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Chibi Pika

Stay positive
This is the story I wrote for Psychic for the Gift Exchange! She gave me a wide variety of prompts to choose from, but I ultimately decided to go with this one: Wes opens the door to his Pokémon’s heart.


Wes didn’t know why he bothered.

He knew better than most people what these Pokémon were like. Other people had seen them from time to time, of course, carried around by thugs that roamed the streets of all of Orre’s major cities. That or they’d heard the rumors of vicious, unruly Pokémon beating the snot out of anyone who so much as looked at them funny. But they hadn’t seen what actually happened to the hordes of stolen Pokémon that got shipped off to Cipher’s labs. They hadn’t seen all the tests done on the first successful shadow Pokémon given to Team Snagem, when they made sure that those things had really become nothing but mindless fighting machines.

Wes knew exactly all the reasons why what he was about to do was totally pointless. But something compelled him to do it anyway.

A burst of white light hit the dusty ground in front of him, forming into a long, furry body. At first glance, the Quilava looked exactly like any other. Same cream-colored belly, same tiny paws, same fire spots on its head and rear. You’d expect something like murderous red, glowing eyes, right? Or huge, bloodstained claws and fangs. But no, Rui was the only one who could actually see the difference. A twisted up black and violet pulsing aura, she’d described it as if the Pokémon’s soul had rotted. Wes had never even been really sure he believed in auras before meeting her, but her word was the only think he had no go off right now. And she hadn’t exactly been wrong at identifying one of them yet.

Still, even if there weren’t any visual differences, there were… other differences.

The Quilava’s eyes darted around, frantically taking in the barren, dusty setting. He’d let it out here on purpose. Nothing else for it to focus on. It let out a low groan, arm twitching like it was ready to swat at something. But there were no opponents. Nothing to fight. Its brain probably couldn’t handle that. What’s a fighting machine supposed to do with nothing to fight?


His voice broke the silence. The Quilava snapped its head toward him suddenly, its eyes wide and manic. It held its attention on him for several seconds, then jerked it away, paws twitching as it glanced in every direction, unable to find something to attack.

While shadow Pokémon didn’t have any aversion to attacking humans, they weren’t designed to attack them unprovoked. Harder to control them that way. It was convenient for him, at least.

Wes reached into his coat pocket and retrieved a bag of Pokémon food. It was the same stuff he fed his other two team members, but he hadn’t had the chance to buy anything specialized. The Quilava probably wouldn’t have noticed if he did, anyway. He opened the bag and fished through it before holding out a small handful.

That got its attention back on him. The ferret lunged forward. Tiny fangs dug into his hand through his gloves. Wes swore loudly, jerking his hand back, but the fire-type held fast, eyes still wide and staring, like it didn’t even know what it was doing.

Just barely fighting back the urge to slam it into the dirt, Wes stared it dead in the eyes and snarled, “Let go!”

Like lightning, the ferret snapped its jaws open, releasing him. But then it saw where he’d dropped the food and dove at it, gulping it down like it hadn’t eaten anything in weeks, hardly bothering to chew.

Wes stared, still struggling to process what had just happened. It had listened. It recognized him as a master. He wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or not. And he really shouldn’t have been surprised. A lot of time and effort had gone into making sure that shadow Pokémon would obey orders. After all, what good was a fighting machine that wouldn’t listen?

So he could use it in battle at least. That was… something. He wasn’t sure what.

The higher-ups had always had… concerns that the shadowfication process wasn’t totally permanent. Some of the scientists had been working to correct whatever those “imperfections” were that could supposedly reverse the process.

He could only hope they were right. It was all he had to go on.


Wes didn’t release Quilava again until the next day. This time, he let out Espeon and Umbreon first.

He’d never get the shadow Pokémon to the point where it was safe to be around others if he only let it out one-on-one. And… maybe it’d learn how to be a Pokémon again if it got to be around other Pokémon? (The idea sounded stupid even in his head, but he was making this up as he went along.)

The pair of foxes materialized on the ground in front of him. He knelt down so he could talk to them directly.

“Alright guys,” he said to the two. “I, uh… though it’d be good to introduce you to your new teammate. Since you’ll have to battle together.” No one really did single battles around here, after all.

Umbreon gave one of her disapproving stares that she liked to give most new and unfamiliar situations. Espeon cocked his head, looking intrigued. Wes didn’t really want to go through with this, but he couldn’t put it off any longer. He pulled out a third Pokéball and let out Quilava.

Espeon and Umbreon tensed up the instant the fire ferret took shape in front of them. Even if they hadn’t already fought it during the battle where he’d stolen it from Rosso, it was obvious they could immediately tell there was something wrong with this Pokémon.

“Hey, it’s okay, it’s okay,” he told them, not entirely believing it himself. Umbreon in particular gave him a skeptical glance as if to say, “Are you crazy?”

Yes. He probably was.

Quilava’s eyes darted between the two, finally setting on Espeon for a second too long. Then it lunged at him. Espeon hissed, his eyes flaring up with psychic energy. Umbreon darted in between them at the last second, taking its headbutt to her side, barely looking fazed. She glared daggers at the fire-type, as though daring it to try putting a dent in her.

“Hey, hey, it’s alright, let’s all just calm down.”

But exactly none of them had any intention of calming down. Quilava drew itself back and rammed into Umbreon a second time, looking distressed when its attacks barely even hurt her. Espeon leaped out from behind her and fired a small burst of psychic energy at the ferret, and it recoiled backward, scratching at its own head.

“Hey, knock it off!” he shouted.

Espeon and Umbreon both flashed incredulous glares at him. But what really surprised him was that Quilava froze instantly, staring at him intently. Its eyes still darted over to the other two occasionally, and its whole body twitched as it held itself in place. But its attention was firmly on Wes, awaiting the next order.

Obedient to a fault. That was the true genius of shadow Pokémon. If he really wanted to, he could just command it not to act out. He didn’t actually need to get through to it.

Wes shook his head. How easy it was to slip back into that mindset. Even when he’d told himself he was past thinking like that. Taking advantage of the shadow Pokémon’s obedience would help him take down Cipher, but… It wouldn’t do him any good in undoing the damage they’d done.

Espeon was still staring at him like he’d gone insane while Umbreon kept her eyes firmly on Quilava, not trusting it not to make a move on them. Quilava, meanwhile, was still twitching, letting out a weird, disjointed groan. After having been ordered not to attack the obvious targets, it was clearly having a hard time figuring out what to do with itself, and had resorted to biting its own paws, drooling heavily.

Wes sighed. He still didn’t even know if breaking a shadow Pokémon out of its programming was even possible. But what good was stealing them if he couldn’t fix them?


Shadow Pokémon were made for battling. Naturally, battling was the only thing the Quilava could be said to “enjoy” by any stretch of the imagination. More like, it had the least trouble with battling. Everything else made it jerk and twitch and whine like it couldn’t figure out what was going on or what it should be doing, lashing out at random moments. But in a battle, it could actually cut loose and do what it was designed to do.

And it was good at it.

Dust whipped into a frenzy as Espeon ran circles around the opponent’s Machoke, firing pulses of psychic energy at it all the while. That left Quilava free to focus solely on the Nuzleaf in front of it.

“Shadow Rush!” Wes called out.

The fire-type dug its paws into the dirt as its aura flared to such intensity that even he could see it. Then it lunged forward, crashing into the grass-type with explosive power. It hadn’t even figured out how to use its flames, but it almost didn’t even need them. He had to stop himself from admiring the way it fought. There was no denying how effective it was. They’d been plowing through thugs with just that one move all day. It was no wonder that having a shadow Pokémon was a status symbol in this place.

Nuzleaf staggered backward, exhaustion covering its features. It stumbled once, twice, then collapsed onto its back, out cold. But Quilava didn’t take that as a sign that the fight was over. It lunged again, knocking the fallen Nuzleaf around like a ragdoll.

“The hell is it doing?” the opposing trainer asked.

Wes grit his teeth. Quilava had done this a few times before. It hadn’t figured out how not to battle. He pulled out its Pokéball, and pressed the button to recall it. But it was learning. It dodged the recall beam and dove at the Nuzleaf, biting and clawing at its belly.

“Make it stop!” the trainer yelled, now frantic.

Wes clenched his fists. “Quilava! Get back here!” he snarled.

Its ears twitched in his direction. It had noticed his order, but it was too overtaken with rage to stop. But now it was distracted. He pointed the Pokéball again, and this time the recall beam found its mark, dissolving the ferret into red energy and pulling it into the ball. Wes stared at the Pokéball in his hand, only just now noticing how heavily he was breathing.

“The hell was that about?” his opponent demanded.

“Like you’ve never done the same,” Wes snapped, turning around and walking off.

He had to tell himself that all the thugs around here were the sort to beat up a fallen opponent, shadow Pokémon or no. It was the only way he even felt okay using a shadow Pokémon against them to begin with.

He was doing it to save Orre, right?

For the millionth time, Wes was struck by the thought that he wasn’t the right person for this.


Wes felt like an idiot.

That was the only way to describe how he felt as he walked away from the shop, arms loaded with glass bottles full of multicolored liquids. He had to find a table to set them all down and sort through, and came close to dropping a few of them.

He sent out Quilava first. It did the usual frantic search for an opponent, but when it didn’t find one, its gaze snapped back to him, and it waited.

“Pokémon are s’posed to like this stuff. So here,” he said, opening one of the bottles. A powerful scent assaulted his nostrils, and he almost coughed. These scents were supposedly soothing to Pokémon, although he had a hard time believing that now.

He knelt down and held the bottle out for Quilava to inspect. The ferret stepped forward to investigate the strange new object, growling softly, movements still tense and jerky. But at the same time, it did seem interested. It sniffed at the strange and unfamiliar scent. Its pupils dilated.

And then it promptly knocked the bottle out of his hand, causing it to shatter on the concrete.

“Really?” Wes asked. But then, he blinked. Quilava was pawing at the puddle of liquid and rubbing its face in it with an odd snuffling, snorting sound. And then, to his immense surprise, it dropped to the ground and began rolling around in the stuff, to the point that he had to brush the broken glass away or it would have rolled into it.

It was… sort of enjoying it? Maybe?

Well, at least it was distracted. He took that opportunity to let out Espeon and Umbreon, and for once Quilava didn’t even notice them.

“Alright you guys, ready for a scent massage?” he asked, feeling only slightly stupid about it.

Umbreon gave a disapproving snort, but Espeon seemed interested at least. At least the two of them were willing to sit still while he rubbed the liquid into their pelt. Umbreon turned up her nose at first, but after a little while, she closed her eyes with a contented purr.

Eventually Quilava seemed to grow bored with the scent puddle and plodded over to the others. Wes tensed up, ready to break up yet another fight. But it didn’t attack them. It jerked its head from side to side, sniffing the fox pair practically nonstop. And it pawed at them in confusion, apparently trying to figure out why they shared the same scent. But it didn’t attack.

Umbreon closed her eyes in annoyance, but she didn’t bat the ferret away. Espeon blinked, not sure what to do with the attention he was receiving, but not unhappy with it either.

Well. That was one way to get it to stop attacking the rest of his party.


This was wrong. It hadn’t acted like this before.

He’d gotten pretty used to Quilava’s vicious battling style by now, and had little trouble with cutting battles short when he needed to. But this? This was new.

The dark aura that flared up when it attacked—it hadn’t gone down. It had stayed up between the last two attacks, flaring even brighter when the fire-type was struck by the opponent’s moves. And then something inside it just snapped. It spun in circles, oblivious to the enemy, biting, clawing, scratching at itself. Blood dripped down its face as it snarled at nothing, eyes wide with fury.

Wes clenched his teeth, feeling his chest tighten. He didn’t like this one bit. But... he could just order it to stop, couldn’t he?

“Quilava, focus!” he ordered.

The fire-type snapped its attention to him with murder in its eyes, and he actually froze. Then, without warning, it shot right at him, body still cloaked in the raging shadow aura, now burning a feverish red. It was only seconds away from reaching him when he snapped out of his shock and recalled it. He stared at its Pokéball, hand trembling.

“What the hell was that?” his opponent asked.

“I forfeit,” Wes muttered, shoving a fistful of Pokédollars at the trainer before running off.


Wes had been to Agate Village a few times and heard the rumors. They said that the overflowing greenery was thanks to Celebi’s blessing. That it had purified the dead and lifeless land, so to speak. The way they talked about Celebi, you’d think it could cleanse practically anything of its impurities. And now, with the crisis slowly spreading throughout the entire Orre region, they were saying that Celebi’s blessing could even cleanse the darkness from shadow Pokémon.

Of course, no one actually knew if it would really work or not. No one had shadow Pokémon to try it on. It’s not like someone would just waltz into a peaceful place like this carrying a murder machine, asking to pay a visit to the local deity.

First time for everything, Wes supposed.

Everyone in town knew where the shrine was, but no one could really point him in the right direction without him managing to get lost anyway. After a while he just gave up and let himself wander aimlessly. Part of him didn’t mind. He couldn’t help staring at all the lush greenery, all around, everywhere. Huge trees around every corner, with branches stretching out endlessly. Vines draped over every building. Moss covering practically every inch of stone except for the parts of the road where people commonly walked. But what really got to him was how this place smelled alive. He was so used to air being dry, dusty, and lifeless that the idea of it being anything else was just alien. He’d spent his whole life in the desert. Sure, there were small patches of green here and there, but nothing like this. It didn’t matter if he came here ten, twenty, a hundred more times, he didn’t think it would ever be any less striking.

Eventually, he stumbled his way into the thicker part of the forest. There was still a path of sorts, but it was more overgrown than it had been back in the village. And the air felt… heavier here. Like some kind of pressure coming in from all sides, growing stronger the deeper he travelled into the heart of the forest.

And then he set foot into a circular clearing with a carved stone pillar at the center of the clearing. His breath caught in his chest. This was it. This was how they’d described it. The Relic Stone. The place where Celebi had once appeared.

Part of him still wasn’t sure he should be doing this. But he’d come too far to back down now.

He let out Quilava. Its head snapped in every direction the moment it materialized, as it found itself completely surrounded by strange new sights and sounds. The ferret zeroed in on the Relic Stone immediately, clawing at its base for a bit. Then when the stone didn’t react in any way, the fire-type dashed across the clearing and set to work tearing leaves from the bushes, whining uncomfortably the entire time.

Wes closed his eyes. “Celebi?” he said out loud, already feeling like an idiot. “Are you… there?”

No response. Really, why would there be? Did it want him to grovel? Fine, he’d do it. No one else could see him anyway.

Wes got down on his knees. Quilava glanced his way, but then quickly went back to darting around the clearing, growling at everything it laid eyes on. Somewhere out in the trees, a bird chirped, and the fire-type went into a frenzy trying to find the unseen foe.

“I need your help,” Wes said, fighting himself on every word. “I’m trying to help this one here. But I can’t do it by myself.”

He didn’t expect Celebi to appear immediately. So he waited. He kept his eyes closed, even as his ears caught the sounds of Quilava scratching at the moss on the stone floor and lunging at the bushes every time the wind dared to rustle their leaves.

And he kept waiting. But at the minutes dragged on, the cold realization dawned on him that Celebi wasn’t coming, and he’d been an idiot to think otherwise.

Wes exhaled slowly through his nose before standing up sharply. “Fine. Guess I’m not worthy.” He recalled Quilava back into and turning to leave.

Celebi probably only appeared to the pure of heart, the kind of people that wouldn’t have gone off and joined a criminal organization to begin with. Wes had no idea if that was really how the legend went, but… even if it wouldn’t appear for him, then it should have at least appeared for Quilava’s sake. Maybe it thought they both were too far gone.

He should’ve known better than to expect a fairy tale to fix everything for him.


It’d be wrong to say that the noises woke him up. No, what actually woke him up was the paws batting at his face nonstop for who knows how long. This was after feeling heavier paws walking all over his torso, but those he was at least used to, as Espeon and Umbreon made a habit of walking all over him while he slept.

“What is it?” he grumbled, sitting up. Umbreon was sitting on his chest, fixing him with a disapproving stare. Espeon pointed at the floor, his cries sounding almost offended. And there he saw the source of the disturbance. Quilava, darting around the motel room in a frenzy. It apparently had broken out of its Pokéball, and had then knocked down chairs, torn apart cushions, scratched up the walls, and practically shredded the carpet. Ugh. He’d have to pay for this in the morning, wouldn’t he? Course, he could probably just strong-arm the owner into looking past it and…

No. None of that. That wasn’t supposed to be him anymore.

It was a shitty motel room anyway.

He could probably stop Quilava from breaking out with a stronger Pokéball. He’d snagged it in a regular Pokéball—he hadn’t really been thinking about what to do with it long-term. Hell, it wasn’t until he’d met Rui that they’d set off on this crazy quest to steal back all the shadow Pokémon. Plus… just hiding the thing away in a stronger Pokéball… didn’t really feel right. Wouldn’t fix anything, at any rate.

“All right you two, back in your balls,” Wes said.

Immediate protest. Espeon and Umbreon put their paws against his chest, whining nonstop.

“Come on, I gotta deal with this. No complaining,” he said, and he recalled them.

Wes threw the sheets off himself and dropped to the floor, putting himself closer to eye level with the shadow Pokémon currently running amok in his room. Quilava barely seemed to notice him. In the past, he’d have been grateful that it didn’t see him as a target, but now it just bothered him.

“Hey,” he said.

Its ears twitched in his direction, and it paused. But then it just as soon resumed darting across the floor, snarling at nothing. Hunting for some invisible enemy like its life depended on it. Wes took a deep breath to brace himself, then reached out the moment it brushed his side, snatching it up and holding it tightly against his chest. The ferret immediately took issue with this, as he knew it would, biting and clawing at his arm. But he’d gotten used to that, and it barely fazed him anymore.

“Shh. Come on. It’s okay,” he said in his best attempt at a comforting voice.

Quilava paused, claws still digging into his arm. Its whole body shook with the force of its breathing, and the thing wouldn’t stop trembling all over. And for the first time, Wes realized that it felt utterly terrified. Was that the instinct that made shadow Pokémon fight anything that moved? Were they just… constantly afraid for their life? Was that what pushed them to fight so ruthlessly?

“You’re gonna be alright,” he said, stroking its fur gently, equally trying to convince it as well as himself. He could actually feel its heart rate going down. Its breathing slowly grew more controlled, and the trembling lessened. And in that moment, for whatever reason, he was struck by the obvious fact that it was alive. A living, breathing thing. Maybe in a way he’d still been thinking of it as nothing more than a fighting machine that he had to deal with, rather than something that was suffering in its own right.

“I’m gonna… I’m gonna find a way to fix this.” Was he sure of that? Was it really right for him to promise that when he had no idea what he was doing? Wasn’t this the sort of thing that someone who actually knew how to take proper care of Pokémon should be doing?

But it wasn’t right to force this work on anyone else. He’d helped cause this mess. He had to be the one to fix it. No one else deserved that.


Rui was worried about him. She’d noticed how little sleep he’d been getting. He’d snapped at her when she’d asked. And he regretted it immediately afterward, but it was too late to take it back now.

So he distracted himself with more fighting. It was something he was good at, at least. And as much as he hated to admit it, it made him feel good. That rush of satisfaction from beating down assholes. The problem was that it wasn’t doing Quilava any good. That godawful red aura had flared up again, and it wasn’t showing any signs of stopping.

Wes took a step backward, swallowing hard. ‘She’s not mad’ he told himself. ‘She’s just scared.’ He wasn’t sure if he fully believed that, but it was all he had to go on. He couldn’t just order her to stop. He had to try something else.

“Quilava! It’s okay, I’m here!” he yelled.

She jerked her head toward him like she always did. And he braced himself for her to lunge at him like before. But she didn’t. She just stared at him, eyes wide and anxious, but utterly devoid of that murderous glare that they’d had last time.

“It’s okay, Quilava! You’re gonna be alright!”

She took a few steps back, head twitching. She rubbed her face furiously into the dirt, pawing at herself, aura whipping into a frenzy.

And then, just as suddenly, it was gone. The red aura had died down. Wes’s breath caught in his chest. He hardly dared to believe it.

She was back to normal. Well, whatever “normal” was for a shadow Pokémon, anyhow. But the red aura was gone.

He’d done it.


And then it kept happening.

At first, he’d though he could deal with it now that he’d actually figured out how to snap her out of those moments. And at first, it was only happening once every few battles. But then it was every other battle. Then every battle. Until finally it was happening multiple times per battle, and he knew that it was never going to get any better on its own. He’d considered not using her in battle anymore. But then what else could he do? He needed her strength if her was going to keep fighting Cipher.

No. He told himself that was the reason, but the truth was that he couldn’t stand seeing her suffer like that anymore. Every time it happened felt like his heart was being ripped out.

So Wes found himself back at the shrine. That stupid shrine where Celebi had ignored him and made him feel like an idiot. But what other choice did he have? Nothing else was working, and… much as he hated to admit it, he was getting desperate.

So he let out Quilava in the same stone clearing as before. Almost immediately, the red aura flared up, but she was too exhausted to do anything with it and collapsed right away. He hadn’t healed her after the last battle. He felt awful about it, but the more energy she had, the more likely she was to hurt herself with it. At least, that’s what he told himself. There weren’t even any opponents to fight here, but Quilava still struggled to drag herself across the stone, trying to find one.

Wes grit his teeth and glanced away. Couldn’t focus on that right now. He turned his attention back to the stone pillar and called out, “I’ve tried everything but it’s not enough! I don’t know what to do. I need your help.”

The wind rustled through the trees just as it always did. He closed his eyes, feeling it sweep over him, desperately trying to read something into it. But it was the same wind as always, and he knew it. There was no reason for him to expect anything different.

“Look I know I’m not worthy,” he said quietly, voice trembling. “I know that. I’m not asking you to appear for me. But can’t you do it for her sake? She needs help, and I’m not good enough to help her!”

Wes collapsed to his knees, slamming a fist against the stone. It hurt. Not as much as it should have, though.

“I can’t do it,” he whispered.

Who was he trying to kid? Did he really think he could make up for the things he’d done? Was it really that easy? All the Pokémon he’d stolen for Snagem and delivered to Cipher, did he ever really think he could undo all of that? No. Part of him had just hoped. And now that part had to accept the cold, hard reality that he could never really make up for it.

At some point Quilava dragged herself over to him, resting her head against his knee, too tired to move any more. Slowly, he reached out and lifted her from the stone floor, holding her tightly to his chest.

“I’m sorry,” Wes whispered, tears dripping down his face and landing on her fur.

He wasn’t sure how long he sat like that. It might as well have been forever for all the difference it made. He never wanted to move from that spot.

But then, through closed eyes, he sensed the slightest shift in light.

His eyes snapped open. He hadn’t imagined it. The Relic Stone was glowing. Small beads of green light drifted up from its base, sparkling as they hit the sunlight. Wes stared stupidly at it, unable to process what he was seeing. And then, without warning, the light flashed outward, catching both him and Quilava in a swirling vortex of green and gold. He screwed his eyes shut, hugging the fire-type closer to himself. The wind whipped into a frenzy, and for an instant, everything felt impossibly, otherworldly clear.

Then, just as suddenly, it was gone. Wes sat there shaking, eyes wide and unblinking. The clearing looked the same as it ever had. Nothing had changed.

Then he glanced down. Quilava slowly opened her eyes and looked back at him, and his breath caught in his chest. No way. It couldn’t be. He blinked repeatedly, hardly daring to believe what he was seeing. He couldn’t describe it. She didn’t actually look any different, and yet. For the first time, there was actually something there. In her eyes. That blank, soulless stare was gone, and in its place was… recognition? Like she could actually see him and know it was him, and feel something from it.

It couldn’t be real. His sleep-deprived mind had to be playing a cruel trick on him. But the longer he stared, the further it dawned on him that this was real, no matter how ridiculous or impossible it seemed.

“Quilava?” he said slowly, voice trembling.

For several seconds, she didn’t respond. She just stared back at him, blinking slowly. But then the corners of her mouth turned up slightly, and she slowly leaned forward to nuzzle her face against his arm.

Wes let out a breath that he didn’t know he’d been holding as the weight of what had just happened crashed over him like a rolling wave. Then he hugged the fire-type tightly to his chest, blinking back tears.

He’d done it. It still didn’t feel real, but he’d done it.

So this actually wasn't the prompt that I started with. When I first got my assignment, I immediately zeroed in on "First movie Mewtwo meets movie 16 Mewtwo" which is obviously a very me-ish prompt. But I found that I just didn't know where to go with it. All I had were various dialogue bits that I couldn't string a story out of. So I went back to the drawing board a week before the deadline and decided to pick up the other prompt that caught my eye.

Now, confession time. I haven't played Colosseum in over a decade, and I never even finished it as a kid. But I do love the general tone that Orre has, even if the game itself bored me. And I've always been fascinated with the Shadow Pokemon. They're not total robots. They're wild and unruly and feral. But also obedient. I really wanted the chance to dig into what that looks like an how they would behave outside of battle. I wanted something that looked less like a murder machine and more like an abused and under-stimulated animal with an inability to process basically everything. And I especially wanted to explore the fact that Reverse Mode happens more often the closer you get to purification.

In my initial outline, I only had one trip to Celebi's shrine. But then while I was in the shower (where all writing ideas happen) I decided it would work much better if the first trip failed because the shadow meter wasn't fully depleted, so to speak. That was around the time that I shifted the tone of the piece to focus more on Wes's negative self image and regrets and failings. He doesn't see himself as a good person because of his past and doesn't really think that he can actually help the shadow Pokemon. But he feels like it's something he has to try anyway, and slaving away at a dangerous and impossible goal is his punishment. Maybe I went overboard with my interpretation, but he's basically a blank slate in the actual game, so I figured I had plenty of negative space to work with. :p



wandering, lost in dreams

some notes as I read:

A twisted up black and violet pulsing aura, she’d described it as if the Pokémon’s soul had rotted
- maybe phrase this differently? the second and first halves of the sentence seem strange that way
- otherwise, i like the image that this creates

Wes had never even been really sure he believed in auras before meeting her, but her word was the only think he had no go off right now.
- should be "to" instead of "no"

The Quilava snapped its head toward him suddenly, its eyes wide and manic.
- I don't think that there needs to be "suddenly" there

Wes swore loudly, jerking his hand back, but the fire-type held fast, eyes still wide and staring, like it didn’t even know what it was doing.
- I really like the phrase "like it didn't even know it was doing"

Umbreon gave one of her disapproving stares that she liked to give most new and unfamiliar situations. Espeon cocked his head, looking intrigued.
- nice characterization

Quilava’s eyes darted between the two, finally setting on Espeon for a second too long.
- should be "settling" instead of "setting"

But exactly none of them had any intention of calming down.
- the "exactly" doesn't seem to fit here

Espeon and Umbreon both flashed incredulous glares at him. But what really surprised him was that Quilava froze instantly, staring at him intently.
- this seems to imply that what Espeon and Umbreon did surprised Wes. But it doesn't seem out-of-the-norm for them to act this way, from the characterization that were shown earlier.

Wes grit his teeth.
- should be "gritted"


Take all this with a grain of salt; I can be very nitpicky, apologies.

Nice hook at the beginning; quite a bit of exposition, but it catches the reader's attention nicely.

I've never played any of the games involving Orre, so I'm not very familiar with the characters. This seemed to portray them very nicely, though. You could get a good sense of the characters through their actions, and Wes's internal dialogue and dialogue (which was very nice and realistic) showed his character very well.

Be a little more careful with your word-choice; some of the words you used didn't quite fit with what you were trying to say, I think.

Some of your sentences are kind of choppy too, so maybe try combining them some of them? It might just be my preference for longer, flowing sentences though.

I noticed this is The Legendarian Chronicles, too, and you're probably already aware of this, but you use a lot of ellipses. Using them is fine, but try to avoid overusing them, because then it juts seems awkward and a tad overdramatic.

Wes had been to Agate Village a few times and heard the rumors. They said that the overflowing greenery was thanks to Celebi’s blessing. That it had purified the dead and lifeless land, so to speak. The way they talked about Celebi, you’d think it could cleanse practically anything of its impurities. And now, with the crisis slowly spreading throughout the entire Orre region, they were saying that Celebi’s blessing could even cleanse the darkness from shadow Pokémon.
- this was my favorite scene; I really loved all the emotions in this. The hope and anticipation (not really expecting it to work, but at the same time still hoping) that Wes had at the beginning, the suspense and dread while he waited. The resignation and bitterness at the end when Celebi didn't come.

The ending was very happy and gratifying, but it did kind of feel a little off and unexpected? I thought Wes was going to find his own way to help Quilava, by himself, and not rely on the whims of Celebi.

It was a good ending, though, and left the reader on a nice, hopeful and positive note with lots of good feels. All in all, a nice one-shot with good characterization and prose.