached this Growlithe is to the rest of the team. It would’ve added a contrasting dynamic to the Growlithe’s relationship to the girl, but it would’ve also showed Growlithe actually establishing some shallow relationship with the team, which I know you didn’t want. So yeah, half-and-half comment I wanted to bring up, so make of it what you will.

    But again, this is a great one-shot, and I’m glad you figured things out with “Orange” since I remember you telling me that you were frustrated about where you wanted to take it. Well, all that frustration was worth it! Awesome job. :)
  5. [Imaginative]:[Clockwork]

    [Imaginative]:[Clockwork] X-treme trainer

    I'm so excited! All my free time lately has just been lying on the couch tired, so coming back to reading and writing is so much fun!

    Awesome! I reread them all recently, and Blue and Grey are so low-energy that I was glad this color naturally lent itself to something a little shorter and faster. The pokemon POV was the hardest part of me (surprisingly the lack of dialogue, which I was most dreading, turned out to fit naturally as I was writing), so it's a relief that it was a good read! It honestly was kind of a blast to write the Vermilion sequence haha.

    I always intend to really emphasize the "theme" of each one-shot (this one being energy), get disappointed in myself when I kind of let it slip into the background, and then get excited again when you point out exactly what I was going for! You either have a knack for picking up on the kind of stuff or I'm a lot more on-the-nose than I realize lol. So thank you! The lack of dialogue really helped me in that I was left with only action and emotion, both of which are connected pretty directly to energy.

    I get that! I had thought about adding more teammate interactions, but ultimately I decided not to for two reasons. The more practical one is that, despite only being four pages in MS Word, it already felt to me like this was dragging on. I know part of it was that I was intentionally writing the back half to be slower, but adding more scenes felt like too much, and I wasn't sure if there was anything I was really willing to take out to make room. The other reason is that to me, this growlithe was never going to be trained the way some other pokemon were. He wasn't open to it and he was too happy being free, so the best the trainer and other pokemon were going to get out of him was familiarity and reluctant acceptance. He got to know his team but he never liked them, going so far as to actively hate the girl (which I did try to show, at least from his perspective). Ultimately, when his feelings about them is at best the same as his bitter neutrality toward his whole situation and at worst the kind of rage we see at the end, I didn't want to use extra space showing him interacting with them in detail. But I get how it might feel like kind of a blind spot in the narrative. :/

    Thank you! I'm glad too, and I'm especially glad you enjoyed it! :)
  6. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    Since I enjoyed Baton so much, I thought it would be a good idea to check this out! (I think it's the only story you've posted since that one, anyway.) And it's a pokémon-POV one, too, which is only a plus in my book. All in all, this is a fairly standard "wild pokémon gets captured by human and is unhappy" story, but you did a nice job on the execution, and I liked the ending. Usually when you have the unhappy pokémon getting a chance to break free and escape, and it's contemplating whether or not to get revenge on the human that captured it, somebody's usually gonna end up dead. Here, escape was much more important than revenge for Arcanine, which seems appropriate to his character and priorities. I also like how you left the ending a little ambiguous; it's certainly set up as though Arcanine's escape attempt is very likely to succeed, but there's no way to know for sure. Leaving it open like that gives the ending a kind of mournful quality, because ultimately all Arcanine has is a chance, and he might be forced back into his gray life of servitude in the end. Plus it gives you a good simple, powerful line to end with.

    The section in Vermilion City was definitely the most vibrant part of this story, which is appropriate; it's also the most vibrant part of Growlithe's life, or at least what part of Growlithe's life that we see during this story. In particular I liked the battle between him and the girl's jolteon: it's a nice pivot where everything goes from happy to sad, and it really highlights the joy Growlithe feels in battle, and why, when he's captured. It makes a nice contrast to the battles we see later in the story, and I thought it was well-described.

    This is an excellent line! It really captures how alien the human world's reasoning is to Growlithe and the overall unfairness of his situation. It's not just that he's being held against his will, it's that nothing in his new life makes sense like it did in the one he left behind.

    This one I like a bit less. What do you mean by a "mass of familiarity?" It strikes me as rather vague. This sort of thing would be my primary criticism of the story, I think: I think it could use more concrete sensory details and fewer vaguey statements like this. For example, towards the end the arcanine experiences the "comforting blind rush of instinct." But... what does that feel like, exactly?

    I guess what I'd like a bit more in the second part of this story is the old "show, don't tell." Once the growlithe gets captured, the story switches to kind of summarizing a lot of what happens to him. It's more reciting a series of events than describing them, in contrast with the first scene, which is much more fleshed out. This is appropriate to some extent, because the growlithe's life becomes a lot flatter and grayer after being captured and because you need to cover a lot of ground in a relatively short time, but I think focusing more on what he's experiencing rather than summarizing with statements like "despite the fact that he still missed his home, achingly, he eventually began to enjoy the girl’s presence, and even crave it" would lend some extra oomph to the narrative. And, in particular, details that emphasize how Growlithe experiences the world would be nice (like, probably a lot of smells). With pokémon POV, I think one of the real challenges is portraying what it's like to live as a creature that functions quite differently from a human, and I think a little more of that would be good for this story.

    Still, this is a solid story, and a nice twist on the genre. The Growlithe's bewilderment I thought was done particularly well, and is something you don't see portrayed very often in this kind of story. Nice work!
  7. Chibi Pika

    Chibi Pika Stay positive

    Hey, I wish I'd seen this series sooner! This is a fun little concept, writing one-shots to represent not just colors, but the different locales of Kanto. I've read the first two so far, but I'll definitely check out the others soon enough!

    So within the first two paragraphs, I was guessing that White was opening with a dream sequence or something, but it turned out to be a game of pretend. Well I was close. :p Still, you did a great job with the silly overdramatic tone that made it quite clear that the events weren't real, while also making the narration inherently hilarious. The kids' personalities all stood out really well too, with their constant bickering and teasing and one-upping each other within the games. The two boys tried to act like they were better than Wendy, but in the end they had to admit that her games were fun to play.

    Green was totally not was I was expecting! But it fit the theme splendidly. After all, green is associated with spring, rebirth, and new beginnings. And upooting your life to move across the region to get away from it all definitely fits the bill there. Loretta is a totally different protagonist than you usually see, and I think you did a great job making her compelling and interesting, and making the reader feel her frustrations with that new life--constantly being judged by the others and constantly failing to live up to what people in Viridian are supposed to be like (in her eyes, anyway.) I actually felt pretty bad for Eddie, giving up the life he enjoyed at the end. :(

    Hope to read the others soon!

  8. ChloboShoka

    ChloboShoka Writer

    My comment for reading White. I feel that the one shot has a very strong kanto feel and goes straight into the action. The dialogue is entertaining and shows off the unique voice of the characters. I really like the way you described Rapidash. It made me laugh when they got wet. The children felt really authentic and I liked the details and descriptions. Nice job. I will read the other one shots for sure.
  9. Cutlerine

    Cutlerine Gone. Not coming back.

    Okay, I hadn't read any of these – or any of your work at all – before, and I'll say right now, I'm glad I had a long train journey ahead of me so I could binge-read all these delicious one-shots. They're all just excellent ideas, each one like an elegantly cut gemstone, and all superbly well executed – and if that were all, these would be great short stories (not at all an easy medium to work with), but they're even more than that. Your characters are types, yes, as the characters of short stories of this kind tend to be, but they never feel like they are – you give them a particular kind of life and humanity with the fine detail you put into them, and they always come across, despite the limited length, very much as people. Part of this is the selection of the details, I think. You've got a great sense for when you need information and when you can get away with mere suggestion or even just nothing at all, and that lest you strike an excellent balance between depth of characterisation and brevity of story.

    The only time I felt at all taken out of the Kanto you create here is with the mention of 'low-level bug pokémon' in 'Green', which seem to belong to a much more schematised and gameified world than the one these stories usually evoke. Levels aren't impossible to include in a story – I remember one from years ago that I've forgotten the name of where they were done to surprisingly good effect – but in a collection like this, character-heavy and without much space to devote to how such a mechanic might work, I think they seem like a bad fit.

    Probably the strongest two stories are 'Grey' and 'Orange': the former for the way you move fluidly and convincingly between the two time periods, setting up a very clear structure with a predictable outcome but with enough grace and skill that you can't help but enjoy reading it anyway, and the latter for its take on the relationship between trainer and pokémon. The games' themes and stories insist on partnership and harmony, but their mechanics are still those of a collecting and fighting game, and that huge tension is one that generates three kinds of response: to ignore it and take the games at face value; to emphasise the mechanics of unwilling capture and servitude; or to emphasise the themes and try to modify the mechanics to better serve them. Each of these can be done well or badly, although I have to say the first usually leaves me kinda cold, and 'Orange' is a really stellar example of the second option, in all its messy, painful glory. I'm not gonna repeat everything Jax said about it, although I happily could, so really all that's left for me to do is to congratulate you on nailing it the way you did. It's a fantastic story in a series of elegant, thoughtful and very human one-shots. And I'll definitely be looking forward to whatever you come up with next.
  10. Chibi Pika

    Chibi Pika Stay positive

    I read two more of them! Gray and Blue! Blue hit a little depressingly close to home (by which I mean good job) so I’m primarily gonna talk about Gray.

    I had the same problem that Dramatic Melody had, where I initially couldn’t figure out what was up with the parents. :p I thought they didn’t want her to journey. But I do like the sort of unofficial tradition you’ve set up in this, where aspiring trainers earn their hometown’s badge first to prove that they have what it takes to go on a journey. It makes sense--just because you have a Pokémon doesn’t mean that Pokémon is well-equipped to protect you.

    As with White, I really like how you write kids. They’ve got so much energy and optimism—they feel like they can take on the world. And this was especially clear in the flashback sequences, with all the spot-on bickering and competition between Louie and his friends.

    I think Louie’s decision to head home was a little rushed? I mean, you did a good job showing all the details of how unequipped he was to handle such a journey in his old age, but the actual decision itself seemed to come out of nowhere. I think just another paragraph or two of him coming to that decision after watching Tina’s battle would’ve helped smooth things out.

  11. Sike Saner

    Sike Saner Peace to the Mountain

    Oh my gosh, the dogginess. The sheer DOGGINESS on display there, especially at the beginning. :D I could really get a sense of the growlithe's energy and the rush of sensory input there. ("Sublime chaos" was a very apt way to put it!)

    I also got a good sense for the sort of hollow resignation that gradually set in after capture. The sense of detachment, not daring to connect too much to any one place or time too since it's all so fleeting. The enjoyment--that really sort of wasn't--of his new circumstances.

    Pretty neat how regaining his spark, so to speak, coincided with his evolution. More than one kind of power awakening at once. Awesome. :D

    Whether or not he ever got caught again, I can't guess, and I do rather like the fact that it's left open-ended in that sense. Not to mention the nice punch it has, ending on those two words, on that one action. :D
  12. [Imaginative]:[Clockwork]

    [Imaginative]:[Clockwork] X-treme trainer

    Wow, so many reviews! Thank you all so much!

    Thank you! This is my first timing writing pokemon-POV, so I was trying to toe the line between human-in-a-pokemon-body and incoherent beast. It's a relief to know that he actually had a "character" then, although he hopefully wasn't too person-like ^^; Also, yes, this is definitely his best chance to escape, but it's not a guarantee, and I'm glad that ambiguity didn't frustrate people!

    I honestly loved writing the little battle, even if was a little heartbreaking. Still mostly enjoyable from Growlithe's perspective, but very bittersweet knowing what was coming next.

    I'll try to look back on the story and see if I can fix up some of the vagueness. I do want to avoid being too specific, though. This is third-person, but it is limited to Growlithe's POV, so I figured it would strange to perfectly articulate any emotion when just a sense of it is probably more accurate to what he's feeling. I may have flubbed the execution, though, so I'll take a look haha :p

    I love your suggestion about using more of Growlithe's senses during the latter part of the fic! I was trying to keep it appropriately detached and necessarily dry, but I definitely think focusing on something more visceral, especially as those senses flatten out over time, would give the second half the punch it needs. Thank you so much for the advice and for just reading. :)

    Thank you! White was so much fun to write, since I got to escalate some of the emotions and details in ways I couldn't normally. And as I'm sure you've seen now that you've read a few more, I love writing kids, and it's great that you enjoyed reading them!

    Good! I wasn't sure if people would like Loretta (thanks in no small part to the accent, which I'm kind of divided on in general when it comes to writing), but I really like her personally, and just have to hope that despite her imperfections that readers can sympathize. I wouldn't feel too bad for Eddie though haha. His decision was influenced by Loretta, but I like to think he was going through a much less dramatic version of realizing how stuffy the whole town was too. ^^

    I'm sorry about that but also glad whatever it was you picked up on was portrayed well enough heh. I hope the best for all three of those characters, so that naturally extends to you too!

    Okay, I'll definitely have to do some revisions. I don't want to outright state that they're assuming his health will deteriorate fairly quickly, but maybe I can touch it up a little to get the message across more clearly. And great! I figured it was just something that would come out of shared common sense. If you're trying to earn badges and there's one in your hometown, why not start there?

    Those were some of my favorite parts to write! ^^ That's awesome that you liked them too!

    Hm, I see what you mean. I agree that some extra detail there might help, so I'll see what I can do! Thank you so much for the reviews!

    I'm so glad you liked it! I don't know that White is my best work, but I secretly think it's my favorite from Chromatic, so I always get excited when people like it as well. :) Thank you for reading!

    That's such a huge compliment! I'm self-conscious about some of my characterization (since like you said, I have to be pretty economical with space constrictions, so they're in real danger of just being stereotypes), and I generally just hope that the narration and dialogue gets across enough personality to make them stand out just a little. It's great to hear that it's overall successful. :D

    Ooh, yeah, I get what you mean. I generally like my pokemon world to be as close to natural as possible, so that definitely is out of place ^^;

    Thank you! To be honest, the third option is my personal preference (wherein a decent chunk of pokemon actually enjoy battling and human company, making it a mutually beneficial relationship), but I love and wish I could see more of the idea that there must be plenty of pokemon who really, really don't want anything to do with that, and it's a particular type of abuse to force them into it. I was sort of iffy on my execution, but the reception seems to be positive overall, which is great! Thank you so much for reading and for the extremely nice review!

    Yes! I really tried to capture a raw, silly energy for the first part haha, and it was a lot of fun.

    Thank you! I figured it was only natural that becoming bigger, faster, and stronger would be the only thing that could awaken that old desire in him. It needed to be some kind of big change, anyway, and evolution was the natural choice.

    Thank you! Running, to me, was his freedom (and often his failed attempt at freedom), so the ending had to relate to that. I'm glad it worked for you! Thanks so much for reviewing! ^^
  13. [Imaginative]:[Clockwork]

    [Imaginative]:[Clockwork] X-treme trainer

    Sad to say that five months is a pretty quick update time for me haha, but on the plus side my incredibly slow writing made it so that I could post this slightly more Halloween-y one-shot in October. The idea that I originally had for this one had to be changed because it was too similar to what Orange ended up being (which had the unfortunate domino effect of ruining my plan for Yellow, which had a lot of similarities with this final version of Purple), but I think it turned out better this way. Or at least I hope it did. I had fun writing it regardless, and I hope anyone reading it likes it too!



    2 pinches of catnip

    Ugly? Debatable. She had to admit it wasn’t an objectively untrue insult, but Penelope was sure there was a person or two out there into her particular charms, She was definitely assisted by Lavender Town’s overall lack of style.

    Hag? Well, again, it depended on who you asked, but sure, there were parts of her appearance and personality that were hag-ish, even if only slightly so and usually just after a particularly long night. So okay, she’d give them that one.

    But old? Old? She was twenty-damn-five. Anyone using “old” as an adjective in their witch mad libs to complete the phrase “ugly ______ hag” had run out of creativity and simply wasn’t paying attention.

    Why not mention her long, silver hair? She had certainly spent enough money at the salon getting the color right. “Ugly, moonlight-haired hag.” Fabulous. Or her dress? Lace trim, a scoop neck edging right past the point of modesty, and a dazzlingly deep purple instead of the traditional witch’s black. “Ugly, svelte, fashion-forward, refuses-to-give-in-to-generic-costume-shop-ideas-of-witchdom hag.” A little long right now, but there were no better editors than angry mobs.

    “Go to hell, bitch!”

    She rolled her eyes and ignored the man across the street. As if a witch couldn’t be an atheist. She wasn’t, but it was just another box the world tried to fit witches into.

    But there would be no arguing or grandstanding today. She was on a mission, a grocery run of sorts, and item number one was fresh catnip. She had once seen it growing behind the house of Mrs. Dewberry, the old woman who had been so nice to Penelope growing up until the day she first painted her nails black and forged a bond with darkness or something. And so now Penelope returned, reaffirming with a spark of pleasure that the house’s paint was peeling, the grass was brown, and the tree swing she had spent so many summer days on was now leaning into the dirt after one of the chains had broken. Say what one will about the appeal of old mansions and decrepit castles—and Penelope did have a lot to say about them on her blog—but there was something uniquely, magically tragic about decaying suburbia. That, and it was just nice to see that the mean old woman couldn’t maintain her own house.

    She half crouched behind the haggard picket fence as she made her way to the side of the house. There, right below the kitchen window, were a few feet of the tiny white flowers she had come for. She smiled brightly and retrieved a pocketknife from her satchel. As she began cutting, she heard a very low purr, and her eyes shot up and made contact with a shaggy old eevee resting on the windowsill.

    “Elvis?” she said, bewildered. “You’re still alive?”

    Elvis hopped down onto the grass to accept ear scratches, seemingly unaware that they hadn’t seen each other in nearly 10 years.

    “How have you been?” she said, making kissing noises as he climbed onto her folded legs. She slipped a handful of catnip into her satchel. “Have you been good? Are you trying to outlive Mrs. Dewberry?” He chirped softly in response. “I’ve missed you so much, sweetheart.” She kissed the top of his head. “But I can’t stay. I need to leave before I get caught.”

    “Too late, dear.”

    Penelope fell back and leaned over, seeing Mrs. Dewberry looking at her with a frown.

    “What are you doing here?” the woman asked tiredly.

    “Hey, Mrs. Dewberry,” she answered brightly, setting Elvis in the grass and standing. “How have you been?”

    “Please stay out of my things, dear.”

    “Sorry, ma’am.” She wrung her hands together. “I just saw Elvis out here and couldn’t help saying hi. It’s been so l—”

    “I don’t want to be involved with your spells, Penny,” Mrs. Dewberry said, shaking her head. She stepped forward and put her hands on the sides of Penelope’s arms. In response, she reflexively tried to pull away, but the woman held firm. “What you… do… this stuff… I’m sorry about what happened, but this isn’t the answer.”

    Penelope smiled, or maybe grimaced. It was definitely an attempted smile.

    With greying, sunken eyes, Mrs. Dewberry looked over her. The white hair. The dress. Everything seemed to carve another wrinkle into her sullen face. “You were so pretty. So smart.”

    “It was good to see you, Mrs. Dewberry,” she said, finally wrenching away. “Have a good afternoon.” But as she walked past, her arm was caught in a shockingly virile grip.

    “Penny,” the old woman said severely, before lowering her volume. “Leave. You can’t stay here. Get out of this town, away from all of us.”

    “Goodbye.” She jerked herself away and trotted briskly toward the sidewalk.

    “Pack your things and run, Penny! Listen to me!”

    This wasn’t exactly new. It was pretty frequent that someone would aggressively inform her of a new housing opportunity, including must-see paradises as As Far Away From Me As Possible, Hell, and once, The Freezer in My Basement.

    Still, this felt just a little scarier than the rest. It wasn’t like Mrs. Dewberry to threaten. She had always been an advice-giver, from manners to fashion. She had been the one to teach her how to tie her shoes and had even taught Penelope and Pinkie, her happiny friend, a couple attacks to keep them safe if they ever wandered too far out of town.

    But that had all been when Mrs. Dewberry loved her. Or pretended to. Or maybe really did. Penelope went back and forth on whether or not real love could actually disappear when the loved person changed.

    11 rose petals​

    Experience had taught her that rose petals were an essential part of spells and potions. She couldn’t so much as brew hand soap without needing a fistful of them. That’s why, with a can-do attitude, she had grown a couple gorgeous rose bushes in front of her living room window, supplying herself with all the petals she would need. Then, with a can-do attitude seemingly surpassing her own, someone in town had cut them down and shredded them, possibly on their way to take a medically troubling dump on her doorstep.

    So she was back to literally hiding in the bushes, this time at the outer gate of the Ralls estate. Crouching there in the grass, hoping no one would see her sawing off rose blooms was a little nostalgic in a way: She and Pinkie had done this dozens of times all over town. It got a little ridiculous trying to hide an entire chansey and later blissey behind the bushes, but that was part of the fun. The dirty looks had bounced right off of them back then.

    But this was serious. She wasn’t making furniture polish or perfume or whatever to sell at some trade event over in Celadon. So even though it would make no difference, she used extra precision as she sawed her pocketknife through the thorny stems.

    One bloom was probably enough, but she cut off three for safety. “Better safe than sorry,” she would usually say, thankful that Pinkie couldn’t call her out on using some trite platitude. She would only squeak back enthusiastically and the two, leaning against some stranger’s fence amongst the rose bushes, would chat happily, the picture of summer friendship, like an ad in the back of a vintage comic book selling a water gun or something. The old man barking insults from the sidewalk was a few inches off the page, so all Penelope and Pinkie could see were Pantone colors, two wide grins, and the all-caps promise of one swell summer.

    Now in the middle of a decidedly un-swell summer, Penelope clipped off the last rose and shuffled out of the bushes before she got caught.

    1 teaspoon of arbok venom​

    She wrestled the great beast into submission and used her bare hands to open its lethal maw, where its fangs jutted dangerously outward. One prick could kill her, but she knew no fear. A witch did what a witch must.

    That’s what she would tell people if they asked. She plucked a vial of venom off of the shelf at the apothecary shop, mentally reminding herself to research arbok sizes so as to paint a more vivid picture.

    Looking at the venom’s price, she wondered if her risking her life in a pit of snakes might actually be the more reasonable choice, but she neutralized her sticker shock and headed for the counter.

    “Hey, Pen,” the young lady at the register said, smiling widely. She was a sweet girl fresh out of high school with a love of hair dye, but Penelope had been careful about getting too close. “Alternative”—even the kind that worked at an apothecary shop—didn’t always mean sympathetic, and it certainly didn’t mean tolerant. Plus, until recently, Penelope hadn’t really desired another friend.

    “Fancy,” the girl said, raising her eyebrows conspiratorially as she rang up the venom. “Big spell coming up?”

    They had never spoken of Penelope’s life before, so she hesitated for a beat. “Uh, something like that,” she said, looking down into her satchel for cash. Everyone knew she was a witch, though. The profane graffiti on every dilapidated building and billboard announced it to anyone walking by. So it wasn’t necessarily unusual for her to be asking.

    She handed her a few bills and took back her change, along with the vial.

    “Thank you.”

    Still, the syntax, the awkward wording of the question: It wasn’t quite right, as if the girl didn’t fully understand what she was asking. She wasn’t relating. She was prying. Maybe for friendship, maybe just to fill the empty silence of retail interaction. Maybe for something else entirely.

    The girl smiled again, even wider than before. Her eyes almost shut entirely, but the pupils still peeked through, never wavering from Penelope. “Have a great week, Pen.”

    4 basil leaves, 6 ½ cups of salt, 1 needle, 3 black candles, 3 white candles, 3 red candles​

    These she admittedly just bought at the PokéMart. As much as she liked to swathe herself in the torturously aesthetic gloom of dusty shelves and forgotten tomes, sometimes the pristine aisles of the PokéMart held a certain appeal, that being the competitive pricing.

    She grabbed a bag of frozen tater tots while she was there. She hadn’t had these in months, and just the thought of them made her hungry as she headed to the self-checkout as usual.

    Reflexively smiling at a passing woman even as she glared back, Penny began scanning each of her items, reminding herself that the gaping hole this would leave in her budget would be nothing compared to the reward.

    “Hey, Penny.”

    She looked up and saw Cal, her old high school classmate, smiling at her from the adjacent register. He had always been exceedingly friendly, even after she’d ridden the elevator to hell, as her mother had called it. He was extremely well liked and the kind of handsome that allowed him to talk to her without damaging his reputation. He wasn’t exactly her type, but she had to admit that if she’d been a certain kind of witch, she would have spooned out those glittering green eyes and plopped them into her own sockets.

    “Cal! How are you? I feel like it’s been forever.”

    “A few months at least,” he said. “You look great. I always liked your hair like that.”

    “Thanks,” she said, brushing her white hair. “The granny look is really in this season.”

    He laughed and looked away for a second, biting his lip. “Hey, I was sorry to hear about Pinkie. People in this town are assholes.”

    She shifted on her feet and continued scanning items. “Yeah.” She nodded.

    “Any idea who did it?”

    She shook her head and pursed her lips, keeping her eyes down. “The cops said she probably got into a battle with some wild pokémon.” She coughed. “Guess I should have warned her about how the nidoran around here carry chains and baseball bats, huh? Pretty careless of me.” She bagged up her things, too preoccupied with her own uncomfortable silence to pay any attention to Cal’s.

    She began walking away, giving him a weak smile, but he put his hand on her shoulder.

    “If you ever need anything,” he said, “you know I’m always here. Us weirdos gotta stick together, right?”

    She raised her eyebrows and nodded. “For sure.” One weirdo practiced in the occult and couldn’t leave her house at night for fear of actually being murdered, and the other one liked ketchup on his macaroni or something. Quite a ragtag group of outsiders they were forming.

    6 inches of oak tree bark​

    “But how wide should the strip be?” she lamented once again, standing in front of a large oak several minutes outside of town. The powers of chance and fate were wonderful for love and brushes with death, but they had no place in recipes despite her spell book’s insistence on vagueness.

    With exaggerated frustration, she stuck her fingers into a crack in the bark and pulled down, coming away with a large chunk. She could measure and cut it at home, a process she was planning on dragging out far more than necessary. Once she was done, she would have no choice but to move on to the final ingredient, and she was dreading it. She looked at her notes as a reminder of her next and final task.

    1 ounce of rattata blood​

    Was it immoral to kill for this? Or maybe the immoral decision was not killing. Or maybe morality was a construct antithetical to survival. Or maybe morality was essential to group living and by violating it she was descending into savagery.

    No, she couldn’t spend all afternoon pondering. The best plan of action was just to do it, to get it over with. It would be difficult and would probably haunt her for years, but it was worth it.

    With a gulp, she began crawling around a field of tall grass, clutching her pocketknife in her fist in case something popped out. She had imagined a more glamorous hunt, something with riding boots, but she had never been hunting, so that was probably delusional from the very start.

    Moving as silently as she could, she blundered into a rattata’s nest, causing her to scream and scare the mother away. There, in a little hole, were seven teeny tiny rattata, bunched up in a group.

    Excellent, she thought militantly. The babies squeaked ever so softly. Totally defenseless. One of them rolled over, revealing his little white belly. Completely unprepared for life in the wild. The one in the very center yawned noiselessly. Ripe for the killing. One baby threw her arms over her brother and snuggled sleepily, and Penelope knew it was over. She stood up and considered her options.

    She didn’t think the apothecary shop had rattata blood, but maybe they could special order it. She might try wading around in the sewers to look for a drowned rattata. Or maybe she could spread a rumor that she was absolutely terrified of them and then wait for someone to nail one to her front door. Lots of good options.

    Just then, she heard a painful shrieking and spun around to see a rattata twitching within the tight coil of an ekans several yards away. She now had the option to trade killing a rattata for scaring away an ekans. As far as she could tell, she wouldn’t get a better deal, so she scooped up a rock and threw it toward the snake.

    It hissed angrily, but she threw another, this time causing it to release its prey and, with a last, rueful glance, retreat into the weeds.

    Penelope trotted forward, retrieving the empty vial from her pouch. “Thank you,” she called, kneeling down. “And thank you too,” she whispered to the dead mouse. With her pocketknife and a lot of wincing, she collected the blood.

    This was the last ingredient. Sitting over a corpse, hands covered in blood, she entered the final stage of the spell.

    “You can have it back now,” she said loudly, backing away to give the ekans room to return. “Have a nice day!” She took off across the field back toward her home. Tonight would be the night.


    1. Grind the catnip and basil leaves into fine powders.

    Easy enough. She dutifully performed the action, unaware that a crowd—or rather, mob—was heading for her home, lighting their way in the dark with the archetypical torches. The group truly was an impressive stew ladled from the city’s melting pot, ranging from stunningly handsome to neon-haired to everything around and in between, but they all wore the same expression.

    2. Using the tree bark, mix the catnip, basil, and arbok venom until paste-like in consistency.​

    She mixed carefully. The mob arrived, screaming obscenities. Penelope tested the liquid with the strip of bark, finding it sufficiently pasty. Various people kicked and hit her walls and door. They could have gotten in had they really wanted to. Entrance wasn’t their goal.

    3. Arrange the candles in the shape of three triangles, each forming the corner of a larger triangle. Each point should contain 1 white, 1 black, and 1 red candle. Light them all.​

    She worked steadily but never dared to rush. She didn’t know if she would get a second chance at this, so even though she was miserably on edge, she held her hands steady and took her time. Her kitchen window shattered as a rock flew through it. Still, she delicately lit the final candle, clicked off her flashlight, and traced her finger to the next step.

    4. Use salt to draw a line in between each candle formation, thus forming a large triangle.​

    The screams filled the house through the now-open window. Obscenities, curses, threats of violence and death. Penelope, however, was laser-focused on the salt, moving the cardboard cylinder in as straight of a line as she could manage. Once finished, she admired her work breathlessly, patting her folded legs with jittery satisfaction.

    5. Spread the paste onto the body of the subject or the container in which they are stored.​

    She took the poké ball out of her satchel and could feel the tears welling in her eyes. With her bare hands, she spread the goo across the plastic surface, morbidly aware of how cold the ball was. She had already lost so much, and if she lost this opportunity too, she would truly have nothing. That was evident as a torch flew through the air, landing on her roof. This was followed by a storm of others, yellow lights flying toward the tiny home. Should the destructive ability of pure fire be doubted, gasoline was immediately deployed. Sloshing coffee cans, opened bottles, even a water gun. The ingenuity of humanity should never be doubted when the will is strong enough.

    6. Place the container or the body of the subject in the center of the triangle.​

    She set down the poké ball, eyeing the slowly pooling paste nervously. Her roof was fully ablaze now. With a crash, a piece of it fell into her living room, sending embers and ashes flying. The structure of the house was already weakening, but her resolve was at its peak.

    7. Stack the 11 rose petals. Using the needle, pierce the center of the stack. Place them at the base of the triangle.​

    How precise did she have to be with the “center?” She always found this book to be frustratingly vague, but in the past she had consistently found approximating the direction as accurately as possible worked fine. Her rose bushes had grown up stunningly even when she flubbed the soil tonic in the cooking stage.

    Yes, she thought, just treat this like one of your gardening spells. They couldn’t be more similar. In fact, what page was that tonic on? Could work here. She grinned just a little and stuck the petals.

    Her couch caught on fire. Her cabinets crumbled into ash. Her carpet burned like a meadow in a drought. Her home glowed.

    8. Pour half of the rattata blood onto the rose petals. Pour the other half onto the subject.​

    It drizzled like syrup. Her house fell like a tragic mine shaft. The blood glistened, and everything under her roof was crushed. It was nearly over.

    9. Allow exactly 1 drop of your own blood to fall upon the rose petals.​

    She looked to the east at Lavender Town, nearly a mile away. Expressionless, she saw the glow of flames and knew what it must be. Knew that Mrs. Dewberry’s threat had been intended, or at least had functioned as, a warning. She had hoped things wouldn’t turn out like this, but sometimes people couldn’t live up to hope. Once they figured out she had hightailed it out of town they might come looking for her. But for better or worse, she would be done here before they could find her.

    Resigned, she returned to the piece of plywood where her materials were all arranged. Retrieving her pocketknife from her bag, she flinched at just the idea of what she had to do.

    Not an ideal situation, but she supposed desperate times called for heightened risk of infection. She had some wipes back home. Maybe she could pop in real quick.

    She really hoped she would look back on these dumbass jokes as precursors to the happiest moment of her life and not delirious, denial-ridden babblings of someone already off the edge.

    10. Finally, recite the following:​

    She spoke the old language as practiced, not completely positive on her pronunciation but necessarily hopeful that it wouldn’t matter. Thirty-six lines of an “ancient incantation,” probably written in this decade by some intern ordered to add legitimacy to the more scandalous spells. Still, the book seemed to work, so what did she care? Dramatic flair was just part of the culture.

    As she uttered the last syllable, all nine candles were snuffed without a breeze, leaving her in darkness. She sat perfectly still, her eyes adjusting to the moonlight and her mind adjusting the nervousness and fear.

    It was done. Good or bad. It was done.

    This was her last moment of blind hope. She took as deep of a breath as she could through her trembling and reached an oppressively heavy hand toward the poké ball. It was still cold and sticky from the paste, but she rose with it and stood exactly as she always had. Blinding fear kept her tight, but muscle memory guided her through the toss, sending the ball several feet forward, where it hit the ground and released a glowing white light.

    Penelope gasped.

    Standing before her was Pinkie, but not at all as she remembered. Not at all as she had ever been.

    Strips of bloody skin were peeling off her once-plush body, and her egg was long dead, now a mottled brown sack hanging wetly in her stomach pouch. Her entire left side was stained a juicy dark-red, contrasting with the moldy whiteness that coated the right. Still, neither were as bad as the scratchy black patches that had coughed off the blissey’s fine pink hair in tracks all over her body. She was swollen, engorged, lumps rising from her plump stomach, now an emetic relief map telling the story of her various organ failures and bursts. And her eyes, her glittering black eyes, merely hung in her sockets, loosely registering the girl in front of her.

    Pinkie stared at her, expressionless, and Penelope swallowed. She had gotten exactly what she wanted.

    Tears filled the girl’s eyes, and slowly, her quivering lip lifted up into a smile. “You’re back.” Regaining her strength, she printed toward her, and the pokémon squeaked brightly, dragging herself forward. They embraced, Penelope being careful not to do any more damage.

    It was truly awful, smelling the decay and feeling the claws of time on the pokémon’s ragged body, but that was outweighed by the bliss of literally everything else. “We can get you fixed up,” she whispered in between little sobs. “But we have to go.”

    She stood up and wiped the tears off of her cheeks, gathering her supplies into her bag. When she turned back, she was struck for a moment by the fact that Pinkie was in front of her, smiling up at her again. A little more crookedly than before, perhaps, but she had never been the one in the pair to worry about her looks.

    “I missed you.” The pokémon trilled softly in response.

    Life was good again. As bad as everything was and would probably continue to be, it was good. Penelope took Pinkie's little fingerless hand. Reunited at last, they walked westward under the milky glow of a bright-eyed moon.
  14. Sike Saner

    Sike Saner Peace to the Mountain

    I'll take that as a yes. :B

    Well then. There's a phrase that I can absolutely say I never expected to read, ever. XD

    RELATABLE. Good lord, I can't stand ambiguous instructions. XD;

    Throughout this, I was wondering what, exactly, had taken Pinkie, because clearly something had. In hindsight I should've probably seen it coming. I certainly hope whoever all was personally responsible for killing that blissey wound up with hemorrhoids from hell.

    Speaking of Pinkie: nice, nasty description of her... ah, new look. Especially with regards to the dead egg. Goodness gracious, it sounded revolting. :D

    Good, offbeat horror here, featuring something legitimately effing terrifying: mob mentality.
  15. Cutlerine

    Cutlerine Gone. Not coming back.

    The long-awaited next entry! And it's got all kinds of things I like in it: mundane magic with that improvised, didn't-have-fresh-goat's-blood-so-store-bought-will-do-I-guess bent that characterises real projects done by real people; the collision of early modern witch lore with a twenty-first-century setting; a wonderfully interesting take on the hex maniac trainer class. I feel like pokémon fic often leans way further to the sci-fi end of things than the fantastical, but magic, ghosts and telekinesis are pretty much canonical, and it's definitely cool to see that being investigated, especially of course in a Lavender setting.

    I do think that this is probably one of the weaker entries in the series to date, though. Part of it is to do with the setting, which is a bit uneven in places – apothecaries still being current I can get, because after all the apothecary is just the predecessor to the modern chemist, but it seems strange that grimoire publishing is such a big industry that the companies involved with it actually have interns and yet the Lavender townsfolk have a view of magic that's so very out of date. Perhaps there's supposed to be some disconnect between, say, the more progressive Saffron culture and the more conservative Lavender place, but you describe Lavender as a suburb rather than as an isolated mountain town, and you have city-dwellers in among the mob as well, which seems to suggest it's within the city's orbit. I think it's definitely still possible for there to be that disconnect if Lavender's just a suburb, but I feel like I as a reader could use a little more context, just to be able to ascertain exactly how the politics work here – because it's clearly very important to the story that the politics do work in a certain way. Having Lavender be isolated, and locating the grimoire publishers in Saffron, for example, would sort of hint at the structures involved, and alongside a couple of other clues would make things feel like they fit together more.

    Context is also lacking a little with regard to the mob, I think. The thing about mob mentality is you can see how it works, how low-lying suspicion (which you evoke very nicely) is inflamed by a trigger (which seems to be absent) and spreads suddenly, taking hold of anyone and everyone in the vicinity. And I don't really get that from your mob. It just sort of … turns up, like everyone decided collectively that, well, there's nothing good on TV tonight, and they might as well get round to turfing that witch out like they've been talking about for the last few years. Which is a shame, because Penelope's walk around town works really nicely; it's rich and characterful and you can see the distrust simmering around her. Then suddenly things come to a head, and it's difficult to see why it happened except that it suited the plot.

    Speaking of which, that's one part where, like the ones before it, this story really shines. I love how you structured it around the recipe, and I think that slippery way you intertwine Penelope's spellcasting with the destruction of the house to set up the twist at the end is lovely. And of course, a happy ending is nice, with a story like this. Penelope and Pinkie deserved it, and I'm always a fan of plots where things turn out well for the monstrous. It's a solid story, I just think it could maybe use a touch more context in a couple of places. I'll be looking forward to the next entry!
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
  16. [Imaginative]:[Clockwork]

    [Imaginative]:[Clockwork] X-treme trainer

    Thank you! I'm not used to writing super detailed descriptions like that, especially gross ones, but it was fun heh.

    Thanks! Penelope's personality made this really fun to write, so I'm glad you liked it!

    Haha, I wrote this because I love all those things too ^^ It's good to know I'm not the only one!

    I get what you mean! It wasn't my intent to portray Lavender as that close to Saffron, though. They're supposed to be a decent distance apart, to the point where Lavender pretty much has its own culture. The description of the mob members coming from the "city" was an oversight of mine that was meant to refer to Lavender Town ^^; I should have been more clear about everything, but I can still see how strange it is that even a town I intended to be fairly conservative is still so hostile to such an apparently booming industry. That's something I'll have to touch up!

    That's a great point, and honestly something that completely escaped me while I was writing this. In my head, it was something they had been planning, but I neglected to give a specific reason whey they had suddenly decided it was time. I'll definitely have to go through this again and add a few details.

    Thank you! I had a lot of potential endings for this one, but in the end I just wanted them to have a little happiness haha. Thank you so much for the review, and I'll remember your criticisms when I go back over this!
  17. I can’t believe I let this pass for three months without reviewing it. Well, it’s time to fix that!

    I think your language really shines in this one-shot, probably even more than the previous ones. The one-shot as a whole is pretty dark and mysterious (or at least much darker and much more mysterious than anything else in Chromatic), but this turned out to be the most humorous one for me as well. The first three paragraphs already give this humorous touch away, but it’s pretty consistent and it definitely added more to the experience of reading it IMO.

    I also think this made the build up to the ending much stronger for me, as all throughout there was this sense of whether or not the whole idea of casting a spell to resurrect a dead Pokemon was actually true or just a way for her to cope with the loss. I would’ve been less surprised if the latter were the case, as your setting is pretty much the best in Kanto to talk about death and the afterlife, so I was more surprised and overall more satisfied that all those ingredients turned out to amount to something in the end.

    There was just something about this last paragraph though:

    ...that felt a little bit too explain-y for me, sort of like what the narrator at the end of a Pokemon anime episode would say (at least, the first few seasons). Although I do think the image of the two walking away from Lavender is pretty fitting for an ending, I think it could’ve been presented better. Compare that to "Orange" where the ending is a simple but very powerful image of the protagonist running away from the trainer, but you build this up with a balance of tension and action that reinforced the themes of the one-shot. There's something similar here, with the sweet dynamic between Penelope and Pinkie being contrasted with Penelope's house being burned down, but I think there's more that can be done with it.

    I was also a bit weirded out by the interaction with Cal. Reading it back after reading through the one-shot, I thought it was a bit weirder than the other interactions, which while also weird all lent to either confirming Penelope’s outsider label or (and IMO more importantly) humanizing her. I think this interaction was trying to do both but it was a bit, well, odd for some reason? I can’t really put my finger on why, but there was something about it that flowed less naturally than the others. Sorry for not being clear enough, but I wanted to point it out.

    Overall a great one-shot, and I’m really glad that you’re taking this series into so many interesting directions. Can’t wait for what’s coming up next! :)
  18. [Imaginative]:[Clockwork]

    [Imaginative]:[Clockwork] X-treme trainer

    I'm not exactly super active right now, so don't worry lmao

    Thank you! This one was a lot of fun to write, and I'm glad that came across reading it. I liked Penelope a lot, so I think that helped.

    I had a lot of different plans for how I could end this, one of which was of course that the spell flat out didn't work, so that might have contributed to the doubt. If so, I'm glad! Ultimately, though, I just decided that a happy ending was more enjoyable for me, and I'm glad to hear you think so too!

    I get what you mean. The POV was overall pretty limited to Penelope, and then suddenly it ends with a clean, omniscient wrap up. I'll have to revise that for sure. Good point!

    I did intend for this one to be a bit more awkward than the others. It seems like I might not have done this effectively, but each of her interactions was supposed to hint that a metaphorical storm was coming (Mrs. Dewberry was trying to warn her, the apothecary girl had sort of an obscene interest, and Cal was an uncanny valley version of a genuine friend who was saying the right ideas but in a way that wasn't quite right), each one of them aware and maybe even complicit but unable to help themselves. So I need to take another look at them and either pull back that element and make them less odd or perhaps make it a little more clear so that the discomfort of their reactions becomes understood when the mob marches in.

    Thank you! Glad to have you back!

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