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Elegantly Wasted (Multishipping, R)

Discussion in 'Shipping Fics' started by Zubeon, Jul 13, 2007.

  1. Zubeon

    Zubeon Well-Known Member


    Elegantly Wasted

    So, here we are, the beginning of the end. For those of you wondering what the hell I'm talking about, I suggest clicking on the following links in order, and returning to this thread later:

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Here's the list of shippings this fic is likely to contain. Please note that this list is subject to drastic change at any time.


    That's all my stuff for now, but I usually forget things so watch this space.

    Chapter 1: A New World
    Chapter 2: Way Out West
    Chapter 3: Book of Brilliant Things
    Chapter 4: The Messenger
    Chapter 5: Back On Line
    Chapter 6: Forgotten Years
    Chapter 7: Creating Monsters
    Chapter 8: Runaway Girls
    Chapter 9: Dreamworld
    Chapter 10: Company of Strangers
    Chapter 11: Two Princes
    Chapter 12: The Boys Light Up
    Chapter 13: All Tomorrow's Parties


    Chapter 1
    A New World​

    January 25, 2009, 2:00pm

    I’d been to thirty-nine other Gyms, but I couldn’t put it off any longer. If I wanted to enter the Stralis League Competition, I would have to defeat the Point Noir Gym Leader and get the badge. It was ridiculous – Dante hasn’t been the Gym Leader here for at least two years, but I still just felt creeped out by the building. I didn’t want to go in. I walked right past it five months ago, getting the badges from all the other Gyms, hoping to boycott it completely, only to find out that Stralis only has eight Gyms. Point Noir was supposed to be the seventh Gym that challengers faced. In Dante’s time, it had been a Dark-type Gym, but now, under the new management, it was a Steel-type Gym.

    Oh well. No sense in just standing on the outside. Standing around doesn’t get you badges. And I did want this badge.

    I entered the Gym to find myself in almost total darkness. Squinting around, I saw two staircases on either side of the doorway, a shadowy figure sitting on each.

    ‘Welcome to the Point Noir Gym,’ said the one on my left.

    ‘Er… thanks,’ I said nervously.

    ‘I take it you’re here to Challenge the Gym Leader?’ said the other.

    Well obviously.

    ‘That’s right,’ I said.

    ‘Interesting,’ mused the first. ‘Ordinarily, you would have to defeat both of us before facing the leader.’

    I nodded.

    ‘And today will be no exception.’

    A handful of lights came on above me and I saw that I was standing in the middle of a slightly undersized Pokémon Battle Ring that included the entire area between the two staircases.

    ‘You battle both of us at once, and it’s a double battle. You use two Pokémon, we use one each. Are you ready?’

    ‘Check,’ I said.

    ‘Let’s go then,’ said the other. ‘Go, Scizor!’

    ‘Go, Lucario!’ the first one added. The two Pokémon appeared on either side of me. That was when I decided to back out of the arena, leaving my two choices.

    ‘Gallade, Flareon, go!’

    They took their places, Gallade facing off against Lucario and Flareon against Scizor.

    ‘Okay Flareon, fire spin on both of them!’

    Gallade ducked down as Flareon spewed fire in all directions. Lucario jumped up onto the banister of one of the staircases but Scizor wore the full force of the attack. It let out an awkward cry and collapsed. Its trainer returned it to its Pokeball immediately and sat down, clearly disappointed. I looked away from him just in time to see Lucario run up the banister into the darkness.

    ‘Gallade, follow Lucario! Flareon, light the way with sunny day!’

    Flareon sent out her solar flares and Gallade rushed up the stairs but not quick enough as Lucario unleashed a devastating metal claw on him.

    ‘Flareon, use fire spin again! Gallade, confusion!’

    The confusion hit first, immobilising Lucario for long enough for the fire spin to hit. Robbed of all defences, Lucario collapsed onto the ground. Its trainer returned it to its Pokeball.

    ‘Congratulations,’ said the Scizor’s trainer, a trace of bitterness in his voice, ‘you’ve earned the right to battle Dante.’

    ‘Who?’ My stomach sank as the house lights came on and I saw him, standing in the middle of the main arena.

    ‘Good afternoon, Max, and welcome,’ Dante said smoothly. ‘I wondered when you would pay me a visit.’

    ‘This isn’t a social call,’ I said. ‘I’m here to challenge you, win the badge, and leave.’

    ‘Of course,’ he smiled. ‘Arthur, the rules, if you please.’ He addressed this to one of the two I had just battled.

    ‘Certainly,’ said Arthur. He was the one with the Scizor. ‘We acknowledge and accept the challenge of…’


    ‘Max, from…’

    ‘Petalburg City.’

    ‘Petalburg City, of the Leader Dante at the Point Noir Gym, for the possession of the Foundry Badge. Both trainers will use all six Pokémon. The challenger will use four at a time, whilst the leader may only use three. Both competitors are free to switch Pokémon at any time.’

    A three on four Pokémon battle? I’d never heard of anything like it before. I had to admit it was intriguing.

    ‘Leader, please select your three Pokémon now.’

    Dante plucked three Pokeballs from his belt and tossed them silently into the arena. They opened up to reveal his Skarmory, a Bastiodon, and a Magneton.

    ‘Gym Leader Dante has selected Skarmory, Bastiodon, and Magneton,’ Arthur called out. Challenger, please select your four Pokémon now.’

    ‘Okay, Flareon, Gallade, Manectric, Totodile, do your stuff!’

    My four Pokémon arrayed themselves in front of me.

    ‘The battle will be divided into two fifteen minute halves. If the battle is not completed after thirty minutes of elapsed battle time, the trainer with the most remaining Pokémon is the winner. Do you both understand these rules, as I have read them to you?’

    ‘Yes,’ Dante said amicably.

    ‘Yes,’ I said.


    ‘Kata form four,’ Dante bellowed at his Pokémon immediately. I’d never heard of that as an attack, and I soon realised why. It wasn’t an attack he was ordering, it was a strategy that he had rehearsed with his Pokémon, and given that name. All three of them knew their part.

    Straight away Bastiodon used dig and burrowed underground, while Skarmory scattered spikes all around the centre line of the ring. Magneton seemed to be doing nothing at this point.

    ‘Manectric, use Thunder on Skarmory. Flareon, go underground and intercept Bastiodon. Totodile, jump into the hole after Flareon, and Gallade, keep Magneton away from Totodile!’

    Manectric opened with his thunder attack, which Skarmory, I’m ashamed to say, dodged remarkably easily. Before Manectric could adjust his aim, he was being pelted by swift, fired form Skarmory’s beak. Magneton still wasn’t doing anything, but Gallade was watching it very carefully nonetheless.

    Then I heard a rumbling underground and Bastiodon burst out of the ground directly underneath Manectric, who was launched high into the air. Skarmory swooped on him straight away and grabbed him in its talons, flying down until they were level with Magneton. Gallade didn’t realise until it was too late and Magneton had already fired the supersonic attack at Manectric. But it was Skarmory who went crashing to the ground, paralysed from prolonged contact with Manectric, who was now staggering around, confused and disoriented.

    ‘Snap out of it, Manectric!’ I yelled as he lurched towards Bastiodon. He seemed to see Bastiodon but at the last moment turned and launched a devastating thunderbolt that went right into Gallade. After a few moments Gallade put up a light screen and stepped back – right into Bastiodon’s take down attack. They charged straight through the light screen – which shattered – and into Manectric before Bastiodon turned off and Gallade and Manectric fell into a crumpled pile on the ground. Before I could even call out an order, Magneton was upon them, charging something up. At first I thought it was a zap cannon attack, but just too late I realised it was a hyper beam as it launched and engulfed my two Pokémon. When the dust cleared, both had fainted.

    ‘Manectric and Gallade are unable to battle,’ Arthur called out.

    ‘I know that!’ I snapped. ‘Sableye, Exeggutor, fix this!’ I had already lost a third of my team and now had no reserves. Dante, meanwhile, had suffered nothing worse than paralysis of his Skarmory.

    ‘Come on, Max,’ Dante called from the other side of the arena. ‘Stop thinking so much and let your Pokémon improvise.’

    ‘Improvise this!’ I yelled savagely. ‘Flareon!’

    Flareon dug her way out of the hole just next to Skarmory and used an immensely powerful fire blast attack that knocked the iron bird to the ground in a one-hit knockout.

    ‘Excellent!’ Dante said, sounding genuinely happy. ‘Now you’re getting there. Bastiodon, avenge Skarmory. Empoleon, join the fight!’

    Bastiodon made a rush for Flareon, who nimbly jumped to the side just as Totodile popped out of the hole behind them.

    ‘Totodile, surf!’

    Totodile conjured up a giant wave which Magneton deftly avoided by hovering higher. Exeggutor locked himself down and allowed Sableye to climb into his leaves for shelter. The wave rushed after Bastiodon, who seemed to realise his eminent exit from the bout and decided to take Flareon with him. With a fresh burst of strength and speed, Bastiodon threw itself forwards into a mighty body slam, landing hard on Flareon’s tail just as the wave swept over both of them.

    I was so busy watching Flareon and Bastiodon that I hadn’t noticed Empoleon ride the wave in and hack away at Exeggutor with a metal claw that completely dislodged his strength and knocked Sableye down into the water.

    Most of the water dispersed, revealing that both Flareon and Bastiodon were knocked out. We returned them simultaneously and Dante threw in his next Pokémon – a Probopass.

    Dante was watching the battle very shrewdly. He was looking very carefully at Magneton, then at the rest of the Pokémon.

    ‘Empoleon, jump!’ he called out suddenly.

    Empoleon obeyed immediately, just as Magneton fired a zap cannon attack into the ankle-high water. Totodile, Sableye, Exeggutor and Probopass found themselves shocked by powerful electrical current – though of course Probopass was immune. By the time Empoleon landed, Magneton hat cut the attack off and the water was safe again. Totodile was floating, face up, eyes spiralled, in the water. I returned him to his Pokeball and realised with a nasty jolt that I now had two Pokémon left to Dante’s four, one of which was unused, while both of mine were critically weakened.

    ‘Exeggutor, giga drain!’ I didn’t even tell him a target, I was so nervous. Luckily, he picked Probopass, who writhed and twisted as the super effective attack sucked all of his fresh energy and replenished Exeggutor to full health. Probopass was looking pretty weak now.

    ‘Come on, Sableye, sunny day!’ I called. Empoleon seemed to have anticipated this and was skating towards Sableye, a metal claw attack at the ready. But before Empoleon reached him, Sableye used dig and disappeared down a hole, firing up his solar flares as he went. Suddenly the Gym was insanely bright, I could hardly see anything, but I knew what I had to do.

    ‘Exeggutor, keep firing solarbeams!’

    The first on hit Empoleon, knocking him off of his careful balance and pushing him hard into the wall. The second solarbeam went straight for Probopass and knocked him out instantly. The third went for Empoleon again, and knocked him out of the battle too.

    But Exeggutor didn’t stop there, he kept firing them at Magneton, who consistently dodged them. But as Magneton dodged the seventh or eighth solarbeam, Sableye burst out of the ground and grabbed onto one of its magnets.

    ‘Focus punch!’ I directed instinctively. Sableye complied and Magneton came crashing to the ground. Dante looked around at the arena. All three of his Pokémon were unconscious.

    ‘Bravo, Max,’ he said, returning all three of them. ‘All those solarbeams…’

    For a moment I dared to think I had won, but then Dante tossed another Pokeball in to the arena, and I remembered he had one left.

    His Steelix erupted from its Pokeball with an earsplitting roar, and immediately threw itself onto Exeggutor in a powerful slam attack. It wasn’t quite enough, but it managed to paralyse Exeggutor. Steelix seemed content to leave Exeggutor in place, and turned her attention to the Sableye that was darting around, looking for an opening to exploit.

    ‘Okay Steelix, we don’t have many options here,’ Dante said from the sidelines. ‘Use screech, and follow with Crunch.’

    At once the entire Gym was filled with a horrible wail as Steelix used her screech to lower Sableye and Exeggutor’s defences. Then she dived in at Sableye, using a devastatingly powerful Crunch attack that put Sableye right out of action. I returned her to her Pokeball anxiously, and looked across at Exeggutor, the Pokémon upon whose shoulders lay all my hopes of victory today.

    And when I looked across at him I could have cried.

    Exeggutor, genius that he was, had used rest the moment Steelix had turned away from him, and was now completely healed.

    I smiled.


    It didn’t even have to charge – the light from Sableye’s sunny day was strong enough to blast Steelix right in the face. She fell heavily to the ground – but wasn’t finished yet. I was just about to order another solarbeam when-

    ‘Half time!’ called Arthur. I looked at my watch. Fifteen minutes had indeed passed. ‘During this break you may use healing items on your Pokémon, but no substitutions may be made and no revives may be used. You have five minutes.’

    ‘Use rest, Steelix,’ Dante said softly, then turned to face a red-haired girl who was walking towards him, a baby in her arms.

    I told Exeggutor to use rest too and set about trying to eavesdrop while pretending to be checking Exeggutor for injuries.

    ‘I’ve tried everything that normally works, Dante, but she just won’t go down. And I don’t think that screech attack really helped things, you know.’

    ‘I know, I’m sorry. But this kid is putting up a hell of a fight. He may even get the badge.’

    ‘About time somebody did. You’re too strong for this place. Have you thought about that Elite Four position?’

    ‘We’ll talk about it later,’ Dante said, glancing in my direction. Then he turned back to the baby. ‘Come on, Holly, be good for Auntie Flan, alright? Just go to sleep.’

    ‘Wow, I never would have thought of telling her to sleep,’ said the girl with a laugh. She patted Dante on the shoulder and made to go back upstairs, but Dante caught her arm. He whispered something at her, and they both looked at me, and then she and the baby sat down on a bench at the sidelines.

    ‘Challenger, ready?’ Arthur suddenly called out. I kicked Exeggutor awake and nodded.

    ‘Gym Leader, ready?’

    ‘As ever,’ Dante said lazily.


    I was more determined than ever to win this battle now. ‘Exeggutor! Keep up with the solarbeams!’

    Exeggutor fired beam after beam, and they kept missing as Steelix wormed her way around the arena, before one finally hit – a glancing blow to the tail but enough to slow her down. Steelix came crashing down and Exeggutor fired one more, right to the face. Steelix closed her eyes. She accepted it. She had lost.

    Arthur blew his whistle.

    ‘I declare this battle over, in seventeen minutes. The winner is the challenger Max, from Petalburg City!’

    Dante nodded at the girl with the baby, who stood up and walked our way as Dante came over to me, hand outstretched.

    ‘You’re the first person to win here since I took over again,’ he said warmly, shaking my hand. When he let go, I found that the badge now sat in my hand.

    ‘That’s the foundry badge. You’ve really earned it, he said. ‘And this, he said, retrieving a TM from his jacket pocket, ‘is zap cannon. Teach it to your Manectric. You’ve seen what it can do.’

    I nodded, just as the girl arrived at his side. With a jolt I realised who it was. Flannery, from Lavaridge Town.

    ‘And this,’ he said, taking the baby from Flannery’s arms, ‘is you niece. Holly, this is your uncle Max.’

    Chapter two up soon.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2008
  2. shadow_shipper

    shadow_shipper ...indeed...

    you know, the spoiler at the end of Devil's party said "Winter 2007" so I wasn't expecting this quite soon :p


    I don't understand...
    If Max is the uncle of this baby, that means the mother is May.
    If May is the mother, Dante is most likely the father from what we've seen last time...
    so what is Flannery doing here with Dante ?

    I feel I am going to enjoy this, for the simple reason that it has ships most people don't even think of, yet, they have enormous potential.
    I love those kind.
  3. Uzamaki Hinata

    Uzamaki Hinata Bye bye!

    I love your fanfics ZUbeon, and finally, I get to review to one of them!(woohoo!)

    Anyway, I like the fact that your fanfics are... I dunno, so unique. At first I came reading this because i=of the advanceshippping(since there aren't many around) But stayed for an awesome fanfic.

    Ack, I'm giving a crappy review.

    Anyway, I really liked the pairing between May and Dante. And it seems that they have a baby(though the thing with Flannery is scaring me)

    ugh, crappy review, sorry, I can't wait till the next chap anyway!
  4. Zubeon

    Zubeon Well-Known Member

    Remember, I come from Australia, where winter is June-August.

    I was planning to start it up in August but felt like getting into it straight away. It's set two full years and a bit after Devil's Party, so you're going to find that a lot has changed in the lives of these characters.

  5. shadow_shipper

    shadow_shipper ...indeed...

    oh...yes...you live in Australia...I completely forgot about that -_-'

    well...May is the mother...if Dante's not the father, who is ?
    and I still don't know why Flannery's here...here as in : here in this fic.

    I mean, there was no mention of her in the first two stories...so why now ? I know she's hot (no pun intended), and that she could be great for pairings...but...yeah, we'll see what happens...
  6. flamingoozaru

    flamingoozaru Well-Known Member

    Flannery? Why is she here? And is Dante the father? Where is Ash. still genociding Team Rocket? Is that the meaning of the title? The battle was great by the way.
  7. Zubeon

    Zubeon Well-Known Member

    I really wish you guys would let go of the Flannery thing. There was an anvil-sized hint in Devil's Party that she would have a role to play. The reason for her "being there" (in Point Noir) will be explained in the next chapter, due up on Thursday. You guys just need to be a little more patient. You know how I operate. There's a reason for everything. Every little seemingly insignificant detail from the first two will be explained in this fic. You will learn why Houndoom's favourite song is "The Stairs." You will learn more about May's Sunflora, and its critical importance to the story. All will be revealed, but it's going to take time. Elegantly Wasted is likely to be considerably longer than the past two fics. Fitting, as it is sure to be my last.

    I didn't come here empty handed, and I have here something that despite being uninteresting, should help you follow "where" everyone is.


    This is almost certainly not as the developers had envisaged, but this map is true within the canon of my fics.

    Patience, my friends. Have faith in me to deliver my best work here. Also, please vote. My rating doesn't particularly bother me, but nobody likes to see only one star after all their hard work.

  8. shadow_shipper

    shadow_shipper ...indeed...

    ...I’m afraid I’m getting dense or something...cause I wouldn’t call it "anvil sized" I think I may have spotted it the second time I read it... :-/

    Yes, trust that we will be waiting here for this one, and now with all the momentum, this being your last fic, and coming off two higly successful ones...

    but it is a shame, the person who voted you one star...either a mistake, or someone has a grudge against you...you know you’re a five star writer in my book.
  9. Zubeon

    Zubeon Well-Known Member

    Finished work a day early, so the chapter's up a day early.


    Chapter 2
    Way Out West​

    January 25, 2:24pm

    ‘Now when you say uncle,’ I began, looking at the baby.

    ‘I mean this is the child of your sister,’ Dante said evenly.

    ‘When did May get pregnant?’

    ‘A little over two years ago. That’s why there’s this baby, you see.’

    I blinked. ‘Who’s the father?’

    ‘I am,’ Dante said, blinking back at me. ‘I would have thought that would be clear, since she’s living with me.’

    ‘May’s living with you?’

    ‘No, Holly is.’

    ‘Who’s Holly?’

    In hindsight I realise that I didn’t handle the situation very well. But it’s not very often that I find out that my sister has a secret illegitimate child with a man who once shot our father.

    ‘Do you mean to tell me that May never told you anything about this?’ Dante asked seriously, furrowing his brow.

    ‘Not a word. She didn’t tell any of us. And what’s she doing here?’ I suddenly turned my attention to Flannery. ‘You’re not having-’

    ‘No, I’m not having an affair, Max. May and I haven’t been together since Holly was born.’

    ‘Which was…?’

    ‘August, two-double-odd-seven.’

    ‘Two thousand and… so she’s almost two?’

    ‘That’s right.’

    ‘Hmm.’ I was stalling now, because I had no idea where I was going.

    ‘And to answer your earlier question, Flannery is here to baby-sit.’

    ‘But how do you know Flannery?’ I asked, momentarily forgetting that she was even here.

    ‘Well, we see each other at Gym Heroes every year,’ she said.

    ‘She’s also Falkner’s girlfriend,’ Dante added.

    ‘The Violet City Gym Leader?’

    ‘That’s right,’ Dante said. ‘He also plays bass in my band.’

    ‘You have a band?’

    ‘Do you find that more surprising than anything else you’ve heard today?’

    ‘Kind of,’ I said warily. ‘So you’re a single father, who’s the Point Noir Gym Leader, and is involved in a band with Falkner, Violet City Gym Leader, whose girlfriend Flannery, Lavaridge Town Gym Leader, baby-sits the daughter of my sister.’

    ‘See, you’re not nearly as confused as you’re pretending to be,’ Dante said.

    ‘I keep thinking that one of these walls is going to fold back and reveal that I’m on some sort of day-time variety show.’

    ‘Not today,’ Flannery said with a laugh.

    ‘Sure, it sounds complicated when you say it like that, but it works for us,’ Dante said plainly. ‘We’ve got a system, and everybody’s happy. I’m just trying to live a normal life now, after all the craziness in two thousand and six.’

    ‘Does May know?’

    ‘She knows that I’ve got Holly. The rest of it doesn’t really concern her. And she never seemed very concerned about Holly, either.’

    ‘Wow,’ I breathed. I’d finally taken in the full magnitude of what they were telling me. I was an uncle. May was a mother, and a bad one if Dante was to be believed.

    ‘She never really wanted to be a mother, at least not at this age,’ Dante went on. ‘We talked about it when we found out she was pregnant, and we agreed to do the parents thing, but of course it all fell apart. We weren’t even together when Holly was born. Well, we were both at the hospital, but we weren’t seeing each other anymore.’

    ‘Why not?’

    ‘At a guess, because we still under twenty, and the number of teenage couples who remain together through later life is statistically insignificant.’ He watched me for a few moments. ‘We had our differences, like any couple. We decided that they were unable to be reconciled. The parting was almost mutual.’

    ‘Almost?’ I raised an eyebrow.

    ‘I wanted to continue trying, more for Holly’s sake than my own. But that’s when May told me that she wasn’t going to be a part of Holly’s life. She left Point Noir a week after Holly was born. We’ve talked on the phone a couple of times, but we haven’t seen each other since.’

    Flannery was starting to look awkward as she took Holly back from Dante’s arms.

    ‘I think I’ll try and put her down again. Falkner will be here soon, and you’re appallingly bad at calming your own daughter.’

    ‘I sing to her,’ Dante protested.

    ‘You sing Baby Don’t Cry, on an endless loop. She doesn’t listen, she’s too young to get the reference, and all it does is work her up more. Especially when you get to the breakdown.’

    Dante didn’t say anything, and Flannery headed for the stairs, flashing us both one of her winning smiles. I thought I saw a slight flicker of something to make Falkner jealous, but since it was such an emotional day, I can’t be sure.

    ‘A lot can change in two years,’ I said quietly.

    ‘You have no idea,’ Dante replied.

    January 25, 2:00pm

    Three things to do… let’s see if I can remember them all.

    Number one – ask Mr. Garibaldi for tomorrow off so I can go to Agate Village. Remind him that I’ve been working harder than anybody else for the past week. Use numbers somehow – Mr. Garibaldi likes numbers. Come up with some statistics that show the Orre Oil Corporation is dominating the competition, and make sure they’re all traceable to me.

    Number two – go to Agate Village, preferably with permission from the boss. Talk to Eagun. Get him to tell you everything he knows. Then make the call.

    Number three – never say her name. Don’t think about her at all, pretend she never existed. Forget everything that happened before joining the OOC – except for Team Rocket. Never forget what Team Rocket have done to the world. Make them suffer.

    And number four – make sure you’re working every time somebody’s watching you. Times like now. You’ve got to be able to back up your lies to the boss.

    I work for another eight hours until ten and then it’s quitting time. Most of the guys will be trucking into Phenac for a few drinks and some major debauchery. Not me, I head to Mr. Garibaldi’s office and knock loudly on the door. He’s impressed by loud knocking, indicates character, apparently.

    ‘Ash,’ he growls, looking up for a split second before going back to his paper work. He’s hunched over his desk, a dim lamp shining on the semantics for the expansion. A thick cloud of cigar smoke fills the room. I’m used to the smell now, and don’t cough at all anymore. ‘It’s past ten, what are you still doing here?’

    ‘I need tomorrow off.’

    ‘Then you should have asked me a week ago. You’re rostered on.’ He doesn’t look up the entire time he’s saying this.

    ‘But Mr. Garibaldi-’

    ‘If you can find somebody to take your shift, that’s fine. It’s got nothing to do with me. As long as somebody’s here working on this tomorrow, I don’t care.’ He throws a wad of papers at me. ‘It’s your job list.’

    I paused, trying to make my voice as steady and threatening as possible.

    ‘I really need-’

    ‘Don’t care. You know the rules.’

    I was just about to say something that was sure to get me fired when my phone started to ring.

    ‘You’d better get that,’ Mr. Garibaldi said, still not looking up. I glowered at him–which of course he didn’t see- and left the office, answering the phone as I went. It was him.

    ‘Have you found one?’ I said pre-emptively.

    ‘No, of course not. I’ve been stuck in the Gym, remember?’

    ‘Then what are you calling me for?’

    ‘Something else has walked on in, and what’s more, taken the Foundry Badge.’

    ‘What the hell are you talking about?’ I snapped, still angry about being rostered on tomorrow.

    ‘I’m talking about Max.’

    I couldn’t think for a moment.

    ‘As in-’

    ‘As in May’s little brother. Holly’s uncle. And May hadn’t told him about her at all. It really freaked him out. This could jeopardise everything.’

    ‘Don’t let it,’ I said, and hung up.

    If I had to work tomorrow, there was no way in hell I was going to be efficient.

    I headed for Phenac to meet the other guys.

    January 25, 10:30pm

    Dante came back from the kitchen looking slightly more troubled than he had when he went in. What’s more, he had forgotten the chips he was supposed to be getting.

    We always assumed that Dante was only sane when he was with May, but throughout the course of the day I realised how wrong we had been. After Flannery and Falkner left we had settled down in a room towards the back of the Gym and Dante filled me in on everything that happened leading up to Pikachu’s funeral, which until now had been a complete mystery to me. I was at once hurt that nobody had told me, and relieved that I hadn’t been involved. But the thing that struck me most was Dante’s behaviour.

    He was like a real person. He had a daughter and a Gym, a handful of close friends, and some promising students that he was grooming as potential replacements if he won the post in the Stralis Elite Four that was on offer. In fact, the only abnormal thing I could find about his life was that he didn’t own a television. But as was always the way, something happened to shatter my fragile belief that Dante was a perfectly normal man.

    Returning from the kitchen, looking troubled, and not carrying any potato chips whatsoever.

    ‘Where them chips at?’ I said.

    It was as if he hadn’t heard me. He sat down in the chair, and scanned around the room, giving a small jump when he saw me, as if he hadn’t expected to see me.


    ‘The chips.’

    ‘Oh, right.’ He sprang up and darted back into the kitchen, returning with a large bag of sour cream and sweet chilli flavoured potato chips. I certainly couldn’t deny, the man had taste.

    ‘Max, I want you to stay with me for a while.’

    I almost gagged on my chips, and coughed up crumbs which I attempted unsuccessfully to catch in my hands before they hit the immaculate Persian carpet.

    ‘I understand that you’re a busy trainer, and you’re heading for the Stralis League, but it would mean a lot to me if you hung around for a couple of days and got to know your niece.’

    Ordinarily I would have said no outright, and left. But I was curious about a number of things. I wanted to wheedle more information out of Dante if I could. And a part of me did want to spend some time with Holly. Did it feel like I was betraying my sister? Sort of. But at that moment, all of this was mashed together in my mind, and before I knew it…

    ‘I can stay for two nights.’

    ‘Primo,’ he said with an oddly unsettling, but entirely more characteristic, smile.

    He showed me to a room he affectionately called “The Barracks,” where Arthur and the other trainer were staying. As luck would have it, there was a third bid already made up.

    ‘Congratulations,’ said the trainer whose name I didn’t know, as I sat down and took off my shoes.

    ‘Thanks. Is it true that nobody else has won the Foundry Badge since Dante took over?’

    ‘I’m not talking about the battle,’ he said, a smile forming on his face. ‘I’m talking about getting the job.’

    ‘What job?’ I repeated, starting to get that sinking feeling in my stomach again.

    ‘The protégé job. We haven’t had a third in ages.’

    January 26, 12:07am

    Back in my little fibro-cement house, or mouse-hole as they call them around here, I consulted my Vs Seeker again. It was blank, which meant one of two things. Either it was wrong the first time, which could throw off my entire search, or he was gone, which meant I had wasted the last month on surveillance and tracking that came to nothing.

    I kicked my mattress angrily and briefly considered putting my fist through the wall. I thought better of it. I was rostered on for the rest of the week, I wouldn’t be able to repair it.

    ‘Sorry, guys,’ I said as I unclipped the Pokeballs from my belt and put them in my middle drawer. ‘Something’s gone wrong. We’ll try again next week.’

    I threw a shoe at the light switch and was plunged into instant darkness, then I rolled over onto my mattress and closed my eyes. I’ll try to sleep tonight. Tomorrow would be a big day. I decided then that I was going to Agate Village, and Mr. Garibaldi could go hang.


    Something broke in my kitchen and I sprang to my feet. Somebody was inside my house. I slipped my hand into the top drawer and pulled out the gun, flicking the safety off as I went.

    Slowly I edged towards the kitchen. Anybody observing this situation from the air would note how similar it was to the generic action movie as I slid my hand around the corner, turned on the light, and leapt into the room, pistol raised.

    It was him. As soon as he saw me, he froze. I don’t think he’d realised that this was my house. He probably just thought it would be a good place to steal from. Oh, how wrong he was.

    His eyes darted to the gun in my hand, then back to my face, and I could see fear etched into every line on his face.

    ‘I’ll give you ten seconds,’ I said, levelling the gun at his head. He started to back away. ‘One.’


    The bullet hit him just as his hand reached the doorknob, and he collapsed to the ground, dead immediately. I’m incredibly accurate these days.

    I’d have to get rid of the body, and there’s no time like early morning, when nobody’s on the streets.

    I’ll have to do it now.

  10. shadow_shipper

    shadow_shipper ...indeed...

    very nice...

    now that's interesting...but I'm sure the reasons will appear soon...after all, we know how you operate.

    Oh yeah...I really wanted him to have a band..fitted his personality :p
    though I admit that Falkner would seem more like the guy to play lead guitar, for some reason...but I digress...

    Yes, Flannery being here...kind of figured she was involved in the Gym Heroes, but...not with Falkner...or how she and Dante even became friends...

    risking to sound dense, I just don't get or understand this part...

    Does something bother you in that part ?

    his plan to stop him from jeopardising their plan ? possibly...

    you know the questions...who is "he", and why is "he" robbing a house "he"s so important to Ash...why is Ash working for the OOC, blah blah blah...I've learned to shut up and read :p

    definitely a change from perfect strangers and devil's party...I'll be looking forward very eagerly to this one...
  11. Zubeon

    Zubeon Well-Known Member

    No, it's not very well worded. What he means is that he thought he saw something that would make Falkner jealous if he had been there.

    Nope, Ash remembered a fourth thing as he went along. That section was in present tense, and so is subject to more innacuracy and alternating than the sections in past tense.

  12. Zubeon

    Zubeon Well-Known Member

    Hey folks, sorry for the long wait, but to be completely honest - I hadn't decided what this chapter would cover until this morning. So here it is, a bit shorter than usual, but the trade off is that chapter four will be up quicker. Enjoy


    Chapter 3
    Book of Brilliant Things​

    January 26, 12:30AM

    ‘Authorities were alarmed to discover yet another body in the Phenac City fountain earlier this morning, once again horrifically mutilated. The victim, Benjamin “Butch” Bonnie, was a prominent member of the now defunct Team Rocket organisation, and one of the Johto police’s most desired arrests. His presumed murder has robbed authorities of the chance to question him as to the location of other Team Rocket remnants. The circumstances of death are eerily similar to those of the late-’

    I switched the radio off at this point, feeling completely sick to my stomach. I knew Ash was behind it, and I didn’t need, or want, to know anything more about it. Ash had changed too much in the past three years, we barely spoke anymore. In fact, everything seemed to change for everyone after Tracey’s funeral. Well, not quite everything.

    I wheeled myself over to the staircase, and set about carefully heading down to the kitchen, stair by stair. Misty had just arrived and we were going to lunch, to discuss the upcoming Gym Heroes competition – namely, whether we were going to attend. We couldn’t be sure if Ash would be going, and as I would soon find out, neither of us could be sure if we wanted to see him again anyway.

    Would it be so bad? I thought as I wheeled my way towards the counter. I had arranged for everything to be lowered so that I could continue cooking from my chair. The bench was now just above knee-height. I reached across it and grabbed my keys just as Misty emerged from the bathroom.

    ‘Ready to go?’ she asked brightly. She was doing a lot better these days. ‘Do you want me to push you?’

    ‘No, I’ll wheel myself, I think,’ I said, and we headed out the door into the sunshine.

    January 26, 2:00PM

    ‘It may not be advisable, but I’m going to go anyway,’ I said, scrunching up the wrapper of my cheeseburger. ‘The Gym Heroes competition is the sweetest plum, one of the greatest perks of being a Gym Leader. I’m not going to miss out on it because of Ash. I’ve wasted a lot of my life doing or not doing things because of him.’

    I could tell at once that Brock was feeling awkward so I glided over this outburst and returned to my original point.

    ‘I’ve been working hard this past year and I think I’ve got the best chance I’ve ever had to take the flag. Cerulean hasn’t had it in nearly twenty years.’

    ‘That’s all well and good, Misty, but even if Ash doesn’t come, you can guess who will.’

    ‘About fifty other Gym Leaders?’ I said smartly. Brock stifled a smile.

    ‘Dante,’ he said simply.

    ‘So? I’ve made peace with Dante. I thought we all had.’

    ‘We have, but only so far as we don’t have to see him. I’d call it more of a ceasefire than a peace.’

    ‘The important thing is nobody’s shooting guns.’

    ‘Nobody but Ash. He caught and killed Butch.’

    ‘From Butch and Cassidy?’ I couldn’t keep the surprise from my voice.

    ‘That’s right,’ he said gravely.

    ‘How do you know?’

    ‘Radio. They didn’t name Ash, obviously, but I recognise his handiwork. He’s cutting through them like a Scyther in a corn field.’

    ‘They deserve it,’ I said quietly.

    ‘Do they really?’ Brock said, sitting up straighter all of a sudden. ‘Ash is killing them. Who knows how many so far, but he is killing them. They are dying. He’s taking away their lives.’

    ‘I understand the concept of killing,’ I said tersely. I didn’t feel like being patronised at the moment.

    ‘Do you understand what all of this murdering is doing to Ash?’ he said. ‘The Ash we knew is probably completely gone now. You heard what he did to his Pokemon?’

    ‘He evolved them,’ I said with a shrug. ‘What’s the problem?’

    ‘He forced them to evolve. Cyndaquil, Bulbasaur, Totodile. They didn’t want to evolve, but Ash made them. He’s lost the very thing that made him Ash – his compassion for his Pokemon. He doesn’t encourage them, or help them anymore. He just rumbles into town with Torterra and Feraligatr and ends peoples’ lives.’

    ‘When he wipes out Team Rocket he’ll go back to normal,’ I said shakily. ‘He’ll remember who he was, and why he went after them.’

    ‘You really think so?’ Brock snarled. He was really getting worked up now. ‘There are some things you can’t ever get back once you lose them. And your mind is one of them. He may have some moments of lucidity, but he’ll never be right in the head again. And it’s not going to stop with Team Rocket. Once he’s killed them all he’ll convince himself to go after Team Galactic. Then when they’re all gone, he’ll go after Team Cipher. He will never stop now that he’s started. There’s always an enemy, and when one is gone, he’ll just convince himself of another to take its place. Ash is gone, and out of rhyme or reason, everyone’s to blame.’

    ‘Oh, you’re right,’ I wailed. ‘We have lost him. So what do we do if he shows up at Gym Heroes?’

    ‘Well that’s something you’re going to have to figure out for yourself,’ Brock said, calming down now and sounding robotic, ‘because I’m not going. This has catastrophe written all over it, and this time, I’m not willing to read.’

    January 26, 11:30PM

    Canalave City Library, only two sources of light. The flickering desk lamps were old and almost useless, but they did allow me to read the pages of the ten or so books in front of me, so I put up with them.

    There was only one other person in the library, huddled in the corner, probably asleep, with a green-covered fiction book in his hands. I, on the other hand, was doing important research.

    The research had nothing at all to do with my uni course, but I’d long ago lost interest in that. My enrolment was mostly just a ruse to get in here, anyway. There were some things I wanted to know.

    I could only find two mentions of Dante on the shelves – the first simply referenced him as a Stralis Gym Leader in the 21st century, the other was a cursory glance of his birth in the early chapters of a condemning biography of Giovanni. Books didn’t really favour him, but the internet certainly did.

    His entry in the Gym Heroes Hall of Fame was unsatisfactory, but it did point me in two other directions which I found much more interesting. The first thing I noted, by which I mean I read it in the “trivia” section of his biography, was that he had somehow managed to avoid facing my dad every single time he had entered, although he had come very close once or twice, but every time it looked as though he may have to battle him, something came along and thwarted him. There was something about this that struck me as odd, and I made a note of it on my crammed scribble pad which rested on my knee.

    The second thing I found in Dante’s article was my own name, cited as the mother of his child. For a brief moment, my blood boiled. We had agreed not to tell anybody, and he had posted it on the internet? But my rage subsided when I remembered that the only computer he owned was for the sole function of Pokeball transfer and trade. So somebody else had added it, which still meant that he had told somebody.

    But Dante wasn’t even what I was looking for, I just got sidetracked. I pulled the heavy copy of Myths of Sinnoh towards me and continued on. I was about a quarter of the way through, and still couldn’t find any reference that seemed remotely plausible.

    Where was the darkness white?

    The closest I had come to answering that question was something about Snowpoint City, where Regigigas was supposed to live. But that didn’t fit at all. Why would Dante have to take me to Regigigas?

    Footsteps in the library now, coming up the stairs. I didn’t look up. It was probably the librarian, coming to attempt to throw me out again. He didn’t like me staying so late so often. He probably thought I was casing the library.

    But it wasn’t the librarian. It was Drew.

    The other person woke with a start and looked at his watch. He started to get up slowly.

    ‘Hey, I’ve read that,’ Drew said to him. ‘Has Snape killed Dumbledore yet?’

    The other person glared at him and stomped past, clomping down the stairs as loudly as possible, probably hoping to get us thrown out in response to Drew’s spoilers.

    ‘That wasn’t very nice,’ I said, moving over so Drew could sit down.

    ‘When you look this good, you don’t have to be,’ he replied, flicking his hair back. ‘So how’s the hunting?’

    ‘Same as ever,’ I replied dully. ‘No new leads, at least, no plausible ones.’

    ‘I found something that may interest or horrify you,’ Drew said, drawing a folded piece of paper from his pocket. On it was written the code number of a book, followed by page numbers.

    ‘What’s this all about?’ I asked.

    ‘I don’t feel comfortable telling you,’ he said, standing up again and putting one hand on my shoulder. ‘Don’t work yourself too hard.’

    ‘Where are you going?’ I said, ‘you just got here!’

    ‘I only stopped in to give you that,’ he pointed at the paper in my hand. ‘Dawn’s waiting for me downstairs.’

    Of course she was. She was always following him around these days.

    ‘Okay. Thanks.’

    He nodded, and continued down the stairs. I got up to search for the book amongst the shelves, now the only person left on the top floor of the Canalave Library.

    I threw aside book after book – somehow I knew that I wanted to see this as soon as possible – until I finally found it, slim, shiny and new, wedged between two other biographies. I was shocked by three things on the cover. Title – The Brothers Caroso and the Battle to Live. Author – Christina Caroso. Cover image – Dante and Silver, from the looks of things at age ten or eleven, sitting together on an ornate sofa, laughing.

    My mind went blank and I completely forgot the pages that Drew had specified. I glanced around the room – still nobody here – and slipped the book into my jacket pocket. Then I returned to my desk, closed my laptop, picked it up, and ran down the stairs into the street.

  13. shadow_shipper

    shadow_shipper ...indeed...

    so true...

    from what we've seen, and Max's point of view, he seems normal. In cahoots with Ash, but that's just to keep him from going mental again, isn't it ?

    Interesting...he might go either way when he finishes it...or commit suicide...

    ...stuff like this is brilliant....pure and simple...it's way different from the context, but it fits...

    huh...feeling jealousy ? thumbs up for BelleShipping !

    ...how much deeper can you get in someone's life ? when your own sister writes about you and your brother...and they have all know probably every dark detail of their lives...
    fascinating to see how this goes...

    I personally can't wait for the Gym Heroes part.

    until next time...
  14. flamingoozaru

    flamingoozaru Well-Known Member

    Okay, crazy Ash, Christina's book about Silver and Dante, not good... There is the Gym Heros thing to look forward to, I think Elegantly Wasted is more of a Ash fanfic right?
  15. Zubeon

    Zubeon Well-Known Member

    Chapter 4
    The Messenger​

    January 27, 7:45AM

    I woke up to the sound of an air-horn screaming and leapt out of bed, grabbing for my Pokeballs and finding one. On the other side of the room, Arthur and the other guy were slowly getting out of bed and pulling on shirts.

    ‘What’s going on?’ I groaned, bleary-eyed.

    ‘That was our wake up call,’ Arthur replied simply. ‘We’ve got breakfast, and then rehearsal.’

    ‘Rehearsal?’ I repeated, but they had already left.

    I dressed quickly and raced after them, finding them, Holly, Flannery and Falkner, sitting at a bar that joined onto the kitchen. Dante was flipping pancakes at the stove.

    ‘Morning, Max,’ he said brightly as I staggered past.

    ‘It certainly is,’ I mumbled, sitting down on the end of the row next to Falkner.

    ‘We’ve got a lot to get through today, so I need everyone alert and doing their best,’ Dante continued, sliding a stack of pancakes onto the plate that Falkner had put in front of me.

    ‘Relax, Dante, we’ve got a month,’ Arthur said.

    ‘Yes, the competition doesn’t open until the first of March,’ he conceded, ‘but Falkner and Flannery can’t keep closing their Gyms every Saturday to come up here and practice, so we’ve got to be efficient.’

    ‘Practice?’ I asked, reaching for the maple syrup.

    ‘That’s right,’ Dante said simply, leaning on the bar. ‘Listen Max, I’ll level with you. I want you to look after the Gym while I’m at Gym Heroes.’

    I was so shocked I choked on my mouthful of pancakes, and Falkner thumped me on the back.

    ‘Isn’t that what these guys are for?’ I waved a hand at my two room mates. ‘Arthur and…’




    ‘Tony Harrison. Aren’t you training them to watch the Gym for you?’

    ‘You’d think so, but no. You remember I mentioned that I’m in a band? Well this is it.’ He gestured at Falkner, Arthur, and the other guy. ‘Flannery’s here to watch Holly while we practice. You see, we’ve got a slot in the opening ceremony. In fact, we’re the absolute opener. The first item on the bill. Arthur and Tony are my rhythm guitarist and drummer, respectively. Which reminds me, where the hell is Murray?’

    He looked around as if expecting this Murray character to walk through the door at any moment. ‘My lead guitarist,’ he said, flicking his hair out of his eyes in a movement very reminiscent of Drew.

    ‘So you want me to take over the Gym for a month?’

    ‘Could be less, if I get knocked out early,’ Dante said distractedly, still looking around for Murray. ‘Point is, Max, you’re the only one who’s won the Foundry Badge since I took over again, so you’re the only real choice.’

    ‘And what if I refuse?’

    ‘I’ll tell you something really awkward about your sister.’

    I shuddered.

    ‘Alright, I’ll do it.’

    No sooner had I agreed than two Pokémon flew in through the open window. The first was a Pelipper, who ejected a note from his beak as he landed on Falkner’s shoulder.

    ‘It’s from Murray,’ Falkner said, taking the note, ‘he’s not coming.’

    ‘Damn it,’ Dante swore, dropping the frying pan heavily onto the stove. ‘There’s a whole day wasted.

    ‘Not just a day,’ Falkner continued grimly. ‘He’s out of the project.’

    Dante swore very loudly, then he rounded on me, a cunning look in his eye.

    ‘I can’t play guitar,’ I said suddenly, sensing what was coming. His face fell.

    The other Pokémon was a Beautifly, which flew right into the kitchen and landed on Dante’s shoulder, depositing a fancy envelope into his hand. When it looked across and saw me, it shuffled through a pile of envelopes in the pouch around its neck, and passed one to me. I unfurled it and read.

    Dear Max ,
    You’re invited to May’s birthday party, to be held at Petalburg City Pokémon Gym, on the fifth of February, from 7:00pm. Please RSVP immediately with Beautifly.

    Attire: A concert T-Shirt. Pants optional.

    No presents.

    Love, May

    I put the note down and looked across at Dante, who immediately started laughing.

    ‘Look at mine,’ he growled, thrusting it onto the bar. We all looked over at it. His had an extra line that mine didn’t.

    Please do not bring her.

    When we’d finished reading it, Dante snatched back the note and wrote ‘yes’ on the bottom, tucking it back into Beautifly’s pouch. I did the same, and Beautifly left, followed by Pelipper.

    ‘You’re really going to agree to that outrageous condition?’ Flannery asked incredulously.

    ‘I choose to believe that she refers to you, Flannery,’ Dante said indifferently. ‘I’m taking Holly with me, whether she likes it or not.’ He stared pointedly at me, as though daring me to tell him off.

    I kept my tongue.

    January 27, 12:00PM

    I had read the entire introduction and first chapter before I remembered that Drew had specified a passage I should read. Immediately I flicked ahead to it.

    Chapter Eight – The Thirst for Legends

    Dante was always fascinated by Legendary Pokémon, eventually making one his own before losing it in a catastrophic fire in 2006. His first attempt to capture a legendary Pokémon was far less successful, and would have resulted in his own death if not for the intervention of one of Hoenn’s premier Gym Leaders.

    While visiting Sinnoh, Dante had heard the legend of Heatran, a Pokémon said to dwell at the top of Stark Mountain in a cavern guarded by ancient magic. The Pokémon was said to be of both the Fire and Steel types, two such types that Dante favoured. My brother, gullible as he was, believed the story and set out immediately, retrieving the necessary items (which I have been barred from naming in this work) and scaling the peaks of Stark Mountain. He was not to know that he was being watched, by members of the former Team Magma.

    Before discovering and awakening Groudon in Sootopolis City in 1999, Team Magma had planned to use the volcano Pokémon, Heatran, in a bid to dry the world. Having discovered the missing items, Maxie guessed what was going on and ordered his men to the peak of Stark Mountain, where they encountered and battled Dante.

    In the commotion, Heatran was awoken and began attacking indiscriminately those who appeared before him. Dante was hit by a large boulder (the origin of which may have been the attack AncientPower) and rendered unconscious, while Team Magma fled for their lives, leaving him to die. Heatran did not kill Dante, however, as he soon found himself stalled by the timely and suspicious arrival of Norman, now the Gym Leader of Petalburg City.

    I snapped the book shut, even though I knew there were many remaining pages in the chapter.

    My Dad had saved Dante’s life at Stark Mountain? Why had neither of them ever told me? It seemed very suspicious and I’m a little ashamed to admit that at that point I was too afraid to read on, afraid of what I might find.

    Just then my phone rang and jumped a foot out of my seat. It was Drew.

    ‘So, was it enlightening?’ he asked.

    ‘I don’t know, I’m too scared to finish it.’

    ‘Don’t worry, May. There’s nothing in it that should make you feel guilty. But it might help explain a few things. If you can face it, you would benefit tremendously if you were to finish the chapter.’

    ‘What if I can’t finish it?’ I asked.

    ‘You won’t know the answers,’ he replied simply. ‘There are no real consequences for not reading it, except for your own disappointment.’

    I hated answers like that. It didn’t encourage me to finish or to give up. How irritating. But hey, that was textbook Drew.

    ‘Listen May, do you remember what I told you all those years ago?’

    ‘You’ve told me a lot of things in my lifetime.’

    ‘Okay, I’ll be more specific. Don’t be afraid. Remember when you first started competing on contests? You were always too timid to be effective. That’s why it took you so long to build up your skill and reputation, and eventually defeat me for the first at the Kanto Grand Festival. Sometimes you’ve just got to abandon yourself to the moment, and forget about the consequences.’

    ‘Forgetting about them doesn’t make them go away, it just makes you unprepared when you have to face them,’ I replied.

    ‘May, I’m getting the feeling that no matter what I say, you’ll play Devil’s Advocate, and visa versa. Now we could go on like this for hours, but it’s not going to give us anything but ulcers. So I’m going to hang up, and let you decide for yourself.’

    ‘Okay, I’ve just got one more question.’

    ‘What’s that?’

    ‘What should I do?’ I begged.

    ‘Put the lime in the coconut and call me in the morning.’

    And he hung up, as good as his word.

    January 27, 1:30PM

    Ash, in one of his increasingly rare moments of lucidity, rang me just as I was beginning to prepare lunch. He was already talking when I put the phone to my ear.

    ‘-May’s birthday party. What do you think?’

    ‘I think that if I squint at Max he looks like Kirk Pengilly.’


    ‘And the same to you,’ I sat down in the leather chair in my office and put my feet up on the desk. ‘What are you calling for, Ash?’

    ‘Have you found one yet?’

    ‘Are you under the impression that I’m looking? I’m running a Gym, raising a child and preparing an elaborate musical performance for millions of people to see. I don’t have time to be scouring the antique stores hunting for a dirty old-’

    ‘Don’t say it out loud!’ Ash hissed. ‘You don’t know who’s listening in!’

    ‘How about you listen to me, then. Your idea is fundamentally flawed. Too much depends on your ability to locate – the item – that you’re searching for. Now if you were to bypass Agate Village and instead visit Celestic Town, you might learn something more useful.’

    ‘You don’t mean?’

    ‘I certainly do. I think it has a much greater chance at success, and it will be far quicker. More dangerous, yes, but far quicker.’ I paused, listening to the silence on the line.

    ‘I’ll think about it,’ Ash said finally. ‘Now, about May’s birthday…’


    ‘Are you going?’

    ‘Of course, I was invited. It would be rude not to go. Besides which, birthday parties are great places to learn new things. You would do well to remember that.’

    Ash caught my drift and didn’t argue.

    ‘I’ll see you at the party, Ash,’ I said, taking control of, and ending, the conversation before Ash could come up with anything more to say.

    ‘Do you think it’s ironic that we’ve traded personalities?’ he asked.

    ‘I don’t believe we have, Ash. Goodnight.’


    No, he wasn’t beyond help. There were two who could help him, only one of which would do so willingly. But Ash was by no means a pressing concern of mine. My first priority, of course, was getting the band together. And with Murray out of action, I would have to find somebody to fill his shoes. There was somebody I knew who could play guitar. It will be interesting to see if he’ll help me.
  16. shadow_shipper

    shadow_shipper ...indeed...

    what happened ? I thought you said it would come sooner...

    blackmail...or entrapment, as you please...
    but unless you reveal that certain something later on, I'd ask you to either PM me telling me what it is, or put it in a spoiler.

    If May signed the note, why didn't she say "my birthday" instead of "May's birthday"
    plus, this part shows that May doesn't want to do anything with the child.
    Though Dante chose to interpret "her" as Flannery, there must be a reason behind that as well...some past maybe ?

    it's part of the character...though the part of him calling as she snapped the book shut was well planned.
    They seem to be on good terms, I like it. Though I still am wondering about May now...she is single, right ?

    This was excellent, indeed...Ash, in the "rare moments of lucidity" actually told Dante about their personalities.
    The Ash plotline is getting more interesting, mosty because of the last three lines, and I'm guessing that the guitarist part, and concert is more important than we think, judging by the importance you give it and how you mention it.

    This was by far my favourite chapter until now. I am definitely enjoying this a lot more than I had expected, mostly because of the interesting ideas coming out of each aspect of this...

  17. flamingoozaru

    flamingoozaru Well-Known Member

    Harrison as in Ash's rival Harrison? Hmm, looks like May either really doesn't what anyone to recognize May in Holly or Flannery and May got some sort of problem... So the May and Dante bond deepens with May finding out that Norman and Dante actually met before the Gym Heroes. Ash is sane for the moment and Ash and Dante did kind of trade personalities expect Ash isn't cool enough or have the Mary Sue-ness.
  18. Zubeon

    Zubeon Well-Known Member

    1) I got stuck on May and Drew's conversation
    2) The awkward detail about May will show up eventually.
    3) It's all about design and quick delivery of information.
    4) Dante consciously chose to interpret it as Flannery so he could say this when he turns up to the party with Holly... "oh, I thought you meant Flannery." As for a history, only time will tell.
    5) Yes, May is single.
    6) The Opening Ceremony for Gym Heroes will be very important indeed... but before then, we've got May's birthday party to really jumble everyone up.

    7) Tony Harrison is just an apprentice of Dante's. He's technically an original character, but he's not worth worrying about.
    8) As for these constant acusations of Dante being "Mary Sue", can a character be a "Mary Sue" if they're the star of the show?

    Thanks for reading. I won't make any sort of promise on when the next chapter will be up, because I'm apallingly bad at sticking to my own deadlines.

  19. Zubeon

    Zubeon Well-Known Member

    Chapter 5
    Back On Line​

    January 27, 4:00PM

    ‘Well, as tempting as it is to scream “no” and slam the phone down in a fit of rage, I think I’ll have to accept.’

    ‘Excellent, thank you,’ Dante said genuinely. I could tell from the tone of his voice that he had invested a lot of hope in my being able to help him out.

    ‘So when do you need to see me?’ I asked.

    ‘As soon as possible. Tonight, if you can make it,’ he replied.

    ‘Tonight?’ I repeated with a cough. ‘I don’t think I can travel that fast. But I’ll do my best. Incidentally, what’s our set list?’

    ‘We’ve got an hour to fill, and we’ve already put together a set list to fill it. I’ll fax it to you,’ he said distractedly. All of a sudden he seemed to be in a hurry to get off of the phone. Probably trying to get out before I could change my mind.

    ‘Okay, I’ll be there as soon as possible.’

    ‘All I’m asking,’ Dante said, and promptly hung up. Slightly taken aback, I hung up too and headed down the hall to my room to gather together the things I would need for the trip. On the way I tore off the fresh sheet of paper from the fax machine and scanned it with my eyes. No real surprises there.

    I was almost out of door before I realised that neither of us had said whether or not I’d need to bring my own guitar. I went back and grabbed the case. Better to take it with me, just in case.

    I was outside, on Zippo’s back and into the air before I realised I hadn’t left any kind of explanation for Tania. She’d arrive home, find me and most of my stuff gone, and probably freak out. But I had my phone, presumably she’d call me before doing anything stupid.

    We soared into the air, and I realised as we went just how cold it was, and how much colder and wetter it was going to be in Point Noir. And then, with a start, I realised what I had agreed to, and it took all of my fortitude not to tell Zippo to turn around.

    Just relax, Richie. You’ve agreed to perform at a concert, that’s all. What could possibly go wrong?

    January 27, 6:45PM

    He answered the phone on the second ring. Good to see he was still at his desk, and not trying to escape anymore.

    ‘How is it coming along?’ I asked, not returning his greeting.

    ‘Jesus, Ash. It’s a tricky procedure, what you’re asking. Obviously it’s never been done before. I never claimed to be any kind of computer genius, remember?’

    ‘No, I don’t remember every single conversation we’ve ever had. However, I do remember all the details of our agreement. I’ve got them written down right here. Do you want to hear them again?’

    ‘No, Ash, it’s all-’

    ‘Well there’s only one detail really. You develop this system for me, and I keep your terrible, terrible secret.’

    ‘Standard blackmail,’ he replied wearily.

    ‘That’s right. Nothing out of the ordinary here. I don’t see why you’re finding it so difficult to uphold your end of the agreement.’

    ‘Hackers and criminals have been trying to get around this for years, Ash. I’m not going to discover the secret easily, all the easy things have already been tried and failed. This requires an unprecedented hacking ability. And every time you call me, I lose my place and have to start the line all over again. Plus I’m learning how to do things as I go along, because as I’ve always said, I’m not a computer genius. But you know who is?’

    ‘Don’t say Max,’ I snapped. ‘He isn’t to know what I’m doing. Nobody is to know. The only reason you know is because I need your help, and I have the power to dispose of you if you get out of line.’

    ‘Just relax, Ash. I’m doing my best. You’ve got to be patient. I’ll figure it out soon enough.’

    ‘That’s not soon enough. I need it done by the end of the week.’

    ‘It’s Saturday today!’

    ‘Then you’d better get a move on. I’m sure you can guess who I’ll call first if you fail.’

    ‘You can’t-’

    ‘I will. Get back to work.’

    I hung up. His lack of progress had put a negative end to an otherwise productive day. Unfortunately, all my threats were empty. I couldn’t work the systems the way he could. He wasn’t as expendable as I needed him to believe. The time limit was only to make sure he worked hard. He’ll still be working for me come Monday, assuming he can’t get the job done tonight. And that thought frustrated me more than any other as I stepped out into the darkening night, climbed onto my motorcycle, and set off for Agate Village.

    January 27, 8:00PM

    Dante was visibly calmer this evening, reclining in an armchair cradling a glass of scotch in his claw-like fingers.

    ‘Everything’s going to be fine,’ he assured us, as we sat about on couches and stools and whatever furniture he had dug out for us.

    We were essentially in lockdown now – nobody was allowed to leave until this new guitarist arrived. Dante was not going to let the day go to waste. No doubt these guys would be practicing long into the night, while Flannery and I were forced to watch and give feedback.

    ‘Guys, there’s somebody at the door,’ Arthur said, looking out of the window.

    ‘Tell them to go home. It’s after hours, and the Gym’s closed today anyway.’

    ‘I don’t think he’s a challenger. He’s got a guitar case and an overnight bag.’

    Dante sat up as though he had been electrocuted, but remarkably didn’t spill any of his drink.

    ‘Let him in then!’

    Arthur hurried down the stairs to let in the guitarist at the exact moment that a phone started ringing. Dante snatched it up and read the screen. Then, with a furtive glance around the room, ducked through a door into the hallway. It seemed suspicious, so I decided to follow him. Discreetly, of course. I pressed my ear up against the door and listened as hard as I could.

    ‘I’m trying to remember the last time I picked up my phone and you weren’t on there,’ he said, sounding very irritable.

    Of course, I couldn’t hear the other person, but I almost didn’t need to.

    ‘You don’t even care what I think. I told you to go to Celestic Town, and you head to Agate Village anyway! If you’re not going to take my advice, don’t ask for it. No, Ash, you’re still not listening to me. You can’t come here. Max is here, and so is Richie. Imagine how they would react if they saw you now, and knew that we had been in contact without telling anybody? Hang on a second.’

    There was a noise like an explosion and I fell away from the door, sprawling on the ground. But the door stayed closed. It took me a few moments to work out what had happened. Dante had punched the door, exactly where I had been leaning, and it had temporarily burst my eardrums. But it was worth it. He was talking to Ash.

    I stepped back into the lounge where Richie now occupied what was my seat.

    ‘G’day, Max,’ he said nervously. The last time we had spent any time together he had tied me to a chair in a leaky old building, which we then proceeded to burn down, and I had only escaped thanks to the timely intervention of Ash, Brock, and Brock’s Steelix. But that didn’t matter now. From what May had told me, he had really turned over a new leaf, and right now, he was the person here I trusted most. I wanted to tell him what I had just heard, but the others weren’t going to let us talk in private. I’d have to wait, and hope that Dante didn’t know it was me listening at the door.

    January 27, 11:56PM

    I stopped for the night in the middle of the desert and set up my tent. I was just scrounging around for firewood when the phone rang. I had hoped it was Dante, calling with some useful advice this time. But it wasn’t. It was him.

    ‘I- I think I’ve done it,’ he stammered, unable to keep the elation out of his voice.

    ‘You think you’ve done it?’ I repeated. ‘What are you thinking for? Test it!’

    ‘I can’t, I’ve only got three Pokémon.’

    ‘You have the lab codes.’

    ‘I have the lab codes from three years ago. The Professor’s surely changed them by now.’

    I didn’t say anything. I could feel the anger bubbling up inside me. After all this work, he couldn’t even test it?

    ‘Here’s what I’m going to do, Ash. I’m going to send Venomoth to you with a card. Go to a PC, and insert that card into the SD slot. It will operate automatically. Then you can test the system for yourself. But from what I can tell, it will all go exactly to plan. I really think I’ve done it.’

    ‘I’ll hold off on the praise until I get the card,’ I said. ‘But rest assured that if you have succeeded, I’m very impressed that you managed it in the allotted time frame.’

    I hung up and abandoned the search for firewood. Charizard could heat the water for me. And tomorrow, we’d arrive in Agate, and see if all of Tracey’s hard work has paid off.
  20. shadow_shipper

    shadow_shipper ...indeed...

    haha :)
    well, it's here at long last...though I didn't want you to feel rushed or anything. Just kept waiting...

    just about anything...

    huh...well, I don't know what to make of this. Is he bluffing ? wanting to be a despicable character ?

    interessting...sneaky little brat isn't he ? well at least, he found out what he wanted

    dum dum duuuuuum...
    Kinda saw it coming though...well, now that you've got this posted, I'm still waiting for the how and why of Tracey's actions...

    and of course, the gym heroes, Ash's demented path, etc...

    short, but gives one hell of new info...

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