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Dragony

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by canisaries, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. canisaries

    canisaries sometimes i get a deadache, yeah

    Yo! It's time for another story in this rather loosely PMD world. This time we're in a completely different nook of the world, so don't worry if you haven't read Pletora's Story, as there are no crucial links between the two. Just like Pletora's Story, though, this'll be only a couple parts long or, dare I say, a few-shot. That's what I'm gonna call things like these that I think are going to be three-parters but can end up being one part short or more anyway.

    Expect this story to be more lighthearted than Pletora's Story... though don't expect it to be free from a little darker humor in places. You know that's the way I like it. As for ratings, ehhh... think I'll say teen for the whole fic to be sure. I haven't planned every scene out yet, but there may be some light violence and language. This first part might be everyone, though. Just feels really weird to call anything I write everyone material.

    Either way, here is Dragony, the story of a hopelessly dragon-obsessed eevee. Feedback is greatly appreciated. Special thanks to a fellow writer friend for helping me out with a certain character's accent. Alright, enjoy!

    ---

    [​IMG]

    DRAGONY

    Synopsis:
    Eevee Keith loves dragons more than anything and wishes to evolve into one himself. But eevee don't have a dragon evolution. Or do they? Keith believes so, and will travel to the heart of the Dragon Kingdom to prove it.

    Genre:
    Adventure, Comedy

    Started:
    12 January 2019

    Status:
    Ongoing

    ---

    Part One

    ---
    “Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there was a beautiful kingdom of castles and towers galore. This kingdom had an equally beautiful princess. She was a lopunny with the finest and purest golden fur of all the kingdom, but even purer was her heart.”

    Boring...

    Keith sighed, studying his soft, pink eevee paw pads while the teacher told her dreary story. He glanced around the classroom, noting that his boredom was shared by most others in the predominantly eevee-occupied classroom.

    The teacher, a glaceon whose icy crest was already beginning to turn cloudy with age, ignored the disinterest of her students and continued on. “The king, a graying diggersby, loved his daughter above all else, buying her the prettiest and sparkliest of dresses, even if the princess was humble and always said she didn't deserve them…”

    Keith rolled his eyes. Ugh, so boring! How long until the break?

    “But one day, the peace in the kingdom was disturbed greatly, when a terrifying dragon appeared --”

    Keith’s ears, formerly flopped to his sides, perked up high. Wait. Dragon? There’s a dragon?

    “-- and flew to the tower where the princess lived. With its big, scaly hand, it reached into the window and grabbed the maiden, then flew away with a sharp-toothed grin on its fearsome face!”

    The eevee sat up straight in his seat, like a model student. His bushy tail began to wag. Yes! Awesome! Go dragon!

    “Distraught, the king ordered his best knights to attack the dragon’s cave and bring back his daughter, but none succeeded. The dragon was simply too strong with its armor-like scales and fiery breath.”

    Yes! So cool!


    Keith’s frantic tail-flailing and shining grin had now gotten the attention of a few students, who exchanged looks ranging from discomforted to anticipating. At the back of the class, an aipom quietly snickered.

    “But one day, a prince from another kingdom came to see the diggersby king. He claimed that he could defeat the dragon and rescue the princess. The king’s knights laughed at the claim, as the prince was only a togetic, but the king was desperate enough to put hope in this stranger. He promised that should the togetic succeed, he would have the princess’s hand in marriage.”

    Aw, boring! Go back to the dragon!

    “So the prince set out to rescue the damsel, riding on the back of his trusty stoutland steed, and finally came face to face with the monster!

    Yess!

    “As the dragon raised its giant hand to swipe at the prince with its sickle-like talons...”

    Yes! Let him have it! Show him just how cool you are!

    “...the prince drew his mighty sword glowing with fairy energy...”

    Wait, oh no!

    “...and with one precise swing…”

    Keith nibbled on his tiny claws. No, no no no...

    “...he pierced the dragon’s scales like hot butter and slayed the fearsome beast!”

    “Noooooo!”

    The entire class quieted, turning to Keith. The eevee realized his mistake and crouched, as if weighed down by the dirty looks he was receiving.

    The teacher sighed. “Is there a problem, Keith?”

    Keith could feel his face heat up. “U-uhh…”

    “There's no problem,” interjected Mila, the eevee sat next to Keith. “Please continue,” she added in her monotone voice.

    “Very well, then…” The teacher cleared her throat and resumed telling her story. Not much was left of it, but enough to draw the other students’ attention away from Keith.

    “...And so the prince and princess married and lived happily ever after.” The teacher closed the book on her desk, picked up a piece of chalk and moved over to the blackboard. With the help of a light, wooden plank, she drew four columns, then labeled each after a character in the story. Princess, Prince, King, Dragon.

    “Alright, everyone,” she spoke up, pointing to the board. “In these columns, we're going to be adding words that describe the characters. Remember that words that describe things are called ‘adjectives’.” For emphasis, she wrote the word above the columns. “Now, please name a character and a word that describes them.”

    Keith's paw shot up.

    The teacher suppressed a sigh. “What do you have, Keith?”

    “I have a word for the dragon,” he blurted. “M-misunderstood!”

    Mila covered her face with a paw. The aipom at the back of the class had trouble concealing his giggles.

    “Keith, how was the dragon misunderstood?” the teacher asked tiredly.

    “Well, like…” Keith hesitated, but gulped down his fear. If I don't defend the dragons, who will? “I-if the dragon took the princess, he must have been lonely or something! He didn't deserve to die. They should've talked it out.”

    “Keith, I'm glad that you're showing interest in literary analysis,” she said, though her tone much implied otherwise, “but you seem to be seeing things that aren't there. While I didn't explicitly specify it, this dragon is just like the dragons in our world - a bloodthirsty beast or at best a barbarian. Even if it was lonely, which I doubt dragons can be, it should have gone back to its own kind. All this considered, the dragon is well understood... although, to be fair, he is currently misunderstood by you. Which creates an interesting paradox, but I would much rather move on. Does anyone else have a suggestion?”

    “B-but --” Keith tried, but the teacher wasn’t having it.

    “Do not interrupt me again, Keith,” she said sternly, “unless you want to spend the rest of class in the corner.”

    Keith humphed and leaned onto his forelegs.

    “If you want to argue about dragons,” the teacher continued, “you should do that in your history class instead. You can hear all about dragons and their uncivil ways over there. Now, who can give me an adjective?”

    The teacher continued to take answers, all of them rather obvious, and write them on the blackboard. From behind him, Keith’s ears could catch a quiet conversation.

    “I have a word for Keith,” the aipom whispered to a classmate. “Crazy...”

    Snorts arose from the area. Keith shrunk in his fur, scowling. He stayed silent for the remainder of the lesson.

    ---

    Some years passed. Keith’s cublike traits faded as his ears and tail lengthened and limbs grew a bit lankier, but unlike most of his peers, he still remained an eevee.

    Keith paced onward along the cobblestone road leading away from his school. He tried his best to place his paws on the stones and avoid the wet crevices, but every few moments he dipped a toe or four in the cold, dirty water and grimaced. He hoped a proper winter day would soon come again and freeze the puddles over. It might be slippery, but it wouldn’t get his paws all wet and gross.

    Well, at least it’s not raining, he thought and circled a larger patch of water.

    “Hey, Keith!”

    Keith missed a step and only barely avoided sliding into the puddle. He took a deep breath and tried to walk faster, but the one who called him was more determined and caught up, blocking his path.

    It was Oliver, the aipom who’d unfortunately stayed in Keith’s class despite many threats of expulsion. A mischievous grin shone on the monkey's face, practically his trademark.

    Keith could hear further footsteps behind him, so he turned to see what else he was up against. Minccino, jolteon, linoone… Oliver's usual sidekicks, it seemed, but some watchog was also among them. He looked somewhat older, and the others kept glancing at him to monitor his reactions.

    “Seen any dragons lately, Keith?” Oliver asked mockingly, his gang and guest of honor as audience now.

    Keith wrinkled his nose and humphed. “Of course not. It's winter and they usually don't go outside.”

    “So kinda like you, ‘cause you have no life?”

    The fur on Keith's back bristled. Oliver’s sidekicks snorted, but the watchog stayed unimpressed.

    “Oh, are you angry?” Oliver continued. “Whatcha gonna do, breathe your dragon breath at us? Poke us with your horns?” He dangled his tail hand in front of Keith’s face. “Gonna bite my fingers off?”

    “A dragon would eat you whole,” retorted Keith, but then remembered he wanted to avoid perpetuating the image of the savage dragon. “Or they could, but they wouldn't, because they are civilized,” he added.

    Oliver turned to the watchog. “You hear that, Benny? He thinks dragons are civilized!”

    “You think so, huh?” the watchog said to Keith, crossing his arms, though he still sounded rather uninterested. “You know about their war crimes, right?”

    Keith raised a paw with a fire in his eyes. “Hey, I’ve looked into those, and they are greatly exaggerated!”

    “Oooh, really?” Oliver pressed on, jumping from one foot to another. “You know, you should fight to settle who’s right! Come on, Benny, kick his ass!”

    “Can you guys just stop?” a new voice spoke.

    The group of mon flinched, spotting the vaporeon who’d seemingly appeared from nowhere. The puddle under her feet explained her sudden appearance, however. Keith had always wondered what it was like to melt into water and travel across it.

    “Come on, Mila,” Oliver said, “you really gonna side with the wyrb?”

    Benny raised an eyebrow. “Wyrb?”

    “You know, wyrmaboo.”

    “Uh-huh.”

    Mila glared at Oliver. “If you don’t leave now, you’re gonna regret it.”

    “Tch, yeah, like you could do anyth-”

    Mila crouched, and something cold clasped around Oliver’s tail. The aipom turned and saw a fish-tail rising out of the puddle right behind him, its fins keeping his tail in a clammy hold.

    “Whuh-”

    The fins yanked back, and Oliver lost his balance, falling into the dirty water. The splash struck the mon standing next to the aipom, and that was Benny.

    “Eugh!” The watchog shook his soaked feet in disgust. “Screw this, I’m out!” he shouted, marching away.

    “Benny, wait!” Oliver clambered up and ran after Benny. His friends followed with worried looks on their faces. The mon disappeared behind a turn in the road, unlikely to return in a while.

    Mila stepped closer to Keith, sighing. “They didn’t do anything, did they?”

    “They insulted dragons,” Keith muttered.

    “You have to tone down this whole dragon thing. It’s basically social suicide.”

    “But I have to defend the dragons! If I don’t --”

    “Who will, yeah, I know.” Mila sighed again, then shook her head. “You know what, that can wait. I actually had something else I wanted to talk to you about.”

    “Is it about dragons?”

    “No,” Mila growled. “I wanted to let you know that this one group is arranging another pilgrimage to the Cascade Rock for the ones who missed the main season. You could evolve into a vaporeon like me, and get the real pilgrimage experience too, instead of just using a boring old souvenir.”

    Keith pouted.

    Mila’s frills drooped. “Oh, Keith… don’t tell me you still want to --”

    “Yes I do! I wanna be a dragon!”

    “Sweetie, I don’t know how many times I have to tell you. There is no dragon evolution for eevee.”

    Keith threw his paws in the air. “Why wouldn’t there be? Eevee’s whole thing is turning into different types! And-and we have sylveon, that’s like the anti-dragon, they need to have a dragon for balance!”

    “Like they need a ground type for jolteon?”

    “...Yes.”

    “Keith, you do know that story of the eevee who wanted to be flying and jumped off a mountain, right? It didn’t end well for him.”

    “I’m not like that! It’s not like I’m gonna climb into a dragon’s mouth to evolve or something!”

    Keith paused.

    “Oh my Gods, you’re thinking of it now, aren’t you?” Mila shouted.

    “N-no I’m not.”

    Mila sighed, now losing count of how many times she’d done so since the beginning of the conversation. “Just go on the pilgrimage. Become a vaporeon. It’s the closest thing you’re gonna get to a dragon. And it’s not that far! Look!” She extended her foreleg, showing off the glimmering scales. “Scales and frills and a big ol’ meaty tail. You’d love it!”

    “No wings, no horns, no fiery breath.”

    “Gods, you’re impossible to please. I’m leaving.” Mila turned away, but gave Keith one last look. “At least think about it, won’t you?”

    “Fine,” Keith groaned, and Mila was on her way.

    Keith, too, continued on his path towards home. Familiar sights of stone and brick buildings went by, a few leafless trees, some passersby. An espeon, a leafeon - poor thing all wrapped up in scarves to manage in the plant-hostile temperatures - then a pair of frolicking eevee cubs. Lots of members of the eevee family, a signature attribute for the small but well defended guild of Pelton. The eevee family’s wide range of elements gave the guild advantage over almost all types.

    But lots of other mon took residence in Pelton as well, though they were predominantly of the normal type. Keith walked by many such examples - a persian, an ursaring family, a munchlax and then a mon he didn’t recognize, but one that looked somewhat draconic --

    Wait a second!

    Keith took another look at the feathered green-and-white mon in front of the hut marked with the symbol of an apple. Long serpentine neck. Scaly snout. Could it be?

    Keith galloped to the stranger, who barely noticed him before the eevee’s final strides, too preoccupied before with talking to the spectacled flareon on the other side of the counter.

    “Uhh, so, yeah,” the stranger quickly said to the salesman, his voice hoarse. “Ten apples, that’s my order.” The salesman nodded and turned away to pack his wares, missing the eevee zooming towards his store.

    Close enough to the stranger, Keith stumbled to an ungraceful halt, then stared straight into the unknown mon’s eyes.

    “Sir! Madam! Other!” Keith spoke, unblinking. “Are you a dragon?”

    The stranger raised his wing-hands covered in fluffy white feathers and shushed. “Keep it down! You wanna start a mob?” He tucked his hands back in the rest of his fluff. “But yes, yes I am,” he added quietly. “A drampa. Half normal, half dragon.”

    Keith trembled with excitement. The stranger gave a worried look.

    After making a noise that resembled a boiling kettle’s wheeze, Keith finally returned to using his words. “I love, love, love, love dragons,” he gushed.

    “Uhh… okay.”

    “I’ve only ever seen real dragons from afar and my mom and dad won’t let me get close because they say dragons are dangerous but I think that’s a lie unless they’re feral in which case I understand but they really looked civilized and that’s why I’m mad at them and really want them to let me talk to them!” Keith drew in a massive breath to replenish his oxygen supply.

    “That’s… good for you,” the drampa said, glancing at the salesman still packing the ordered apples.

    “What’s it like to be a dragon?”

    “...What kind of question is th-”

    “No, no wait, limited time, need to prioritize questions,” Keith interrupted. “So, like, uhh, uhh, do you think that, uhh, you know how eevee, uhh, uhh...”

    “Just… take your time, kid.” the drampa said. “You don’t wanna pass out from hyperventilation.”

    “Yes, yes, wise dragon, dragon advice...” Keith closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths. Still keeping his eyes closed, he carefully presented his question. “Do you think. That there could be a dragon type evolution for eevee. And if so. How would that evolution happen.” He opened his eyes one at a time, seeming surprised he didn’t explode or something similar.

    The drampa brought a claw to his chin. “Uhh, well, lemme think… a dragon evolution for eevee. Possible? I mean, maybe, I’m not an eevee expert. How it would happen? Hmm… maybe a dragon scale or something? I mean, I’ve heard that a lot of your evolutions happen with some special objects related to the evolution’s type.”

    “Cool! Yes! But I’ve-I’ve tried it with some scales, though. Ones I found on the ground or bought from souvenir shops.”

    “Well, maybe they weren’t fresh enough or something. I’ve had this loose one for a while, you can have --” The drampa picked a scale off his skin, visibly flinching while doing so, and offered it to the eevee. “This one.”

    The eevee nabbed the scale instantly with his paw, popped it into his mouth and swallowed.

    “...What in the Gods’ names --”

    “I don’t think it worked...” Keith said, his ears drooping. “Y-you have to have some other suggestion, though!”

    “Uhh… I don’t really know...”

    “Please!” Keith threw himself on the ground and pulled at the hem of the drampa’s feather coat. “There must be something!” he cried, drawing odd and disapproving glances from a few passersby.

    “I, uhh, w-well there is the Draco Plate,” the stranger stuttered, yanking back his feathers and hoping that the mon on the street weren’t making any ill judgements about him.

    Keith brought his paws together. “Go on.”

    “I-I don’t really know if it would work, but I’ve heard that these Plates can affect the environment and mon around them according to its type,” the stranger said. “I don’t know if it’s an evolutionary way, but that’s the closest thing I can think of.”

    “Great! Where is it?”

    “Um, well, that’s really the bad news here… it belongs to the King. So it would probably be in his castle.”

    “So in Farindon, right?”

    “The capital, yes.”

    “Awesome!” Keith jumped upright, his tail wagging rapidly. “Thank you so much!”

    “Hey, hey, hold on a minute here,” the stranger said. “You can’t just waltz right into the heart of the Dragon Kingdom --”

    “Why not?”

    The intense stare from the eevee’s eyes lowered the drampa’s interest in continuing the conversation drastically. This eevee was clearly doomed regardless of any answer given.

    “Ten apples,” announced the shopkeeper, lowering a bag onto the counter and snapping the stranger out of his thoughts.

    “Right, yes.” The stranger dug his wallet out of his bag and gave the salesman what he owed.

    “Have a nice day,” the flareon chimed as the drampa claimed the bag and turned away from the stand.

    “A-anyway, thank you so much!” Keith said, tailing the leaving drampa. “Your long life has truly made you wise beyond comparison!”

    “I’m twenty-three!” the drampa growled.

    “Centuries? Wow… the things you must have seen!”

    The drampa shook his head and finally turned away for good.

    “Thank you! Bye!” Keith shouted after the mon, waving his paw, then returned to his path home with starry eyes and a wide smile.

    ---

    Keith patted his saddlebags. Full and ready. Two weeks’ gathering of supplies had finally reached its completion, and now he was ready for the trip.

    Keith opened his window, unfazed by the cold, moonlit night thanks to his warm scarf and fur. He heaved his bags through onto the snow outside and climbed on the sill, but a conversation in the other room caught his ear.

    “Honey, I'm worried about Keith.”

    It was his father's voice, followed by a sigh from his mother.

    “Not this again,” she grunted. “I keep telling you, it's just a phase. It'll go away with time.”

    “I-it's not showing any signs of fading, though. If anything, he’s become more determined lately!”

    “I haven't noticed any difference. It’s just the full moon messing with your head.”

    “It's been longer than that! And you really should stop playing that moon card.”

    Keith's mother groaned. “What exactly are you afraid of in his dragon obsession, anyway? Even if he by some black magic manages to gain dragon traits, you're a sylveon.”

    “Exactly! He'll have all the reason to hate me! Fairies are the anti-dragon!”

    “And I'm a glaceon. Big deal.”

    “He doesn't need dragon powers to s-slit my throat when I'm sleeping!”

    “Honey, come on. Does that sound like Keith to you?”

    “Maybe not now, but if he radicalizes, turns into one of those draconationalists…”

    “Honey, that will not happen. This is definitely the moon, no matter what you say.”

    “Stop playing the card!”

    Keith had no real interest in staying behind to listen to his parents argue, so he jumped down onto the snow and closed the window behind him.

    Keith’s heart became heavy for a brief moment upon realizing that he never had said goodbye, but he knew that telling his parents about his plans would only make them stop him. And as an eevee against two adult ‘eons, he'd really stand no chance.

    Don't worry, Mom and Dad, he thought with a self-encouraging smile, I'll be back before you know it, as a brand new evolution!

    With that echoing in his mind, he picked up his saddlebags and set off on his way to the piers.

    ---

    “Halt!”

    “Ahh!” Keith stopped in his tracks. Wh-who said that?

    “Who goes there?” the stern voice continued.

    “J-just me, Eevee Keith!”

    “Oh, no worries, then!” The voice now came from right beside Keith, causing the eevee to flinch.

    The full moon and the flickering torches on the guild wall lit a large, quadrupedal figure with glowing yellow ring-shaped markings. It was definitely the bulkiest umbreon Keith had ever seen. Oh, he must be a guard.

    “Thought you were a thief, you see,” the guard continued.

    “Where did you come from?”

    “My mother's womb, of course,” the umbreon replied, then laughed. “No, I traveled through shadow. Which is rather everywhere during the nighttime.”

    “Whoa, you can do that?”

    “Yes, we Pelton umbreon can… did they not teach you this in school?”

    “Uhh… probably, but I just didn’t listen…”

    “You should really pay more attention at school, boy. But either way, where might you be headed?”

    “I'm… taking a lapras ride to the continent to…” Keith spoke slowly to buy himself time to think of a lie. “...get my parents a surprise gift!”

    “Ooh, a gift! You're a good son, you are. But beware of those dragons! It might be winter, but they still need to hunt from time to time.”

    “I… I will, thanks,” Keith said and began walking again. He was relieved to see the umbreon not follow.

    “Best of luck to you!” the umbreon said with a wave, then melted back into the shadows.

    Keith picked up his pace, not wanting to push his luck.

    Some minutes of walking later, Keith reached the piers. The rim of the beach was mostly covered in ice, but near the horizon, the waves were too big and strong to freeze over. Some floes could be seen floating closer to the beach, however.

    Keith set his course for the building by one of the larger piers. Warm, golden light shined from its windows, alluring to Keith even with his cold-resistant coat. He trotted the last few meters, then entered through the door, causing a bell to ring.

    “Oh, hello,” spoke a bibarel behind the counter directly ahead. Some parts of his fur appeared shining and clumped, which Keith guessed was due to a recent swim and a sloppy drying with a towel. “How can I help you?”

    “Yea, I reserved a lapras ride a few days ago? Name was Eevee Keith.”

    “Alright, lemme check...” The bibarel opened and went through a book on the counter. “Ah, there you are. Nancy’s your ride. Looks like you paid in advance, too, so you’re all set. Just gotta get the raft hooked up.

    The bibarel waddled around the counter and advanced to the right side of the building. Its ceiling much was higher, and its floor was replaced by the sea’s water save for a few walkways and the right end of the room, which was dedicated to a passageway lined by numerous harnesses on the wall. A few rafts floated in the water, bearing rather modest shelters atop them.

    The bibarel walked to the end of one walkway and pulled a lever on the wall, causing the gate to the water next to him to open up with a rattle.

    The bibarel leaned out towards the open sea and startled Keith with a shockingly loud yell. “Ay! Nancy! Get your tail over here! You got a customer!”

    “Whaaat?” sounded a voice from somewhere far away.

    Keith knew now to cover his ears before the bibarel responded.

    “Naaancyyyy! Heeereee!”

    “Fiiiine!” the voice responded, though Keith barely heard it through his paws. Luckily, it seemed like the bibarel was done shouting for now, allowing him to uncover his poor ears.

    Eventually, a sea-green lapras swam into the room. It spun around to face the sea, then gave the bibarel an expecting stare.

    The bibarel sighed. “Yeah, yeah, I just got done drying off is all...”

    He passed Keith to grab one of the harnesses. He took a minute to untangle it, then dove in the water. Keith dodged a few splashes.

    As the bibarel was fastening the harness onto the lapras, she turned to Keith. “Ye're heided tae the continent, huh?”

    Keith nodded. “M-hm.”

    “Weel, A'm sure ye've been hearing it a lot, but watch oot fer drugans. A'm telt eevee are their favourite food.”

    Keith pouted. “Mm-hmmm…”

    “Alright, harness on...” said the bibarel, now thoroughly wet, then attached the leash of the harness to the front of the raft. “And raft hooked up. You're all set!”

    He leaped from the water with a powerful flick of his flat tail and waddled to Keith. “Safe travels!” he said, opening the door to the shelter atop the raft and gesturing the eevee to go in.

    Keith thanked the bibarel and entered. Inside the shelter was a flimsy desk, a bed of somewhat higher quality and an oil lantern, but not much else - only a couple of pots Keith wondered the purpose of, then guessed were reserved for different kinds of wastes. One might have been drinking water. He would have to ask Nancy to be sure if he needed either.

    Keith climbed up on the bed, leaving his saddlebags on the floor, and so they were ready to depart. Nancy paddled out of the building, the gate closing behind her, and set out to the open sea.

    “Be sure tae enjoy the view while it lasts,” said Nancy as the torch-lit beach grew more and more distant. “Affer we lose secht ae the island, it's only the black sea and the dim stars in the sky.”

    Keith nodded, though afterwards realized Nancy couldn't see him through the shack.

    “So… on clear nights like this, you have the stars, but how do you not get lost on cloudy nights?” he asked.

    “Inbuilt compass,” Nancy replied. “Tis how the feral eens migrate. We jist ken fit way is fit.”

    “Huh.”

    Keith remembered Nancy's encouragement to look outside and peered out of the little window above the bed. He'd looked before, but he didn't mind looking again.

    He watched the icy shore and the floes get smaller and smaller and eventually reduce to a mere line of light in the darkness around. He wondered what the coast of their destination would look like. Would the light of the capital reach all the way there? Farindon wasn’t that far from the edge of the continent. And it was said to be the greatest city ever built! Keith was excited to see it with his own eyes even outside of the dragon inhabitants.

    He yawned and realized he didn’t really have any reason to stay awake. It was nighttime, and he would need to walk a considerable amount the following day. I should go to sleep, he thought, and lay down on the bed beneath him.

    Keith sighed contently, closing his eyes. To think that by this time tomorrow, I may already be a real, honest-to-Gods dragon…

    He stretched his paws and curled up. He tucked his snout in his fluffy tail. I guess I probably won’t have all this fur anymore then, but it’s a small price to pay. And that drampa did have feathers. Maybe my dragon evolution will have feathers too? I hope it doesn’t take away from the dragonness if that ends up happening. Though I know I’ll still be happy with anything I get, since I’ll be a dragon and that’s what really matters…

    Wondering what his new form would look like, Keith slowly slipped to sleep. Outside the shelter, Nancy continued sliding through the blackness, unflinching at the cold waves crashing onto her skin.

    ---
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
  2. NebulaDreams

    NebulaDreams A Dense Irritating Miniature Beast of Burden

    Alright, so I was excited to read this from the get-go, since I really liked Pletora's Story, and the snippets you shared for Discord were really interesting and had me sold on Keith's character already, so I'm glad you've started releasing parts of it here. The first thing I should comment on, fittingly enough, is the protagonist, the dragon-obsessed Keith. He's consistently adorable throughout the story, as his enthusiasm for dragons is endearing, while also making him an underdog in his world where dragons are reviled, which kept me invested. While he was enough to carry this first chapter, I hope the ones after that go a little more in-depth into his character, as his dragon-obsession could start to become annoying if it continues to be his only defining character trait.

    Having said that, this first chapter opens up a lot of doors for the rest of the story to come, so you could go into lots of interesting routes, especially with how the world is built around this stigma towards dragons. Either Keith's optimistic nature about them will be rewarded, or turned on his head, and while I predict the story will go in the direction of 'he doesn't turn into a dragon but develops his character along the way and comes back with a renewed identity', my expectations might be completely subverted, so I won't say too much. Either way, I'm excited to see where this goes.

    Aside from that, the rest of the characters were great too, as they contrasted well with his personality, especially the Drampa. While Nancy the Lapras was a bit distracting in terms of her accent, since she has the strongest one compared to the rest of the cast, I got used to it eventually. With the setting, I feel like you could've expanded on it a little more, as I find the logistics of a Pokemon-based world interesting, and would've liked to have seen how it differs from our world in terms of how infrastructure is built. This was really dialogue heavy as well, which I didn't mind since the dialogue itself was great, but I was a little confused with some scene transitions as there's little physical description of the locations Keith travels to, so I felt the setting could've benefited from that.

    To go off on a tangent, I have to talk about this bit of dialogue:

    It was funny, of course, but I also found it interesting that there's terminology similar to internet-lingo in this PMD world that's applied to a fan of dragons here. If there's a subculture based around dragons, with how deadly they're supposed to be, why don't they seem more stigmatised? Is the internet a known thing in this setting? If so, is there such a thing as a weeaboo in this world as well where anime fans also have their own subculture? Perhaps I'm reading way too deeply into it since it was supposed to be a throwaway line, but I was just curious.

    With that said, I'm eager to read more of it, and I'll see you again when the next chapter comes out.
     
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  3. canisaries

    canisaries sometimes i get a deadache, yeah

    Well, we'll be arriving in the dragon kingdom in the next part and get to meet a bunch of new characters, so I can say the setting will be given more attention. For infrastructure, the guilds are supposed to be something along the lines of city-states. Monarchies or any states of that kind are rather rare (but tend to be famous).

    Okay, so here's the backstory - Keith is not so much based on a "weeaboo" (while there are streaks of it) specifically, but on a wolfaboo. This is a word for a die-hard wolf enthusiast who believes they're up against a world of people that see wolves as exaggeratedly evil due to fairytales and the like - the place I've bumped into this term the most is Deviantart, but a Google search proves my understanding of it being a larger phenomenon. Naturally, it's a word that came from "weeaboo", but that in turn actually started out as a nonsense word that ended up replacing the term "wapanese" apparently due to word filter avoidance. (source)

    The ugly truth is that I used to be a prime example of a "wolfaboo" myself, and this is sort of me trying to come to terms with the embarrassing things I did. But either way, you do have a point. Maybe I should add in somewhere that the civilized dragons haven't been such a big danger to Pelton specifically and that the disdain for them is mostly a combination of hearsay and dislike of the feral kind, which is a bit of a remnant from a time where they didn't have city walls and actually had to fear dragons in their day to day lives.

    As for the internet, it definitely doesn't exist in this world, as it's is still in a pre-industrial state... although some type of telepathic network between psychics would be an interesting concept.

    Thanks for reading and replying! I'll tweak the dragon aspect and get to work on the second part.
     
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  4. Venia Silente

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

    I j u s t ​


    This is like, a story concept I just can't pass up checking! A little boy who wants to grow up and become an awesome dragon! Why not! The story is described as adventure and comedy so I really hope it's going to strike in all the right places and take a few jabs at the franchise.

    And of course that GF does not give us a Dragon Eeveelution whyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

    So, what is it gonna be of this little lovable creature?

    This whole little story with the dragon THAT DID NOTHING WRONG reminds me of a story I wrote, even! About a dragon Pokémon who rescued a princess and a knight was sent with some Pokémon to rescue her. A nice mood to have, these memories.

    I was cheering with the little Eevee as they heard the story and we got to the awesome part with the dragon and NOOOOO!!!! Why does the dragon have to die? All they are trying to do is to keep the kingdom militaries well trained and also to rescue the maidens from the oppression of the patriarchy I swear!

    Also lol at the entire clase being both "....wut" and then "oh yeah it's Keith again" at the little incident. Kinda sucks for him that his teachers won't take him seriously because 1.- that can severely curtail the critter's creativity and performance in school 2.- it counts as bullying except from a teacher and 3.- I'm seeing there is this racism or speciesism against dragons that is being taught to children and ingrained in their society and these systems have to be taken down because they are unfair and oppressive and... really I could go into the ISO Standard mistreated minorities tirade and I get the feeling that it would not be any misplaced here.

    I mean have you ever looked at a Dratini?

    Kudos for having the Vaporeon literally pop out of water and using the water-type version of those Naruto partial shadow transportation techniques. Also kudos for "wyrmaboo", I'm going to remember that one for a while and add it to my dictionary of metnyms (words that should be but aren't).

    If Keith were to evolve into a more canine-leaning Eeveelution, something like say Jolteon, would we say he'd become a...
    wyrmawoo?


    I w o n ’ t

    [inhales in worldbuilding]

    With the size of some dragons, I see Keith might grow up to be into vore. Also, spectacular comedy gold, right there, in particular with the pause.

    In defense of Mila, I'll say:

    Wyverns and wyrms are dragons too! I mean come on, someone ask Keith if Rayquaza is *not* a dragon. I guess even for a huge fan Keith is not above his own perceptions and wishful thinking about what counts as a dragon, but I hope he grows to a wider mindset and learns to appreciate all dragons.

    I mean, in the Pokéverse an Exeggutor is a dragon, right?

    And certainly Vaporeon's the closest thing we've got, right up having this spectacular skill to navigate (heh) the world in a way most Pokémon can't.

    Now, I know maybe this anti-dragon racism in your setting extends only to "pure" (monotype) dragons, considering typing is the first thing the Drampa attempts to use as an excuse, so I guess I might be off the mark a bit with the setting, but at the same time I can't but wonder in what world don't Pokémon know that certain species are certain types? Why would there not be a mob already if there is a Drampa (of which I presume all specimens are Normal/Dragon) around? So that part felt a bit weird.

    I can't stop loving Keith's relative positivity and confidence in his view of dragons. I just can't. You and your comedy won't ever let me.

    Anyway, I'm really wishing Keith a good fortune in his adventure towards becoming a dragon - or, say, at least learning Dragon Pulse or something. He is a precious creature too hopeful for this world and needs to be protected. Yeah, from becoming food too, a dragon has to eat but that's ABSOLUTELY NO REASON for Keith to stop loving them. All that matters is that this little Eevee finds some satisfaction in his journey.

    Oh and one final note.

    You had one job :p

    And remember: ALL DRAGONS ARE VALID!
     
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  5. canisaries

    canisaries sometimes i get a deadache, yeah

    Thanks for the read and reply!

    DON'T AWOO. $350 PENALTY

    Well, think of it this way: there are lots of animals out there that most people who live elsewhere don't know anything about. Those people can't know by looking if an unknown snake is venomous or a plant's berries poisonous. Nature has some ways of hinting at danger, like bright colors on poison dart frogs (VERY deadly) or wasps (VERY angry), but there are also a bunch of fakers out there (harmless milk snakes with similar patterns to deadly coral snakes, hoverflies with stripes similar to bees and wasps). In Pokémon, a you have Sudowoodo whose entire idea is to fool others into thinking it's a grass type. It'd be kind of pointless if everyone knew it to be rock to begin with. Also, with regional variants being confirmed in the latest generations, there's also the possibility that individuals of the same species have different typings. So while most mon are pretty obvious (if it's on fire, chances are it's fire), the inhabitants of this world know it's not always that clear-cut. Drampa likely got past the guards and served like a normal (pun unintended) citizen due to claiming he was only normal type, and since he didn't act like what the people of Pelton would have expected a dragon to act like (wreaking havoc), no one panicked. He likely got a few odd or even nasty looks, though. But there are also a bunch of vaguely draconic or dinosaur-like mon that don't have a dragon type (but can be found in the Dragon egg group or learn dragon moves) and to Peltoners' eyes, no ties to the Dragon Kingdom, so they save their panic for the ones more clearly dragon who weren't approved by the guards.

    A secondary type could also be seen as corresponding to someone with ethnic heritage. As we know, there are people out there who will think less of people who are even related to groups they dislike, even if they don't necessarily look or act like members of those group. Also, just as it is for different types of animals, there are also different types of cultures and peoples whose existences aren't common knowledge throughout the world. I mean, I can't even name the 50 states of the US - but I can name a lot of European countries, though. There's also the factor of the education system not being that unbiased (as you saw with the teacher), so they probably wouldn't bother teaching the citizens about all types of dragons. You could argue that a system like that could teach the youth to "spot the dragons" (as I believe Nazi Germany taught their children to recognize features of Jewish people), but I'm not going for exactly that level of oppression. It's more about fear stemming from ignorance and hearsay rather than direct and ongoing nation-level conflict. This is what I'm hoping to get across with some revisions, but I hadn't had time to get to them quite yet.

    Anyway, I hope that clears it up a bit. The fic will certainly show all kinds of dragons, and you'll see that in the next part especially!
     
  6. Namohysip

    Namohysip Dragon Enthusiast

    Was this... was this written for me?!

    ...Okay, probably not. But this seriously hits all of my favorite notes when it comes to petty things I like to see in fiction. Dragons, a character that (relatable) likes dragons and thinks their representation is unfair and misunderstood? A character that (even more relatable) wants to be a dragon?!

    Okay, now that I have that out of my system--this once again comes off as an unexpected genre choice from you, but it's once again a pleasant surprise for me. I found myself laughing a number of times while reading this, if only because some of these exchanges remind me of me when I was a kid. The first chapter is just exposition, and that's just fine--especially because you've already established quite a bit with just this opening scene. Since it's a short-shot, you don't really mind leaving out specific details that aren't necessary, and focus just on what's important for the narrative. That's good.

    You're showing that the dragons aren't quite all-good (given the warnings Keith gets) but aren't necessarily all bad, either, and are in fact discriminated against somewhat, as indicated by the drampa. I'm interested to see what sort of answer Keith is going to get from this sort of encounter, both for his ambition to become a dragon, and for his belief system.

    That actually brings up my primary concern, which I hope (and really, I trust) you will answer more thoroughly down the line: why. In this world where dragons are real and there are obviously clear stigmas, stories, and histories behind dragons, why does Keith have such an obsession with them? Is it an abnormal fixation, or did something happen to him in the past? Perhaps when he was very young, or perhaps even some sort of hand of fate? I don't really mind one way or the other, but I'm curious what that answer will be.

    Anyway, I'm obviously following this. Until then, here are some in-the-moment remarks...

    This is me.

    I know exactly where this is going.

    This is... 100% me.

    Okay so, shot in the dark, did you ever play Super Smash Land, that fangame based on Super Smash Brothers, made by the same person who made Rivals of Aether? Because in Smash Land, one of the playable characters was Vaporeon, and he basically did this as part of his moveset.

    Yep. Me.

    oh.
     
  7. Chibi Pika

    Chibi Pika Stay positive

    Oh my god this is adorable. I had to check this out after seeing that coverart and it did not disappoint. Keith's enthusiasm is infectious, and if almost impossible not to smile while reading his narration. There's also the early signs of some worldbuilding, like the references to the dragon civil war WAR CRIMES (jfc Chibi) that implies that the tensions between dragons and nondragons aren't as black and white as either Keith or the other villagers might believe. I should have guessed that a Drampa would be a dragon that's not perceives as dragony enough to be discriminated against, right after you mentioned most of the village was normal-type. To use a real-world term, he "passes". (Course, I'm sure if the locals knew he was a dragon, they'd have more to say.)

    I liked the way you set up the process of renting a ride with a Lapras, it's fun details like that that make the world feel like it works. And of course, I'm very interested to see what awaits Keith at the dragon kingdom.

    Also... w y r m a b o o. That is all.

    Looking forward to more!

    ~Chibi~
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
    Venia Silente likes this.
  8. canisaries

    canisaries sometimes i get a deadache, yeah

    Part Two babay! This time we get to meet some real dragons. Not just some phoney one like that drampa was.

    Content is still pretty child-friendly, but I'll just rate it teen for some light language and violence and lightly dark (dim?) humor. Thanks to one of my betas again for helping with the accent and also helping me find a better place to cut the chapter. That also means I'm already 2k words in the next part, and that this story will definitely be longer than three parts. Anyway, enjoy!

    ---

    Part Two

    ---​

    “Hey, A said wake yersel!”

    “Gahh!” Keith snapped out of his sleep with a jolt as a loud thumping came from outside. He looked around, disorientated as the furniture of his own room was nowhere to be seen until he remembered where he was.

    “I’ve aither clients tae be seeing tae, ye ken,” Nancy groaned and slapped the shelter’s outer wall with her fin once more, creating another thump.

    “C-coming!” Keith called and jumped off the bed. He dove underneath the strap connecting his saddlebags, stood up supporting it on his back and opened the door.

    “Mind the g-” Nancy tried, but Keith had already taken his step on nonexistent ground. With a wail, the eevee tumbled down onto the fresh snow on the pier’s planks, face naturally first.

    “Aff tae a braw start,” the lapras mumbled and jerked her body so that the shelter’s door swung to a close. “Weel, be seeing ye love. Try nae tae be catching a caul. Or drugan teeth”

    Keith got up, shaking the snow out of his fur. After making sure his saddlebags were intact and still full, he thanked Nancy for the ride and bid her farewell. Nancy responded with a wave of her forefin and returned to the sea.

    Finally! Keith thought with a grin as his paws met solid ground at the root of the pier. The continent! The same mass of land that the Dragon King and all his subjects tread! And so many wild dragons, too!

    Keith looked around, but the area was void of mon, civilized or feral. Hm. I guess it’s a slow day for this harbor. I should really talk to someone to find out where the nearest transportation service is, though…

    As he finished that thought, he saw the door of a nearby shack open and a poliwhirl step out.

    “Hey! You!” Keith shouted, leaping into a run towards the mon. The poliwhirl flinched, startled, and seemed to briefly consider going back in.

    “Uh, yes, what is it?” he asked as the oddly enthusiastic eevee arrived before him.

    “Do you know what the best way to get to Farindon from here is?”

    The mon eyed Keith with worry. “...You sure you wanna go there?”

    Ugh, not another wet blanket. “Yes,” Keith groaned. “I know what I’m doing.”

    “Well, if you say so… you should consider Thunderhoof Ride Rents. Just follow that road and it should take you there.” He gestured to one of the paths leading into the forest of leafless birch trees that surrounded the harbor. All paths bore only a few sets of footprints.

    “Thanks!” said Keith, then studied the pattern on the poliwhirl’s belly. “I like your spiral.”

    “Thanks! It’s my small intestine.”

    “Aaaand now I hate it,” Keith whispered as he turned around and headed for the path shown.

    The path continued for quite a while. The road stayed relatively straight and the striped, snow-topped trees flanked it all the way. The sky above was covered with a white blanket of clouds and the wind appeared still.

    To pass the time, Keith hummed to himself and imagined all the things he could do as a dragon. He could melt the road clean of snow with his fiery breath. He might not have the need for roads at all if he could fly! It was an entertaining thought, but Keith had to admit it was probably unlikely. No other evolution for eevee known to date had wings or could fly.

    Something slowly wormed into his mind, so subtly that it took him several seconds to notice it. A droning noise had appeared, disturbing the previously silent soundscape. What is that? I don't think any mon sounds like that.

    The noise gradually strengthened, unnerving Keith. What if it's some kind of attack? Why would someone attack me? What did I do?

    It only continued getting louder. His fear getting the best of him, Keith skittered off the path into the shelter of the trees and lay down, eyes flicking around the sky where the noise appeared to come from.

    “I'm sorry!” he squeaked. “Whatever I did, I'm sorry! Please don't attack me!”

    It was then that he saw it - a red figure, blurred by its incredible speed, zooming straight through the sky. As Keith understood the figure had gone past and left him utterly ignored, he exhaled practically all the air in his lungs.

    What was that about? he thought as he returned to the path, the droning still in the background, now fading. Was that a dragon? Are they really that fast? Or… was that only an odd type of bird?

    Keith continued to ponder this until a change of scenery gave him something else to think about. He'd arrived at a clearing with a large wooden building in the middle. The snow on the paths that left it was stamped flat with arc-shaped feet. Twittering of feral bird mon split the silence that had returned after the droning. Keith instantly sensed a livelier air. Also a faint smell of manure.

    As he came close enough to the building, he could read the sign above what he assumed was the front door. ‘Thunderhoof Ride Rents’, just as the poliwhirl had given it, but the ‘Th’ was scratched over with the letters ‘Bl’ written above it. Keith held his head tilted for a brief while, but then entered.

    He pushed at the door, the heavy wood providing greater resistance than he'd expected. As it swung shut behind him, the stable's stench assaulted his nostrils. At least it’s warmer in here, Keith thought and walked through the first room, craning his neck to spot any employees in the adjacent rooms. He couldn’t spot any yet, though, only feral zebstrika standing in their stalls, their eyes vacant, small and far apart on their faces. Oddly enough, there was one zebstrika not in any stall, but in the middle of the passageway --

    “Oh, hey there.”

    “Ngah!” Keith hopped back, staring at the zebstrika who’d turned around to greet him. “Oh, you aren’t feral.”

    “Nope,” the mon replied, his speech and alert eyes confirming his claim. “They all are, though.”

    “Uhh… alright. Well, do you know where the owner of this place is?”

    “Yep. That’s me, Jack.”

    Keith’s eyes narrowed. “You're a civilized zebstrika running a stable of feral zebstrika?”

    “Yep. Something wrong with that?”

    “No, no, no… I mean, if you're okay with it, then so am I.”

    Jack snorted. “Did you have some business here?”

    “Oh, yes. I need a ride to the capital.”

    “You su-”

    “Yes!”

    “Alright, then,” Jack said and ambled to the back wall covered in reins hung by hooks. He grabbed one with his teeth and returned to Keith. “Hold dish, pleashe.”

    Keith grabbed the reins, avoiding the spot Jack had touched with his mouth. Jack walked to one of the stalls and opened the gate. A feral zebstrika with a drooping forelock traipsed out, eyeing the small brown creature before it.

    “This is Nimbus,” Jack said. “You’ll be riding her, as she’s the set-path type and strong enough to fend off feral dragons. Since, well, you don’t really look like you can do that on your own.”

    Even if Jack was completely correct, Keith felt a little insulted.

    “Don’t worry about any steering,” Jack added. “Once I tell her where to go, she knows my word weighs more than any traveller’s. She’ll follow the shortest path to Farindon --”

    A whinny came from the back of the stable, followed by restless thumping of hooves.

    “Oh, get over it!” Jack growled in the noises’ direction. He turned back to Keith and lowered his voice. “Sorry about Taima. On her first and last trip to the capital, she got bitten by a feral gabite. Or should I say gabitten. Haha.”

    Jack cleared his throat and stepped back. “Anyway, as I was saying, she’ll follow the shortest path to the capital regardless of any accidental or deliberate rein-pulling that doesn’t simply mean ‘stop’. Then when you’ve reached your destination, she’ll wait until you mount her again and then bring you right back here. Simple, but effective. And makes thievery harder.”

    Jack lowered his head with a glare, startling Keith. The electric type’s mane and stripes glowed, and a crackling arc of electricity formed between his two-pronged forelock. “You are planning on returning her, aren’t you?”

    “Y-yes, sir!”

    Jack leaned back, his glow fading. “Good. Just making sure. Now let me just get the saddle...”

    The sapient zebstrika left the room for a moment, then returned with a saddle hanging by its straps from his teeth. He swung it onto the feral’s back and somehow - Keith couldn’t see with Jack’s body in the way - fastened it.

    “Whoa, how’d you do that?” Keith gasped. “With just your mouth?”

    “Well, being an electric-type helps. When metal parts are involved, that is.”

    “Oh, that magnesium thing.”

    “Magnetism. Stay in school.”

    Jack then took Keith to the counter in the first room and named his price. Keith dug his wallet out of his saddlebag and gave the necessary coins, which Jack gathered in a specific bag and locked away.

    They returned to the stable, and with some help from Jack, Keith lowered his bags onto Nimbus’s saddle and then climbed atop it himself. Utilizing some kind of equine body language, Jack led Nimbus out of the building and to the root of one of the paths.

    “Anything else?” Jack asked.

    “Right, yeah,” Keith said and pointed at the front door. “The sign --”

    “I'm aware. I don’t mind it too much. It’s not like there’s any other stable close by that customers would be scared off to.”

    “Oh, alright. If you say so.”

    After Jack had given Nimbus her destination in very clear words, Keith and his new steed were off. The stable soon disappeared behind the grayscale trees. Back to the monotone zone…

    Keith sighed. He was making good progress and getting ever closer to the capital, yes, but he’d hoped he would have seen at least one dragon by now - one that wasn't a big, blurry, hyper-speed question mark. The Dragon Kingdom should be full of dragons, shouldn’t it? I get that it’s winter, but… it’s not that cold out here!

    Nimbus let out a faint whine and flicked her ears.

    “Hm?” Keith leaned forwards, trying to get a view of his steed's face. He noticed her eye was glancing around. “What is it, Nimbus?”

    Unprompted, the feral sped up to a trot. Keith grabbed onto the saddle for dear life, unprepared for the rougher ride. “Whoa, seriously, what is it?”

    The sequence of events that followed were so fast that Keith had trouble processing them. Without warning, something small flew in from out of sight and crashed into the zebstrika’s left cheek with a crack and flash. The feral whinnied, and Keith was promptly thrown off his ride's back, tumbling down on the snowy ground.

    “Hey! Wh-what the...” Keith yelled, twisting himself upwards. Though his vision shook with disorientation, he relocated the zebstrika, seeing her buck and discharge electricity like she'd lost her mind. His saddlebags were on the ground, flung off just like him.

    Keith ran towards the mon gone wild, but froze as something moved at the edge of his vision. Thumping of two heavy feet arose as the figure approached. Keith leapt to face the stranger, his teeth bared by some primal instinct, though his fear and confusion morphed the snarl to more of a grimace.

    Unsurprisingly, the stranger was not intimidated, but rather dug his claws into Keith's scruff and lifted him up with little protest. That lack of struggle prompted a puzzled waver in the stranger's fierce expression. A waver that only strengthened as the eevee appeared to have stopped moving and emoting entirely.

    This was not due to fear. Such feelings had fled Keith's mind entirely, for he had recognized the stranger's species - haxorus.

    Dragon! Dragon! Dragon!

    It indeed was a haxorus, though unlike the illustrations Keith had seen, this one wore clothes. It did make sense for a cold-blooded mon to bundle up for the winter, but Keith had to admit it looked a little silly. Or a fraction of Keith, the one that still retained a regular train of thought, as everything else was overwhelmed by the vicinity and touch of a real, breathing full-blooded dragon type.

    The haxorus lightly shook the eevee around. “Uhh… you there?”

    No vocalizations, no changes in expression. Only a permanent, frozen face of shock.

    The haxorus tilted his head. “Did you… die?”

    No response. The zebstrika was still whinnying in the background, however.

    “...Okay, then,” the haxorus said, shrugging, and placed the eevee underneath his arm. He briskly walked to the saddlebags on the ground and set them on his shoulder, keeping a close eye on the still thrashing feral in case of a deliberate attack. As she still seemed to be in her own little chaotic world, the dragon sighed in relief and ran back the way he came.

    He continued treading through the forest, retracing the tracks he’d previously left, tracks that seemed to take some odd turns and loops every now and then. Every now and then, he glanced back at the eevee, each time finding the creature to still be immobile and stiff. He’d never even caught it blinking.

    Eventually, the dragon reached a low and wide snow-covered building. From afar, it appeared simply like a normal hill, but the dark planks peeking out underneath the mass of snow broke the illusion.

    The snow around the building, for whatever reason, was much higher than elsewhere, reaching up to the haxorus's waist as he waded through it to reach the front door. Had Keith been the one walking, he would probably have found himself completely submerged.

    The dragon knocked on the door five times, then skipped a beat, then gave the final knock. Quiet stomps approached from the other side, followed by the peep slot sliding open. Stern eyes glared out.

    “It’s just me,” the haxorus said. The mon on the other side gave an acknowledging grunt, then unlocked and opened the door.

    D-d-d-d-d-double dragons!

    A large dragonite, eyebrows especially short and thick, stepped aside to let the haxorus in. As the green dragon entered, the orange one pointed to the eevee with an intrigued grunt. It seemed that the dragonite was a mon of few words.

    “Yep,” the haxorus responded, smiling. “We’ll be eating well tonight. But for now, I need you to cover those tracks.”

    The dragonite nodded and tramped outside, shutting the door. As the haxorus locked it, Keith could hear a strong, howling wind pick up outside.

    The haxorus knocked his feet on the wooden floor a few times, getting rid of the excess snow. He let out a shuddering sigh of relief as his toes began warming up.

    “Someone there?” called a female voice from the next room.

    “Me, Ared,” the haxorus responded. “Rog went out to cover my tracks.”

    “Oh, find anything good?”

    Ared grinned. “Sure did.”

    He took Keith from under his arm, again grabbing the mon by the scruff, and proceeded to the other room of the rather shabby-looking house.

    Four chairs of varying sizes and shapes, all appearing homemade and somewhat sloppily so, surrounded a low table of similar quality in the center of the room. An oil lamp lay on the table, providing the room's illumination as there were no windows to let the day's light in - none that weren't boarded shut, at least.

    Next to the lamp lay a few worn books, some odd, pinkish grime on them. The grime’s source wasn’t hard to guess, however, as a fifth chair, pulled away from the table, was occupied by a goodra with a book in her slimy hands. Her spots and eyes were pink, just like her slime.

    The goodra looked up, and her eyes widened. “An eevee?”

    Ared nodded proudly.

    The goodra got up and rushed to the haxorus, but then stopped with suspicion. “How come it doesn’t have its winter coat?”

    “Uhh… I dunno, maybe it’s a mutant?” Ared shrugged. “Does it really matter?”

    The goodra glared, crossing her arms. “Ared, that’s not a feral, is it?”

    “What?” Ared feigned surprise. “It sure acted like one, sniffing stuff and yelping...”

    “Where’d those bags come from then?” the goodra asked accusingly, pointing at the saddlebags on Ared’s shoulder.

    “I found a civilized mon too and mugged him! It’s his!”

    “And he just happened to have saddlebags that perfectly fit an eevee?” The goodra turned around. “I’m getting Bella.”

    Ared threw his head back and groaned. “Oh, come on --”

    “Bella!” the goodra called to the door frame at the back of the room. “We need your expertise!”

    “Hold on, coming!” a bright voice replied beyond the frame. Soon after, an altaria hopped into view, her falling speed just a bit slower than it was for most. As she spotted the little brown mammal hanging from Ared’s talons, her lower beak dropped.

    “Eevee!” she squealed with glee, but only half a second later, her face was twisted with rage. “Let go of him right now!”

    “...How can you tell it’s a ‘he’?” mumbled Ared. “I didn’t see any --”

    Bella slid through the air with one powerful flap of her wings and snatched Keith from Ared's hold. She turned around, sheltering the mon with her body. “What did you do to him?” she shouted.

    “So he’s not a feral?” Doris asked.

    “No! Ferals don't have the whites of their eyes be this visible, their snouts are a different shape… and the ones around here would definitely have a winter coat right now!”

    “So I was right!” Doris exclaimed, looking back at the haxorus. “Tell me, Ared, why are you bringing home a dead person?”

    Ared raised his palms defensively. “H-he was already dead, okay? Or, well, he wasn't, and I tried to talk to him, but when he saw me, he just froze up! I figured he got a heart attack or something, and that's unfortunate, but, like…” He brought his claws together, mareepish. “...if he's already dead, there's nothing really wrong about eating him, right?”

    Doris opened her mouth, disgusted expression forewarning a scolding, but Bella raised her wing.

    “Wait,” the altaria said, much calmer than before. “I don't think he's dead.”

    “What?” asked the other two in unison.

    “He's breathing and he has a pulse.”

    “How's that possible?” asked Ared. “He was totally immobile for the whole way here!”

    “Well, are you sure you didn't use a stun seed?” said Doris.

    “I'm certain. I only used a totter seed on his zebstrika. It went crazy just like it was supposed to, and the seed never hit the eevee!”

    “Hmm...” Bella waved her wing in front of Keith's eyes. “Maybe it's some kind of instinct? Playing dead around predators? Would be odd for a non-feral to still have that, but it's possible…”

    She scooped Keith up in her wings. “I think I'm gonna take him to my room for a bit. I'm likely the least predator-looking one of us all. Well, there's also you, Doris, but I’ve read that eevee like to keep themselves clean. Your attribute might just stress him out further.”

    “Just say slime,” Doris grumbled. “I'm a goodra. No point in using fancy words.”

    “Fair enough,” Bella replied and carried the eevee through the doorframe from which she'd arrived.

    A brief silence arose in the room.

    “So…” began Ared. “I take it that we’re not eating him?”

    “We are not eating him!” Doris snapped.

    “Ugh, fine...” Ared lifted the saddlebags off his shoulder. “I guess we’ll just settle on whatever he packed for lunch.”

    Five knocks came from the front door, followed by a delayed sixth.

    “Must be Rog,” said Ared, lowering the bags onto the floor. He went to check the peep slot, then let the bulky dragonite in.

    Rog shuddered as the door closed behind him, but he smiled warmly as he uttered a gargled yet hopeful word to Ared. “Eevee?”

    Ared's glum expression slowly spread to Rog.

    “Sorry, it looks we won't be eating the eevee after all,” the haxorus muttered.

    “Graooghhh!” Rog groaned and hung his head.

    “I know, buddy,” Ared sighed and placed a hand on his friend's shoulder. “I'm hungry too.”

    ---

    Bella closed the door to her room. She placed Keith on her bed, sat down herself and smiled softly.

    “It’s okay, sweetie,” she started. “The dragons are gone. It’s just you and me now. There’s nothing to be afraid of anymore.”

    The dumbfounded look stayed on Keith’s face, and his body remained stiff.

    Bella opened her wings - though not fully, to avoid scaring the eevee with her size - and lightly flapped them. “Look! Just a nice, happy bird. Friendly bird. No scary dragons!”

    No change.

    “Hmm, am I still too intimidating?” She hopped off the bed and to the corner of the room. “Alright, sweetie, the big birdie is going to sleep now,” she said, curling up into a ball and tucking her head in her feathers. “Goodnight,” her muffled voice spoke, then fell silent.

    Keith blinked. Then he blinked again. Then he quietly, very quietly, shifted his position to a more comfortable one.

    He rubbed his forehead. Gods, this is awkward… but if I don’t put a stop to this now, I’ll have to be a statue forever.

    After a few seconds of building up courage, he cleared his throat.

    Bella’s crest feathers twitched, but she retained her posture.

    “U-uhh...” Keith began. “Aren’t altaria dragons too, though…?”

    “...Oh, no, no they're not,” Bella assured. “We're nice, friendly birds, nothing to be afraid of.”

    “No, I'm not scared of dragons,” Keith said. “In fact, I like them. A lot! I'm a huge fan. It's just that I…” He twiddled his paws, quieting.

    Bella peeked from within her plumage. “Your instincts got the better of you?”

    “No, it’s not that either. What happened was that, um… the haxorus came, and I was kinda overwhelmed that a real dragon was touching me, so I froze up. And then I kept being frozen ‘cause I didn't really know what I should say, and then I’d already been frozen for such a long time that it would've been awkward to just start talking, so I was trying to wait for a time I was alone or something… and here we are.”

    The altaria straightened her neck. “So you were… afraid you'd make a poor impression?”

    Keith scratched the back of his head. “Yeah, I think that's the best way to describe it. P-please don’t tell them, okay?”

    Bella waddled to the bed and smiled. “My lips are sealed. I mean, if I had any.”

    Keith sighed. “Okay, thanks.”

    The altaria jumped back on the bed, barely shaking it. She kept staring at Keith, smile unwavering - only growing wide, if anything.

    “...Why are you giving me that look?” Keith slowly asked.

    “I'm sorry, it's just… I really like eevee,” she replied. “And all other little mammals, like minccino and skitty and pachirisu. You're just so fluffy and cute!”

    Keith snorted and smirked. “Well, don't get too used to it. I'm gonna be a dragon too!”

    “Dragon? There's a dragon evolution for eevee?”

    “I know there must be! It’s why I came here. I came here so I could find something that could --”

    “Oh crap! Bella!” shouted Doris from the living room. “Lati alert!”

    Bella scrambled off the bed. “Oh, sorry, I have to go do something quick. You can stay here while I take care of...”

    “Quickly!” Doris added. “It’s already close! I-I couldn’t hear it sooner because I was tuning out to give you guys some privacy!”

    “Coming!” Bella responded, visibly in more of a hurry now. She rushed out of the room, through the halls and finally out of the front door. After Bella had left their vision, Ared and Rog focused again on Doris, her eyes closed and antennae extended in concentration.

    As for Keith, he stayed on the bed, puzzled.

    Lati alert?

    ---
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  9. Namohysip

    Namohysip Dragon Enthusiast

    Dragons! That didn't take long.

    There isn't a whole lot that I have to say for this chapter except for the fact that I'm impressed at how even the pacing is chapter to chapter. Each piece is accomplishing a big part of the story, so I think you're doing very well so far in terms of getting a short-shot done. My only minor nitpick is that I had basically no idea what Nancy was saying at all. Too thick for me!

    I also instantly knew that it was Latias speeding by near the beginning of chapter 2, if only because it reminded me of a similar scene in the postgame of Rescue Team. Keith continues to be hilarious, his optimism flecked with a bit of caution when he actually meets a dragon--though that's gone when he realizes it's actually a dragon, ha. I thought that Keith's absurd character was implemented well for a comedy. He's certainly lucky he ran into a friendly bunch, at least relative to what the rumors were.

    I'm still seeing signs of unease, though. Between covering their tracks and the "Lati alert," I'm wondering what sort of undertone Keith is getting himself mixed up with. Guess we'll have to see.

    You just go with the feral-sapient contrast and roll with it, don't you? I have to commend you for putting it so center-stage here, if only for a brief moment. Which leads me to...

    I can't believe I hadn't considered something like this before. Just basic dimorphism between a sapient and feral! I thought this was really clever. I might actually look into this for my own work, if I'm able to without contradicting established mechanics... maybe... Well, maybe not... but it's a really clever take and I wish I thought about it earlier.
     
    Venia Silente and canisaries like this.
  10. canisaries

    canisaries sometimes i get a deadache, yeah

    hewwo new chapter time, this time we get to know the dragons better

    my wrist tendons hurt from making a snow bear earlier today so i'll make this short: rated teen thank you and enjoy

    ---

    Part Three

    ---​

    What’s a lati alert?

    Keith hopped off the bed. He stared at the door, which had been left ajar in Bella’s wake.

    Should I go out to see? he pondered. I don’t want to get in anyone’s way. Although, this could be a good time to finally properly introduce myself... if they’re mostly preoccupied with something else, I won’t have to worry so much about messing up myself.

    Then Keith noticed something. The droning noise had started up again. It was still quiet, but just like before, it was gradually strengthening.

    Is that what the lati alert is about? He tilted his head. Well, if last time is anything to go by, it shouldn’t be that serious. I don’t think I can mess it up just by appearing.

    Keith slipped through the door. It really was much larger than the ones he was used to, just as the ceiling was much higher. I feel like I’ve been turned back into a cub!

    He navigated his way back to the living room, though stopped before entering through the frame. He analyzed the scene. The goodra, haxorus and dragonite were there, but Bella was absent, probably outside. The droning was still in the air, but it seemed to have reached its peak and was now decreasing in volume. Judging by that and its lower pitch, the source of the noise was moving away.

    “Seems like it's leaving normally,” said Ared, looking at the still-focused Doris. “You can stop listening.”

    The goodra's antennae twitched. “Not far enough away yet. I don’t wanna mess up this half.”

    Ared shrugged and took a seat in one of the chairs. “Alright, then.”

    “Rugh,” Rog agreed and joined Ared at the table.

    The haxorus dug his claws into his bag, then pulled out a pack of playing cards. Keith noticed his own saddlebags in the corner of the room. Maybe that'd be a good thing to start talking about? It'd make sense for me to ask for my stuff back…

    Doris sighed. “You can just come in, eevee dude, no need to be shy.”

    Keith flinched. How did Doris know he was there? Her eyes were closed, and he was barely in the frame! Was her hearing really that good?

    Ared raised his eyebrows. “The eevee's awake?” He craned his neck at the door frame, but Keith had hidden behind the wall.

    Crap! I wanted more time to prepare!

    “M-hm,” the goodra replied, eyes still shut. “He came out of Bella's room a bit ago.”

    “Well, come on out,” Ared called to the frame. “We won't eat you.” He crossed his arms. “We're not eating much of anything these days…”

    Keith gulped. I guess I’ll just have to do it. So much for avoiding awkwardness…

    He stepped a paw into view, flinching, but also feeling relief as he knew the hardest part was over. Or maybe it would be showing his face. He trembled.

    With strain and time, however, he finally managed to lean in his muzzle, then eyes, then ears. He looked into Ared's eyes, relieved to find them focused on the pack of cards the dragon shuffled instead of him. Rog was the same, and Doris's eyes were still closed.

    Keith pushed himself into full view with a kick of his back paws. The motion captured the green and orange dragons’ attention. Keith’s heart pounded.

    “Hi,” Ared said, disinterested. “Sorry about mugging you and putting you into shock or whatever.”

    “You are always so rude,” muttered Doris under her breath. She then finally retracted her antennae, opened her eyes and set her sight on the eevee. “You feelin’ better now, dude?”

    “Ahh… I…” Words came slowly to the eevee, his brain clouded again by the presence of the large lizards. Look at those scales! That armor! So beautiful, yet so cool! “I-I'm good now, yes.”

    “Okay, so,” Doris continued, “as Ared was trying to say, we're sorry about causing you all this trouble. It's just that the way things are now, we can't work in any honest job. The King's to blame for that.”

    They're outlaws or something? Keith pondered. Do I want to associate with dragons that don't get along with the dragon nation? He shook the idea. Nah, all dragons are good.

    “So… you're hiding?” Keith asked, piecing together information old and new. The dragonite was asked to cover the haxorus's tracks, and the building was barely visible in the snow. “Is that what Bella went out to do?”

    “Yup. Should let her know she can take the cloud away now, actually.” Doris headed for the door, leaving behind a trail of pink goo at which Rog wrinkled his snout.

    “What exactly is that droning noise about?” Keith asked, daring to take a few steps closer.

    “You really aren't from around here,” commented Ared. “Why would a civilized eevee willingly come here, anyway?” he asked. His red eyes lit up. “Do you have a death wish? Because we'd be glad to --”

    A slimy slap from Doris silenced the haxorus. “Let it go already,” she grumbled and returned to the door.

    Ared sighed, scooping away the muck. “Anyway, that droning noise is the border control. Latias and latios zooming around, keeping an eye on mon entering and leaving. And searching for undesirables like us.”

    “Latias and latios?”

    “Some bird-lookin’ half-psychics.” Ared grumbled, bit then his eyes widened. “Not that being bird-like is a bad thing. Don't tell Bella I said that.”

    “Don't tell me what?” the altaria asked, having appeared at the door just now. A smug smile crept on her beak. “Aww, you think Keith is cute, too?”

    “Wh- no,” Ared spat.

    “Oh, is Rog more up your alley?” Bella teased, hopping to the living room as Doris closed the door behind her.

    “N-no!”

    Rog blew a kiss at Ared, then chuckled along with Bella.

    Bella noticed Keith. “Oh, you came out to see the others already. Have they introduced themselves yet?”

    “I don’t know why we should,” Ared interjected. “He’s not going to stay. And the more he knows, the more he might possibly tell the King’s people!”

    “He’s not gonna tell!” Bella ran to Keith and scooped him up in her wings defensively. “Right, Keith?”

    “U-uhh...” Keith wriggled upright in Bella’s cradling hold. “I won’t, but… why does the King not like you? What did you do?”

    “Dared to suggest that maybe hogging all the food and money in the kingdom isn’t fair,” Ared snarled.

    “Yeah, he’s not a good king,” Bella added. “We tried to get others to riot and join the cause, but the guards put an end to that. They’re not fans of criticism.”

    The dragon king is bad? Keith thought. I don’t like the idea of bad dragons, but… if a dragon is being bad to other dragons, I guess it’s really no different from a non-dragon being a jerk to non-dragons.

    “The old king, though - now that was a good king,” Ared continued. “Odd considering his species literally has ‘tyrant’ in the name, but he was way better than the current one. This one, Hydreigon Zmey - well, I guess it’s not surprising a mon with three ravenous heads turns out to be that greedy...”

    Rog growled disapprovingly.

    “Yeah, I know you had nice hydreigon friends and all back home. I’m just saying they’re probably in the minority.”

    “Ared, stop it,” Doris interjected. “If we want to be the ones to fix this kingdom, we need to treat every dragon with respect. You can hate Zmey, we all do that, but make sure that’s because of his choices and not his species.”

    Ared humphed, though Keith could sense a bit of regret from him.

    “Uh, that’s enough about us for now,” Bella hesitantly started. “Why don’t you tell us why you’re here in the Dragon Kingdom, Keith? Tourists aren’t all that common, smaller mon even less so.”

    “Oh! I came here to become a dragon!”

    The room fell silent.

    “No, really, what did you come here for?” Ared asked.

    “It's true!” Keith insisted. “You know how eevee evolve into lots of different types? Well, I figured there was a dragon type evolution, and this one drampa told me that my best bet would be the Draco Plate in Farin-”

    Ared snorted, interrupting Keith. The others gave the haxorus disapproving looks, but weren't free of doubtful expressions themselves.

    “Uh, Keith,” Bella started in a sensitive tone. “The Draco Plate is the Kingdom's most guarded possession. And Farindon… is a dragon-only city.”

    “O-oh. Well…” Keith paused to think. He couldn't stop now, could he? He'd come all the way here. “I guess I just have to sneak in.”

    The dragons’ eyes widened. They exchanged glances, silently asking each other if they'd really heard him correctly.

    “I mean, if the King is mean and all, I clearly can't just ask him,” Keith continued. “And I'm great at sneaking around! Heck, I snuck out of my house without my parents noticing to come here.”

    “Your parents are kind of a different thing from a legion of deadly dragons!” Ared exclaimed.

    “I don't know, I think I'd have a better chance in some ways. Like, I know dragons can't hear as well as mammals. And my paws…” Keith extended his forelegs, showing the smooth fur and pads of his feet. “They’re super soft! Nothing like a dragon's claws. They make basically no noise when I walk.”

    “Well, I did hear you earlier on,” Doris commented, “but I guess I'm kind of a special case with my antennae… and I doubt they'd have my kind patrolling the castle, for… obvious reasons.” She lifted her foot, and more slime dripped onto the floor. “But that's still pretty ridiculous, eevee dude. How would you get into the Plate's chamber? It can only be entered from the throne room, and the chamber key is kept around the King's neck. Dragons aren't blind.”

    “Well, I'll need some time to think about that,” Keith mumbled, paw to his chin.

    “Guys, hold on,” Bella said. “I have a crazy idea. What if we worked together?”

    “What?” exclaimed all three dragons in unison - although Rog's part was barely a word.

    “I mean, think about it,” the altaria continued. “How destabilizing would it be to steal the Draco Plate? How much faith in the King would be lost? This is the best way to get a movement going!”

    “That’s absolutely ridiculous!” shouted Ared, then looked at the others. “...Right?”

    “...She does have a point,” Doris said.

    “What?” Ared stood up, agitated. “Is this fuzzball using some kind of mind control on you all?”

    “Well,” Doris began, her hand extended, “the eevee dude is right about him being silent. And no one's expecting to see a civilized eevee in Farindon, let alone be working with dragons. There's a bunch of possibilities here. The payoff is massive, so we should at least consider it.”

    Ared looked to Rog, who nodded in agreement with Doris.

    “I can't believe you people,” Ared muttered and walked off to another room.

    Bella seized the chance to sit down on her own chair and lower Keith onto the table. The eevee shuffled a bit further away from the slime-covered books. However, he took interest in the stack of cards Ared had left behind. Each card was as tall as his forelegs.

    Doris moved her own slime-encrusted chair by the table and sat down. “Sorry about Ared,” she said. “He's been through a lot, and it's made him somewhat of a pessimist.”

    “It's okay,” Keith said. “I'm used to being doubted. People at home do it all the time.”

    “Where are you from, anyway?” asked Bella.

    “Oh, I’m from the Guild of Pelton. It's on an island in the cluster some way off your coast. Mostly normal types and members of the eevee family.”

    “Have you ever been attacked by dragons?” asked Doris.

    “Nah.” Keith pouted. “Doesn't stop the prejudice, though.”

    “Well, it really only makes sense for you little guys to be afraid. I mean, you certainly got a shock.”

    “I… yeah,” Keith replied, caught off guard as he’d already forgotten about his lie.

    Doris frowned. “Are you sure that won't happen if you're sneaking around?”

    “I-I'm sure! It was just the initial punch. And my zebstrika was going crazy, I was startled in a lot of ways.”

    “Well, if you're willing to bet your life on it, I guess I can trust you.”

    “You know,” Bella began, “if we're gonna be working together, we should get to know each other better. Do a little bonding! And we should get some brain exercise before we get to planning, too. So, given those cards on the table, should we play?”

    “Well, does he know how to?” asked Doris.

    Keith shook his head. “Don't think so…”

    “Well, he can watch us and learn,” Bella said. “I’ll gladly explain anything that puzzles him,” she added, patting Keith's head.

    “Please don't, you're messing up my frill,” Keith whispered, pushing Bella's wing off politely, then began to reshape the fur on his head.

    Doris looked to Rog, who nodded. “Alright, then,” she said, “I'll get my gloves.”

    The goodra fetched a pair of leather gloves from another room and pushed her hands inside them, splitting the stub-like ends of her arms into four functioning fingers. She shuffled the deck and dealt five cards to each dragon. As she lowered the deck on the table, Bella slid it over to Keith.

    “Feel free to look through them to get a better idea,” the altaria said. “Just don't show us what's in there. Or rip them. Not that you would, but these are Ared's, so be extra careful.”

    Keith nodded, then pulled a card off the top. A drawing of a hoppip stared back. Sixty health. Grass type. No flying type? I guess these cards can only fit one. It had two ‘moves’ - Absorb and Bounce.

    He slid the card under the deck and took another. Growlithe, fire, Flamethrower, Odor Sleuth. Another. Meowth, normal, Pay Day. Another. Stealth Rock? Trap card? Huh, I guess it’s not just mon.

    Keith continued to go through the cards while keeping an eye on the others. They each chose a mon, then attacked one of their opponents per turn. A water move by Bella’s Surskit did double damage to Rog’s Slugma, mirroring real-life effectiveness. Keith believed he was getting the hang of it - thought there was one thing that puzzled him.

    “Are there no dragon cards?” he asked. No card he had pulled contained a dragon, and he'd gone through quite a bunch.

    “Oh, yeah,” Doris replied, “we left those out. You see, they were kinda overpowered after the King banned fairies.”

    “Banned fairies?” Keith recalled then that he hadn’t spotted any fairies in the deck, either.

    “Yeah,” the goodra sighed. “Didn’t want the idea of little pink creatures beating up us proud dragons circling around, so now fairy types and their depictions in any stories or games are outlawed. Well, that’s the reason he gave, but I think it’s probably personal to some extent, given he’s half dark and all.”

    “There are probably real people in the Kingdom that don’t even believe in fairies,” added Bella. “Which I guess makes sense to an extent, as pure fairies like to hide in forests and mountains and all that and half-fairies like to keep their fairyness a secret.”

    “Oh, that’s weird,” Keith said. “Meanwhile, you dragons aren’t allowed in Pelton. And my own dad is a fairy.”

    Doris snorted, though shortly apologized. “Sorry, it’s just that what you said just now is usually an insult.”

    “Would you like to see the dragon cards, Keith?” Bella asked, re-railing the conversation.

    “Yeah!”

    “Let me get them for you,” she said, standing up and waddling to one of the cupboards.

    Doris reached a hand towards Bella’s cards.

    “Hey!” shouted the altaria, spotting the motion.

    “I’m just messing with ya,” Doris snorted and withdrew her arm.

    Bella opened the cupboard and produced a much thinner stack of cards. “Here they are,” she said, handing them to the awaiting Keith. “You can practice playing with them while we finish this first game.”

    “Eh, I don’t know,” the eevee said, skimming through the cards. “I kind of just like looking at the pictures.”

    Bella giggled. “You’re adorable… alright, I guess we’ll just get through our game and then move on to the planning. It’s been enough of a warm-up.”

    The altaria returned to the table, leaving Keith to admire the drawings, his tail wiggling with excitement.

    ---

    As the dragons finished their game, the discussion and planning of their heist began. Many ideas were shared, some more ridiculous than others, until one eventually rose above the rest. Development began. By some miracle, even Ared - who had been called in after the game - grew to see the charm of the plan. By the end of the discussion, the sun outside had dived below the horizon, and it was then that the group chose to call it a night.

    “So… where’s the fuzzball gonna sleep?” asked Ared, eyeing Keith, who was now seated in Bella’s lap.

    The altaria raised her cloudy wing immediately. “Ooh, my room, my room!”

    “Well, I guess it’s either Bella’s room or Molly’s,” Doris said. “So, eevee dude, you wanna spend the night in a real bed or on a pile of hay?”

    “Real bed, please,” Keith replied. “Who’s Molly?”

    “Our mudsdale,” Bella explained. “Draws our carriage the rare times we all need to go out in town. Usually I just go get supplies alone, because I’m the newest and the King’s mon don’t know me.” She gasped. “They don’t know you either! You can come along with me tomorrow! I can show you around!”

    “I mean, don’t parade him around, though,” Ared commented. “We don’t want everyone to know about our secret weapon, do we?”

    “We can take the opportunity to rehearse for the plan,” Bella said. “Have you be an exotic feral and all that.”

    “Sounds okay to me,” Doris said. “It’s not like you’ll be there for that long, and you can always hide him whenever a lati goes by.”

    “So it’s settled!” the altaria chirped, getting up. “Goodnight, all! We have a big day tomorrow.”

    The dragons nodded, and Bella took Keith to her room. The room was dark, only lit by what little still shone in all the way back from the living room lantern. Even then, it seemed to bother neither the altaria or the eevee, the former knowing the room's layout by heart and the latter utilizing the natural night vision of his species.

    “You can sleep at the foot of the bed,” Bella said, climbing onto the mattress and making even less of a dent than Keith expected. “And don't worry, I don't kick.”

    “I might, if I dream of running,” Keith mumbled, hopped onto the bed and lay down. “Sorry in advance.”

    “Oh, I doubt it’ll hurt with your cute little paws, heh...”

    Bella swiped her wing at the door, creating a gale that pushed it to a close. The final light in the room dimmed away.

    “Well, goodnight,” Keith said and curled up, but Bella interrupted him before he could close his eyes.

    “Wait,” she whispered, “can I ask you something?”

    “Uh, sure?”

    “Okay, so…” she quietly cleared her throat. “You said dragons were like, banned and feared in your town, right?”

    “Yeah?”

    “How come you’re still so into them?”

    “Well, I just always thought dragons were really cool. And they are!”

    Bella tilted her head, her crest feathers swinging for one side to another. “Is that all? Like, how come you didn’t believe the people in your town when they told you dragons were evil and stuff?”

    Keith paused to think. “Well… I guess there’s kind of a story behind it,” he finally said. “Back when I was a cub, there was this one really windy day. The wind picked up really fast, during my school day, and the teachers actually made us go home early before it got even worse. Except…” He lowered his voice, embarrassed. “I was in the bathroom during that time, so I missed the meeting. When I got out, I wondered where everyone was, and then decided to leave for home after a bit.

    “By this time, it was super windy, and I basically had to hook my claws to the ground to keep myself on the path. In hindsight, I probably should’ve just stayed at school to wait it out, but cub me wasn’t very bright, you know. Anyway, I did make some good progress and was about halfway home until this massive gust came and actually swept me up in the air! It was really scary. I saw all the houses get smaller beneath me and feared that I’d eventually fall or be slammed against one. All I could do was flail and cry for help, but no one was outside, not that they could’ve done much anyway.

    “Then I saw something in the distance. It was like a fiery meteor with a long green tail, and it was coming towards me! I was terrified, but then this stray sheet flying around hit me and I couldn’t see anything! Then, after a few moments, the sheet got caught in something and stopped with me still inside. I felt it getting pulled while the wind was still howling outside, and then I was thrown out right onto the ground. I dug my claws in the dirt again immediately, and I actually stayed down. I looked behind me, and I saw this huge, long, green dragon stare back with its yellow eyes. It then slithered upwards into the sky, as if there was no wind at all, and with a glowing tail, struck the air. It instantly became still. Then it flew away into the crevice it’d made in the cloud layer and disappeared.”

    “Whoa...” Bella sighed. “You met Rayquaza?”

    Keith nodded, though it was lost on the altaria in the dark. “I didn’t know what it was yet, but when I got home, I immediately told my parents. They didn’t really seem like they believed me, though, they were just glad I was okay.”

    A brief spike of guilt stung Keith’s heart, remembering how worried his parents had been and realizing they were probably just as worried right now back at home.

    “Anyway,” he continued, “my parents didn’t really know anything about Rayquaza, but they told people who did. And those people instantly said that it must have been Rayquaza that caused the storm to begin with and I just got really lucky.” He humphed. “It was then that I realized that people really weren’t sensible when it came to dragons. They always assumed the worst. They even said Rayquaza in specific was a horrible monster with six prehensile tongues that it used to catch little mon swept up by the tempests it caused. But that was nothing like what I saw. Rayquaza saved me and even made sure I was fine, then ended the storm!”

    “Wow, your town is messed up...” Bella mumbled. “I hate it when people are so ignorant.”

    “Well, that was my story,” Keith said. “Do you have one? I mean, you really like little mammals like me, right?”

    “Oh, I just think you’re sweet fluffy babies!”

    Keith pouted. “Not quite as grandiose.”

    Bella giggled. “Not everyone gets to meet a living legend.”

    Three knocks - or wet slaps - rung out from another room. “Hey, can you guys keep it down?” asked Doris’s voice. “We need a good night’s sleep for tomorrow night’s operation.”

    “Sorry,” Bella responded. “She’s right, you know. We can just talk more tomorrow.”

    “Alright. Goodnight,” said Keith and lay back down.

    “Goodnight,” Bella said back, and the two stayed silent for the rest of the night.

    ---

    The morning after, Keith got to experience a bit of the dragons’ hunger for himself. He’d generously offered the apples he’d packed with him to be shared and, as the division was made proportionally to body size, he only got a measly few slices to eat.

    The remedy for this was fortunately coming, however, as Bella took Keith to the town as promised. Food prices were much lower in the Dragon Kingdom, and therefore the slightly above modest amount of gold Keith had packed was relatively a fortune.

    The cart that Bella used to carry their shopping filled up with bread and frozen meat slowly but promisingly. Keith eyed his new surroundings with great curiosity, though tried his best not to emote too strongly, lest his true intelligence be revealed.

    The marketplace was similar to what Keith was used to in Pelton in many ways, but the differences there were certainly were visible. The buildings were taller and seemed more sturdy, especially at their lower borders, perhaps to better account for accidental swings of large, powerful tails. The building materials were the usual brick, stone and wood, but a notable amount of bone was used for decoration. The skulls hanging above door frames or from supportive beams served an additional purpose in the case of meat selling, as they informed the onlooker of what was available.

    While Keith was no stranger to seeing little feral creatures like rattata and farfetch'd dead, plucked and preserved, he couldn't help but feel a shiver at the eevee pelts hanging in some stands. Bella reassured him that they were all just ferals and anyone caught doing it to a civil one would surely be outcast from society. It didn’t help much that he was pretending to be a feral, and many folk made comments asking whether he was being fattened up for a feast. He tried his best to hide his reactions. Fortunately Bella was there to correct them that he was a dear pet used to hunt little rodents and there would be no eating him.

    During each purchase of emboar, stantler and tauros meat he felt more at ease. It was easier to think of eating something when it didn't have a face.

    “Thank you!” chimed Bella as she pushed the cart away from the butcher's house. The lucario with a red-stained apron waved back, a wide smile on his face from the large profit he'd made moments prior. The fading oinks of the pignite in his pen gave Bella an idea.

    “Hey, Keith,” she began, looking to the eevee on his shoulder. “You spent this trip being pretty silent in front of everyone, but I think you should work on your vocalizations. Like, eevee noises. Don’t you agree?”

    “Uhh, alright. M-meow?”

    “Pfft, what? Eevee don’t meow,” Bella snickered. “Don’t you know how feral eevee sound?”

    “Well… I guess not, now that I think about it,” Keith replied. “There aren’t that many of them in Pelton - they say that’s ‘cause the civil ones already fill the… what’s the word, nish?”

    “Niche?”

    “That. They fill that in the ecosystem, hunting a lot of the little rodents so there aren’t many left for the wild eevee. Anyway, the ones I’ve seen didn’t really make any noises. I guess they don’t want to bring attention to themselves or something.”

    “Well, considering you’re ‘tamed’, you could be more brave,” Bella said. “Either way, the sounds they make are like… eh-vuii! Vu-vuii! Vui-uh-vui! Prrrr! Uh-vee!”

    Bella quieted as she noticed a fraxure passing by giving her a very discomforted look.

    “So… I just keep saying ‘eevee’ in a really cutesy way?” Keith asked after the dragon had left.

    “Pretty much,” Bella said. “Now, you try it!”

    Keith grimaced. “Ughh, do I have to?”

    “Yes. It's part of your character.”

    Keith sighed. Then he drew in a deep breath. “Ee-”

    Just as he'd gotten a peep out of himself, he slapped a paw on his muzzle. At first Bella humphed in disappointment, but took it back as she heard a familiar droning in the distance.

    “Yeah, I guess that'll have to wait,” she said, grabbed the eevee and buried him deep in her fluffy plumage. “Can you breathe in there?”

    “S-sorta,” Keith's muffled voice responded.

    “Well, kick me if you need air, and I'll think of something, okay?”

    “M-hm…”

    Bella kept pushing the cart ahead with her body as best as she could. Eventually, the lati zoomed past - latios, judging by the color - and the two could continue their travel normally.

    Many minutes of embarrassing rehearsals later, the mon arrived back at the base. Most of the meat was stored in a chilled cabinet, powered by the winter's cold and Rog and Bella where the weather wasn't enough. The remaining portion was given to Ared to cook into a stew.

    As dinner was had and plans recapped, the time to put the operation into motion came. Molly the mudsdale was harnessed to the dragons’ shabby carriage, and the mon set course for Farindon. Bella drove the carriage as usual, while the reptiles and Keith sat inside.

    The carriage may have been modest in the dragons’ eyes, and Keith could agree on the materials’ part, but to him, it was also massive. Every few minutes, he took a peek outside to make sure Molly was really fine, but the mare simply kept on walking as if it was towing nothing more than a box of litten. Each peek was also met with a grumbling shove back down by the haxorus next to him.

    Eventually, as the sun had begun its dive beneath the horizon, great towers appeared in the distance. No shoving could keep Keith down this time as he gawked at the structures straight out of fairy tales.

    “There's a little patch of woodland over there,“ Bella said. “Should we park there?”

    Doris looked out the window. “Looks good to me. We'll wait there.”

    Bella led the carriage to the trees and stopped it some way into a path leading through the woods. She opened the door, and Keith hopped down onto her wings, ready to see the legendary city up close.

    “Good luck,” Doris said, and the two nodded. As the door closed, they set course for the city on foot.

    Bella exhaled tensely. “Wow, we're really doing this...” She looked to Keith. “Everything alright with you?”

    Keith smiled. “Yup! You?”

    “Heh, w-well, I can't deny I'm a little nervous… you're not?”

    “Hmm… dunno,” Keith said. “I think I got all of my stage fever sorted out when I met you guys. Now I’m just stoked to see more dragons, not really afraid of how I'll come across anymore. I mean… other than being a convincing feral. Which I think will go pretty well! We rehearsed a lot.”

    “I sure hope so…”

    “Hey, if you feel nervous, just pet me! It helps the story too, right?”

    “Right, yeah.” Bella smiled shyly. “Thanks.”

    The two kept walking, the towers rising ever higher in their vision.

    Tonight it'll happen, thought Keith. Tonight I'll become a real dragon. And even if I somehow don't…

    He watched the altaria beside him waddle on, her feathers ruffled by the wind. At least I made friends with some!

    He focused ahead again. Well, no use worrying about that yet. I've got a mission to accomplish.

    Farindon, City of Dragons… here I come!


    ---
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  11. NebulaDreams

    NebulaDreams A Dense Irritating Miniature Beast of Burden

    Chapter 2:

    speaks in FREEDOM!

    I don't have much to say except this exchange was freaking hilarious.

    Glad to see that even in a PMD setting, petty vandalism is still a thing.

    No, nothing wrong with that! It's not as if it's a massive paradox or anything!

    So... would that make Bella a Mammaboo?

    Okay, so overall thoughts on Chapter 2! After the initial promises Chapter 1 had to offer, this one really delivered the goods. I expected there to be a bit more build up to Keith meeting them considering their near-mythical status in his hometown, but we have some great stuff here with Ared and his team so far. It was nice to know quite quickly that Keith’s trust in the dragons paid off, while still having that lingering sense of dread with the feral discussion. His reaction to seeing a dragon in the flesh for the first time was adorable, as well as his explanation for why he froze upon seeing one. Same goes for his interactions with Bella in general.

    Speaking of ferals, that element really surprised me here, in a good way though. While there are some elements that carry over from Hunter, Haunted, with the idea that there are both Feral and Civil Pokemon with varying levels of intelligence depending on their upbringing, I feel that’s a lot more fleshed out here because of the PMD setting. It’s also a lot more creepier for the same reason, considering you have Pokemon that keep other Pokemon as livestock, or as Keith puts it: “A civilized zebstrika running a stable of feral zebstrika”.

    Part of it does make me wonder why civil Pokemon don’t seem to have a problem with this, but I guess Pokemon are a lot more practical and diverse than humans, so the difference is more justified.

    Chapter 3:

    I like Rog.

    You can practically hear the Cricketune chirping in the distance.

    Huh. It's weird to see the trading card game appear in universe, but this works really well in a fantasy/PMD setting such as this.

    Wow, the King is evil. Who would buff their own type in a card game? I guess 'nerfing' hadn't really been coined yet.

    And thoughts on Chapter 3 as well! I love the developments you’ve made to the story with each subsequent chapter. We got a taste of what was to come from the dragon team with the previous one, but I’m really glad to see them all fleshed out more here. They all have unique and enjoyable personalities. For some reason, my favourite is Rog the Dragonite, despite being the most taciturn out of all of them. Just the fact that he is so quiet, but not above a bit of horsing around makes him quite endearing. Bella’s enthusiasm for mammals is still cute here.

    What really sold this chapter for me was how the plot expanded. I love rebellion plots in general, so it was great to see the story go in this direction with the dragon team in hiding from the Hydreigon and the Latias/Latios scouts. Even better is how it simultaneously worked Keith’s dragon obsession in, while also giving him more character development and perspective on how dragons are viewed in his hometown.

    I was a little worried in Chapter 1 since I thought his obsession would get a little old, but it’s really well fleshed out here. It’s easy to see why he thinks the way he does about the dragons with the Rayquza encounter (can't go wrong with a shonen protagonist origin story), and like I said before, it’s just nice seeing his belief in them work out well for him. I fully relate to him now, and I can’t wait to see how this will develop.
     
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  12. Namohysip

    Namohysip Dragon Enthusiast

    Stop stealing my ideas.

    ---

    Alright, it looks like chapter 3 is when things are starting to actually get rolling in terms of some world building, some plot, and all that. You know, if it wasn't for the fact that I knew that this was supposed to be a short-shot of some kind, I'd honestly wonder how big of a story you were going to make this, given the lore that is going on here. I always have mixed feelings about stuff like that happening. It makes me more interested in that larger story happening in the backdrop compared to this little small stuff happening. Still, between this and Pletora's story, assuming it takes place in the same world, maybe you're just making set pieces for the fic that ties them all together? Who knows.

    Either way, it's good lore in itself, you're making good progress, and there's a clear idea of where we're going next! That being said, there's one hiccup that I feel could be expanded upon, especially for the coming chapter, where I'd argue it's even more critical.

    ...And then the town doesn't get described. Is it at all different from Keith's town? Any dragon-like quirks or things like that? I hope at least the kingdom itself gets a bit of time dedicated to description. Especially since we're following Keith, who surely would be obsessed with taking in as many details as he could.

    I'm a bit curious about what it's like to have non-dragon Pokemon in the kingdom, but the main kingdom itself is Dragon-only. There are lots of elements here that are being touched upon, but I fear with how short the story will ultimately become, won't have time to go in depth to it.

    This is tricky. On one hand, you're definitely focused on Keith's story. Yet on the fringes, I'm seeing signs of unfocused, larger schemes going on, like a bird making its first few hops before taking flight. Where are you going with this? I'm interested...
     
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  13. canisaries

    canisaries sometimes i get a deadache, yeah

    Thank you both for the reads and replies!

    Oh, that's actually not the case. I can understand the mix-up, as it's not often details like these change between an author's stories, but with this PMD setting I've taken the easy way out and made it so that ferals and civils are biologically distinct. Upbringing doesn't affect it (or, well, you can have some wolf-boy situations if you let a civil mon be raised by ferals) and the two can't interbreed. It's a lot easier from an ethical and societal standpoint to keep it that way. Plus, I get to make the two have some subtle morphological differences, which I'm kind of a sucker for.

    You're actually the second reader to think this, although the first one hadn't actually read any of my other works, which made it pretty strange they'd think that.

    *hides vaguely Orb-like mechanics for Plates behind back* hhahaha what do you mean

    Oh, right. This is probably because I tried my best to fast-forward over this scene to avoid bloating the chapter, since in the end, the town visit isn't really integral to the plot and more explains how the dragons don't starve if hunting doesn't work out for a while and what they do with the money they get from mugging. I'm also not extremely great at describing or visualizing locations that I haven't had experience of in my own life... I guess I could at least put in a paragraph of how it compared to Pelton's town, though.

    Thanks again, and stay tuned for the final (unless it gets too long again and I need to split it, which prrrobably will end up happening given my history) chapter! I have a feeling there's a lot you two will like in it.
     
  14. Chibi Pika

    Chibi Pika Stay positive

    Finally here to comment on Chapter 2, and now chapter 3 is out as well! Guess I'll just have to hit both~

    Things are moving along at a great clip! It's chapter 2 and we've already gotten to meet some dragons! Good to see that despite the somewhat alarming introduction they're not actually gonna eat him. :p But, uh… Ared is still kind of an ass for mugging him in the first place! xD Although it seems like he was mostly doing it for his companions (who seem to be in a rather desperate situation.) Also interesting to have the fic outright separate feral and civil Pokemon like that, with eating civil Pokemon being taboo on account of being... y'know... straight-up murder.

    Chapter 3 gave a us lot of fun character interactions, and it was cute to have the backdrop of everyone sitting around playing cards while we got some extra information on the world. Oh my god, I cant believe Keith's dragon obsession is actually going to spark a revolution. That's amazing, I love it. xD And I was actually really surprised to see them moving ahead with their plan so quickly! But then, this fic was only meant to be a short story, wasn't it? In any case, looking forward to what comes next!

    ~Chibi~
     
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  15. canisaries

    canisaries sometimes i get a deadache, yeah

    finally another new part! and as some may have guessed, i did end up overshooting my original plan of four parts, so this isn't yet the last one. next one will be though.

    rating is teen like before. enjoy!

    ---

    Part Four

    ---​

    Once Bella and Keith were sufficiently close to the city of Farindon, Bella picked Keith up once more. She explained that a prime feral specimen like the one he supposedly was should not be getting its paws dirty. Keith didn’t protest.

    As near as they were, one could see more detail of the city. For one, tall but sturdy walls encircled all of it, presumably to make sure no non-dragons snuck in. Keith was quick to put this together, but what he couldn't wrap his mind around were the palm trees peeking out from behind the walls and in some cases, even out of the towers. Something at the base of their leaves shone brightly.

    “Hey, Bella,” Keith started, though kept his voice down in case it might carry all the way to the gates. “How are those palm trees growing there? Isn't it way too cold for those kinds of plants here?”

    Bella stopped and squinted. “Oh, those? Those aren't trees. Or, I guess they sorta are… but my point is that they're mon. Exeggutor, to be exact.”

    “Wait… but weren’t only dragons allowed in Farindon?”

    “Yeah, they're dragons. You… didn't know that?”

    Keith stared at his paws, mouth ajar, immobile.

    “I mean…” Bella continued. “It's not that shocking, is it? I mean, I’m a bird but I'm still a dragon.”

    “Well, you… fly,” Keith mumbled.

    Bella cleared her throat. “Uh, anyway… the gates are pretty close, so let's get ready for our --”

    A streak of golden light dashed past them, cutting Bella off and snapping Keith out of his stupor.

    “What was that?” the altaria whispered, then ran onwards. “It headed for the gates…”

    She followed the golden glow as it slowed down and halted right before the massive metal gates flanked by two short watchtowers, both inhabited by a guard. The source of the light was revealed to be a flame, one that burned on the tip of an orange winged reptile. Its stance was less than graceful, hunched over and wobbling.

    “Hey! Bigwigs!” the charizard called out, its words slurred. “Lemme in!”

    One of the guards, a druddigon, muttered something to himself while clutching his metal helmet. The other, a hakamo-o, pointed his spear down at the fiery stranger with a scowl.

    “Only dragons may enter the city,” he said with a hint of a foreign accent. “Everybody knows this.”

    “Then lemme in!” the charizard groaned, slashing at the gate. Keith winced at the harsh clang produced.

    “For the last time,” the druddigon guard said, leaning over the edge, “you’re not a dragon! Just deal with it!”

    “I've got scales and wings and a fiery breath!” the charizard yelled. “I'm a dragon!”

    “Go home, Brent! You've had too much to drink and you don't know what you're doing!”

    “Dragon!” roared Brent and clawed at the gate once more.

    “Brent, I'm gonna have to use the rocks soon, and you don't want that!” The druddigon crouched to pick up a rock the size of his hand. It began glowing faintly with an orange aura. “Look, there's a line forming here and everything,” he added, gesturing to Bella. “Just go home.”

    Brent only got louder. “Oh, and I suppose you're gonna let this bird in without any trouble? This guy doesn't even have teeth!”

    The hakamo-o sneered. “You are obviously out of it, charizard, as that is no guy, but a lady! And quite a pretty one at that.” He looked to the altaria and tipped his helmet, smiling. Bella laughed nervously, her feathers puffed.

    “Draagooon!” Brent bellowed, flapping his wings and taking flight, nearing the edge of the wall.

    “Igor!” shouted the hakamo-o to his partner, as he was closer to the drunken non-dragon.

    “Don't worry, I got him…” Igor took aim at the ascending charizard. The stone in his claws strengthened in its glow. Right as Brent had passed the edge of the wall and changed his course for the city, the druddigon flung the rock with breathtaking speed. It smacked into Brent's ribs, drawing a yelp from the mon and derailing his course. He veered to the right, ending up outside the city again and crashing somewhere in the snow by the sound that came.

    “If he tries flying over again, he's the air guards’ problem,” Igor said, turning to Bella. “Sorry for the trouble, miss. What business may you have here?”

    Bella cleared his throat, preparing for her speech. “Good evening, guards of Farindon!” she spoke, loudly and clearly. “I am Altaria Amedee from the new Guild of Windedge. Our small guild lies in the cluster of islands northeast of the continent. We recognize the Dragon Kingdom's might and power, and seek to establish good relations with your land. It is due to this that I have brought with me a gift, the one I bear in my wings.”

    She held Keith forward. “Behold! The product of centuries of careful breeding, an authentic Windedge eevee! Gaze upon its shining fur, alert eyes and noble posture. And hear its majestic cry!”

    Bella squeezed Keith lightly in case he'd forgotten his cue. He hadn't, but appreciated the thought.

    “Eh-vuii!” Keith squeaked, his voice bright and intonation impeccable.

    “Wow, it's got a big head,” replied Igor, causing his partner to hiss and flail his arms. The motion in turn created a clattering sound due to the species’ signature scales.

    “That is no way to talk to an ambassador!” the hakamo-o whisper-yelled.

    “You're only talking pretty because she's pretty,” Igor retorted.

    “Forgive my partner,” the hakamo-o said to Bella. “I will notify the castle guards of your arrival. They will meet you on the other side of the gate soon enough.”

    Bella curtsied. “Well, thank you kindly, sir...”

    “Valentino! My name is Valentino.” Valentino grabbed a lever next to him and pulled it, then looked to Igor, who sighed and pulled the one on his own side. Loudly creaking, the gate opened.

    “We hope you enjoy your stay in Farindon, fellow dragon,” Valentino added.

    Bella nodded, and so she and Keith finally entered the city. With the levers pulled back again, the gate slammed shut behind them.

    The air immediately felt warmer. Keith deduced that this was due to the walls blocking the wind outside and the many torches attached to the walls of the white-bricked buildings and tops of the black lamp posts flanking the cobblestone roads.

    The shapes and locations of all structures seemed meticulously pre-planned, as if the whole city was one big blueprint come to life. It certainly was different from Pelton, as the most planning a building would see there was making sure its door faced the road.

    Yet in Farindon, even the roads were different, despite sharing the material with Peltonese ones - these stones had been specifically chosen and positioned to make the surface second to only still water in evenness. In Pelton, the roads seemed more… thrown together.

    The windows of the buildings had no wooden shutters looming above them - instead, an elegant metallic frame of sorts spanned the opening in the wall, a clear material filling in the empty spaces. It couldn’t have been ice given the temperature, so it must have been… Glass! They even have glass!

    “Oh, it’s so pretty...” Bella sighed, but then shook her head. “But it’s all money that could have been used for the people.”

    Eventually, the pair spotted a group of armored dragons approaching from behind a corner. Leading them was a turtonator with much lighter gear - as his body was already so well protected, his need for artificial protection was restricted to only a chestplate that covered his natural weak point. Unlike his subordinates, he held no narrow-tipped spear designed to drive its way between an opponent's scales - instead, his arms were entirely free.

    The group arrived before the altaria, then stopped at a simple wordless signal by their commander.

    The turtonator puffed a small cloud of smog from his snout. “I am Commander Kilbey,” he announced, voice nasal yet hoarse. ”You are the ambassador, correct?”

    Keith didn't like thinking bad things about dragons, but he had to admit this voice was as ugly as its bearer.

    “Yes! I am Altaria Amedee,” Bella answered. “I have come from the new Guild of Windedge --”

    Kilbey raised his mitten-like hand. “We're aware. And either way, you oughtta save your speeches for the king - we’re only here to escort you. We guards don't especially care about the details.”

    Man, not the warmest of welcomes… thought Keith. This guy makes those guards from before seem like butlers.

    The turtonator leaned in without warning, startling Keith. The smoke from the dragon's nozzle made him want to cough, but he wasn't sure if ferals could do that.

    “And this would be your gift?” remarked the commander. Bella nodded with the nicest smile she could produce - at the moment, anyway. “It doesn't look like the eevee I've seen…” he continued.

    “Oh, that would be thanks to our meticulous breeding, sir,” Bella explained. “The extraordinary features you see are all specialty of our lovely guild!”

    Kilbey squinted. “How come its noggin's so big? Why'd you wanna go and breed that?”

    “More brain!” chimed Bella. “It's fatty and delicious. You should try it some time!”

    Even if Keith knew this excuse might have to be used, he suppressed a shudder.

    “Hmh, whatever,” muttered Kilbey and turned to his subordinates. “Formation.”

    The guards were quick to respond, forming a rectangle around the altaria and turtonator.

    “Let’s go,” said the commander, and a clank-filled march began.

    They headed deeper into the city, passing by buildings that only seemed to get more and more elegant as they approached the tallest tower in the distance. On the trip, Keith got a closer, more detailed look at the allegedly-draconic exeggutor. It seemed that, thanks to their height, they were in charge of scouting the skies and faraway areas. The lamps attached to their foreheads made them like living, flexible beacons. The additional head at the tip of their tails always faced a stand that held a cup with a wire attached, presumably a way to communicate with other guards.

    After a few minutes of walking, they finally arrived at the gates of the castle. The guards broke their formation to give their guests more breathing room.

    “Alright,” said the commander, turning to the two. “Before you can go in, you'll need to be patted down. Hope that's not a problem.” He clapped his mitts. “Someone with good fingers! Come give this guest a search, will ya?”

    The guards exchanged glances, then shoved forward a flygon among them. Bella lowered Keith onto the ground. She knew this was a possibility and had nothing to hide, but still felt less than comfortable.

    The green dragon waddled to the altaria nervously. “S-sorry, miss,” he stuttered, “it's protocol…”

    “Get on with it!” grunted Kilbey, and the flygon reluctantly shoved his claws into the altaria's fluff.

    Some silent seconds passed as the guard combed through Bella’s feathers, finding nothing of note. He then withdrew his hands. Bella sighed from relief as she no longer had to suppress any tickling-induced convulsions.

    “The furball, too,” added Kilbey. Keith’s scruff bristled.

    The flygon sighed inaudibly and moved on to the eevee. Keith jolted at his touch, though soon calmed after realizing the claws going through his coat gave him some nice scratches. A quiet purr left his throat.

    Something heavy crashed nearby. Keith’s ears perked.

    “Oh, Kyu!”

    Keith flicked his gaze to the source of the sudden noises. On the road to the left of the castle, a noivern with a worn apron stood next to a salamence with stacks of crates on the platform strapped to its back. A few similar crates lay beside it on the road, apparently toppled over. One was broken with its contents - meat pies - pouring out onto the dirty ground. The noivern stared at the ruined goods, claws covering her mouth.

    “Hey!” shouted Kilbey, startling the noivern. The distress in her expression surged as she saw who’d yelled at her.

    “What’s going on over here?” the turtonator barked, marching to the set of the accident.

    “O-oh my goodness, I am so sorry, sir,” the noivern stuttered, then remembered through her panic to curtsy. “It was an a-accident, I swear!”

    The turtonator pointed a scolding flipper. “Not only do you soil the King’s goods, you go and invoke the Frostblight’s name, too?”

    “Sorry! Sorry!” the noivern continued, her voice breaking. “I won’t ever do it again, sir!”

    “You don’t think it’s cold enough as is, huh?”

    “No, it’s not like that, sir!”

    “Yeah, it better not be,” Kilbey grumbled. “Alright, here’s my verdict - one night in the dungeon!”

    The noivern’s teary eyes widened. “No, please! It was an accident!”

    “Exactly, that’s why it’s one and not three.” The commander turned to his troops. “Two of you, come here! One escorts her to a cell, the other find someone to finish whatever she was doing!”

    A new shoving competition began among the armored dragons, and losers determined soon after headed for the noivern. Keith briefly wondered why she merely shivered in her spot, but then realized fleeing would likely only cause her more trouble.

    “Alright,” said the commander as he returned to the castle’s gates. “Are we done with the body check?”

    “Sh-should be, yes,” the flygon replied and moved aside as Kilbey gave an approving nod.

    “Good. Let’s move in, then.”

    Bella extended her wings to Keith, and the eevee leapt back into her hold.

    After a protocol knocking and introduction, the gates were unlocked opened from within. As they headed within, Keith gave the defeated-looking noivern one last glance.

    I guess the dungeon is where they put the lawbreakers… and judging by her reaction, it’s not a nice place at all.

    He winced. We really need to avoid getting caught for what we’re doing, then...

    ---

    At the same time, a report from the Eastern Marine Guard was taking place in the castle’s throne room. The leaders of the Northeastern and Southeastern halves, a kingdra and a dragalge respectively, sat before the throne in their own wheeled chairs, backed each by a guard who would move their chair when needed.

    On the throne sat the king, Hydreigon Zmey. A jeweled golden crown rested atop his shaggy-maned head, and a golden chain looped around his neck, a peculiar key hanging from it. Beside the king stood the Head of Guard, Garchomp Kaora, in her deep blue and red uniform.

    These mon, a couple of servants and a few additional guards lining the edges were the only living beings in the room, but in a way, there were some subtler presences beyond them as well. These were the ones brought forth by the patterns on the back wall, elegant illustrations of three draconic forms lined with gold and silver.

    On the left, feathers rendered in milky white tiles, stood the blazing dragon of truth, Reshiram. On the right, with scales of obsidian, was the thunderous dragon of the ideal, Zekrom. Between these two, towering over the throne, the Original Dragon spread its perfect wings behind the two halves it had been split into by the icy shard of sin - not pictured.

    These three dragons were not alone in their two-dimensional world, however. A crowd of mortal dragons in all shapes and sizes was gathered on the side walls of the room to bow down to their divine creator. Occasionally, though, the crowd left holes in their midst to accommodate for the tall windows of the room. It broke the illusion, yes, but the designer had decided it'd still be better to let the sun shine in.

    Aside from the conversation taking place, it was quiet, and even the conversation seemed to be nearing its end.

    “And that would be all?” asked Kaora, voice echoing from the tall walls.

    “Yes, ma'am,” responded the kingdra. The dragalge at his side nodded agreeingly.

    “I see. Then you are dismissed,” continued the garchomp. “Keep up the good work.”

    “Thank you, ma'am,” both aquatic dragons responded, then signalled the guards steering their wheeled chairs. The throne room's doors opened, and the two legless mon were promptly pushed out.

    As the doors shut once more, Kaora turned to the window.

    “Just one more report to hear today,” she said, polishing her right claw on her uniform. She frowned. “And it's from her…”

    She heard a growl and turned around. The hydreigon king stared at the ground, all mouths in a slight grimace.

    “Are you, too, finding that latias irritating, your highness?” Kaora asked. “You are not obligated to accept her services, you know. I'm sure one lati can't be that irreplaceable…”

    “Hungry…” grumbled the king.

    “Oh.” The hopeful smirk that had crept on the garchomp's face drooped. “Well, your highness, I'm sure her report won't be too long. You'll get to eat soon enough.”

    “Hmrh...”

    Kaora turned back to the window. Her brow lifted in recognition at the red silhouette in the distance.

    “Speak of the spritzee...” she mumbled.

    The cross-shaped form of the latias slowly grew larger, though seemingly got faster as it advanced. So fast that a ripple of apprehension spread through Kaora’s body.

    “Would you, uh, open the window,” she said to the guards. As they hesitantly headed for the window, she raised her claws. “Faster!”

    Her word quickened their actions, but Kaora grew more and more worried about the rapidly approaching latias.

    “Faster, you dolts!” she snapped, eyes glued to the mon only a dozen meters away now. “Or she’s going to --”

    The garchomp covered her face and jumped in front of the king, prepared for shards of glass launched their way.

    A blue light enveloped the latias dashing towards the throne room. In less than a second, her momentum diminished to a halt. She craned her neck through the half-opened window.

    “Hi, y’all!” she chimed. “How’s it going?”

    Kaora lowered her fins. Seeing the window still intact, she sighed and returned to her usual spot.

    “You could be more careful with how you approach the throne room, Cheri,” she growled.

    “Ugh, I didn’t break anything, so what’s the problem?” Cheri groaned, wiggling through the crevice into the room proper. The guards at the window exchanged glances and lowered the glass back down.

    “It’s a hazard,” Kaora replied, “and the role of the guard is specifically to keep the kingdom protected from danger, not cause it.”

    Cheri lazily floated before the garchomp. “Shouldn’t you be outside playing in some mud, groundie?”

    Kaora clenched her teeth. “I’m exactly where I’m meant to be,” she proudly stated. “And I actually worked for my position, as a person should. Wasn't just born into it, untalented, wasting everyone’s time!”

    Cheri opened her mouth to retort, but a grunt from the king stopped her. She crossed her arms and stayed silent.

    “Yes, let’s get to the actual point of our meeting…” Kaora said, straightening her back. “Anything out of the ordinary at the Eastern border?”

    “Nope,” Cheri said nonchalantly, causing Kaora to suppress a scowl. “Dragons and non-dragons coming in and out as usual. No one looked suspicious, not even the hairies and dusters. Wish they'd keep out, but what can you do. Will just have to hope the ferals gobble ‘em up.”

    “We get it, you don’t like foreigners...” muttered Kaora to herself. Before Cheri could comment, the garchomp moved on. “Anything else to report?”

    “Nothing, nope. So am I dismissed?”

    While relieved to hear the answer, Kaora sighed at the latias’s discourtesy. “Yes, you are dismissed.”

    “Cool. See ya!” The latias hovered back to the window. “Oh, and check out what I learned to do!”

    A blue glow covered Cheri once again. A second later, her form wavered and disappeared, then reappeared at the other side of the glass.

    “Wh- you could teleport this whole time?” snapped Kaora, running to the window with the smug latias waiting on the other side.

    Cheri giggled. “Jealous, groundie?”

    Kaora’s eyes narrowed. “Did your mother perhaps name you after the size of your brain?”

    “Whatever...” the latias snorted and finally flew off into the twilight of the sky.

    Kaora barely had time to sigh when a knock came from the door.

    “Who is it?” the garchomp asked.

    “Steward,” a voice responded. “He has a message.”

    Kaora nodded at the guards standing beside the door. One unlocked and opened it. A dragonair slithered in and bowed to the king.

    “Your majesty,” the serpentine dragon said, “an ambassador waits in the entrance hall. She claims she comes from a newfound Guild of Windedge and wishes to meet you to establish good relations with our kingdom. Shall we bring her here, or turn her away?”

    Kaora rolled her eyes.

    “Hrmh,” rasped the king. “What is her gift?”

    “A purebred eevee,” the steward responded. “A rather good-looking one, in my eyes.”

    “Hrmh. Appetizer first, then we meet,” Zmey grunted.

    “Then we shall wait to hear you are finished, your highness.” The dragonair bowed again and slithered out.

    The steward gone, Kaora sighed. “One of these again… their guild will just fall apart in a year, why do they even bother?”

    She shook her head. “Well, my presence is no longer required either way. I suppose it's none of my concern.”

    She stepped away from the king, bowed and left the room herself. As the doors closed, she could hear a servant beginning to enquire the king on what he would like to eat.

    ---

    “The king will see you now,” announced the dragonair that had returned to the entrance hall seconds prior.

    Took him long enough, thought Keith and shook his body to shed its lethargy. He leapt into Bella's lap, and the altaria got up from her bench.

    The two mon and a few guards followed the steward across the grand halls and many stairs of the castle, little by little getting closer to the throne room. Keith often found himself nearly hypnotized by the motions of the dragonair, especially in the stairs where his gait transformed dramatically to manage the unusual surface.

    Finally, they made it to the large, highly decorated doors that stood before them and the throne room. The guards standing before it made way and opened each their own half, allowing the altaria, eevee and dragonair in.

    As Bella caught sight of the hydreigon king's face, the faintest of scowls flashed on hers. Luckily, he missed it.

    The steward bowed, and Bella followed form. Keith nearly joined her, but remembered his act just in time. It was necessary, too, as he realized the king's gaze had been pinned onto him since he'd arrived in the hydreigon's sight. Discomforted, Keith chose to have his eyes wander around the room - a choice he didn’t regret, as the patterns on the walls proved very captivating.

    “Your majesty,” began the steward, gesturing to the guests with the tip of his tail. “Before you stands Altaria Amedee, the ambassador of the Guild of Windedge. Shall you hear her message?”

    The king's pupilless crimson eyes stayed on Keith, but he nodded with a grunt.

    Bella cleared her throat and stood up straight - well, straighter.

    “Your majesty,” she began. “It is my honor and joy to be here, face to face with the leader of the great, eternal Dragon Kingdom. I have brought with me a gift in hopes of forming a lasting bond of friendship.” She presented Keith, holding him beneath the armpits. “This is my offering! A purebred Windedge eevee male of great health and vigor.”

    Keith dangled like that for a few silent seconds. He could feel all eyes in the room drilling into his skin. Most so of the king’s. Does… does he like me? Hate me?

    A droplet of saliva dripped from the hydreigon’s main mouth.

    O-oh. That answers that.

    “So… is that all?” asked the steward.

    “Oh, no, I have much to tell!” said Bella. “You’ll be delighted to hear all the wonderful qualities my lovely home has and why a friendship with such a guild is beneficial for both! And what better way to start than let your majesty hear our very own beautiful anthem!”

    Keith’s ear twitched. This is it, the critical part! Gosh, I just hope it all goes smoothly...

    Bella set Keith down and cleared her throat once more. Wings on her heart, she began to sing.

    “Windedge, Windedge
    The place I call my home
    Where the birds sing
    And bouffalant do roam…”

    Keith hid a smile as he listened to the altaria’s song. He’d overheard her sing before, but it was always so lovely to him. Judging by the pleasantly surprised expressions of the other mon in the room, the feeling was shared. Even the king seemed somewhat content.

    Bella continued her song, increasing her volume a little now that she’d gotten better into her flow.

    “Proud as a pyroar
    But sweet as a mareep
    And now you all will
    Go the heck to sleep!”

    “Wait… what’d she just...” mumbled a haxorus guard next to the king. Her eyes then widened. “Hey, she’s trying to --”

    Bella spread her wings, and the room was cloaked in thick fog one could barely see their toes in. “Sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep!” she rapidly continued.

    “Quick… get… her...” tried the guard, but lethargy began to weigh down more and more heavily upon her. The same went for the other guards, who’d barely taken three steps before the melody’s magic overpowered them. Metal clanked to the floor all around the altaria. The echoes would surely have been much louder if it wasn’t for the fog.

    “Oh my Gods, oh my Gods,” whispered Bella, hopping from one foot to another. “I did it! I totally did it!”

    She crouched before her eevee companion, who was already deep in a peaceful sleep. “Aww…” she sighed as she watched the bundle of fluff gently rise and shrink, but knew time was short and so grasped the eevee by its scruff and covered its mouth.

    “Keith! Wake up!” she whispered, thoroughly shaking the little mammal.

    “Whuh! Whuhm?” Keith tried, but was muffled by Bella’s feathers. He blinked rapidly, then recalled the situation he was in. He looked at Bella and nodded. “Mhm.”

    Bella let the eevee go, then spread her wings again to remove the mist around them. The room was cleared, revealing all mon within asleep. “Alright… let’s do it.”

    The two creeped to the slumbering hydreigon. Bella looked to Keith, putting wings on the sides of her head. Keith understood, covering his own ears and stepping aside.

    “Sleep, sleep, sleep,” Bella melodically chanted as she carefully placed her wings under the hydreigon’s arms. He let out a chuckle, causing Bella to flinch, but still stayed asleep.

    “Sleep, sleep, sleep,” she continued, grasping the dragon and dragging him away from the throne.

    The king’s main head suddenly drooped to the side, dropping the crown. Bella gasped and braced her bones for the clang to come, but it never did - Keith had dived in just in the nick of time, catching the crown with his soft paws.

    Both let out a sigh of relief. Keith placed the crown beside himself and returned his paws to his ears, allowing Bella to continue her quiet song. She gently lowered the dark dragon on the floor, picked up the key on his chest and pulled the necklace upwards until it passed the king’s head and came free.

    Having stopped her chanting, she handed the key to Keith and lifted him onto the throne, face-to-face with the keyhole embedded in its back. Thank goodness the rumors were true, thought Keith as he inserted the golden key and twisted it. Something clicked, and the hatch could be opened.

    A small tunnel continued roughly two meters into the wall. At its end waited a faintly glowing blue orb.

    Keith and Bella exchanged a glance and a nod. Keith crawled into the tunnel, while Bella stayed back to make sure all the mon stayed asleep. Not that she could’ve joined him - it was far too small for an altaria, or any other full-grown dragon for that matter. It was designed to only fit the mon entrusted with the task of checking on the plate, the one with the title of Everbagon.

    However, that design was built on the assumption that no non-feral non-dragon could ever enter the city of Farindon. And the fact that a goomy would never be allowed anywhere near the priceless, pristine architecture of the castle. And the hope that a noibat wouldn’t show up. It wasn’t a perfect design.

    It was perfect for Keith, however, and so he crawled ever deeper into the tunnel. Finally, he reached the orb and hesitantly placed his paw on it, hoping dearly that there was no secret dragon-only mechanism set in place.

    There wasn’t, and in a flash, he was transported to the other half of the teleport system. The tunnel continued for perhaps a meter with a large, open space on the other side, and a mystical gleam further on. That must be the Plate… Keith shuffled through the last of the tunnel and dropped down onto the floor.

    A hall grander than he would have ever expected opened up before him. Giant arches curved over him, creating a colossal dome lit by nothing else than the glow in the very center of the hall.

    Its light was wavering, dancing, sparkling. In places, it was green, and in others blue or violet, and these places changed constantly. It felt alive.

    “Wow...” sighed Keith. The sound echoed for a full three seconds.

    Heart pounding, Keith approached the pedestal the light shined on top of. As he came closer, he could distinguish a solid shape within. It was a flat, tall hexagon, wider at the top than at the bottom. Its surface glimmered as if it was covered in hundreds of tiny iridescent scales. That sight and the energy that radiating from the plate… they found the little spark inside Keith that made him travel all this way for possible dragonhood, and they made it a roaring bonfire.

    This… this is it, thought Keith, reaching the foot of the pedestal. I can feel it, both in front of me and inside my own heart… the energy of change…!

    He raised a paw. It trembled. All of him trembled.

    Once I touch it… I'm sure of it. I'm gonna evolve. I'm finally gonna be a dragon. An awesome, fantastic dragon!

    He extended a toe. He brought it closer to the plate. Closer. Centimeters away…

    They all told me it couldn't be done, they all told me dragons were horrible… and now I'm gonna prove them wrong.

    Millimeters…

    I'm gonna evolve… now!

    Contact.

    ---
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2019
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  16. NebulaDreams

    NebulaDreams A Dense Irritating Miniature Beast of Burden

    I don't have much to say with this chapter, except it moved along at an exciting pace. It's nice to see the gang making fast progress on their mission already, and the worldbuilding along the way is as enjoyable as ever, especially with how the dragon/non-dragon type thing is executed. I'd probably be getting drunk off my ass like Brent if I was rejected on the grounds of being a Charizard, while Exeggutor were given a free pass. While I felt it was a bit convenient in places, and that Bella's sleeping spell made the break-in a bit too easy, I'm aware there will be more to the story, and that there's plenty of room for a more challenging climax in the next part. Speaking of which, what a line to end it on. I seriously can't wait to see what will happen next, even though I can guess Keith probably won't evolve.
     
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  17. Namohysip

    Namohysip Dragon Enthusiast


    This hurts me in more ways than you know. That being said, I'll laugh if this turns out to be random foreshadowing to him coming back as Mega X, disrupting the chaos that will undoubtedly happen in part 5 or something, just so he can enter. I wouldn't put it past you.



    This was actually surprisingly easy! I mean, I guess it kinda has to, considering the length of the story, and it has some partial justification because the king doesn't seem all that bright... and that probably would say a thing or two about the guards.



    HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?!


    Ohhhh you little...! Okay. Fine. This is probably the best way you could've ended for the incoming final part, but geez. There are so many ways you could go with this. For one, Keith could just not evolve, and they have to figure out how to escape -- and at least they stole the Plate, right? Maybe? But if he does evolve, that'll give you a whole part for him to explore his new anatomy, power, pretty much everything you'd want to see in such a short period of time. (And hey, if we're lucky, you'll have something to go by if SwSh announces one.) The only support for Keith possibly evolving is that he remarked that he could "feel" the energy of change from both himself and the Plate, like a sort of resonance. But that's all.


    --


    Anyway, overall, this was a pretty good chapter. It was a little hard to keep track of the species of everybody around -- you certainly wanted to cram in all the dragons, didn't you? -- but the most interesting bit of this part was that we're pretty much not with Keith for a good chunk of it, which I believe is a pretty big shift compared to the past three parts. I'm eager to see how the story concludes, and here's hoping Keith at least gets something good out of it. I'm mostly just banking on the 'comedy' genre you've classified this under in the hope that it won't wind up tragic.
     
  18. Chibi Pika

    Chibi Pika Stay positive

    Well then! Things are certainly moving a along at a fast clip! While I did expect it to take them a little longer to infiltrate the castle, there's definitely something to be said for a story that gets right to the point, and I can appreciate that.

    I liked all the details once they got into Farindon! The banter between the guards was fun and the scene with Brent was friggin hilarious (hey, maybe this dragon revolution could wind up benefiting him as well? Of course, the Mega thing that Namo mentioned would be equally funny.) And I'm impressed you managed to work in so many different dragon species doing different things! I dunno why I was amused by the fact that the kingdom is constantly getting friend requests envoys from random new guilds that fall apart soon afterward. :p

    And then, the infiltration! Like Namo said, it went quite a bit easier than I was expecting, but I don't think dragging it out would've been a benefit anyway. Bella's song got a chuckle out of me too. (Random side note, but if Bella ever mega-evolved she'd be able to thrash the king so hard lmao. Dat 4x weakness.) And argh! That cliffhanger! Gahh, I love the tension you set up there. Even though I'm pretty sure he won't evolve, I also don't think you'd just have nothing come out of this, but I have no idea what's gonna happen argh!

    So yeah, looking forward to the finale!

    ~Chibi~
     
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