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Fledglings

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Spiteful Murkrow, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. Venia Silente

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

    It's been a... long time since I last showed up around here for commentary- what, you don't remember me? I'm that guy, you know, *that* guy!

    Decided to take a look as part of some other things though because I haven't seen precious
    precious
    birb Pleo in a while, and was told it'd be a good idea to take a look at him during Ch. 55. So fair notice, this is a running commentary for past content. Not that it was a content any less enjoyable, though begin that chapter with a chained and wingclipped Pleo! SpitefulMurkrow y u do this

    Well, last episode Team Traveller got hit hard and they got captured. It happens every once in a while - every 14 chapters or so? :p This time at least he has company, he's not alone unlike that time where Nida and Elty had to go Solid Snake into a ship to get him back.

    And speaking of Elty it's good to see him and Berecien sharing a scene! About time I got to read more of them, certainly. I've been in about the same position regarding the outside world as Guardia for the last several months so.... I welcome a very official briefing if it is delivered by the best Ponyta I swear.

    Yup, this is how these relationships begin. Best friends 4ever.

    Anyway, Nagant does the smart thing as usual and makes sure Pleo and the others don't remain together for long but at the same time not leaving them out in the cold, nothing to lose, which is when opponents become the most dangerous. It's interesting to see their workings and priorities here.

    Hey when you are nice secondary characters in a world as big as this you have to fight for every inch of screentime.

    One thing that called my attention during Lyn's arrival scene is, well...

    >Lyn assigns Ellsberg for infiltration

    I see this going to places. I mean, it is the right tactical move but out-of-universe we all know what kind of luck Elmer has so... this can only end one way:

    "Hopefully well"

    >""And you [Ketu] are accompanying him," the Samurott added.

    I retract my last statement. The two of them get a long so well that I'm actually impressed they got far enough to move from one district to another. These places tend to have... higher security, in a world where it's normal for creatures to just fly, hop or dig past walls.

    > 1 President of the United States disliked this section

    So almost everyone is here! Pladur's team will hopefully get on in the action. One complaint that I had had during some of the previous episodes was that their team was always lagging an exact number of steps behind, never making any plot-related progress that was not born out of them merely being dragged along with the plot, but I see they have gotten better at it to the point that they have managed to trail Lyn. Let's see if their good luck doesn't run out here.

    And now, I'm ATM only mostly missing joyful, soft Daraen.

    I mean, the answer is basically obvious, didn't I just say they had gotten better at this? Sometimes I have to wonder if the adventure has built them enough self-confidence. Now, Kiran does fail his first bluff check spectacularly, so certainly we'll have to see the team using a different skillset here.

    (I do have an obvious solution but given that we're already at like Ch. 60, I guess it's a moot point)

    Will this become Super Smash Bros: Fledglings Meelee? :p

    >Hess' crew infighting on who's a better suited "volunteer" to go scout

    As expected, truly. I did have the expectation that Valatos would be picked (nice ruining the day by him, by the way) because he's a flier and also a kind of bug that can handle well remaining near water and not needing much refreshment while just hanging out there waiting for information (something that a Ledian woud be far too visible for). Did I also mention Valatos ruining the day for his teammate? Thanks, Valatos.

    Hess is a character to feel sorry for, sometimes. If only he had some sort of trinket or divine assistance to try and correct his bad luck...

    My "more characters, more problems" senses are tingling.

    Kecleon's is a franchise! I hope they are not very tight on their "you have to be a Kecleon to participate" policy.

    That does bring me an idea for the team to try and get deeper into the city... but no. Traveling by Kecleon can get complicated and I'm not sure the critters would like to shuffle breathing live cargo from store to store, no matter how good they pay. (As if they could even pay, but hey)

    OH NOOOO!!! It's the dreaded bunch of random 'rescue a Caterpie' missions in between plots!

    You sir are truly evil in your way of nudging and winking at the actual PMD games. What else could happen to our bunch of protagonists, I wonder.

    Good thing there was a timeskip here.

    >Detective Cardino

    >Detective Cardino the Pikachu

    I WONDER

    It's nice to see a reference to Detective Pikachu and stuff! Even more if it can be built into some sort of homage and a small plot. We do have one very good sniffer who is also very good at finding trouble, one Pokémon with good size for getting into and out of places, and one Pokémon who could be good at clubbing and interrogating people.

    Perfect for a detective job!

    And meanwhile, Valatos and team barely miss an encounter with Crom and team. Probably for the better because we can see the town is quite well equipped to curb urban scuffles before they grown into something larger. With the way both Nida's team and Valatos' team will want to go about things, this is a hook for a more focused and progressive approach towards their goals, going step by step and letting chance provide the opportunity where they can. As for Lyn's crew, let's see, I don't think the duo of Elmer and Ketu will be any subtle in their findings, and Lyn's response might also be not too subtle either with the overgrown Wingull at a very critical position outside his grasp.
     
    Virgil134 likes this.
  2. Ambyssin

    Ambyssin I'm just here

    D'aww, what a sweet little father-son moment. I can relate to Pladur, being all cooped up in bed too weak to move is the most awful thing in the world. I'm amazed he's not getting terribly sea sick from being cramped in the cabin. Especially since his stomach's all banged up. The magic of berries, I guess? Speaking of magic... let's talk the magic of blackmail! Because Team Sentinel was great at getting to the point, there. A nice combination of smarminess (because they know they've got these goons right where they want them), humor (mostly Zelle's overly-dramatic "acting"), and genuinely threatening behavior. Even if their plan is a bit of an impromptu one, it's fundamentally better than some of the stuff we've seen in the fic to date. The one head-scratching part is leaving Ketu and Ellsberg to deal with Pleo, namely because the latter is weak to him. But clearly they know something I don't, so I'm-a shut up with this part.

    I do wish there had been a little bit of pusbhack on the part of Team Traveller, given they've had some really lousy mystery dungeon experiences to date. Pleo has a brief moment of indecision, but that's after he's in the dungeon and he never vocalizes it. C'mon, Pleo, take some initiative! Like, I feel like if I was living there, I'd have red flags going off if someone wanted to meet me in the middle of a mystery dungeon. It's like those "Let's go to my secret base!" missions in Super that always led to Monster House ambushes. Wait... is this supposed to be referencing that? Oh, well played, I suppose. Volcano dungeons are always fun, at least! (Read: they're never fun. Damn lava tiles...) Also, an honest-to-goodness Heatmor shows up for all of a tiny fight sequence! I say that because Heatmor is, like, one of those stupidly irrelevant 'mons I always forget about it until I see it somehwere... like here, apparently. XP

    Oh, hey, Inler's got grandkids. That's... unexpected, actually. I assumed he was the type who was married to his job, so to speak and the Director title wouldn't go to a blood-relative, but to an Administrator he had groomed for the role. Though, maybe his falling out with his kids (which is what the grandkids seemed to allude to) has something to do with that? In any case, it's surprising to get this softer side of Inler while Queen Alecia is going in much the other direction at the moment. no, i will not stop comparing the two main villainous factions... look what you've done.

    One last thing before the quotes. So, with this chapter, I noticed that your formatting when it comes to dialogue is very reptitive. Pretty much every paragraph that contains dialogue follows the exact same pattern:
    "I'm talking to you," X said. "And now I'm saying something else."
    Like, I had noticed it during the first scene... but this continued through the rest of the chapter. It prompted me to glance back at a couple of other chapters and I realized they're following the exact same pattern, too. Now, I fully concede part of the reason this caught my eye is because I noticed it in my own writing and have been making a conscience effort to vary the sentence structure a bit. Given you've also got yourself a very long fic with a ways to go, I think it would be to the story's benefit if you tried to vary things up a bit, too. It's not that the dialogue itself is bad or anything, just that I think it might read better if the pattern you use to present dialogue gets switched up every so often. Does that make sense? I hope so...

    Might be a personal preference thing, but I find the idea of stuttering within narration to not make a lot of sense. Same goes for the "?!". They're best used sparingly and in dialogue to convey frantic urgency. But that's just my take.

    Whoa, hey, let's not reinforce harmful dragon stereotypes, here! Especially when this is really just one step shy of Scrooge McDuck territory. :V

    I feel attacked. D:

    There's always a Russian judge in these things... [shakes head]

    If ever you needed a hint that this is totally, obviously a trap for an ambush, then this would be it. Like, I can't imagine people regularly meet inside mystery dungeons in Anyilla, right?

    Do I detect a hint of jealousy?

    Now the birb protests. Good grief. XD
     
  3. Venia Silente

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

    So, I was told I should comment more so I will. Who can pass up the opportunity, right?

    This is from reading Ch. 56 and 57. Which are both of them about a VERY UNHAPPY BIRB. Why are you doing this? Pleo doesn't deserve it. He has friends and a good life back home and while it's admittedly nice to see that the populace here a the capital, not knowing better, seem to have a sincere degree of surprise admiration for him, it comes at the cost of clipping his wings COME ON!

    Now, the adventures start with everyone trying to get into the main part of the city via various midadventures which include trying to land a job. Or, rather, almost everyone, because certain characters are better than others.

    Because, really, this is how it feels. Nagant in particular is a treat for this part of the adventure, allowing us a very first-person view of the inner city culture that, barring events at the Arena, we don't really have access to a wider portrayal of. Speaking of Nagant, the Captain's observations and musings about the family line's fate and fall from prestige and the thought that even in this place, everyone has gone through really bad times since That Event in the Backstory... all this paints a rather melancholic view of the Empire.

    ...I see both Nagant and Anyilla have their good share of times of hardship. I see mention that the Royal Family escaped the Calamity by luck - I wonder how much public knowledge that stroke of luck is, I could see Aleria being seen at least in some circles as someone "born lucky". And it can be seen that recollection of these kinds of things does seem to be the kind of stuff that can get through Nagant's shell and leave a visible change in the character's mood and posture.

    It really makes me hope the next gaiden story in the Fledglignsverse is about Nagant (hint hint oh and for @Virgil134 too :p )

    For the record my totally unbiased opinion as an author of a Starly character and a co-writer of another one is that Staraptor are truly the best birds ever. Then again bird generals in Fledglings are made of awesome starting with our Legendary protag and all the way down, but Starly specimens deserve the extra attention.

    That said, I have nothing against seeing that Aleria, the current ruler being a pretty cloudbirb! Altaria are fluffy things and I find it fitting that the ruler of an Empire is a Pokémon who, kind of, rests in the clouds! She's really cloud-niney °3°
    (Also should I make a mention that the choice of Altaria as the representative of the Empire draws a nice parallel to Lugia being a god of storms)

    Have I mentioned that Aleria is quite cloud-niney? Because she is, in an enjoyable way because it reflects some of the tropes about how royalty are portrayed to be in fiction to be either disinterested, lacking in understanding, overly idealistic, or very person-focused, or any combination of the above, and how other characters in their immediate circle - councillors, guards, etc- have to deal with them, but then changes the foundation of the trope's application by hinting a number of these things to rely on her personality and her Calamity background as a cloud-birb and how something happened to her egg that, in a way, makes us lucky that she survived until now.

    For a simple example, much of her participation in the conversation regarding what to do to introduce Pleo to the Empire as a Protector can be summarized as such:

    Really, how does she even manage to rule. How does even Osborn deal after hours. Also DO DE DOOO~ You've gotten a Lugia! :p

    Cabot interfering (totally in-character btw) is a good touch to remind us that Pleo is still not alone in this. Of the various characters in the various faction chasing after the birb, Cabot's team is most likely the one that has the least ill intent, if any, towards him.

    Of course, Aleria seems to get this sensation too and totally adds her Seal of Approval™ to the various silliness that Cabot suggests. I could see Berecien and a number of nobles rolling their eyes but at least Cabot got things to work, it seems. Hopefully, the bad news from Polderfield don't do much to diminish Cabot's moods. He should write home more often! And hopefully he has some sort of friends on the transit routes who can bring fresh, trustable news from back home.

    Also nice touch from that Kecleon who obviously works in retail so they know they have to make their client feel *~important~*. This might come back to save the Empire from an excessive bite in the ass later I hope, because there's some characters who totally deserve to live despite the Empire and the Company being a Bad Thing (hints, again, at Aleria).

    Now, how do you get the birb to trust you enough to not kill you? Well you provide EDUTAINMENT!

    Iiiiiiiiiii should have expected this, pretty much.

    The idea of having some sort of introduction so that we can achieve a dual objective - to get the birb to know the Empire and to get the Empire to trust him, these are two important factors to take into consideration when designing this kind of event. So we need activities that can provide Pleo with enrichment and can get him up to speed with the nation's culture.

    Because he can't even read how cute~ So surely we need to start with that, how can we indoctrinate the birb in our Nationalism if he can't even get the basic glyphs. So, let's see how does the Queen and her council approach this matter:

    Aleria will solve all our problems in the plot from here on I am sure!

    After all these matters during the meeting, one thing that called my attention was to see Nagant reaching for their fair reward:
    [​IMG]
    (I'm not sorry)​

    That part there and Aleria's explanation and sudden un-cloudiness were one of the best parts of the episode, and brought a nice reminder of the way her coming bak to the Empire is not all the oomph and hurras that we would have probs expected to be. Hey, at least Lyn and Hess are having worse days!

    I think Nagant is not into high-class stuff that much, alas :p

    Speaking of the rest of the people, we already know that Nagant can make into town without issues and that at least Nida's group can make it to the inside with some difficulty if they go into an entire sideplot. Let's see how everyone else is doing!

    Yup, it looks like Super Smash Brothers: the Fledglings Edition will end up being a thing. Also, Empire Sec really needs to really up their game, just saying. Even if their attempts at getting in suck well at least they get the work done... somewhat. Kiran's "terribly sick crewmember" ploy starring Crom anyone?

    Her Cloudy Highness Queen Aleria, here to save us all! :p Pleo and Team Traveller will owe her one I bet.

    The various teams getting into the tournament for the chance to NAB PLEO is a nice touch to the storyline in that it both sets everyone with suddenly the same goal, but also because it flattens somewhat the levels of competence the various factions have - I'm sure the tournament is for fun and things like killing or maiming your opponent are disqualification. Because otherwise boy I don't want to imagine how that Rotom is going to decorate that for the audience. And we totally can not have our new Protector envisioning the Empire as a bunch of bullies who go around attacking people and lording over others and using foreigners for fun and oh wait-

    Well, at the moment I am going to close here with two comments.

    First, I'm kinda sad that Lyn and Hess are sending out a couple of minions for the tournament rather than going themselves. It obviously makes sense since they are renowned characters and having them make a public appearence in the deep of Empire territory is just inviting trouble...

    But I really wanted to see such characters as Lyn and Hess duking it out for an entire audience to see. Oh well! Maybe next time, when the holy birb is within reach...

    Second, I have to say I liked the progression Nida'a storyline with Cardino is taking once they find out who their clients are. Being Marked in the Fledglingsverse is Suffering™ already, and here we have Sela and her team threatened with a one-way ticket to the Wastes, and Nida and her team are the ones charged with proving their innocence, all while on a deadline go get their birb friend back! Which means getting into the Arena -same Arena their birb friend is held hostage VIP guest, doing some ISO Standard fortress exploring with a nod to the TR Casino in Celadon, getting into a complicated situation with both Valatos' team *and* the Empire guards and, once again, having to do all this on a deadline.

    But despite the somewhat tightly compressed exploration and action while leaving the various other protags by the side, what I liked most is how the encounter between Team Traveller and Sela's group unfolds.

    Truly, any exchange where Guardia brings out her lore, her culture and her status in this adventure is comedy gold, not to mention it also brings up a closer parallel with the roles and toolset of both Sokka and friggin' Toph in Avatar: The Last Airbender. I only hope Guardia doesn't run out of PP during the tournament, because having her remote-whack anyone who disagrees with her would surely put her right into a Toph-tier level of awesomeness that right now her team desperately needs if they want to recover their birb friend.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2019
  4. Namohysip

    Namohysip Dragon Enthusiast

    Well here we are! Fledglings. I’ve had this on my radar for a while, but as my life goes, I have a long queue to get through before I can actually do my reading. You can thank Virgil for reminding me to get to this after I caught up a decent amount on the other stuff I’ve been reading.


    Anyway, seeing as this fic is also divided up into episodes, I guess it’s only appropriate I review them as such, at least until I’m caught up (after a year…) But regardless! It’s time to review the prologue and episode 1. As is tradition, let’s look at the first sentence:


    I mean, it’s technically not a sentence and more a stylized fragment, but it gets the point across. This is a calmer opening, focused more on establishing the setting, and I think that it works well. However, it has one issue that I noticed in the following chapters as well—a bit of unnecessary word repetition. In this case, “earth.” Footprints in the earth below, and earthen walls right after. Here are a few other examples where that happens:



    In this case, it’s the word “Pool” that gets used a lot. This is a little awkward for me to criticize on because, as of this posting, you made this two years ago, so who knows if you’ve fixed this word repetition issue since then, but I’m just working with what I’m reading so far! I don’t plan on looking ahead. This will be a blind read.


    Okay, onto the actual content of the prologue. The first part was good for a calm opener. Nighttime, I sorta felt a cool breeze from the words, and it fit the tone of the title, a bedtime story. Opening with lore is an interesting choice. Not an uncommon one, but interesting, especially considering the subject matter. Pretty heavy to be telling a kid! Considering the implications, at least. Apocalypse and stuff. You’re setting the pieces for future plot points, I’m sure.


    The second half of the prologue was a bit weaker. The dialogue, at points, felt a bit on-the-nose, or perhaps “as you know”-style exposition—which is what most of this prologue is, exposition and world building info dumps—that seemed odd to talk about. The future chapters suffer from a similar problem at points, particularly during the dungeon exploration, where Nida’s team, who had apparently gone through this dungeon a number of times before, have to remind each other about certain mechanics for the reader.


    Oh, speaking of dungeons! Looks like you’re following a lot of the game mechanics here, even referring to them as “floors,” having outright stairways, and so on. I’m of the philosophy that it’s better to work with the canon than against it, even if sometimes you’d omit or modify certain things to make it feel less like a game, but to be honest, I don’t mind this approach at all! So I’ve got no complaints here. I’m not sure if it was intended or not, but I also have the feeling that the egg hatching was a reference to the dungeon winds? Maybe? No? Well, it reminded me of it.


    That brings me to the transition into chapter 1. I don’t have a whole lot to say about it, since it’s just your typical exploration through town. I don’t have a clear picture of what the town looks like, but thanks to the lore, I do at least have an idea that it’s an island. How big the island is I’m not totally sure about yet, but the feeling I get based on the creation story is it’s teeny.


    Druddigon is probably my second least favorite Dragon Type Pokémon (behind Dragalage) but this work might bump him up on the tier list. Crom is adorable! I kinda expect him to be the strongest of the bunch, even if he’s not much of a fighter, just because of his sheer size and species advantage, but I can easily be proven wrong here. I’m a sucker for “fierce Pokémon, kind heart” types, though, so that might also contribute to my opinion on him.


    The main highlight for chapter 1, for me, is the cutaway to the egg hatching. That was a good move, even if it breaks from what felt like third-person-limited up until now. It’s showing me that something’s gonna happen soon. Not sure what hatched, but if I had to make a guess… it’s an avian of some kind, and probably a Legend of a sort. Given the location of the egg… mm… Lugia? Guess I’ll see. As of this writing, I’ve only read up to chapter 2.


    Speaking of chapter 2, let’s talk about that! The bulk of it is dungeon exploration. It’s obviously an expository dungeon, meant to explain more of the world while they do a mission. I’m very familiar with that approach, and the scene that stands out the most to me is when the group looks up and sees the floor they had just been on, upside-down. It was a nice touch. I didn’t really have a real sense of danger while they went through it—I mean, it was just a bunch of Krabby—but I don’t mind that at all. I was entertained by the fight, and that’s all that really mattered. My gripes about “as you know” speeches aside, I liked the exploration, and it was a fun little cliffhanger at the end. I think that’s a pitfall trap. And it also looks like the final chapter of the episode is here, so I’m curious what that’ll amount to. Finding the egg? Babu Lugia?


    Oh, that reminds me, as an aside—it’s an interesting flavor to add foreign words sprinkled throughout the dialogue. Gives it a unique touch. But I’m a bit uncertain about the design choice on a practical level: beyond some context clues, if I’m stumped on a word, that sentence’s meaning will be lost to me, and there will always be a bit of doubt on a new word if that’s what it truly meant. And because these are long chapters, and the translations for these words are at the bottom of them… by the time I get there, I’m probably going to forget a good bit of context. I’m not sure if that works. Thankfully, it’s not all that frequent, so I wouldn’t call it entirely disruptive.



    Chapter 3 is when things get really interesting for me. Very good! It only took you a prologue and two chapters for me to think, “Okay, there’s something a bit unique going on here, and it’s not just the lore.” So we run into a Lugia—a baby one at that! It was a little strange to see one that just hatched and is capable of speech, but I’m just going to chalk that up to Pokémon magic since, well, even the ferals are capable of talking at some level.


    I thought Lugia as a whole was very entertaining. It earned a few amused smirks out of me seeing the little hatchling be so ignorant of his own power, his own status, and, well, everything that wasn’t within its own little cave. One thing that struck me as odd, though, was the strange diversity of reactions that he got from the others once they left. Considering a name like The Protector, I was surprised to see a somewhat dulled reaction from Team Traveler. That becomes doubly strange in hindsight when everyone else reacted more to how I had expected—reverence, more or less. I also thought it was a touch silly that it took them this long to realize he was a hatchling. Maybe a bit of deniability because the sheer thought of a baby god didn’t register in their minds? I can buy that.


    So, according to the table of contents you have on serebii, that’s the end of episode 1. Very strong first episode! You’ve got some lore here, some intrigue there, and to top it all off, some good characters and a kindhearted Dragon-Type, which always gets bonus points from me. I’m eager to see what’s in store next with these set pieces you have going down.
     
    Virgil134 likes this.
  5. Namohysip

    Namohysip Dragon Enthusiast

    Onto episode 2, starting with chapter 4. More Lugia—Pleo is a lovely name! I’m starting to kinda catch on to the context clues of foreign words a bit more (I appreciated the nod to why they use the terms in the first place in this chapter) but it’s still hard to follow.


    One thing that I found was odd about this chapter, similar to the previous one and the reactions to Pleo, was the odd reaction of the Marked. There’s something about them that doesn’t sit right with me, and I’m not sure if that’s intentional of you or not, at least not yet. The Marked seems to be too “obviously not meant to be the true antagonist” species to me. It’s too straightforward. They have the brand of some old sin, but they also seem to think that The Protector is going to be the harbinger of doom. But them being totally right also seems too simple. But with no indication beyond my basic intuition, I’m left wondering if it actually is too simple. Still, it’s too early for me to tell one way or the other—I’m just jotting my notes down here for why the Marked’s otherwise unexplained fear sits oddly with me.


    Also, odd thing: In this chapter in particular, I’m noticing that your third-person-omniscient style of writing might be getting the better of you in this chapter. Things are a bit overexplained when you could have left them to implication on how the characters are feeling. Off the top of my head, here’s an example:




    Here, you could have completely omitted “a bit at the absurdity of the whole routine,” and no information would have been lost. I already saw the scene in my head, and I already knew that the whole song and dance of titles was absurd, and Kiran thought so, too. Adding these extra words only slowed down the pace of the conversation, and this happens a few other times throughout the chapter, often alongside dialogue tags. I guess this is just one of those “less is more” moments. And just like last time I said this—just assume this every time I point out an issue with mechanics—maybe this was fixed after the future 700k words I’ve yet to read.


    Now then, back to something I really liked about this chapter that I finally realized is something really glowing with this work: the sense of community is very strong here. The neighborhood party, the gathering around Pleo, the Goomy and Poochyena and Dustox… just having these random Pokémon show up, and Nida’s family, and all of that—I dunno. It’s a very warm feeling to have, and I like it. You did well to demonstrate this aspect of the setting.


    The next two chapters somewhat blended into one another for me, though I did enjoy what was going on. The pace is a bit slow (up until the end) but I understand why it was necessary—mostly because, well, we’re having what’s basically a “slice of life” subplot of Pleo learning how the world works. And as cliché as it feels, I liked the scenes of everyone reacting in reverence to kid god. And I really liked the scene of Pleo trying to be nice to the Marked. That’s basically how I feel. They had nothing to do with it! They’re just descendants. Frankly, it seems pretty cruel to brand an entire lineage for something just the ancestry did, even though that’s sort of a common theme for creation stories… except this one happens to have actually happened (maybe, we can’t be sure, since there’s no telling what had been warped by the imperfections of oral tradition.)


    Anyway! I was a little worried that this story was going to be dillydallying on too long with this slice of life bit. Maybe it could have been a bit shorter? But my complaints on this are somewhat assuaged by the fact that right at the end, we finally have a look at the pirates. And genuine conflict, not just some random sparring match! I’m wondering if these first few chapters were a tonal bait and switch. There’s no telling with these long stories and the early chapters.


    Anddd it looks like it’s keeping things at least a bit lighthearted, but you know what, that’s great! I kinda like what this is doing. I definitely agree with what someone in nominations said—this work reads like a story book. I forgot to mention it when I was reviewing the first episode, but when I was going through the prologue, the intro theme to Thousand Year Door spontaneously started playing in my head. Had a really good atmosphere.


    Okay, enough rambling. This was our first “Boss fight” of the series, and overall, it was solid! Showed a good struggle, some rescuing helpers for our outclassed team, and Pleo taps into the power as a Protector! The only thing that puzzled me, just a little bit, is how the captain was able to get so overwhelmed by a Nidoran. I mean, okay, Double Kick, x4 and all that, but he’s a captain, right? And then that Earthquake attack (at least, I think it was one) didn’t do as much damage as I would’ve expected to the team, all things considered. Buuut technicalities aside, it was still fairly believable, and I liked a bit of the choreography. Not much else to comment on for the chapter itself. It was a fight.


    Oh, wait! Actually. There was one thing, now that I’m thinking back. In the intro of the fight, I think there was another bit of “less is more” that you fell into with your third-person omniscient style.




    This was a passage that was certainly longer than it needed to be. I understand what you’re going for in terms of a sort of “culmination that leads to a decision” trope, but it drew on for a bit too long. The second, smaller paragraph in particular feels completely unnecessary. You could’ve just implied it, cut it out, and left Pleo’s cry to follow after them be enough of an indicator. Show don’t tell and all that.


    The final chapter was a bit on the predictable side. Pretty much once I found out that they were going to be sending the pirates that didn’t escape to sentencing, I figured they were either going to put them to death (grizzly) or some other, similar-in-magnitude punishment, only for Pleo or the others to ward them off of such a vengeful path and do something like have them rebuild the town. I was pretty much approximately correct on all accounts, except I was a little surprised that Pleo didn’t speak up sooner with a naïve comment to help snap the others of the island out of it.


    Overall, this was a logical step from episode 1. A bit on the slower side, all things considered, mostly just getting Pleo oriented with the town and his own power. I’m curious to see what will come about from the pirates that had showed up, though. Oh, and that tooootally unimportant mention of Apricorns at the end there.
     
  6. Spiteful Murkrow

    Spiteful Murkrow Early Game Encounter

    Hello everyone,

    As you might have gathered, this chapter took quite a bit longer than expected to get together, due in no small part to meta going on related to an ongoing move. That said, I’m here now, and ready to get started by replying to the review queue that’s built up over the last month and a half.

    @Venia Silente:
    Because adversity builds character, and the cast needs a good dose of character building in order to get them to where they need to be for the curtain call.

    Well, it may be only the second such scene between the two, but it certainly won’t be the last. That said, I think it’s going to be a while before the two go running through any fields without being at each others’ throats.

    “Something something, I’m a soldier, not a monster” . While Nagant may be a bitter and crabby old shrimp who’s willing to do some shady things for the sake of her title and her kingdom, she’s not the type to go out of her way to punt puppies…

    Unless if they’re being lippy and aggravating brats who spit on her attempts to do something nice, in that case she’d be first in to give said uppity mutts a summary Water Pulse to their bums.

    To be fair, walls in any society draw 90% of their efficacy from deterrence. Any sufficiently motivated actor will find a way to roll the dice to try and get across, and with a little luck or skill, be rewarded for their gamble.

    That said, guards in Fledglings’ setting are very much of the mainline’s school of thought, so I would imagine that timing your wall hop with tea-time or the guards badgering passerbys for soft drinks would increase your odds of success quite a bit.

    Alas, Daraen probably wouldn’t have a good reason to run off and join a tournament in a major city given his mother’s concerns about being tracked. That said, you most likely haven’t seen the last of him, even if it’ll be a while before he potentially enters the stage again.

    Well, Hess’ hijinks are part of what keeps him entertaining to read, even if he’s understandably less than thrilled about being a cosmic plaything sometimes.

    In-setting, the average Kecleon shop is structured as a partnership between one of the lizards and an “other”, since local contacts matter for getting leads on the best supply as a merchant. As for the idea of hiring the Merchantry to ship them around, I’m sure that they’d be willing to do it for the right price given their lovable but unscrupulous philosophy of “Commerce Sans Frontieres”. That said, that price would more than likely be well beyond Nida and her pals’ asking price.

    I can think of a few windows of opportunity in the future where such a gambit might come in handy, though for now I’ll leave that plot Nido on the shelf.

    Yeah, as I’m sure you’ve gathered in reading by now, I’m a huge sucker for making series mythology gags in Fledglings. The launch of the Detective Pikachu subseries shortly before that chapter went live is probably the main reason why I didn’t go for depicting Cardino as a Gumshoos.

    Yeah, I may not parade it on the screen constantly, but there’s certainly a good deal of not particularly bright-and-cheery undertones and backstory to Fledglings. In another life Nagant probably would be a bit less of a sourpuss if it weren’t for the whole “family and world as she knew it suddenly dying on her” happening.

    The parallel was actually a bit of a happy coincidence, though yes, Aleria’s species was informed by her being a bit of an airhead in personality.

    Having an entire bureaucracy and military to provide support and cover tends to help with that, as does Osborn not taking the opportunity to usurp her power as most Vizier-esque figures tend to in stories.

    As of this point in time, Aleria should be in the clear. Or at least for the whole “dying off” thing. No guarantees that nothing else will happen to her, though.

    To be fair, did you expect them to assume that they could just bully a god into submission forever? Even the Company wouldn’t assume that to be a working long-term strategy.

    By the way, I’m loving these paraphrases that you’re whipping up. They’ve got me laughing a bit louder than I’d normally care to admit.

    Hey now, skilled showboaters in the arena are hard to replace when they’re horrifically killed and maimed, so they’ll be fine… ish.

    Well, I hope that you enjoy where that wound up going, though if nothing else it was heartening to hear you enjoyed how it started off.

    I think she has some room to grow before she can properly match Toph, but the attitude is certainly there.

    @Ambyssin:
    Part of that is the whole ‘arrogance of strength’ speaking. After all, if Ketu already handled three of their adults mostly on his own in the ring, they’re not going to assume much from the kids.

    The nod was actually incidental, though in their defense, how many of those “obvious setups for robbery” have an apparent Legendary thrown into the mix? Not too hard to let your guard down if you let the details fuzz up the fundamental facts on the ground.

    It’s still an uninherited position, and when Inler talks about them “taking over” the Company, he means it in the sense that they get around to working in it as a new generation. As for why he spends his time with his grandkids, Inler has spent a long life having put his work ahead of his family, much like real-life executives in many an era. His grandchildren represent one of his few avenues to try and work around some unpleasant facts on the ground that he’s left behind.

    That’s not to say you won’t be seeing them again later on in the story. I did go through all the trouble of writing them into existence for a reason.

    I think that I’m gonna play the ‘creative differences’ card here. While it admittedly wasn’t the case in some of the earlier chapters, the narration is from time to time written from the specific perspective of different characters, and as such will carry quirks of their thought processes.

    I’ll be sure to tell Crom to tuck his collection of light-reflective dungeon baubles a bit deeper under his bed back home.

    To be fair, if you do stuff related to collecting items from exposure chests, it’s not that unheard of. Unfortunately for Team Traveller, “meeting a living god in a Mystery Dungeon” currently has a sample size of 1.

    Just a little.

    Hey man, nobody likes a party pooper, otherwise he’d have brought it up at the dungeon entrance. And if/when Pleo gets through things, he’ll have learned a valuable life lesson from everything.

    @Namohysip:
    Thank you for pointing those issues out. It’s admittedly been a while since I worked on the chapters from the first arc, but I’ll make a point of going back and giving it a good touch-up, so please do identify more hiccups like this one as you read along.

    Children’s tales in history can get surprisingly heavy, especially prior to the modern era. You certainly couldn’t screen a faithful adaptation of many of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales with a child-oriented rating in modern cinema or television.

    Marley’s storytelling obviously pulls from this particular philosophical school of telling stories for children.

    Hrm, it’s unfortunate to hear. I may revisit some of those parts to see if I can finesse them a bit, though admittedly, sometimes all that information just needs to come out one way or another.

    The egg hatching was actually unrelated, but I’m glad to hear you enjoyed how that depiction was handled.

    It’s an island that you could walk around within the course of about a full day, so it’s not winning too many awards for its size.

    I’m glad that you’re a fan of Crom, since that was very much what I was going for for his personality.

    It’s always a bit of a balancing act, though I hope that the later chapters you get to feel like they handle those loan phrases a bit smoother.

    That’s actually addressed in passing in the next arc, though a few different Pokémon canons seem to be open to the idea of Pokémon being fully communicative after hatching.

    I’m going to chalk that up to the whole “excitement of meeting a god in the flesh”, not that they didn’t put two and two together relatively quickly after they left the dungeon.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I’ll be looking forward to your impressions as you get through the other episodes.

    It’s admittedly a trap that I fall into occasionally, but I’ll keep it in mind for when I go back and polish up some of the earlier chapters. There definitely were a bit more stumbles earlier on than in my later writing.

    I figured that Bluewhorl wouldn’t sell the feeling of a “small and rustic town” without that sort of atmosphere, so I am glad to hear you enjoyed it. ^^

    I mean, Tromba’s residents did get the whole “what our god is like” wrong, so it should be expected that the truth behind the Marked isn’t a 1:1 with their prevailing oral tradition. That’s still in the process of being revealed in the upcoming arcs.

    Sounds like I’m doing my job then, since TTYD’s blend of lightheartedness with occasional dollops of darker themes and oppressiveness was roughly what I was targeting for the overall “feel” of the story.

    Glad to hear that you enjoyed the fight. As for why Team Traveller didn’t get summarily crushed like a bug, the damage scaling in Fledglings has been nerfed relative to the games for rule of drama. It’d be pretty boring if 80% of hostile encounters boiled down to “so-and-so gets curbstomped off the bat due to typing/leveling”.

    Hrm, I’ll have to revisit this sometime in the future.

    To be fair, the islanders mostly were talked down from dishing out some more mortal consequences since the pirates are in the grand scheme of things just a bunch of bumbling amateurs. They certainly wouldn’t have been anywhere as forgiving had the consequences of the raid been a bit more dire, and it isn’t Hatteras’ first rodeo for handing down capital punishment.

    Well, I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying how things are shaping up. And yes, those nuts will become a bit more important later on.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2019
  7. Spiteful Murkrow

    Spiteful Murkrow Early Game Encounter

    Special thanks for this chapter goes to Virgil134 and sugoitsu from ff.net, both of whom provided invaluable input during the process of development and editing. Thanks again to all you readers and reviewers for staying tuned in to this story, even with development going a bit slower lately. Due to ongoing meta regarding moving, there will only be one update slated for March, which will be the final chapter and denouement of this arc.

    And with that, let’s pick up from where we left off last time...

    [​IMG]

    Mornings in Magmapool's harbor were always busy and raucous endeavors, as Pokémon on the lanes shuffled between shops and eateries on their way to their labor at the docks, and sailors from off-island unloaded their cargo before drifting off to intermingle with the locals over glasses of stiff rice wine. Further inland from the din and buzz of the docks, Team Sentinel kept watch over the gate between the harbor and the town from a built-up bluff just beyond the walls overlooking the surrounding streets, watching the entrance and its skies overhead keenly as Zelle impatiently stamped her foot.

    "For such an urgent message, that messenger sure is taking his time," she scoffed.

    "It's the same Empire that takes three days to send a letter across its own waters," Aldrich remarked. "Would you really expect their message to not get bogged down for some asinine reason?"

    "Hmph, it doesn't matter," Sorge insisted. "Regardless of how long it takes, our best hope of buying time for this mission depends on intercepting that message before anyone sees it."

    "Right," the Noivern began. "You two remember what to do after I fly into him?"

    "We'll come over and you and Sorge pretend to help him," Zelle answered. "While he's distracted, I'll take the letter from his bag."

    "Good, sounds like we're all on the same page," the Kommo-o said. "But first let's make sure everything goes as expected and then act accordingly."

    Sorge's gaze drifted back to the crowds at the gate, watching different shapes and colors of Pokémon pass by when he noticed an orange, feathery Pokémon among their number. He squinted his eyes and took a closer look, revealing a Talonflame's head crest bobbing along the street, with the forms of a Sneasel and a Gliscor hurrying along. The Dragon-Type paused and raised a brow skeptically. If he hadn't known any better, he'd have said that those three were… No that was impossible, they'd lost their trail years ago!

    The Kommo-o shook his head, about to brush the matter off when the Gliscor faltered a moment and the bag on his shoulder suddenly slipped and shook, with a brief glimpse of a rounded green head passing through the opening of a frontal pouch that made the dragon's eyes shoot wide open.

    "Th-That's Subject Red!" Sorge exclaimed.

    Zelle and Aldrich turned over in stunned surprise and peered down at the street. The pair followed Sorge's claw up to the departing entourage, prompting the two to turn to each other with disbelieving stares. Aldrich swiftly flew up to the rooftops, slipping along the opposite side of the eaves as he caught up with the passing party where he turned his ears and heard a familiar, squeaky voice.

    "Just hurry up!" Kline piped. "Once we're outside of town I can change Forme without attracting too much attention!"

    "You're sure the delay for that Tamato Berry was needed, though?" Calidus asked. "It didn't sound like we had much time to work with."

    "Yes," the Zygarde replied "We're better safe than sorry."

    Aldrich slackened his jaw in astonishment, waiting for the sound of Kline and his companions to fade away before he flew back for Sorge and Zelle.

    "I don't know how, but that's definitely him!"

    "I assume we're going after him then?" Zelle asked. "I don't know how many more times he will just cross courses with us like this."

    "What about that messenger?" Aldrich insisted. "If we don't intercept him, there's nothing stopping those guards from being tipped off about Lyn's ship."

    Sorge paused and brought a claw to his chin in thought. On the one claw, not intercepting the messenger would likely mean that Ketu would have to fight his way back to Lyn's ship after capturing that Lugia. But on the other claw… they had managed dicier escapes before by working together, and if it would mean being able to finally bring Kline to Administrator Elilan on top of Pleo…

    "Leave him. Capturing Subject Red is more important than stalling those guards, and this is the best opportunity we've had in ages," the Kommo-o said. "If Ketu was here, I'm sure he would agree that the benefits of chasing after him outweigh the risks."

    Aldrich looked off at the gate to the harbor for a moment, pausing uneasily before looking back in the direction Kline and his companions had gone off to.

    "… Alright, but let's be careful," the Noivern murmured. "That flight out of port is going to be bumpy after this all sorts itself out."

    The three quietly left the bluff, following Percy's team into the street. There, they paced along after the Gliscor and his companions through the town's winding alleys, off in a path that curled ever-closer to the dungeon's fog in the distance.




    "Oh! I think I see it!"

    Pleo's voice carried on as he and his teammates emerged from the fog into a broad chamber made of red-lit stone. Crom looked around the room as he passed, noticing that the chamber was a flat space ringed with cliffs, and a steep trench that bubbled with ruddy magma at the bottom. Why, aside from the rock carved into a stone statue of a plump-faced Meowth standing over a slotted box and a path leading up to a fog-shrouded passage up ahead, nothing about the place felt hospitable enough to indicate that…

    "This is the midpoint?" Crom asked. "But it doesn't look like a safe resting place at all!"

    "Speak for yourself," Elty piped. "There's a big open area, a Storage Rock, some lava surrounding us to help keep things toasty… what more could you want?"

    Nida furrowed her brow at the Growlithe's comment, casting a dubious glance off at the lava surrounding them. She watched as the magma bubbled and sulfurous mist came off its surface, prompting her to fold her ears back with an uncomfortable wince.

    "A place where you can't accidentally burn yourself, that's what!" the Nidoran snapped.

    "… You'll have to bring it up with Xerneas," Kiran sighed. "Though I don't see any sign of him here right now."

    The group looked around their surroundings and noticed that other than the Storage Rock, there was nothing to obscure Xerneas from view. Even the aforementioned rock would at least leave his antlers visible… so then where was he?

    "Maybe he hasn't come yet?" Dimitri mused. "It couldn't hurt to sit and wait a little here."

    "Oh, there's no need for that."

    Team Traveller tensed up as their blood ran cold at the ominously familiar voice of a Weavile coming from the Storage Rock. The group turned their attention back, just in time for Ketu and Ellsberg to pop out from behind the rock, leaving Crom recoiling and stumbling back with a stunned stammer.

    "Y-You!"

    "That's right!" the Weavile sneered. "Aren't you happy to see me again?"

    "Really, I would've expected a rescue team to have a better sense of their surroundings," Ellsberg huffed. "Here I was worried that such a feeble attempt at hiding would give us away too quickly!"

    "B-But we were supposed to meet Xerneas!" Pleo squawked.

    "Mengir's Protector? Can't say I've seen him around these parts," Ketu retorted with a disinterested shrug. "I mean there's that Ditto going around town pretending to be him, but with those gray Deerling eyes there's no way anyone would be dumb enough to fall for that, am I right?"

    Nida's pupils dialated at the Weavile's reply. Was he saying that the blue deer they'd met wasn't Xerneas?!

    "Wh-What-"

    "Are you really that dense? There is no Xerneas!" the Dark-Type snapped. "Just a bunch of con artists we used to lure you here!"

    A stupefied shock settled over Team Traveller's members as they realized that Pleo's admonitions had been right all along. All this time, everything that Albert had told them had all been a lie to bring them to this trap! Their attention was drawn back by a loud buzz, as Ellsberg flitted forward with a sharp scoff.

    "Since we're in the middle of a Mystery Dungeon and there's no easy way for you to escape, I would suggest you hand over the Protector to us peacefully," the moth snapped. "If not, we'll just have to step in and take him ourselves."

    Team Traveller's members grimaced and backpedaled uneasily for the entrance. With how strong Ketu had been at the tournament, they were ill-equipped to handle him with an ally. But they couldn't just surrender and give up Pleo! The lot stammered, trying to dig their feet in as the Mothim and Weavile encroached, only for Kiran to suddenly pause, and glumly shake his head.

    "I… suppose we need to know when we're beat," the Swellow sighed, prompting Pleo to turn to him wild-eyed with a frightened stammer.

    "H-Huh?!" Pleo squawked. "Kiran?!"

    "Just… please… give us a moment to say our goodbyes to each other," Kiran pleaded. Ketu quietly raised a brow in reply, as Ellsberg beat his wings impatiently with an irritated buzz.

    "Are you daft? We don't have time for this nonsense!" the Mothim spat. "Hurry up and turn over the Protector now-!"

    "Nah, let them have their moment, Ellsberg," Ketu interrupted, before his voice took on a mocking sneer. "After all, it would be awfully rude to take away their precious friend without even letting them say goodbye."

    Ellsberg trailed off, blinking incredulously at his Weavile partner. The Bug-Type began to protest, only to quiet down upon remembering Ketu's lecture back on the ship about their needed roles for the mission, deciding to trust him for now and go along. Back on Team Traveller's end, the group gathered around Kiran, the lot shooting piercing stares at the Swellow.

    "Kiran, have you gone mad?" Dimitri hissed.

    "We can't just let them walk away with Pleo!" Ander buzzed.

    "I'm aware of that," Kiran replied. "But I'm not sure what we can do other than to hug Pleo, bid him farewell, and hope for the best…"

    The Swellow extended his wings over Pleo, pulling him in as the young Lugia's eyes began to water. Pleo screwed his eyes shut as Kiran lowered his head, only for the seabird to feel something cold brush against his wings, prompting him to look down and widen his eyes out of surprise after seeing that Kiran had pushed the glowing form of an Escape Orb into his wings.

    "Give him a nice and tight one," the Swellow instructed, turning back to the others. "It'll be the last chance any of us get for this."

    Kiran carefully backed away, leaving his fellows to spot the Escape Orb in Pleo's wings and stare at it wordlessly trying to suppress their surprise. After a moment's pause, Nida stepped up, nearing and rubbing her muzzle against the orb and Pleo's plumage. As the two continued embracing each other, Ketu raised a brow and peered over skeptically at the pair.

    "You know, I was actually kinda impressed by how you managed to get out of Tidemill earlier," Ketu mused. "Breaking your Lugia friend out of that stadium and getting him back to your ship while fending off those Imps and Lyn certainly ain't easy."

    Nida paused, bristling at the Dark-Type's remark only to opt to ignore it and let Pleo trade places with Crom. The Druddigon made his way over, spreading his arms in an embrace around Pleo as Ketu gave a casual shrug in the background.

    "But when you think about it, you kids only did all of that because you were afraid to fight me in that arena," the Weavile said. "Makes that whole escape from Tidemill seem kinda pathetic, huh?"

    Crom lingered a moment as an indignant glare settled over his face, before letting Pleo go and backing away. As soon as the Druddigon stepped back, Ketu suddenly paced forward, fanning his claws out with a malevolent smirk.

    "Why it's almost as pathetic as pretending to say goodbye to your teammate in order to rub up an Escape Orb."

    The members of Team Traveller went into a wide-eyed panic, prompting the others to hastily dash for Pleo as he ran for them to hastily rub the orb against their appendages. In his haste, Pleo stretched his wings out to hold out the orb, only for an icy shard to zip in and wrench it out of his grasp, sending it spinning along the ground.

    "Gwark! The orb!"

    Kiran took wing and flew after the Escape Orb, only for it to suddenly take on a purplish glow and be flung off towards the lava, a quick glance back revealing that Ellsberg had cast it aside with Psychic. The orb struck the surface of the lava, failing to shatter as it deformed and the light within abruptly dissipated, the sphere melting into a lump of glassy slag much to Team Traveller's horror. The sound of a sharp buzz pricked their ears, leading them to turn back to see Ellsberg glaring daggers at them as Ketu clapped slowly.

    "Did you really think you could trick us that easily?!" Ellberg snapped.

    "I know you hicks have dealt with some incompetent opponents in the past, but you're really gonna have to try harder than that to get the better of us," Ketu scoffed.

    "Grr! There's eight of us and only two of you!" Guardia growled. "Do you really think you can beat us all, Manyula?!"

    The Weavile paused for a short moment at the Cubone's shout, his expression remaining firmly unmoved before a cruel smirk spread over his mouth.

    "No, I know I can," Ketu sneered. "Ready, Ellsberg?"

    Ketu inhaled deeply as purple dust began to dance on Ellsberg's wingtips, the Mothim shaking forth a toxic cloud of powder that the Weavile spewed a heavy torrent of wind and snow into, forming a purplish, poisonous Blizzard that barreled for a wide-eyed Team Traveller. Nida cringed beside Pleo as Crom dove in front of them and arched protectively, the rabbit screwing her eyes shut and holding her breath as the attack bore down on them with an overpowering woosh.

    The frigid wind gave way to the room's familiar heat, mixed with pained cries and deep coughs from her teammates, with Crom's curiously absent. Slowly, the Nidoran cracked her eyes open, where much to her horror, she saw her Druddigon protector still guarding her and a now hollow-faced Pleo, the Dragon-Type's body caked head-to-toe in a layer of ice.

    "A-Aah! Crom!"

    Nida looked around and saw a little ways off to her left that Guardia was similarly crusted over with ice, while to her right she saw Kiran and Ander staggering and shivering, the sight of Elty gagging nearby indicating that the lot must've fallen to the effects of Ellsberg's poison. Dimitri alone showed no signs of being frozen or poisoned, but even he was panting and visibly winded from his blow as he tried to brush away some poisoned snow, Nida folding her ears back with sinking spirits as a mocking sneer cut through the air.

    "Not a bad opening if I say so myself," Ketu said. "But I think it's time we actually got this fight started!"

    Nida braced herself, watching as the Weavile sprang for Kiran. The Swellow went wide-eyed out of alarm, hastily taking wing and trying to weave out of the way, only for Ketu to shift his balance in midair and catch him in his back with an icy punch, sending him plummeting to earth with a pained squawked before sprawling out limply. Nida stood fixed in dumb terror, only for the sound of footsteps and a coughing gag to prick her ears.

    "Spike ball! Give a 'mon some help here!" Elty wheezed.

    The Nidoran looked over as the Growlithe gagged and wobbled his way over to her with patches of fur that had been stained purple from the poisonous onslaught. Nida dug her paws into her bag, bringing out a Pecha berry in a panicked hurry. The rabbit hastily peeled the Pecha Berry and squeezed its juice onto Elty's fur to try and neutralize the poison, all but stuffing the leftover pulp in his mouth when she noticed Ander in the background attempting to sluggishly fly at Ellsberg with a heavy swing, only for the Mothim to dodge it with a sharp buzz.

    "Back off, you lousy blotch-head!"

    Ellsberg flitted back and cast a cutting gust of wind at Ander, the attack finding its mark on the mantis' thorax followed by the sound of the crack of damaged chitin and a shrieking hiss of pain. Nida, Elty, and Pleo looked on, watching stunned as Ander staggered limply and toppled to the ground, the Mothim carrying on from his foe as if he'd just brushed aside a stray leaf.

    "Here! Have a little extra!" Ketu's voice jeered.

    The trio turned their heads and saw Ketu lob a hail of icy flechettes at them, only for Dimitri to shove them aside and shepherd them away closer to the edge of the platform and the midpoint's entrance. The four looked around, realizing that they were the sole members of their team in any condition to continue fighting, with Ketu and Ellsberg quickly closing in on their positions.

    "Gah! We need to bog those two down fast! We won't stand a chance if they have free reign to throw us around as they please!" Dimitri yelped. "Nida! Pleo! You take the Mothim, Elty and I will hold off that Weavile!"

    "Got it!" Nida shouted. The Nidoran took off running with Pleo following behind, beelining for Ellsberg when the moth agitatedly beat his wings.

    "Take this, you brats!"

    Ellsberg sent forth a slicing gust of wind that Nida and Pleo hastily dove away from. The Air Slash threw up pebbles and dust, making Pleo cringe, only to crack his eyes open and jolt upright with a panicked squawk at the sight of Ellsberg lunging for the two of them.

    "N-Nida! What do we do?!" Pleo cried.

    "Let's take a page from that fight with the Heatmor!" the Nidoran shouted. "Blow him back!"

    Pleo darted ahead, beating his wings out and bringing them together to shoot forth a whirling wind that swept up the Mothim with a startled buzz.

    "Grah!"

    Nida watched as Ellsberg got blown back and struggled to stay airborne. Sensing an open opportunity to attack, the Nidoran dashed forward as poison began to dribble along her forearms. She leapt up at Ellsberg as he finally stopped himself, throwing her right arm back for a Poison Jab to the Mothim's head, only to feel her body abruptly jolt and stop in midair, and see Ellsberg looking at her with an outstretched arm and his eyes lit up in a violet sheen.

    "Hmph, that's quite enough. Away you go!"

    Nida's body lurched sideways, the little spike ball going wide-eyed as she was tossed through the air by Ellsberg's Psychic. The rabbit tumbled head over heels with a panicked scream as she felt the heat of the lava at the edge rapidly approaching under her, leaving her to curl up and screw her eyes shut.

    "Nida!"

    The Nidoran felt her body strike something feathery, prompting her to throw her paws out and cling on for dear life. The Poison-Type cracked her eyes open to see Pleo's back below her, as the young Protector banked hard from the chamber wall back for the center of the platform. Elty caught their attention with a pained yelp, the two looking down to see him being launched back by Ketu from a rake of his claws. The Weavile began to give chase after the Growlithe, his pursuit stopped only by a timely swing of Dimitri's left scythe. Reflexively, Pleo swooped down, coming to a stop by the fallen Growlithe as he and his teammate helped the dazed Puppy Pokémon to his feet.

    "Wh-What do we do?!" Pleo cried. "We can barely land an attack on those two!"

    "Agh… let's do what we should've done from the start!" Elty yipped. "If we can't get an attack in, let's use some items to soften them up first!"

    The sound of a startled hiss cut the air as Nida looked over to see Dimitri swinging wildly at Ketu, only for the Dark-Type to bob and weave, and force his attacker back after giving a slash at his arm. Nida watched as Dimitri retreated in a panic, realizing that Ketu was preoccupied with little beyond the foe immediately before him. At once the Nidoran's mind turned to the Confuse Wand from a few floors back, prompting her reflexively put a paw in her bag and feel it safely at the bottom of the satchel when her eyes lit up.

    "Way ahead of you!" Nida piped. "Keep that Mothim distracted and cover me!"

    The Poison-Type fished the wand out and took off running, bounding for Ketu and Dimitri. As she closed the gap from Ketu's flank, Nida readied the wand for a swing. The Weavile's ears suddenly flicked up from the sound of pattering footsteps, prompting him to jump back and turn to the Nidoran with a sneer.

    "You'll have to try harder than that, runt!"

    Nida reflexively brought her Confuse Wand up into the air, only for a shard of ice to zip in and strike her paw. Elty looked on stunned, watching as the Nidoran yelped and lost her grasp on the wand, the stick flying back and landing on the ground some distance behind her with an inert thump, leaving him to splutter in incredulous exasperation.

    "Chyba żartujesz?!" Elty cried. "Would it have killed you to swing a bit faster?!"

    The Growlithe bolted for the dropped wand, diving for it with his mouth, only to see the wand jerk away and feel his jaws clamp down on empty air. The Fire-Type's eyes widened as he followed the wand sailing through the air, zipping up to Ellsberg who took it into his tarsi with a sneer.

    "I'll be taking that, mutt."

    The Mothim swung the wand, aiming its tip at Dimitri's position. The crack of shattering glass rang out as a hail of yellowish spheres enveloped the crab with a startled cry. The Water-Type staggered back and Ketu gave a Brick Break square at his abdomen, sending him toppling over flat onto his belly with a feeble groan.

    "Nrgh…"

    "Dimitri!" Pleo cried.

    Pleo, Nida, and Elty hastily ran over to their stricken friend as he laid in a stunned daze. One after the other, the three desperately struggled against the Kabutops' weight, fighting against gravity to try and drag their bulky teammate back onto his feet to keep fighting.

    "C-Come on! Get up!" the Lugia pleaded. "We need you- Agh!"

    Pleo squawked and was knocked to the ground by a sharp pain as Dimitri reflexively cut the young Protector with a slash of his scythes. The seabird panted, looking up with wide eyes as Dimitri staggered in confusion, before shaking his head out of an alarmed realization that he'd mixed up his targets, only for a derisive laughter to ring out.

    "Hahahaha! I knew Lyn was easy to trick, but this is what he's been having trouble with?" Ketu sneered. "What a joke!"

    "Hrmph. Enough games, Ketu," Ellsberg grumbled. "Let's wrap this up and get going!"

    "Eh, fine," the Weavile replied. "Wouldn't want this to get stale anyway."

    The Dark-Type breathed in deeply as frigid air began to swirl around his mouth, prompting Team Traveller to stare horrified before they turned and started bolting in a panic, bracing themselves for Ketu's Blizzard when a loud howl pierced the air.

    "That's enough!"

    The Weavile's budding attack was cut off by a green, dog-like Pokémon suddenly lunging in and tackling him to the ground. The strange dog cracked open a maw lined with sharp fangs, throwing it at Ketu's neck as the Weavile hastily threw his claws up to try and fight the strange creature's jaws. Up in the air, Ellsberg stared stunned as his teammate thrashed about on the ground below, recoiling in shock at the strange intruder.

    "W-What on earth-?!"

    "Here, try this for an ambush!" a piercing voice cried.

    The Mothim looked right as a fiery missile plowed into him and knocked him out of the sky with a yelp. As the flames died back, Team Traveller looked up to see the form of a familiar Talonflame. Further back at the chamber's entrance, a Gliscor and a Sneasel hurried in, Nida's jaw dropping as she remembered them to be none other than…

    "P-Percy?! Alice?!"

    "What are they doing here, spike ball?!" Elty yipped. "You said they wrote us off!"

    "Kline changed his mind after he saw you guys walking straight towards trouble," Percy answered. "Alice, help them go and heal their teammates! I'll help Calidus with the Mothim!"

    "Got it!" the Sneasel piped.

    Alice pulled Team Traveller's members aside, dropping a small pile of Sitrus and Lum Berries at their feet. As the lot stared flummoxed, the Sneasel bounded off for Kiran's sprawled-out body, fishing out a Reviver Seed and slipping it into the bird's mouth as she turned back and called out to them.

    "Don't worry about perfection and just focus on hurrying it up!" Alice exclaimed. "We need all the help we can get with those two!"

    The others hastily fanned out for their fallen comrades, Nida beelining for Crom where she quickly peeled away the rind of the Lum Berry and pressed it against the dragon's joints. The juices bubbled against the ice, melting it away until Crom could move his body little by little, brushing off large chunks of ice off his scales with a spluttering cough and sharp sneeze.

    "Achoo! Nida?" he groaned. "What's going on?"

    "We got a second wind," she explained. "Come on, we need your help!"

    The rabbit quickly divided a Sitrus Berry between the two, each snatching their halves up and scarfing them down as they ran ahead. The two darted along the stone ground, passing Dimitri and Pleo healing themselves as Alice finished defrosting Guardia while Elty hurried himself rousing Ander. Crom and Nida noticed a fiery trail overhead, looking up to see Calidus arcing towards Ellsberg who flung a cutting gust at the Talonflame that missed its mark.

    "It'll take more than that for you to put out this fire, bug!"

    The falcon dove at Ellsberg at rapid speed as the Mothim squealed in a panic, wildly swinging his Confuse Wand while the bird bore down on him. The crack of the wand's next layer sounded as a hail of yellowish orbs overtook Calidus, leaving him to lose his balance and crash to earth with a daze. After cringing a moment, Ellsberg cracked his eyes open to see his foe staggering down on the ground below, regaining enough confidence to flit up with a haughty taunt.

    "Hah! Your fighting's as bad as your wordplay!" Ellsberg jeered.

    "You should worry more about your attention span!"

    Ellsberg buzzed with a start and hastily flew back as a heavy tackle sent him pinwheeling in the air, making him lose his grip on his Confuse Wand as it sailed into the lava and caught fire. The moth steadied himself, turning and seeing the Gliscor culprit bearing down on him with his claws spread wide for another tackle.

    "Get away from me!"

    The Mothim beat his wings, sending out a slashing wind that sailed into Percy and forced him back with a pained cry. The Gliscor stalled, just barely pulling himself upright to swoop up from the ground where he wobbily returned to the air and looked back to see a cut at one of his wing membranes dribbling yellowish liquid, grimacing in pain as a mocking buzz filled the air.

    "Really now, that's all it takes to impair your gliding?" Ellsberg sneered. "My first mate's a mere Gligar and even he wouldn't let himself get shut down so easily!"

    Percy grit his teeth, diving forward as icy residue began to cake his fangs. The Gliscor swooped and lunged for the Mothim, only to be left snapping at air as Ellsberg fluttered overhead and had his eyes turn aglow with purple light.

    "Glion! Wait for me!"

    Ellsberg's antennae jolted upright as he turned around, just in time for Guardia to lunge up and headbutt him in the chin. The Bug-Type yelped and plummeted to the ground, picking himself up with an angry seethe, only for Percy to pounce on him with a diving tackle from above, knocking Ellsberg's head against the ground with a loud smack and leaving his wings to droop limply, their owner fainted against the ground. Percy pulled his body back up, returning to the air as Guardia slung her bone over her shoulder.

    "Not bad," the Cubone said. "You took the wind right out of him with that Acrobat!"

    "The same to you," the Gliscor replied. "If it wasn't for your save there, I'd probably be in dire straits right now."

    After tottering about, Calidus gave a beat of his wings to steady himself and looked around to see Ellsberg sprawled out unconscious. Satisfied with the outcome, the Talonflame ruffled his feathers and turned to face Percy and Guardia.

    "Well that's one down," Calidus remarked. "But what's going on with Ketu?"

    "Augh!"

    The three looked over just in time to see Kline getting thrown back and tumbling to a stop along the ground near them. The Zygarde laid on the stone and tried to get up dazedly, as Ketu shook feeling back into a bitten right arm while snarling back at his attacker.

    "Well now, I see you're as much of a pain in the ass as ever, Kline," the Weavile spat. "And here I thought you wouldn't dare to show your face to a 'mon you couldn't handle on your own."

    Kline got to his feet and shook himself, before lowering his body into a crouch and letting out low growl from the back of his throat.

    "I can handle you fine," the dog-like Pokémon snapped. "And I'm not the one who's alone right now."

    Ketu looked around, realizing that Ellsberg was sprawled out on the ground between the groups Team Traveller and their new allies had divided into, with the lot of them shooting harsh, newly invigorated glares at him. The Weavile set his teeth on edge and scowled back as his freshly disadvantaged circumstances settled in on him. Sensing that their foe had met his match, a smug smirk settled over Guardia's face, as she gave a rap of her club against an open palm.

    "You should know when you're beat, Manyula," she jeered. "Or do you still 'know' that you can beat us all right now?"

    Ketu flashed his teeth and brushed his claw up against his bag. The Dark-Type's gave a brief glance at it before he looked back up to Team Traveller and their allies with a low growl.

    "Alright, this nonsense has gone on for long enough," he hissed. "Time to end this!"

    The Weavile dug into his bag and brought out a cream-colored orb in a flash. Alice reflexively formed a blackish aura on her body that she pooled into a ball in her left claw. The Sneasel hurled the sphere at Ketu's arm as he hoisted the Slumber Orb to dash against the ground, where it burst and spread shadowy, chain-like tendrils onto the Weavile. Ketu's eyes widened as he tried to tighten his claws around the Slumber Orb, only for the aura to push it away from his palm and let it drop to the ground, where a sudden gust of wind from Calidus blew it into the lava. The Weavile stared a moment at the burning orb and down at the lingering haze on his claws from the Embargo, before baring his teeth and locking eyes with Alice in a fierce glare.

    "Grr, of course you of all Pokémon would resort to a trick like that," Ketu snarled.

    "Well you should've known it would take more than an orb to best us!" Alice scoffed. "Are you really so short on ideas that you'd reuse tactics you know we stopped falling for?"

    The Weavile growled and ignored the Sneasel's comment, before blowing out an Icy Wind at the gathered Pokémon that made them recoil and struggle to keep their footing. Team Traveller and their newfound allies fought with stiff, frigid joints against the wind, uneasily staggering forward as it let up when Percy noticed Ketu was bolting towards him. The Gliscor braced himself, only to realize from a few furtive glances from the Weavile that he was attempting to glimpse behind him. Why he must be trying to come to the aid of his downed teammate!

    "Calidus!" Percy cried. "Don't let him get to that moth!"

    "On it!"

    The Talonflame dove at Ketu with a swift, burning tackle, only for the Dark-Type to slip past him by jumping to the left much to the falcon's dismay. Kline growled and hastily sprang forward, spitting up a column of fiery, bluish light at Ketu that prompted him to somersault backwards into a crouching stop right as the Dragon Pulse slammed into the ground and threw up a large cloud of dust. The Weavile scanned his surroundings intently, when the Zygarde burst through the cloud with a paw raised for a forceful swing. Ketu jumped forward, knocking the dog aside with an ice-slicked punch, before carrying on for Percy's position. Ketu made his way forward a few paces when a sharp, hissing cry from his side rang out, turning to see Ander closing the gap with a low flight along the ground.

    "Here!" the Scyther shouted. "Let me cut you down to size!"

    Ander swung a scythe at him, forcing Ketu to leap to the side and blow an Icy Wind at the Bug-Type's eyes. As Ander screeched and recoiled from his impaired vision, a woosh from behind prompted Ketu to brace his legs and spring up just as Percy sailed below him. The Weavile balled his right claw into a fist and threw it back as it slicked over with ice, before bringing it down with the momentum of his body against Percy's back. The Gliscor tumbled to a crashing stop against the ground, Ketu resuming his course for Ellsberg when a Bonemerang swooped in. He summarily leaned back along his heels, sliding under the errant missile before lobbing a timely Ice Shard up to knock it off-course, leaving Guardia to give chase to her errant club. The Dark-Type finally came upon Ellsberg, bending down when a sharp pain suddenly shot across his back.

    "Grah!"

    Ketu stumbled, pitching forward towards the ground in front of Ellsberg's body. The Weavile caught himself on the ground with his claws and threw himself back up with a glare at his attacker, where he saw a young, livid Druddigon growling at him. Ketu frowned a moment, only for his expression to ease and a taunting smirk to settle over his face.

    "Crom, right? I see you've learned well from your, dad," he sneered. "Figure that if he can't take a little scratch, you'd better play it safe and not fight me head on, huh?"

    Crom set his teeth on edge at the Weavile's taunt, his yellow eyes burning with hate as he flashed his claws with a fierce roar from his young throat.

    "Cállate!"

    The Druddigon lunged forward with a swipe of his claws, only for Ketu to spring away and hurl back a large shard of ice that found its mark square on the Dragon-Type's throat.

    "A-Aah!"

    Crom toppled forward, gagging and gasping for air on the ground much to Nida's horror as she watched her friend writhe in pain.

    "Crom!"

    Nida dashed up, pawing frantically at Crom as the Druddigon woozily staggered back to his feet. Ahead of them, Ketu hastily scooped up Ellsberg and slung him across his back, before dashing side to side quickly enough for his form to blur and then tear off with newfound speed for the midpoint's exit. Percy cried out in alarm and dug through his bag for a Slow Orb that he threw at the ground after the fleeing Weavile, showering him with a spray of whitish silk that clung to his body and slowed his gait back to its normal pace. With the Dark-Type's speed slowed enough to track him, Team Traveller and their allies quickly ran up to try and stop his progress. Elty snarled and spat up an Ember at Ketu, only for him to dash and jump out of the way, followed by an Ice Shard from Alice and an Air Slash from Kiran that zipped by and similarly missed. The Weavile gave a laughing sneer and looked back to call out a taunt mid-run, his jeer summarily cut off by a glowing ball sailing up and striking the back of his left heel.

    "Agh!"

    Ketu tripped, falling face first onto the ground as Ellsberg's prone body tumbled off the Weavile. Pleo's eyes lit up in excitement, as he watched Ketu slowly rise back to his knees, showing what at long last seemed to be a sign their attacks were having an effect on him.

    "I got him! I got him!" the Lugia cried.

    "Good work, Pleo!" Kiran chirped. "If we all attack him before he starts running again, we'll be able to finish this!"

    "I don't think so, Kiran!"

    Team Traveller and their allies recoiled and looked back towards the entrance of the midpoint, where they saw much to their surprise Aldrich flying in. The air around the Noivern's ears churned, before a shockwave shot out from them towards the group. The sound of a deafening burst came over the team, forcing them to flinch and shield their ears. Kiran looked around in a daze as his ears rang, when he watched Sorge and Zelle run in, beelining for Ketu and Ellsberg. Much to everyone's stunned shock, the two stooped down, Sorge passing a Sitrus Berry on to Ketu while Zelle pressed a Reviver Seed up against the end of Ellsberg's tube-like mouth, as Kiran stammered trying to make sense of the scene.

    "T-Team Sentinel?!" the Swellow squawked. "W-What are you doing?!"

    "Hrmph. Even for a Silver Rank, I wouldn't have expected you to be this slow to piece things together," Sorge scoffed.

    At once, Pleo stammered and shrank back frightenedly. These were Rescue Team members, so why were they helping Pokémon from the Company?!

    "E-Eh?! But aren't you good guys?!"

    Kline shook his head, motioning with a foreleg at Ketu and the members of Team Sentinel with him. The Zygarde kept his pupil-less eyes trained on the four, his body arced to spring forward at a moment's notice.

    "I told you there were Pokémon on this island more dangerous than that Samurott," Kline growled. "They're the ones I warned you about!"

    Team Traveller's eyes widened and their jaws slackened, as a hacking cough revealed that Ellsberg had taken back to the air thanks to Zelle's efforts. Her work done, the Sylveon paced up beside Sorge, shooting a taunting smirk over at the Zygarde ahead of her.

    "Really Kline, I didn't expect you would drop by on our little base of operations after all these years," she sneered. "Is it because you're jealous we're giving attention to another Protector now? Don't worry, you'll always be our favorite little tool."

    "Shut up!" Kline roared.

    The Zygarde charged forward, before forcefully slamming his paws down onto the ground. The earth underfoot rended following a string of green lights that snaked for Team Sentinel, prompting Ellsberg and Aldrich to hastily fly up as Ketu jumped onto the Noivern's back. The ground under Sorge and Zelle suddenly erupted with pillars of greenish light that shattered the earth, knocking Sorge off his feet and sending Zelle flying backwards with a yelp as rubble flew wildly around a fresh cloud of dust. Sensing an opportunity to press their advantage, Team Traveller and their allies hastily darted ahead readying attacks of their own, only for Aldrich to suddenly emerge with Ketu out from the dust cloud, prompting Percy to call out in alarm.

    "Snel! Get behind us!" the Gliscor cried.

    The Noivern and Weavile threw forth and intermingled Boomburst and Blizzard, while Percy, Calidus, and Alice hastily formed a wall of Protects that stopped the snowy shockwave in its place. Further ahead, Zelle picked herself up, growling angrily back at the offending Zygarde.

    "You stupid little tool!" she seethed. "Here! Lemme show you what happens to worms who drag me down in the dirt!"

    The Sylveon batted her feelers around, throwing a Moonblast at Kline's dog-like form that passed by as he weaved around the glowing orb. The Zygarde jumped up and spewed a torrent of violet sludge back at his attacker, forcing her back with a pained yelp. The Legendary lunged forward to press his advantage, only for Ellsberg to fly up and use Bug Buzz to shove Kline to the ground.

    "Nrgh!"

    Kline hastily righted himself, bracing his body as he called up a hail of rocks from the surrounding ground to throw at his attackers, when a loud roar suddenly cut through the air.

    "Enough!" Sorge exclaimed.

    The Kommo-o charged towards Kline with surprising speed while his claws trailed flecks of dragonfire. The Dragon-Type closed the distance and swiped right claw across Kline with a lateral slash, knocking the Zygarde back with a yelp. Kline's body hit the ground limply, green light enveloping him as little orbs of light shot away from his body through the fog, shrinking his body down into an amorphous mass until all that remained was the now-unconscious form of the tiny serpent that Team Traveller had encountered the day before.

    "A-Aah! Kline!" Nida yelled.

    "Gih! Percy!" Alice cried. "This isn't looking good!"

    Pleo cringed, diving for cover behind the Storage Rock as more attacks from Team Sentinel flew by, his friends' cries piercing the air as the world seemed to pass by slowly. The seabird lay there panting when above the din of battle, he could swear he heard Nida wish they were back on the ship away from their fiendish attackers. Pleo peered over, only to see her shouting at Guardia to dodge an incoming Air Slash, leaving him staring off puzzledly. He then heard Percy long for a time when Kline could live comfortably with him back home when at the same time he saw the Gliscor overhead locked in combat with Sorge. Pleo rose his head, as he then noticed the voices of the sailors wondering how they could hold their own after the Company would inevitably follow them home, realizing that all the voices he was hearing were from Pokémon counting on and wishing for his safe return.

    The Lugia got up, beating his wings together determinedly as he felt newfound vigor from the wishing voices as light suddenly erupted along his plates, bathing the chamber in a silvery glow that caught everyone's attention. Team Traveller's members stood stunned as they watched Pleo's powers gather to him, Ketu's eyes hardening as he grit his teeth and called out to the Noivern carrying him.

    "Aldrich!" he shouted. "Get a bead on that bird and light him up!"

    "On it!"

    Aldrich quickly spewed forth a Dragon Pulse, striking Pleo and making him stagger back. The Lugia lurched, stepping forward panting as the light on his body flickered, only for Ketu to throw in a spray of black orbs that struck him in his breast and knocked him off his feet. At once, the light on his body vanished and Pleo flopped onto the ground, sprawling out limply in front of his horrified teammates.

    "N-Ngh…"

    "Th-They can just stop him from using his powers like that?!" Guardia yelped.

    "What? Did you really think we would just stand here and take it?" Ketu sneered. "We're not gonna let ourselves get blown away like Lyn did!"

    "Wh-What do we do now?!" Crom stammered.

    Percy grimaced, backpedaling nervously when he noticed from the corner of his eye that their battle with Team Sentinel had left the path Ketu attempted to flee along completely unguarded. At once, the Gliscor spat a violet glob back at their attackers as a distraction, before calling off to the others behind him.

    "This way! We'll retreat to the next floor!" he exclaimed. "We'll have a better chance at shaking them off if we have more space to work with!"

    "But if we just run through the fog, we'll end up on different places when we come out the other side!" Nida cried.

    "We don't have another choice right now, Nida!" Kiran squawked. "Just tail it!"

    The group ran in a mad dash towards the exit as Calidus whipped up a stiff Tailwind with his wings behind the group that pushed them along. Team Sentinel readied a hail of attacks after their foes, only for Alice to dig into her bag and throw a blue orb with sparks flickering under its surface back at them, which made Aldrich's eyes widen with a start.

    "Gah!" the Noivern hissed. "Annoying little pests!"

    The bat hastily beat his wings and whipped up a gust of wind, knocking the Petrify Orb aside into the lava-filled trench. Team Traveller and Kline's party reached the fog, darting in haphazardly with Crom and Percy at the end carrying Pleo. The two hurried along, Crom crying out at the sight of Sorge charging after them into the fog, his yellow claws swiping only to barely miss and the mist to thicken around them as they ran ahead.

    "Keep running!" Percy cried.




    (Continued in next post)
     
  8. Spiteful Murkrow

    Spiteful Murkrow Early Game Encounter

    The lot continued running ahead, frantically throwing out wings and paws to hold onto who they could as they jerked to and fro to stay on the path underfoot. As the fog thickened and Nida's whiskers began to fade from view, the rabbit felt her paw slip off of Kiran's tail, leaving her to stop and grope ahead out of the fog and into a chamber lined with ruddy walls of stone, where she noticed that only Crom, Percy, Elty, and the twin Protectors remained with her.

    "A-Aah!" Nida yelped. "The path shifted before we got out!"

    "Let's- Let's just calm down a moment and get patched up," Crom stammered. "Team Sentinel hasn't made their way through yet!"

    Nida and Percy rooted through their bags in a hurry, producing a pair of Reviver Seeds that the two each administered to their respective Legendaries. As Nida placed her seed in Pleo's mouth, she moved his beak up and down, making the Lugia stir and spit out a Plain Seed as he struggled to his feet.

    "Ngh… Nida?" he groaned. "Did… we make it?"

    "Al-Almost," the Nidoran answered. "Just hang in there a little longer."

    Behind her, Nida heard Kline being roused, watching as the serpent eased himself up onto the end of his tail, only to suddenly go wide-eyed and look around in alarm.

    "Huh?! Pierce?!" Kline asked. "Where are the others?!"

    "We lost them in the fog when we moved out of the midpoint," the Gliscor answered. "Team Sentinel followed us through, so we need to get going before they find us."

    "But my plan to shake off Team Sentinel can't work if we have to leave anyone behind!" he exclaimed.

    "Well, you're the only one of us who can sense them," Percy insisted. "Are you able to find any of them on this floor?"

    Kline paused before hopping ahead and seemingly entering a trance for a moment. Pleo and Nida traded looks with each other, the Lugia pacing up to give a tug at the motionless serpent, only for Percy to stop him as Kline pivoted on his tail to turn back and face the team.

    "They're all gathered near a patch of lava," the Zygarde replied. "I wish that I had more to work with, but I barely had time to scout out this area at all."

    "Then let's start by looking for those!" Pleo cried. "If we keep track of which ones we visited already, we'd find them quickly, right?"

    The team nodded, hastily treating their wounds with a pawful of Oran Berries as Kline hopped into the front pouch of Percy's bag, before the group darted along the dungeon floor, running from passageway to passageway, not even bothering to pick up any items along the way. The group's flight led them to a room with a lava patch at its far edge, where a quick scan revealed their teammates to be neither there nor on the other side of the lava. The six looked to their left, quickly finding and beelining for another passageway to continue their search, only to come to a skidding stop at the sight of a scarfless Salazzle walking out of it. The Poison-Type recoiled with a start, dropping to all fours and hissing threateningly at the unwelcome intruders…

    "You hut-dwellers have got some nerve to just barge in here like-!"

    … only for the group to just push the feral aside and keep running, prompting the lizard to get up in spluttering surprise before snarling and giving chase.

    "Hey! Get back here and fi-!"

    Team Traveller looked back just as the Salazzle was abruptly cut off by a beam of dragonfire, flinging her aside into the wall where she toppled and slumped to the floor. The three caught a fleeting glimpse of Ketu and Aldrich hurrying in, when a turn of the corridor cut all but the sound of the pair's voices from their senses.

    "Gah! Some feral got in the way!" the Noivern fumed.

    "Never mind that! They went down that way!" Ketu exclaimed.

    The six tore along the pathway as landing wingbeats rang out behind them, the group ducking down one blind corner after another while they heard the sound of rushing footsteps pursuing them. Every so often, a bluish flash or freezing wind would appear behind them, followed by the hiss and crash of dragonfire and ice sailing off into a stony wall, the last proving to be close enough to send a hail of pebbles forward that struck Elty's rump and prompted him to shoot a panicked glance over to Percy.

    "Gah! You'd better have a plan for if we get on a long straightaway!" the Growlithe yipped. "There's nowhere to hide here!"

    "Focus on one thing at a time!" Percy cried. "Just stay ahead of them for now!"

    The Gliscor turned his attention back forward and came to an abrupt stop in front of a stony wall, where the path forked to the left and the right. The lot quickly looked down both pathways, noting that each curved around a bend and seemed to be lit up by reddish light in the distance, with no indication as to which of the two was the surer route of escape.

    "Wh-Which way do we go?" Pleo stammered.

    "I can see light at either end, so both lead to a patch of lava," Elty panted. "But what's it matter if those two know exactly where to turn?!"

    Nida's ears flared at the sound of approaching footsteps, realizing that their time was short. She turned, looking frantically to her left and right, only for her gaze to settle on Pleo and Percy, and for a faint spark to flicker over her mind.

    "Percy, can you still glide?" the Nidoran asked.

    "I… think that the Oran Berry helped enough for me to," he answered. "Why?"

    "Follow my lead, then! This way, Pleo!"

    Nida darted along, hurrying him down the left corridor as the others quickly followed suit. The Nidoran carried on until the sight of the sharp turn in the stony path, wheeling around and crying out to the Lugia following her.

    "Pleo! Jump!"

    Pleo leapt into the air, his eyes widening as Nida jumped up at him. The Nidoran landed on his back, tugging at his feathers for dear life which made Pleo jerk back and fly backwards befuddledly as Nida called down to him

    "Keep going, Pleo!"

    Elty stopped and looked up, staring confusedly only to feel a sharp yank at the back of his neck. The Puppy Pokémon yelped with a start, as he felt his body get lifted off the ground, looking up to see Percy latched onto him and gliding in the air, following after Pleo and Nida for the rightward path as Crom vaulted into the air and joined them with an open-winged glide. The lot settled at the other end, hurrying around a bend when Ketu and Aldrich's footsteps sounded out behind them.

    "I see footsteps!" Ketu cried. "This way!"

    The lot heard held their breaths, listening tensely as Ketu and Aldrich's movements grew louder, only to fade along with their voices. Realizing that their feint had worked, Nida, Pleo, Crom, and Elty exhaled in relief, grateful that they'd bought a moment's respite from their pursuers.

    "That was close," Pleo sighed.

    "Yeah, quick thinking there, Nida," Percy added.

    "Was the lift by my scruff really needed, though?" Elty grumbled. The Fire-Type gave an uncomfortable shake of his pelt, when the front of Percy's bag shifted as Kline jolted upright and poked his head out.

    "The others are just up ahead!" he exclaimed.

    The Puppy Pokémon and his companions dashed ahead into a chamber with a pair of entrances from their left and right, with a pool of magma at the other end. There at the center were the missing members of their teams, getting up from a hurried healing as Dimitri noticed Pleo's group run in, raising a scythe up to point at them.

    "Ah! There they are!" Dimitri cried.

    "Took ya long enough!" Alice added. "We were getting worried about you!"

    "Ketu and Aldrich found us and were chasing us around!" Pleo squawked. "We need to hurry up and get out of here!"

    "How?" Guardia asked. "Those yajū broke our Escape Orb earlier!"

    "We've got one of our own, but we can't get going just yet," Percy answered. "We'll need to stay in the dungeon for a little longer in order to cover our tracks."

    "Huh? How are we supposed to do that?" Ander demanded.

    The Gliscor opened his mouth to answer, only for a sharp buzz to ring out and a slashing gust of wind to send him pitching forward with a cry.

    "Over there!" Ellsberg's voice shouted. "They've gathered by that pool of lava!"

    The group cringed and whirled their heads to the left, where the forms of Sorge, Zelle, and Ellsberg hurried into the chamber. Zelle and Ellsberg fanned out to the sides of the Kommo-o in the center, who called out to his Sylveon teammate.

    "Zelle!" Sorge bellowed "Take out their forward guard!"

    On cue, the Fairy-Type cupped her feelers, forming a orb of pinkish-white light that she threw at Team Traveller and their allies, forcing them to dive for cover. Dimitri hastily tried to scuttle away from the front, only for the Moonblast to strike him with a yelp, leaving Zelle to smile cruelly as the Kabutops staggered and struggled to regain his footing.

    "Hah! This is all too easy!"

    Guardia growled and pulled her arm back and lobbed her bone in a twirling arc at Zelle, prompting the Fairy-Type to side-step the incoming missile. The Sylveon smirked and flared her feelers out as she readied a blast of pinkish light, when the Bonemerang abruptly returned and clipped her in the back of her head on the way back to its thrower. The budding Moonblast disappeared as Zelle winced and rubbed at her head, leaving Guardia to jeer triumphantly at the Sylveon.

    "You should pay more attention to your surroundings!" the Cubone taunted.

    "I could say the same to you!"

    Guardia's blood ran cold at the sound of Sorge roaring from further ahead, prompting her to look slightly to her left and see him charging with a fist slicked over in ice. The Cubone flinched, throwing her club and free claw in front of her face to shield herself, when the sound of a deep buzz followed by a pained screech rang out. Guardia cracked her eyes open, watching as Sorge pulled his fist back to strike at a Scyther slumped over at his feet, only for Percy to swoop in with a flying tackle, and Calidus with a Brave Bird that drew the Kommo-o away from Ander's groaning form on the ground. Realizing that Ander had taken the Dragon-Type's wrath in her stead, the bone lizard darted up worried about the mantis' condition, tugging frantically at his shoulders.

    "C-Come on, Strike!" she insisted. "Get up!"

    Ander woozily struggled to raise his body back up, only for the sound of running footfalls from the left to announce Aldrich and Ketu's presence, making Elty jump back with a yelping start.

    "Gah!" Elty cried. "Now would be a good time for that plan of yours!"

    "Get into that corridor behind us!" Percy shouted. "Just run and don't look back!"

    Team Traveller's members hurried along as Percy and Alice darted into the corridor with Kline, Dimitri grabbing Ander with the flats of his scythes and throwing the mantis onto his feet, hurrying the stricken Scyther along slumped on his shoulder for support. Calidus threw up a Protect from behind the group as Team Sentinel sent a barrage of attacks at them, the others falling back one after the other down the narrow corridor. The barrier faded, prompting the Talonflame to spit a fiery spray back for cover, before forming another Protect, the incoming attacks from Tean Sentinel coming thicker and quicker between each subsequent alternation. Team Sentinel continued pushing further and further into the corridor, before Percy suddenly turned from the head of the line back towards Team Traveller.

    "Alright! This is it!" the Gliscor exclaimed. "We need you to slow them down a bit!"

    "Let's hit 'em with everything we've got!" Calidus cried. The Talonflame swooped down, blue streaks trailing after his body as he dove for Zelle, only for the Sylveon to form a shadowy orb between her feelers as he closed in. Calidus steepened his dive and pulled up low against the ground in an attempt to dodge, only to be knocked onto the ground by the orb finding its mark on his back from above.

    "Hrmph! Do you honestly think I'm that predictable?" she scoffed.

    Zelle readied another Shadow Ball to lob at the stricken falcon, turning her eyes away from the rest of the fleeing party. Sensing an opportunity at paw, Nida dashed up, driving her paw hard into the Sylveon's chest with a Poison Jab.

    "Argh!"

    The Nidoran hastily retreated to her teammates as Zelle stumbled back, hugging the ground in tense anticipation of a parting shot from the Sylveon… only for it to never come. Nida noticed her friends staring off at Zelle as Calidus hurried away to regroup further back, prompting her to look over her shoulder and see Zelle easing herself back up with purple fluid staining a spot on her pelt. The Nidoran blinked for a moment as Sorge came rushing in, stooping down beside his teammate with the green form of a Lum Berry, when the Nidoran's eyes lit up in realization…

    "Wait, that's it!" the Poison-Type exclaimed. "Whenever they're healing themselves, they're not able to focus on chasing us!"

    Elty looked ahead, noticing that Sorge had left his left flank unguarded. The Puppy Pokémon let out a low growl and dashed along for the preoccupied dragon, as flecks of bluish fire began to dance at the back of his throat.

    "Try this on for size!"

    Elty spat up a Will-O-Wisp at the Kommo-o as he turned and looked up, the filaments of fire settling on his flank and leaving behind ruddy burns that made the Dragon-Type wince and clutch at his burnt side. As expected, Sorge reflexively dug through his bag for a fresh Lum Berry instead of giving chase, allowing Team Traveller to continue their retreat unimpeded. From behind Sorge and Zelle, Ketu looked past their shoulders, scowling irritatedly as he realized that their foes were inflicting one ailment after another to buy time and slip further and further out of their grasp.

    "Enough with your cheap tricks, brats!" he snarled. "Let's see how you deal with being iced!"

    The Weavile leapfrogged his teammates, readying a Blizzard that he sent careening down the corridor. Elty and his teammate flinched, screwing their eyes shut as the icy torrent of snow bore down on them, only to feel little beyond a deep chill. Warily, Nida cracked her eyes open, where she saw Calidus holding up a flickering barrier of light with his wings, with a layer of ice caking up at the other end.

    "Calidus!"

    "We've finished what we needed to!" the Talonflame cried. "Just hurry up and get to Percy!"

    Nida and her friends turned and ran into a dead-end chamber hemmed by rocky walls on every end as Calidus' barrier faded and the layer of ice fell to the ground with a crunch. From behind, they saw Calidus and Alice hurry them along as Sorge let out a bellowing roar, charging after them down the corridor. Up ahead, Percy gathered a few of Team Traveller's members around them, passing a black orb with a light emanating from it around which caught Aldrich's attention.

    "They're trying to teleport out!" the Noivern exclaimed. "Pick off who you can!"

    Ketu threw a shard of ice after Kiran, nicking his tail feathers as he hastily rolled out of the way. After seeing that the group clustered together ahead, Sorge dug his claws through his bag, fishing out a Petrify Orb, when a black sphere struck him and enveloped his limbs with the telltale slick, inky aura of an Embargo. The sound of a jeering cry revealed the culprit to be Alice, who pulled an eyelid down at the group and stuck her tongue out, only to hastily turn as Team Sentinel and their Mothim ally's tempers flared and their attention settled on the impudent Dark-Type.

    Zelle opened the salvo by lobbing a Moonblast after Alice, missing her arm by mere hairs as she jerked it away, the Sneasel quickly entering a roll to dodge an incoming Bug Buzz flying overhead. Alice hastily threw her body back up onto her feet, resuming her sprint only for a Flamethrower from Aldrich to sail in and strike her in the back.

    "A-Agh!"

    The Sneasel pitched forward and tumbled along the ground as items spilled from her bag. Sorge growled and raised his claws to pounce on the fallen Sneasel, only for Calidus to swoop in and spit a spray of fire at his face, grabbing Alice's arms with his talons and flying for Percy just in time for the Gliscor to hand his Escape Orb to the Talonflame for a hasty rub before taking it back into his claws. Pleo breathed in, watching as Team Sentinel stomped along for them, only to notice that among the items Alice had dropped was the form of a small green serpent with a red spot on its back and belly lying facedown and wriggling weakly.

    "W-Wait!" Pleo squawked. "We dropped Kline!"

    Team Traveller's members whirled around looking back in horror to see the serpent's form on the ground jerking up and slowly trying to squirm over. In the midst of their gazing, Pleo chanced to see Percy had already lifted the orb into the air, readying it for a throw to the ground.

    "No! Don't-!"

    The Gliscor threw the orb down, enveloping the group in a large flash of light as Team Sentinel threw a hail of attacks at them, kicking up a spray of stone fragments. Sorge and his teammates paced forward as the rubble settled, only for the Kommo-o's eyes to come across the form of the green serpent on the ground ahead.

    "Subject Red's right there!" he cried.

    The serpent turned back in a jerky, erratic motion, before starting to slither away in a hurry as Ketu snarled and readied an Ice Shard in his claws.

    "Oh no you don't!"

    Ketu flicked the shard forward, striking the back of the snake's head which sent him pinwheeling to a stop on the ground, lying motionless as the Weavile gave a satisfied smirk.

    "Hah! Not so tough when you can't just run away from your problems, now are you, Kline?" he sneered. "Ellsberg, you've still got that Apricorn with you?"

    "Ah! Right!" the Mothim answered.

    Ellsberg fluttered over to the fallen serpent and fished through a satchel, pulling out a thick bundle of cloth. The moth carefully peeled the layers back with his tarsi, revealing a smooth, white surface. The Bug-Type slammed the Apricorn down on the green creature's body as a brilliant flash of light shined and engulfed the serpent's form. The light abruptly shrank into an arcing ray that was pulled into the Apricorn's surface as quickly as it came, leaving nothing behind but the Apricorn in Ellsberg's tarsi, which he dutifully returned to the bag as Team Sentinel traded approving nods.

    "Hrmph, looks like our mission is finally over," Aldrich said.

    "About time," Zelle remarked. "This chase has been such a drag."

    "Huh?" Ellsberg asked. "But the Guardian of the Seas still escaped!"

    "It doesn't matter," Ketu rebutted. "We've gotten something much more important out of it, and we even have what we need to get Lyn out of our fur after this."

    Ellsberg flitted back with a confused buzz, giving a puzzled tilt of his head back at the Weavile.

    "I don't follow," the moth said. "How on earth is the Protector the Board's searching for not the most important thing here?"

    "Because, you don't work for the entire Board right now," Ketu explained. "Administrator Elilan specifically told us to keep an eye out for other Legendaries while we were out, and Subject Red is the main one he's looking for. With him finally at his disposal, the Administrator will be in a position to go back for that Lugia whenever he pleases."

    Ellberg remained in the air, staring at the Weavile with a flabbergasted silence when Sorge broke the quiet with a grunting shake of his head.

    "You can bring your friend up to speed later, Ketu," the Kommo-o insisted. "We had to cut short that interception of Tidemill's messenger after spotting Subject Red, so you'll need to get out of port in a hurry.

    Ketu blinked at the news, before giving a sighing shake of his head.

    "Right," the Weavile piped. "Then let's hurry up and get out of this dump."

    Ketu and his allies quickly gathered around, the Weavile fetching a black orb much like the one Percy had used to escape from his bag. The lot passed the Escape Orb around, before it returned back to Ketu, who dashed it against the ground with a crash. A brilliant flash of light erupted, and in the twinkling of an eye, the five vanished from the dungeon, leaving behind only silent volcanic stone around them.




    Outside of Buyeom's Mystery Dungeon, a matching flash of light appeared at the mouth of the dungeon's entrance, where Team Sentinel and Ellsberg materialized amidst the glow. Sorge quickly scanned his surroundings, before motioning to the others, prompting the five to quickly hurry along the path back for Magmapool. Unbeknownst to the group, from a set of bushes overlooking the path, a faint rustling rang out as Pleo timidly poked his head out and watched Ketu and his allies slip off, before pulling it back in and waddling over to his friends in a shaded clearing, where his companions all stood dead-eyed and at a loss of what to do next.

    "Th-This is awful!" Crom cried. "They caught Kline!"

    "The Company with Zygarde?" Ander shuddered. "How could this have become any more of a disaster?"

    "I wouldn't be too worried about it," Alice insisted. "Things aren't as bad as they look."

    "H-Huh?! How can you say that?!" Pleo squawked. "The Company stole your friend! And now they're gonna try to keep him away from everyone!"

    "For crying out loud, I'm right here!"

    Team Traveller's members jumped back at the sound of a sharp voice in front of them, looking down in time to see a translucent, serpentine shape appear, before filling in with color to reveal none other than Kline. Pleo beat his wings with a start, stammering blankly as he turned back and forth from the Zygarde in front of him and the direction of the path Team Sentinel took.

    "A-Ah!" Pleo cried. "But you were- and we just saw-"

    "A little bait and switch," Percy explained. "Like we said, we had a plan to outsmart them."

    "You mean I had a plan," Kline huffed. "I'm the one who came up with it."

    Percy hemmed and hawed awkwardly, before giving a sheepish scratch at the back of his head at his squishy companion's protests. All the while, Team Traveller's members stared confusedly at the Zygarde, before trading uneasy glances.

    "But… how?" Dimitri demanded. "And who did they just capture?"

    "Hmph, we can worry about details like that when we get to your ship," the Zygarde scoffed back. "Time is of the essence, after all."

    Team Traveller's members nodded back in affirmation to the serpent, only to pause and suddenly blink, with Crom warily speaking up to ensure his ears hadn't deceived him.

    "Wait, you want to come with us to the Siglo Swellow?" the Druddigon asked.

    "Well you wanted to team up, didn't you?" Kline piped. "Besides, that Samurott is not gonna wait in port once Ketu returns to him, and after what just happened I suppose you could use some answers."

    A small, tired smile spread over Crom's face, along with his teammates. After how much of an ordeal the ambush had been, it was heartening to hear that something good had come out of it…

    "Thank you, Protector… we appreciate that," Kiran said. "In that case, let's head back to the ship."

    "Don't let your guard down so quickly. You're not in the clear just yet," Kline warned, drawing puzzled stares back from the Swellow and his companions.

    "Eh? Why not?" Guardia demanded. "We just saw those yajū leave and you said Lyn would leave town as well!"

    "Because a messenger was en route to inform the local guards about what happened in Tidemill," the serpent answered. "If they haven't already started looking for you, it would be a matter of hours at the most before they did."

    The lot blanched at Kline's reply. They didn't know how the Zygarde would be privy to such a thing, but with his track record of seeming to know things inexplicably… discounting his warning surely wasn't a good idea.

    "What are we supposed to do then?" Crom asked.

    "We'll make our way towards your ship," Kline offered. "We'll try to avoid drawing attention as long as we can, and if the guards notice us, you'll fight our way to the ship."

    "Wait, you're not helping us fight any guards?!" Elty yipped. "Why would you do that when you just helped us fight off Team Sentinel back in the Dungeon?!"

    "Because if I change my Forme, Team Sentinel and that Mothim will know I tricked them if they're still in Magmapool," the Zygarde harrumphed. "Besides, I've seen enough to know that you're talented at picking your fights and running from stronger foes, Eltenios."

    Elty flattened his ears and frowned back sourly at the serpent For a 'mon that could get his name right without an introduction and keep Team Sentinel on their toes, it sure felt like he was quick to come up with excuses for not doing anything…

    "Yeah, because trying to outwit a bunch of Imps on their own turf after what we just went through is really such a good idea…" the Growlithe grumbled.

    "… Actually," Nida began. "I think Kline might be onto something, Elty."

    Quiet fell over the group, as the gathered Pokémon stared at Nida. The Nidoran looked around uneasily, before shaking her head and stamping her feet adamantly.

    "We made it out of Tidemill by sticking together, didn't we? And we just did it again with that fight with the Company," she offered. "If we all just work as a team, who's to say we can't get through a town back to the ship?"

    The Nidoran's teammates traded glances with each other, before their eyes began to firm in determination. Crom murmured back in agreement, then Kiran and Guardia, the process continuing until even Ander seemed to be confident enough about the idea to want to try it. From the side, Percy stepped forward and cleared his throat to speak.

    "I think that settles it, then. And Kline aside, the rest of us will be helping you," he replied. "That said, we should probably start moving fast. The longer we wait, the greater the odds the guards will try to board your ship before we get there."

    The Gliscor set off, carefully exiting out onto the path and looking both ways before the others followed along one by one. Once everyone had made their way back onto the path, the group carried on, trekking off down the volcano's slope towards Magmapool's black walls off in the distance.




    Back at Magmapool's harbor, the hubbub of dock workers shuffling cargo up and down the wharves filtered up to a low hill wedged between the water and the walls overlooking the harbor. There, Albert, David, Charlie, and Marilyn looked around agitatedly at the mouth of a shaded alley, the four turning to leave when the Riolu suddenly closed his eyes and flared out his feelers. The others looked at their teammate and then up as a woosh rang out, revealing the form of a Noivern circling before coming to a stop in the lane outside. The bat pulled his wings in towards his body and turned his head behind him where the rest of Team Sentinel and Ellsberg caught up with him and made their way together for the alleyway at a casual gait that struck Albert as wholly unbecoming of how late they were.

    "Where have you been?" the Nuzleaf demanded. "We were supposed to begin your stupid operation half an hour ago!"

    The Grass-Type's outburst was answered by a low growl from Sorge and his teammates, along with a flash of his claws. At once, the Nuzleaf and his companions quieted, backpedaling and shrinking away while Ellsberg flitted forward with an unimpressed scoff.

    "Hrmph. We were held up a bit in the Mystery Dungeon," the Mothim shot back. "But we're here now, and you still have your other half of the bargain to fulfill."

    "It's showtime. And do try to get the eyes right this time, David," Ketu sneered. "I can't really help you if you fail your mission here."

    The Ditto mumbled under his breath, before his body began to warp and expand with a whitish glow, stretching out into a long-necked figure with wings and a tail. His body's surface began to turn white under the light as feathers sprouted and blue plates spread along his back. The changeling closed his eyes as the last patches of pink faded away in favor of white plumes, before opening his eyes and revealing red pupils and white sclera that blinked uneasily before hardening into an impatient scowl.

    "Is that good enough for you?" David demanded.

    "That's not for me to decide, but for Lyn," Ketu chided. "Do remember that."

    David beat his newly formed wings, and after a few awkward moments to find his footing, took to the air with Ellsberg following suit. Sorge watched as the pair slipped off for the harbor and shrank into hazy dots, prompting him to turn to his Noivern teammate.

    "Aldrich. Listen in on them and keep us updated," Sorge ordered.

    "Got it."

    The bat took wing, flying up onto the slate roof of the warehouse beside the alley and trained his ears, dutifully moving them after the newly formed 'Lugia' and his escort. Back on the ground, Sorge raised a scope and peered off at the Nektar Weide's sails just in time to see David pass overhead, along with a sudden icy ray that shot up and narrowly missed his wings. The transformed Ditto recoiled, as Sorge followed the ray down to the form of a Samurott hastily barking out orders to Pokémon on deck, with shapes taking to the air as Aldrich peered over to pass on his findings.

    "Sounds like Lyn's fallen for it," the Noivern remarked. "Let's hope Ellsberg pulls this through."

    Sorge trained his attention back on David, where every now and then the form of a flying Pokémon would cut in between as the Ditto wheeled wildly across the sky in between incoming attacks. After seeing the numbers of the escorts grow, Ellsberg abruptly shot ahead, cutting David off and forcing him to change course and turn sharply for the ship, where a jet of water struck him from below and sent him pinwheeling to the deck.

    The Kommo-o lost sight of David as Lyn pounced on the spot where he fell and sailors crowded around. Amidst the confusion a Toxicroak ran up with a thick cloth bag, while Lyn carefully wrapped a cloth around one of his paws before reaching into the satchel. Sorge watched as Lyn's paw came back out with a red object that slipped from view as he brought it against David's unseen body and spawned a whitish flash of light. There was a moment's pause, before Lyn's face turned up in a victorious sneer, as he held the form of a Red Apricorn aloft, his mouth running off with what looked to be triumphant movements, ones which Sorge puzzled to match words to before Aldrich dropped down with an unimpressed harrumph.

    "Hrmph, someone's taking his time to gloat," the bat scoffed. "But I don't think you needed me to say anything about that."

    "Good," Ketu said. "It means our job here is done then."

    Charlie and Marilyn traded looks with each other, pawing uneasily at Albert for attention. The Nuzleaf hemmed and hawed a moment, before warily stepping forward towards Team Sentinel's members.

    "So… I assume this is where you'll be giving us our stuff back and we both pretend we never ran into each other?" Albert began. The Nuzleaf waited for a response, only to be met with wordless stares, as Zelle's mouth quietly curled up with a cruel smirk.

    "Now why would we do anything crazy like that?" the Sylveon sneered.

    "H-Huh?! Hey what the-?! We had a deal!" Albert cried. "We carried out our end of the bargain, so it's time for you- AAGH!"

    The Grass-Type's protests were cut off by a gust of sparkling, pinkish wind from Zelle, knocking Albert flat on his back against the ground. Marilyn and Charlie cringed, before scurrying over and hastily trying to tug at their fallen companion as he woozily righted himself, freezing as Ketu stepped forward and flashed one of his claws.

    "You should save your strength while you can," the Weavile jeered. "Sorge already handed over your stuff to the guards and tipped them off about you, so you'll probably need it if you don't want a one-way trip to the Wastes."

    The three's hearts sank as horrified expressions sprouted over their faces. One after the other, the fraudsters cried out in spluttering protest, only for Team Sentinel to begin filing off, with Ketu lingering at the mouth of the alleyway.

    "Anyway, we've got places to be," the Dark-Type said. "Send us a letter sometime if you manage to give those Imps the slip!"

    The four hurried along, the sound of the con artists yelling after them fading away as the group ducked down one winding alley after the next. The tang of salt air and noise of bobbing waves grew more noticeable amidst the sound of work on the docks as Team Sentinel darted out onto the main lane that connected the wharves. The surrounding chatter abruptly died down as shouts and tromping footsteps rang out, the wharves' liveliness coming to a halt as Pokémon turned and watched a large group of guards beelining for a white-sailed brigantine at the other end much to Ketu's irritation.

    "Great," he grumbled. "Looks like the guards are onto Lyn."

    "Hmph, no matter," Sorge replied. "We'll just get you back and-"

    "Halt!"

    The Kommo-o and his companions turned around at sound of a sharp bark from behind, coming face to face with a Torkoal and Smeargle in indigo scarves. The two guards paused a moment, their gruff scowls melting away for more cheerful expressions as the Smeargle gave a friendly wave at the familiar faces from the rescue guild.

    "Oh, Team Sentinel!" the Painter Pokémon cried. "Your timing couldn't be better! That Weavile with you-"

    Before he could finish, the Smeargle was cut off by a rake from Sorge's claws, flinging him into the hull of a ship before dropping into the water with a splash. The Torkoal stammered out of shock, hastily readying a gout of fire, only Ketu to interrupt him with a Night Slash that sent him reeling back, followed by a Dragon Pulse from Aldrich that launched the turtle up into the air before striking the ground on his shell where his limbs splayed out limply. Zelle looked over the fainted turtle as the din of battle roared in the background, leaving her to shake her head with a sigh.

    "So much for our cover…" Zelle murmured. "I'll miss those hot springs."

    A series of deafening blasts rang out, prompting the four to turn and see attacks flying to and from the docks near the Nektar Weide as sailors and workers on the docks quickly dove for cover in nearby buildings and aboard moored ships. Ketu quickly scanned his surroundings, training his attention to the nearby ships where he saw that the one berthed next to the Nektar Weide had its sailors watching warily from the deck, with their gangplank lowered and unguarded.

    "Come on, I think we've got a way in."

    Ketu motioned to his fellows and dashed along, running down the wharves for the pier just before the Nektar Weide as attacks flew in a thick hail around the brigantine, punctuated by shouts and pained screams. The Dark-Type made a hard right and turned to run down the pier, getting about halfway to the gangplank when a stream of fire suddenly zipped overhead and forced him to duck.

    "Jeogi!" a yipping voice cried. "Don't let them get away!"

    The lot looked back along the pier where they saw a Ninetales leading the charge at the head of a mob of indigo-scarved Pokémon. Sorge and Aldrich hastily threw up Protects as an increasingly fierce rain of attacks dashed against them, prompting Ketu to breathe out an icy huff of breath and shoot an annoyed glare at the approaching guards.

    "Ugh, seriously?"

    The Weavile inhaled deeply and breathed out a Blizzard along the dock, slicking it with snow and ice just as the Ninetales and his fellows set foot onto it. The fox struggled with his footing and pratfell, which tripped up a Gothorita, and then a Torracat, leading to a cacophony of guards slipping off their feet while others tumbled clear off into the water. Ketu watched as the mob's determined assault dissolved into a dazed mess of guards tripping over each other and shouting in confusion, while others groaned of heavier counterparts that had fallen on them, leaving the Weavile to roll his eyes and turn back to his peers.

    "Come on, this way!"

    Ketu ran up the gangplank, leading the rest of his teammates up onto the ship's deck. At the top, a Machamp from the merchant crew noticed their approach and turned to intercept the lot with a harsh growl.

    "Hey! What do you think you're doing on our-?!"

    The Fighting-Type was swiftly answered by a Moonblast from Zelle that knocked him across the deck, prompting the other sailors on the ship to recoil in shock. Ketu ran ahead and sliced a length of rigging with his claws and let a rope swing down, which he held out to his teammates.

    "Sorge!"

    The Kommo-o grabbed onto the rope as Zelle hastily latched onto Sorge's arm with her feelers, the Kommo-o scooping her up as Ketu clung onto his other shoulder. Sorge leapt off the deck with his teammates, swinging across the gap to the Nektar Weide while Aldrich followed from the air. The four landed on the deck just behind Lyn, prompting him to look back and at once notice his previously-absent first mate.

    "Where have you been?!" Lyn demanded. "We just caught the Guardian of the Seas here-"

    The lot ducked as a fiery plume zipped past them, the ship rocking as blows landed against the hull with newfound ferocity. A loud crack rang out, prompting Lyn to peer over and see that a Stone Edge had punched a hole into the hull just above the waterline of the Nektar Weide, with the streets and lanes around the dock growing thick with newly arriving guards. Sorge forcefully jostled his scales against each other with a loud clang, sending a violet-tinged shockwave over the railing at the guards, before bellowing over his shoulder to the Samurott captain.

    "We'll explain later!" Sorge replied. "Just get us out of here before we get sunk!"

    Lyn shook his head, and tightened his paws around his seamitars. While being chased out of port yet again by the Empire was hardly something his pride as a captain needed, it was hard to see what else would be needed for completing the mission. Satisfied, the otter turned towards his embattled underlings, shouting out fiercely above the roar of battle

    "You heard him!" Lyn yelled. "Get this ship moving and take us back for Vollezee! Our mission in Imperial waters is done!"

    At once, the crew raised the sails, sliced the moorings, and dragged the anchor up while the escorts dashed ahead of the stern and towed the ship away from the pier. Once the craft reached the middle of the harbor, the escorts swung around and whipped up waves and gales in the air and water behind them, pushing the brigantine out for the open sea as Team Sentinel led the charge throwing attacks from the railing to cover their retreat. The ship slipped further and further from view, the confusion around the docks ebbing just as the forms of a Nuzleaf, a Riolu, and an Eevee darted out from a nearby alleyway, staring blankly at the departing ship.

    "Th-They used us!" Marilyn cried.

    "I knew this was a bad idea… I just knew it…" Charlie murmured.

    "Hey! It's those three! They're also on the list!"

    The trio turned and saw a sopping Ninetales motioning towards them, as a Clefable and a Weezing headed over. Albert stood dumb with fright for a moment, before hastily shaking his head and turning to his companions.

    "Gih! Worry about that later!" the Nuzleaf yelped. "We need to shake these guys!"

    The Grass-Type sprang back just as a Flamethrower flew in, before tearing off in the opposite direction, Marilyn and Charlie following on his heels with startled yelps. The three made a desperate dash into the winding alleys of the port as the guards chased after them, shouting and attacking all the while.




    Further up the hill, Team Traveller and their new companions carried along down Magmapool's hilltops, making their way back through the settlement past Pokémon and carts in the tight and winding lanes for the black stone gate. All the while, the lot kept a keen eye on their surroundings, drifting down back alleys at the sight of guards until eventually the gate to the harbor came into view ahead of them.

    "That's it over there," Nida said. "Just a little more and we'll be able to make it to the harbor."

    "Hrmph, just stay on your guard and don't get presumptuous," Kline piped from inside Percy's bag. "We're not at your ship yet, Nida."

    The Nidoran quieted and continued on pensively with her companions, casting an occasional glance at the surrounding streets for any sign of trouble. The gate at the bottom of the hill began to come into view, where the rabbit noticed that there seemed to be more guards than usual passing through it for the docks. The Poison-Type faltered a moment, wondering what could've drawn the guards together when a gruff growl pricked her ears from behind.

    "Hey you!"

    The group froze and uneasily turned around to see a Magcargo and Escavalier in indigo scarves hurrying up behind them with harsh scowls. Team Traveller backed away uneasily, as the Magcargo came up and leveled a piercing glare over at Pleo.

    "We noticed you going through town with that bird earlier," he barked. "We've got some questions for you about him, and you're going to answer them."

    The gathered Pokémon tensed up, as a sinking suspicion of what the questions would be about came upon them. Even so, for now, it was perhaps for the best to just play along…

    "Er… sure? What is it?" Elty asked.

    "Well first off, your buddy there looks just like a wanted 'mon from the capital," the Escavalier said. "And you're sharing his colors."

    "So, why don't you come along peacefully," the Magcargo added. "And we'll get an explanation over what's going on, hm?"

    The lot grimaced and traded nervous glances with each other, pausing tensely before Kiran warily paced forward, clearing his throat to speak.

    "Er… well, we would like to tell you, but it's a busy day and we've got a lot going on and-"

    Kiran abruptly cut his words short and brought his wings together with a slicing wind that swept the Magcargo off his underside and sent him tumbling into a nearby market stall with a crash. The Escavalier stared stunned at the sight of her companion being thrown aside as yelps and faint trails of smoke from cloth and wood the snail had managed to set alight drifted up, before turning back to Team Traveller and their allies with readied lances and a hissing glare.

    "Hey! Why you-!"

    Before the Bug-Type could finish, Percy abruptly rammed into the Escavalier with an Acrobatics, launching the guard into a storefront with a loud crash. Team Traveller and their companions turned to run, only to spot the Magcargo inching up with an audible seethe and readying a gout of fire. With a swift motion, Elty darted up and kicked up dirt from the lane into the snail's face, prompting the Magcargo to snort up a hacking puff of smoke and cringe with tightly-shut eyes.

    "Ack! Nae nun! I can't see!"

    "Time to go, everyone!" Kiran cried.

    The group fled, rushing past the blinded Magcargo and stunned onlookers as he blinked away the dirt and the Escavalier got up, flicking away some broken glass stuck to her lances with an angry hiss as she gave chase.

    "Hey! Get back here!"

    The Bug-Type's words carried down the lane as Pleo and his companions kept running ahead, ducking down alleys and intersections. All the while, the sound of pursuing footsteps and shouting voices rang out and grew ever louder and more numerous as more and more guards gave chase to them, reducing the town's peaceful day into a fleeting memory.




    Author's Notes:

    - Manyula (マニューラ) - Japanese: "Weavile" (Official Romanization)
    - Glion (グライオン) - Japanese: "Gliscor" (Official Romanization)
    - Acrobat (アクロバット) - Japanese: "Acrobatics" (Official Romanization)
    - Snel! - Dutch: "Quick!"
    - Strike (ストライク) - Japanese: "Scyther" (Official Romanization)
    - Jeogi! (저기!) - Korean: "Over there!" (South Korean Revised Romanization)
    - Nae nun! (내눈!) - Korean: "My eyes!" (South Korean Revised Romanization)
     
  9. Ambyssin

    Ambyssin I'm just here

    Hoo-whee! Look at this here big ol' ball of violence. Them kids got themselves in a mighty fine mess, I tell ya what. Lots of lovely attack combinations here to nicely gauge the difference in experience. Team Traveller's take is to mostly try using their own moves in succession, while Team Sentinel (I'm including Ketu and Ellsberg with 'em for simplicity) actually combine their attacks to make them far more aggravating than they'd be alone. I also like how the lava created an additional hazard of sorts, even if it does make me scratch my head as to how Ketu's ice-based attacks didn't immediately evaporate from the supposed heat. Video game logic, I know. but i wrote a volcano battle and made my ice type useless :pGuess Ketu should've been a different species if this was going to be his big moment. I do like the use of more niche moves like Embargo and Tailwind that are, like, pretty useless in PMD games and, in general, never used in fics. XP

    Naturally, the chapter's opening made it pretty clear Kline would crash the scene TO TIP THE SCALES. [clears throat] And, of course, Team Sentinel would then show up to swing the pendulum the other way. I do think the prose got a bit purple in places when it came to describing these attacks (e.g. "lob a hail of icy flechettes"), so I'm not sure if there were typos or what. <.<;

    I was surprised the second part seemed to go a lot better for the heroes, since they're all tired out from battling, but they seem to do better against Team Sentinel when moving through the dungeon. Guess Team Sentinel's not a very mobile unit or something? I honestly suspected Team Sentinel might manage to make off with Kline then and there, but apparently they got outfoxed. A cell, I guess? A very different resolution to the giant explosions of previous battles, I suppose. Elilan's likely gonna be pissed when he finds out.

    Don't have much to say about the little escape sequences for both the heroes and villains other than they were considerably more light-hearted since there was some slapstick involved. XD

    "In my day, we had to walk fifteen miles to get the mystery dungeon... uphill both ways!"

    Appropriate amount of burn for a lava dungeon. Checks out to me. Carry on. p_o

    Ya dun goof'd, Kiran.

    something something "Always wondered why folks never lead with their strongest attacks." something something

    It took me 66 chapters to realize that "blotch-head" and "block-head" sound very similar... and now I'm imagining Ellsberg sounding like Lucy from Peanuts. I think he needs to take insulting lessons from Ketu. XD

    Damn it, Elty. First rule of battle school is no shouting your plans for the enemy to hear. Unless you're a shonen protagonist, then it's mandatory.

    35% better burn. Also, RIP Ellsberg's first mate. If Ellsberg can't get any respect, this guy's really got it rough.

    Language, Ketu. This is a children's fic! Err, well, it's K10+ at the very least. I'm-a have to give you a Yellow Card, there.

    Word choice, Zelle! Sheesh. Oh, wait... Sylveon. Should've seen this coming, tbh.

    [​IMG]

    [squints] That makes two.
     
  10. Namohysip

    Namohysip Dragon Enthusiast

    And now onto episode 3! I honestly don’t have a whole lot to say about the first chapter. It was a long one—I think perhaps this is the point where your chapters become longer? But anyway, despite that, it doesn’t really feel like a whole lot actually happened. It’s mostly just TMs and discussing what to do about Lugia, and I personally felt it might’ve lasted a while longer. There was an odd, drawn out focus on how Porygon and TMs operate, and I would’ve been interested a little… if it wasn’t for the fact that the prologue already implied a lot of this. The lore is lost because I already knew it. It was more or less just a long buildup just for them to decide to take Pleo’s training to the next level. I did appreciate the introduction to our Growlithe’s character, though. That’s another cast member taken care of for the banner art…



    Chapter 10 is similar to 9 in that not a whole lot seems to go on. I was sort of anticipating the Dungeon by now, but instead we get some slice of life (albeit with the flair of community service) and a bit of world building. The highlight of the chapter for me—well, two of them—was the brief scene of Pleo and the Marked child. I half-expected Pleo to go chasing after the Scyther (…how do they hold things, anyway?) but deciding to see the little artist later worked just as well.


    Most interesting was the bit of world building about the diets of the island., and also tying that to Nida’s prey instincts briefly kicking in. I thought that was an interesting theme for the middle-end of the chapter, especially since they had been leaned against before. It was a bit wordy at times, but the underlying content was what had me interested. Considering the fact that ferals in this world are smart enough to follow some sort of universal rule, and are indeed capable of speech, I can certainly understand why they’d devise a system of effective veganism. It actually calls into question how the pirates rationalize eating meat, if that’s the case. Curious to see how this is delved upon later. But other than those brief bits of world building, I’m really just waiting for the Dungeon.


    The next two chapters are when things finally get to the Dungeon exploration! …Though it was a bit underwhelming, all things considered. Their biggest threat is a floating blob of ghostly jelly for a while, and they’re sorta floundering around themselves. I suppose part of it has to do with the fact that Pleo has zero experience in Dungeons at this point (aside from being born in one, but that hardly counts) but I guess I was a bit disappointed at how much they fumbled, considering they should be at least mildly seasoned. This is almost lampshaded at the reaction to Elty’s inability to be an effective ship burner, though that doesn’t mitigate the fact that it’s odd. I guess it never really dawned on my their first time through struggling with Krabby—I guess I was expecting the competence to go up a bit after dealing with Hass’ gang.


    What was interesting, however, was everything that took place outside of the Dungeon, ironically. We see the Company! Or at least, a representative of one. Mysterious entry speaking with some nouns that I’m not familiar with, even capitalized ones like Immortals and so on… that doesn’t really interest me too much. It’s basically the author giving me a nod, “Eh, eh? Yeah, this’ll be interesting later.” But without anything to attach it to, it’s just a check that can’t be cashed yet.


    That being said, I’m definitely interested in the tangible and demonstrated dynamic between the island and the Company. A bit of a malignant symbiotic relationship of some kind, teetering on collapse should either side get in a particularly bad mood… Could the Company be the true bad guys of this story? No, that’s too simple. There’s still more to it.


    Do the Marked and the Company have any hidden ties, perhaps? That’s my leading question so far as I read further. Right now I have the Marked (that we have met) as a sort of true neutral, perhaps even chaotic good. They’re somewhat outcasts, but I haven’t really seen them as doing anything particularly malevolent. The fact that Pleo is allowed around them, despite being so vulnerable, only enforces that they don’t really see them as a threat to him. The Company, meanwhile, I’m getting shades of lawful evil, or perhaps lawful neutral? With scarce resources, they’re only trying to be utilitarian to keep the cradle balanced, presumably, or under some sort of order.


    I hope more information is provided toward this line of questioning in the near future. The Company can only stay so nebulous for so long, after all.


    The final chapter of episode 3 wraps up the training arc nicely. The group made it to Normal Rank—well, some of the group—and Pleo is getting a tiny bit of a hang of his powers, at least the flying part. We still haven’t quite gotten to another instance where he gets pushed to his limit to unleash another blast like with Hess, which is almost ironic considering the statement about not wanting to push him.


    Like before, the most interesting part of the chapter was the final portion that depicted more of the Mothim, and then a Samurott with aspirations of promotion and a little infant god to get him there. Again, even though he’s being depicted as perhaps the first main antagonist of the series, I don’t know for sure one way or the other if he’s going to be a big player or not down the line. He feels more like the first admin of the Pokémon games—a boss, sure… but small potatoes to the grand scheme. A super-pawn. This is all speculation.


    Anyway, overall, episode 3 was a little on the slower side, saved only because of the cutaways to the Company-affiliated side of things. Without that, I think it dragged on a bit too long with random mook battles, though I did appreciate the scene at the shrine with Pleo and the feral. Even though it wasn’t particularly exciting, I can see what you’re doing with planting a few seeds in Pleo’s development as he learns more about the world. I definitely like scenes like those, at least while Pleo is still young and learning.


    I’m actually not sure where episode 4 will take me. I haven’t even looked at what the episode title is. But if I had to take a guess… I’m not sure. Unless there’s a substantial time skip, I expect one or two chapters of filler-ish content until we have to deal with the Company again, or some other, new threat. Guess I’ll just have to continue~
     
  11. Venia Silente

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

    It's been a while since last reviews thanks to work but I think I have enough to say about Chapter 58 of Aleria's Tourna- I mean, Fledglings...

    (IMO, The Silly Adventures of Aleria would make a nice gaiden story)

    May I mention that one of the first things I noticed about the mafia meeting these last few days... is that we basically have this scenario:
    Soooo basically we have

    1.- a rabbit going on in a mission
    2.- accompanied by a somewhat reticent other-side-of-the-law canine/vulpine who is also orange...
    3.- and they have to go meet a mafia lord
    4.- while trying to figure out information about a smuggling / contraband case?

    I smell Zootopia o3o In general it is nice to have a scene with some mafia participation that goes for the classing "we're the guys doing something, you just don't see us doing something" feeling that book stories dealing with stuff like mafias and cartels used to have. Nice trick with the Zoroark illusions btw, though I am figuring out there are some kinds of Pokémon species that could reasonably be able to make out true perception, so I presume besides the hard knockers Zoroark also counts with some other kind of support.

    I mean, this is like how most mafias operate - it's better to be evil but not Too Evil because you count with some degree of protection from the populace, too. And while they are not the "proper" wolf Pokémon that we don't have until Lycanroc, Manectric gets close enough to the whole protect the pack idea that it works.

    These mafia idioms are quite transvesal and never get old.

    Cardino gets no respect :c I even had a reaction image for that, let's see...
    [​IMG]

    All in all it's good to see that at least Cardino is able to route through the meeting and able to ask some questions, let's see if it leads to somewhere useful:

    Figures~

    I did get the impression during the meeting, and I talked it with Virgil, that either Cardino was quite out of his fish bowl in this case or that he was kind of new to the city and the way it conducts its affairs. He seemd to waste time asking nonimportant questions, allowed his newbie investigators to waste time too (Guardia ate enough of the 'trics' patience I feel) and basically got out of the meeting with nothing that an investigator in his position, relevant enough to have been "invited" to a meeting with a mafia boss, shouldn't have already known. Virgil makes a point that being able to strike the meeting is not really an indicator of Cardino's relevance compared to other investigators, but I still get the impression it overall felt an odd way to close the meeting, and the scene in general.

    A good thing to go with in the part that followed was, well, the punishments we see being dealt.

    Hey, to be fair, no one really like having to waddle through other people's trash (or worse). Though it's maybe a fair point considering it is not sewage work (or worse). Virgil does point out that the alternative is... well, lifetime or a death sentence; besides, someone has to do the non-mafia, literally dirty work in the city.

    I would have liked to see that, truly. I wonder when is the next Guardia boping people's head scene scheduled to be!

    I stand by my statement that being Marked in the Fledglingsverse is Suffering™.

    Hmmmm interesting take, that one. Very literal "bells on the cat" prisoner management, and I see how it would make some functional sense in a setting like the Fledglingsverse. Even if say Sibich could phase through walls, he likely can't phase the bells with him, so at least they'd alert that something is going on I guess? That or it's all a psychological ruse to goad him into literally trying to escape out the door.

    I also like how Cardino has to deal with his newbie recruits being... apparently more well known than he is.
    Finally a nice touch in the scene was to see Eltenios of all people hinting at some modicum of respect towards Hess, his old crew captain.

    Speaking more of this detective plotline though, I am worrying that this entire investment is going to come out to a great cost to Team Traveller - having to deviate from a tournament arc with a very strict deadline and use their rest time - or worse, potentially missing matches - in order to chase leads around town, it's not something they are qualified to maintain. The tiredness or the wounds from a mafia meeting gone wrong are going to eventually catch up to them, or worse they will be disqualified due to missing a match, and that'll be the end of Team Traveller's effort to like r e s c u e P l e o. So we'll have to see if Kiran's team can take up that mission, honestly.

    In the meantime tho, we switch to the next scene with the combo of some of the best characters I swear~ Berecien, Cabot and Pleo and who can forget "I'm this close to evolving guys" Niilo. Truly an awesome combination that should be able to work around any problems on their way....

    ...except math. Poor Pleo. I think it is understandable in his case. Though I'm now hoping for the fast forward to the sequel you have planned where Pleo makes use of
    advanced aerodynamics knowledgeto land Weather Balls on his enemies~

    I do find it smart that since both Literature and Math are failing to... drill in into the birb's head, why not try some History! And to their credit they do approach it with some common pedagogical sense. By telling a story about, let's see...

    *heavy breath* yes why GLORIOUS STARAPTOR SCREENTIME TALES would also make for a good Fledglings gaiden story! Please! are you reading this Virgil
    Anyway, it seems the GLORIOUS FOUNDER fell from the sky in a... metal cocoon? I'm calling in a Pokéball, probably, if there are pre-blight civ facilities still going around that would transport a Pokéball across air routes or something. Or... could this be a nod to Thundercats 2011 and its birb-based Sky Civ and a pointer to the future? Dun dun duuuuuun.

    I'm wondering, is this a reference to you having played PSMD that I have not heard of? Would be interesting. Also I wonder if the Chespin is the ancestor of a certain character you and I know that we had in the plans~

    I do like to see how Berecien and Niilo's interactions run in this scene, in particular once Admiral Coil shows up, speaking of it is also nice to see Cabot being able to.... in trope terms, return a bone thrown and thank Coil for helping his old settlement there and then. Admittedly I was expecting Cabot to fangirl of sorts and ask for Coil's autograph, but still giving proper thanks is important!

    STARAPTOR GAIDEN STORY WHEN
    Really, it's the kind of thing I would totally sign in for.

    s u f f e r i n g . At least they saw some sort of good times for a while it seems but.... well, this world sucks for them.

    All in all, a good effort by Cabot's team to get Pleo in a better mood and to have him be better prepared to be a hero of his own, I think. Though I don't think it's... even starting to sink in yet. They'd have to find something more interesting for him...

    Ladies and gentlemen: children alright.

    After all that (and Pleo scoring what might become an important hit later for his rescue) it is time to go nap~

    Granted, now I want artwork of Pleo napping in a bed.

    It is nice to see Cabot trying to connect more, but besides their opposite roles and factions in the story I feel like this is about to bite him back another way, because Pleo is, well, still a child:

    He knows your name now, Cabot. There is no escape to nursery work now, Cabot. I mean, honestly, we all knew this was going to happen, for good or bad Cabot is the emotional weak link of his team, curiously enough. But hey if this gets you spared from a violent Lugia's rampage later...

    And now that Cabot has earned a noticeable amount of trust from Pleo, the birb, not really knowing how the world even works, was expected to make a bold move one or two scenes too early. Let's see how it plays out:

    Yeah, you now get yourself out of that one Cabot (I was laughing out hard at his mental prospect that Pleo would produce another letter to send. You should totally have gone with that one)

    Fellow FFX player spotted!

    It was nice to end a scene there and well writing this review is taking longer than I expected, so I'm gonna post this half first before I continue with the other one. Like you know, the latter. Of the two. Because they're halves. Anyway. Besides Virgil tells me that reviewing 59 will be even longer so I really need to measure my times now that I am juggling a bit more on my plate. But so far, it's always nice to see Pleo trying to do stuff.

    Fare well in the meantime and seriously consider gaiden stories~
     
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