Heya, so it’s kinda laughably late at this point, least of all since I didn’t know
we had a Review Game on this site until about half a week ago, but I’m here to review your story up to Chapter 2 to satisfy your request on it.
So let’s get right into things:
The only sound filling the night's crisp air is a choir of Noctowl, their young Hoothoot hanging on every note. Not far away a Kangaskhan decides to have Pecha berries for dinner because her child enjoys the sharp, acidic taste. A tree at the edge of a clearing curls its roots around the nest of two Marowak, each diligently humming ancient melodies to their unhatched child.
A crackling fire is the sole source of light in this forest clearing, for the moon and stars had decided to rest behind a blanket of downy clouds. This night truly was stunning, and definitely worth the hardships of the day before. Two tents that had been built less than an hour earlier stood several meters apart, with nothing between them but a glowing campfire, a weathered stone, and a pair of humans. The companions sat in silence, each focusing on their own tasks.
A couple of small nitpicks here and there, one of them being that I don’t think you needed the semicolon, since the bits around both ends of it form a complete thought together. I kinda wonder if you ought to have gone a little more description-heavy on how the night was stunning and worth the apparent hardships of the past day, since something about how the night was described actually made it feel like it was a night that would be less
interesting to see since there’s no moon and stars. Like what makes it so special to the narrator?
The older one was sitting on the fragrant grass, mixing chemicals no one present but himself understood completely. He was indifferent to the stains that would inevitably form on his khakis
. He has always reasoning that cloths are made to be worn, in both senses of the word. The only exception to this logic is the slightly faded fedora he has traveled with for seasons.
It’s an optional thing, but I thought your second and third sentences felt a little jarring, especially the second. It might be worth thinking of ways to try and collapse them together like so.
The younger boy was using the stone slab like a picnic table, dicing some Figy berries he had found earlier that day. His skin was slightly darker than his companion’s, a light bronze color that more vain people would spend hours trying to achieve. Much like his t-shirt,
all over his jeans were sported tears all over that had been stitched back together, except for the lower half that was protected by his tall boots.
Waaaaaaait, but where
was this stone slab all this time? If this is the first appearance, you might want to introduce it and its relative position in the campsite a bit more. e.x. “a stone slab sitting next to the tents”
He sprinkles the uneven cubes into three bowls of Pokémon food, being very careful to leave the one marked with a lightning bolt untouched. Having finished his assigned work, he turns to his traveling companion. "So Kind, what are your plans for tomorrow? I've kinda been aimlessly following you these last few days," he said with a soft chuckle. He knew not to expect an answer anytime soon, giving him plenty of time to be captivated by the night sky.
I’ll try to avoid harping on it too much since I’m not that far into this story yet, but in most cases, you don’t want to be mixing verb tenses of time in prose. In this particular case, since there’s no transition from “past to present”, you want to come down firm on the prose either being all in the past tense or all in the present tense.
During the following silence, two creatures slowly strolled out of the quiet trees. Both had four legs and were talking, but that was where the similarities stopped. One was carefully balanced on just his hind legs, his front paws
being used to busy carrying a bundle of dry branches. The dark-blue coat that covered his back blended in with the fading evening light quite well, unlike the cream fur on his underbelly that formed a clear silhouette. Even easier to spot was his grumbling counterpart, whose curly fleece of olive colored wool stood out like a lighthouse due to the sparks constantly jumping between the fibers. As they neared the campfire, the gem on her tail reflected the light in all directions, scattering the darkness.
As they approached the humans, the Mareep spoke through teeth gritted around the metal handle of a tin bucket. “<I still don’t see why you had to come, too. I could have gotten everything just fine on my own.>”
Waaaaaait, but olive as a color is a shade of green
. Is that deliberate for the Mareep here, or is that an oversight?
“<Oh really?>” the Quilava responded with a raised brow. “<And just how were you planning on doing that when you can barely handle that bucket?>”
Nice choice of a Pokémon there. You’ve caught my interest.
“<Please! This old thing could have been filled with rocks and I’d still carry it for days.>”
“<I was talking more about how you would actually grab it, unless you have another mouth or a pair of paws hidden somewhere.>”
“<Well… I’d just put the wood on top of the bucket, and carry it all at once.>”
“<And what is your plan for once the water in that bucket makes the firewood useless?>”
The Mareep rolled her eyes. “<Shootaf, you’re a freaking Fire-Type! What’s the point of keeping one of you around if you can’t dry out a few sticks on command?>”
IMO, you want to break up this dialogue in at least one place to show more of Shootaf and Sheepy’s body language and expressions here. Helps make things a bit easier to visualize and potentially give more insight into the pair’s quirks and mannerisms.
Said Fire-Type took a deep breath and sent the air through his back vents to cool off. Don’t let her get to you. She is just some random Mareep you are traveling with for a short leg of a long journey. You’ll go your separate ways soon enough and then never see her again. Just got to
withstand her for another few weeks.
The Quilava inhaled more of the sweet air. It may not even be her fault she is so annoying. She has only had a proper trainer for a couple of days after all. Rather than looking forward to when she’ll be gone, I should focus on setting a good example for her. “
<Please bring that water to Master. The sooner he can finish preparing the human food, the sooner Nory will let us eat.>”
I’ll admit, “Master” made me double-take a bit there since your Pokémon as-depicted seem very sapient, though eh. It’s decently common in fiction written from the perspective of human pets, so I won’t quibble too much about it.
I also think that this single paragraph would’ve worked better if it was broken up, with a bit of body language or the like dropped into the spot where the brackets are as a transition + visualization of what this interaction between these two looks like.
“<First smart thing you said all day,>” replied the Mareep.
Shootaf: “... How on earth did I stand this sheep all this time?”
She proceeded to walk over to the older human and place the bucket next to him. “<Here you go, Kind.>”
The human only acknowledged her with a short ‘Thank you’, not even bothering to look up from his work. After giving a snort at the human’s perceived rudeness, she walked over to her trainer to keep an eye on her well-earned dinner. Nory started to rub her rubbery skin affectionately, being careful to not run his fingers through the charged wool. His only other Pokémon was… somewhere nearby? He did not worry about her too much. She always comes back.
… For a second, I thought that ‘Nory’ was the Mareep. I kinda wonder if the Mareep’s name ought to have been introduced by now, since you actually had a golden opportunity to do so while Shootaf was whining to himself about having to be stuck with her. In general, if there’s not a narrative reason to be tight-lipped about a character’s name, it usually makes sense to inform the readers about them as soon as possible so that way you can just jump straight into using them.
Meanwhile, Shootaf had used the new fuel to rebuild the ramp-like structure that the campfire had mostly burned away. It was not too difficult since his fireproof coat protected him from the heat, letting him rearrange the already burning branches with his bare paws. By the time he was done, Kind was ready to finally answer Nory’s question.
That’s… actually a pretty clever use of Shootaf’s Fire-typing / dex lore there. Filing that
one away as a mental note.
"I caught a Starly today and I would like to catch a Sandshrew before leaving this area. At most, we are 2 days
travel until we get to out from the next city, so I would prefer to catch one tomorrow," Kind enunciated every word precisely, never slurring or running through a syllable. “I have rehydrated the M.R.E.s."
MREs, huh? Can’t tell if that’s a sign that Kind has a military background, or if that’s just standard issue for trainers in this setting.
Though I’m a little surprised we’re not seeing this Starly given that it’s a new catch, since that’d be an interesting way of exploring how a newly caught Pokémon parses being thrust into being trained and their backstory. But eh, plenty of time to delve into that later if you feel like it.
"What?" Nory said with a tilt of his head.
"Our dinner is ready.”
Nory: “... Why didn’t you just say
Kind: “Because I’m very obviously a hyper-technical nerd archetype character…? Probably, anyways.”
Nory set the lightning-marked bowl down next to his tent. The other 3 bowls he put in a nice grassy spot about 2 meters away from the fire.
Kind then pulled a Pokéball off of his belt. "Chol, it is time for dinner."
There was a flash of light, and then a small Larvitar was sitting at Kind's feet, with the biggest smile across his face. The child took a quick look around before rushing over to the nearest bowl, which by pure chance was the one he was supposed to eat from.
Wait, so what would’ve happened if Chol didn’t
materialize in front of his proper bowl? Would he have just dug in anyways? ^^;
Shootaf ate his meal slowly, so as to savor the treat of added berries. Then he laid down by the fire, letting the flames just barely lick his fur until he felt like he had been wrapped in a blanket.
On the other hand, Chol had apparently decided that he wanted to practice being a Tyranitar. In only 2 minutes he successfully inhaled three quarters of his food. The rest was smeared across his face. Kind immediately got up and refilled Chol's bowl. Only after this did he put a serving of chicken parmesan on his plate and started enjoying his 15 month old delicacy.
Chol eats slower this time, finishing after only 5 minutes. Without any hesitation he runs over and attaches himself to his trainer's right leg. "<I love you Master!>" Chol suddenly exclaims as he begins nuzzling his messy face on Kind's pants. "<I love food and I love you. Food and you, you and food. But not you as food! That's just silly! Master's food is the best food! Best in the world! I love Master's food, Master, and food. But not Master’s human food! Human food is only for humans. Humans like Master. I love Master!>"
Let’s just hope that Chol’s food was a bit more recently-made than Kind’s. ^^;
Shootaf: <“Whelp, glad that I
don’t have to clean that up.”>
Kind takes a deep breath and forces his muscles to relax. "Hey there Chol. It is nice to see you," Kind says as he starts to scratch the back of Chol's neck. "Could you, err... give me a minute to eat?" Kind starts gently pushing on the Larvitar, but not nearly strong enough to break the bear hug that was slightly cutting off his foot's circulation. "If you give me a minute, then we can play after I eat."
"<I love Master!>"
That’d be a “no, play now”, Kind. :V
Also, that doodle of Chol wrecking Kind’s pant leg is adorable.
Kind surrenders, letting Chol nuzzle his leg while he eats. Why do we have to do this every meal?
Because I’m pretty
sure that Chol is mentally a little kid and he’s having the time of his life right about now just going off and seeing the world? o<o
Nory was eating in relative silence near his tent, slowly petting his Mareep as she calmly ate from her personalized bowl. Her wool acted enough like a campfire to keep him warm as long as he stayed close enough. Slowly, a thought creeped into his mind. "Where's the Starly? You said you caught it and you definitely don't have six Pokémon on you, so what gives?"
Oh, so we are
going to see the Starly, huh?
Kind stopped cutting into his food and sat motionless. After Shootaf helped me catch that Starly today, I picked her up in order to treat her wounds with a Potion. I was able to comfortably do so with one hand; I can comfortably pick up a baby up with 2 hands. Therefore, I will make the rough estimate that she weighs half as much as a baby. Using my Pokédex, I found that female Starly have an average weight of 1.8 kg with a standard deviation of 0.3 kg. I remembered that the most recent issue of Pokémon in Pediatric Medicine includes the article Effect of Exposure to Small-Water Type Pokémon on Human Birth Weight. Using data provided by that article as a reference, I learned that the average weight of a female human at 2 months old is 4.9 kg with a standard deviation of 0.6 kg. 4.9 kg / 2 = 2.45 kg. That puts this Starly well into the 90th percentile. Therefore, she must have a fat reserve significant enough to last for several days. Taking into account a Pokéballs ability to slow the Pokémon's metabolism, albeit at a difficult to predict rate, and the tendency of wild organisms to space meals apart by days through increased meal size, this Starly should not be in need of food until sunrise. It is unlikely that she has already spent an abnormally large amount of days without food because her battling abilities did not appear to be compromised in any way.
"I do not think she is hungry," Kind said after a minute.
I get what you’re going for here with Kind motor mouthing a long, rambling response, but that’s a pretty big block of text with quite a bit of unnecessary information. I kinda wonder if it’d have made more sense to cut the middle third out, have Nory and his Mareep stare and
at Kind with it being roughly described what he’s going on about in narration, and then show Kind wrapping up his ramble. You could even get in some laughs by throwing in a beat moment as a transition paragraph around where I left the brackets as a suggested spot.
Some food for thought, anyways.
"You sure? That little fella may have not had a decent meal for days."
Nory supposed Kind would know more about the proper feeding habits of Pokémon than himself. He honestly doubted his actions when taking care of his own Pokémon, being more used to working on a farm than traveling. He wondered if his Mareep was gaining weight due to negligent feeding, but he could not be certain due to her thick coat of wool.
… Isn’t this the guy who’s eating 15-month old chicken parmesan? I’m not sure how much I
His only other Pokémon was easier to take care of, that is to say, he really didn't. Nory's Seviper was certainly loyal, but she hasn't really grown out of being a wild Pokémon. If being honest, the snake Pokémon's self-sufficiency was welcome, except for when she would scamper off during important times. I should probably get her back in the ball soon. It can be a pain to find her in the mornings.
Fortunately, Nory’s train of thought was abruptly stopped by a Seviper coming out of the woods with a look saying that Kind has one less Sandshrew to worry about. "There you are Lil' Sev!" Lil' Sev turned to Nory, glaring. Nory could not hold eye contact like that for long. He looked over to see Kind hunched over Chol, whose youthful laughter filled the entire clearing. At least Kind isn't the one being creepy for once. I don’t think I have actually seen him playing with his Pokémon before.
"<I can't! It tickles too much!>" What Nory interpreted as a game was actually Kind attempting to clean the food stains off of his immature Pokémon. Unfortunately for him, the steel wool he owned made Chol twist and giggle with glee. The result was an accidental wrestling match that Shootaf found equal parts amusing and annoying.
definitely one way to show that Chol’s hide is built tough.
"<Hey Chol, you do realize that if you keep this up he will trade in that steel wool for soap and water.>"
"<Don't joke about that!>" Chol shouted, suddenly sitting up and stared at the surprised Quilava very seriously. "<You know touching water makes me feel sick.>" Chol looked down as his voice dropped.
"<S-sorry. I was just kidding around.>"
I’d suggest dropping in some body language for Shootaf and Chol in the bracketed parts in this block. Also, I can’t tell if that last line is supposed to be from Chol or from Shootaf, I’m assuming the former from the speech pattern, but the text is a bit ambiguous in how it’s written.
"All done! See how everything goes smoother when you calm down?" Kind stood up and took a step back to admire his work. "Only a month old and you are already learning such an important lesson. As a reward for sitting still, how about I let you sleep outside your Pokéball tonight?"
would certainly explain why Chol is acting like a little kid. He is
one. Not sure how I feel about being allowed to sleep outside a Pokéball being a reward
for a Pokémon, but eh. I won’t question it too much.
Barely a moment after hearing the words, Chol became more ecstatic than a 10 year old who got a Gyarados for his birthday. The juvenile began a rather odd dance that involved running in random direction, jumping with a twirl, and attempts to do a somersault that ended hilariously.
I’m not convinced the 10-year old would stay enthusiastic after getting roared at by said Gyarados when it was cranky. ^^;
[ ] Speaking to Nory, Kind said, "We should retire."
"Er yeah, good thinking. Have a good night."
Nory sent his Pokémon back to their Pokéballs and put his utensils in the tin bucket that was serving as his mess kit. He then crawled into his tent and removed his vest, boots and gloves. Knowing how dirty his knee-high boots were, Nory put them just outside his tent before he zipped it shut. He then tossed the rest of his clothes in a pile and into his sleeping bag alongside his Pokéballs, with only his bunched up vest serving as a pillow.
I kinda feel that you need a bit more of a transition before the “Speaking to Nory” line, since it’s a very abrupt cut from Chol cutely and happily dancing around to Kind talking to Nory. Like it’d likely have worked better given some sort of line of acknowledgement from Kind and then
having him turn to Nory.
All of this was pretty standard for anyone with experience camping, but what happened next was particularly odd. Nory’s sleeping bag was able to be zipped all the way closed, a feature not uncommon among serious cold-weather bags. Even though it was unusual for nights in the Tychone Region to dip below around 20ºC year-round, Nory always closed his bag completely, leaving so little room for the hot air to flow that it caused a faint feeling of suffocation.
Had anyone questioned this behavior, although not a soul in the vicinity would, he would shrug off the oddness as just a habit. In truth, it gave Nory a sense of security to know that he was unexposed. What he is concerned about attacking him is unknown to even himself, and ultimately irrelevant. It was the fact that he was protected that mattered.
… Wait, I’m not sure if I follow the ‘particularly odd’ occurrence if this behavior is just normal for Nory. Like if it’s odd from someone’s perspective such as Kind’s, it might have made sense to just say outright like “what happened next struck Kind as particularly odd” or something like that.
While this was going on, Kind was putting away his dishes, collecting the trash, and placing the Pokémon’s bowls in an oversized plastic container. After returning Shootaf, he turned to his tent
to be and was greeted by the sight of a hyperactive Larvitar trying to open their tent's zipper from the wrong side.
Better get over there before he rips it. Again.
As soon as Kind opened the zipper, Chol barreled in, almost pushing Kind over in the process. Kind wore a small smile as a nice memory of the last time this happened surfaced.
Wait, how many tents have these guys gone
through during this journey? :V
Kind entered and saw a lump in his sleeping bag. After a quick change of clothes, the tired trainer crawled in. He settled down into a comfortable position and then reached deep inside in order to pull the small ball of living stone toward the crook of his left arm.
Master is so warm and soft. He even used magic to make his scent change into flowers. Chol takes a deep breath and lets the unique aroma relax every part of his being. The small child snuggles closer toward Kind and unconsciously mutters a simple phrase that came directly from his heart. "<Master, you're the best.>"
D’aww, how cute.
Even if I’m not fullly sure how it is that Shootaf isn’t seething with jealousy from all of this right now given his depicted personality.
....Shootaf made his den inside of this specific spot facing because the sunrises and sunsets look like framed paintings when seen through the the colorless and chalky cave's mouth. Today's exhibit was an Impressionist's attempt to manufacture a multifaceted landscape using as little paint as possible. Watercolor was the paint used, as it allowed the radiant reds of the sunlit clouds to sharply contrast with the grand greens of the grass, both of which ran into the cyan sea seamlessly. The result was the perfect complement to Van Gogh's Starry Night. Shootaf knew none of this, yet only one thought was running through his mind. Whoa.
....After many minutes were spent staring at the magnificent spectacle before him, Shootaf decided it was time for his daily run, Shootaf locked his hind legs and bent his back downward as far as he could. The dried grasses and leaves that lined his bed crunched at the same time that his back cracked. Ahh. That felt nice. Nothing is quite as satisfying as cracking your joints after a good night's sleep.
Wait, Shootaf has a ‘den’? Is this the inside of his Pokéball that we’re seeing right now?
.... Shootaf walked out of his humble den and into the sun's heat. "I think that I will give the Urban Course a try today." He tightened his muscles for a brief moment in order to ignite his flames, and then started running across the mountain ledges that surrounded his den. The loose rocks and sheer cliffs did not hinder the Volcano Pokémon in the least. Once the ground leveled out, Shootaf broke into a full sprint.
Okay, if this is picking right on the heels of the last chapter, it has
to be his Pokéball, or else he’s dreaming right now.
.... It only took 5 minutes for Shootaf to reach a colossal chasm and the best part of this course. He kept running at full speed until he was only a meter away from the edge. Then he made a short jump, using the time in the air to move his hind legs directly under his center. When he felt the edge of the cliff dig into his paws like a knife, he released the tension he had stored in his compressed spine, causing his whole body to spring forward.
… Actually, I just
realized from the mention of a ‘Course’, but is Shootaf in some sort of Pokéwalker analogue right now? Since I could’ve sworn that the different levels in those were also
.... During his fall, he stretched his whole body out. His legs slightly ached from being pulled so far apart. When the concrete hit his front paws like a Dynamic Punch, Shootaf performed a perfectly coordinated roll, spinning head over paws several times without ever completely losing control. When enough of the excess momentum was dissipated, he used what was left to transition into a dash at his top speed.
wonder if it’d have made sense to give more of an indication of what on earth is going on with Shootaf here, even if it’s just a subtle hint. Like I’m honestly just assuming that this is all in his Pokéball, but it’s all just an assumption at the moment, and there’s nothing to firmly ground it at the moment.
.... This also marked the beginning of what he called the Urban Area. In front of him stood huge human structures that rose between 50 to 100 meters off the ground. At least, Shootaf assumed there was ground down there. Whenever he looked, the only thing he could see was a murky mist thick enough to block even the most potent Lanturn's light. Although the city was big enough to put Goldenrod City to shame, it was completely quiet. Neither the mist nor the silence bothered Shootaf in the least as he ran across the rooftops like some kind of adolescent transformed assassin Wartortle. This place felt to him like this was his own private city, in his own private world. And he was right.
And yeah, I’d frankly be shocked if this wasn’t
Shootaf’s Pokéball from that
final line there.
.... After acting out Canabalt for half an hour, Shootaf reached the end of the course. He jumped off the edge of the roof he was on, even though there was no building ahead to jump to. Instead he landed on the gentle grass of the meadow he saw the sun rise over this morning. In the center of this clearing was a rather ordinary looking rock. It was shaped like a slightly flattened ball, barely tall enough to be seen over the wild grasses and colored with the dullest gray Shootaf could imagine. It was his favorite place.
I’m surprised that Shootaf would associate his favorite place with looking ‘dull’. It might make sense to play up associations from Shootaf’s end about the place feeling homely or the like, since ‘dull’ is usually not an adjective with positive associations.
.... The young Quilava walked up onto his rock and lay down. The sun warmed his back just as much as his rock warmed his belly. I wonder what is going on out in the world right now. He blinked. A shimmering hole in space appeared before him. In it he had a worm’s-eye view of Chol sleeping on Kind’s chest, effectively trapping the trainer under his surprisingly heavy but unsurprisingly cute Larvitar.
Yup, Pokéball it is. Gotta say, your interpretation that you and NGamerS rolled with is pretty roomy on the inside, though I suppose it’d make sense if the environments are one-size-fits-all and not adaptive for the environments where Pokémon are caught in.
.... “<Hahaha! You're such a kid, Chol. Oversleeping in the first chance you get. Probably didn’t realize Master would be too polite to wake you. Better get out there and save Master before the whole morning slips away.>”
You probably want to explicitly specify that this is Shootaf
speaking here, since for a second I double-taked and thought that Shootaf was overhearing a third party from outside.
.... Shootaf jumped through the hole and landed right next to Kind’s sleeping bag. “Shootaf,” Kind whispered, “my belt, please?” Before Kind even started the request Shootaf had picked up the belt of Pokéballs to carrying it over. Careful to stay quiet, Kind snapped off Chol’s Pokéball and tapped the toddler with it. “Better go apologize to Nory for not helping with breakfast.”
.... “<I would not worry about it too much. Nory does not seems like the type to hold a grudge.>”
… Wait, Shootaf can pick up a belt sized for a human adult? Like isn’t that thing almost as long as his entire body unfurled? .-.
Still a cute little moment between him and Kind there.
.... They both exited the tent to find neither Nory nor his Pokémon anywhere in sight. Kind walked up to the large stone they were using for a table to find a tall tupperware box, a charred bag made of tin foil, and a note.
.... ‘Pokémon food in box and eggs in bag. I made breakfast, so you clean it. Be back by 10:00. -Nory’
Shootaf: “... The breakfast isn’t in that scorched bag, is it?”
.... “We are on cleaning duty after breakfast,” Kind announced. The box contained standard Pokémon food that was slightly seasoned and the tin foil bag was obviously used to both cook and serve the scrambled eggs. Neither was particularly enjoyable, nor did anyone expect them to be. Nory may be a competent cook, but when camping, speed is more important than flavor in the mornings.
I actually just realized, but what exactly is the thing going on with the ‘....
’ in front of each line? Since that wasn’t present in Chapter 1 and I’m not sure what that’s all about.
.... After eating, Kind started taking down the tents in the exact order the instruction book recommended. All Shootaf could do in the meantime was scatter the rocks that made up the fire pit. Everything was going smoothly until Shootaf suddenly stopped. I'm sure I heard something. After a second, he heard it again. Without any hesitation, Shootaf charged into the undergrowth.
Wait, is that Shootaf, or Kind
who head something? If it’s Shootaf
, you probably want to format his thoughts similarly to his spoken dialogue to make it obvious that it’s him and not Kind. Also, I kinda wonder if an extra sentence or two of Shootaf slowing down and realizing that something’s up ought to have been provided, since as it stands, things feel a bit sudden right now.
.... "Shootaf!" Kind yelled with concern as he took off after his determined Pokemon. “Where are you going?”
.... "<Sorry Master, but there is no time to lose. We have to get there quickly.>" Shootaf called back as he sped ahead of Kind.
The cries of pain that were just on the edge of Shootaf’s hearing before were now becoming louder. Shootaf was convinced that this was not just because he was getting closer. Whatever was causing that Pokémon so much pain was getting progressively more pitiless.
ain’t good. But yeah, this is something that I think should’ve been hinted at and built up more in the prior block, since as it stands, we’re kinda finding out in a very after the fact fashion that what Shootaf heard was:
A: A Pokémon.
B: A Pokémon in duress
Whereas we didn’t even get a solid hint that Shootaf didn’t just hear the wind rustle in the trees but instead something that was seriously wrong in the paragraph before this section. A bit more buildup might’ve made things a bit less jarring.
.... Shootaf used his Quick Attack to make the last leg of the trip faster, and so he could burst onto the scene ready to attack. When he
did burst out of the bushes, he had only a split second to take in the two figures before him:
The closest one was lying on the ground. He was about the size of a human cub just learning to walk, except his body and limbs were rounder. He was covered in a pale-yellow shell, almost same shade as sandstone. There were many linear cracks that ran along this shell, forming a repeating pattern of rectangles. However, there were also many jagged cracks that stood out against this pattern like a sore thumb. The latter were obviously the work of whatever wounded this weakened pup.
Shootaf could not actually notice all of this in the hurried glimpse he took of the scene, but he could infer it fairly confidently. After all, when you spend 2 months doing nothing but hunting down the most common Pokémon in the Tychone Region, you get pretty good at recognizing a Sandshrew when you see one.
This is another block that I think works better if broken up, since this is a lot
of text to read in a straight shot for a paragraph.
Also, the description of the wounded Sandshrew is written as if Shootaf definitely saw all that
. If the idea is that he is filling in blanks of a split-second sighting, you might want to make some of the description of the middle section more “hazy”, or else tweak the “Shootaf could not actually notice all of this” into something like “Shootaf couldn’t get a better look”.
.... While the victim was about half Shootaf’s height, the attacker was double it. The only other detail Shootaf could make out before pounding his shoulder into their stomach was that they were a very light green in color.
Shootaf was pretty sure he could handle what was probably a Plant Type, so followed through with the Quick Attack he used to get here. The blow was delivered directly to
the their belly, at exactly the angle Kind taught him. The attacker stumbled backwards a few steps before dropping to its knees. Shootaf scored a critical hit, in that by starting a fight with knocking the wind out of the opponent is a critical part of Kind’s battling strategy.
Wait. Double his height while standing on all fours or on two legs? Since if it’s on two legs, I’m pretty
sure that that’s consistent with a Scyther…
Also, this is another paragraph that I thought would benefit from being broken up.
.... "<Back off you ill-raised jerk! This little one couldn't have done anything to deserve such a harsh beating... Oh Arceus, you have got to be kidding me.>"
I kinda wonder if this would’ve had more impact if you had a break and description paragraph where you describe Shootaf going full
before putting ‘Oh Arceus [...]’ into its own paragraph afterwards. Also, I’m very, very certain
from Shootaf’s reaction that he just aggroed a Scyther there.
.... Now that the attacker was desperately gasping for air, Shootaf could take in the scene around him in detail. The attacker was literally covered head to toe in armor and armed to the teeth. The majority of her body was protected by flawless, tough carapace, with only a few vulnerable joints having a fleshy, tan covering. Her head and thighs sprouted spikes so sharp that if you tried to strike either of those weak points you could end up stabbing your own hand. Even the 4 wings on her back boasted some plating.
....In truth though, it was the offensive department that this Pokemon shined. The 2 fangs that overlapped her bottom jaw were sharp enough to wreak wood with ease and her talons on her feet could shred a sheet of steel like butter. Combine all of this with the unmatched speed and mobility provided by her wings, and you had a formidable fighter. All of that was not even considering her true primary weapon, the reason so many of her kind are feared, the true pride of every Scyther: the arm-blades. This Scyther’s arm-blades were a little under half a meter in length and a quarter of that at its widest part, with not a single nick or crack to be seen on the razor-thin edge. Truly, they were
a weapons to be respected, if not feared.
Live look at Shootaf right now:
. I just knew that things were going there between the description of the Sandshrew’s wounds and the mention of the attacker being double Shootaf’s height and being light green.
.... However, Shootaf was not too concerned about this Scyther. For one thing, this Scyther was currently kneeling before him trying her hardest to remember how to breathe. Even if she was fighting-fit, he was a Fire-Type with a year of battling experience. There was no doubt in his mind that he could beat such a frail Bug-Type. Besides all of that, Shootaf still had an ace in the hole—Kind. If he could hold out for a minute, at most, then Kind would get here and battle with him. To put it simply, this Scyther did not scare Shootaf.
Though that last sentence doesn’t feel very consistent with the way Shootaf was reacting earlier-
.... The 20 or so Scyther standing behind their swarm-mate were a separate story all together.
....I just interfered in a Scyther’s battle. With a cheap shot. Then insulted her. And her parents. In front of their entire swarm. Well, I’ve lived a good life. My only real regret is ever sneaking some of those bitter almond candies from Kind. Those things seriously tasted horrible.
I kinda wonder if you should’ve described something like Shootaf looking around and getting encroached on, or trying to find a way to flee and realizing he has no realistic way of escaping. Since as it stands, it feels like he just basically gives up and waits to die off the bat.
.... After a tense moment passed where no one moved, a senior Scyther calmly stepped forward from the swarm. His most impressive feature was his size, rising at least 30 centimeters above anyone else in the clearing. Although his blades had grayed with age and his carapace was riddled with cracks, he displayed no fear as he neared the Fire-Type.
Shootaf turned up his heat, trying to ward the imposing figure back until Kind could catch up to him. The warrior did stop approaching, leaving about 10 meters between them. However, it was clear by his tranquil demeanor that this was more out of respect for Shootaf’s bravery than for any fear on his part.
.... "<I am King Jara Hamee. This thief,>” King Jara paused to spit with disgust for having to foul his mouth with such a word. “<-has stolen from my people many times. Before I was merciful, but she has refused to learn her lesson. Now stand aside outsider, for justice shall be delivered!>"
Shootaf: “... The story’s seriously going to make me face down 20 of these scythe mantises over this sand rat, isn’t it?” ._.
.... “<Look at her! She’s half starved and you all look fat as Miltank. Where is the justice in that?>”
That… was never described in the narration before, and it feels like a big enough detail that you want
to do that. Whether earlier on, or right here as Shootaf weighs in his mind whether to turn and run and leave the Sandshrew to her fate when he realizes how well-fed the two sides are at the moment.
.... “<She should have starved with honor rather than resort to such a detestable practice!>” King Jara took a breath to recompose himself. “<This is your last warning. Stand aside.>” Shootaf spread his front legs and lowered his torso, taking a defensive battle stance. “<Very well then.>”
>Achieve 0 Audience Sympathy - any% speedrun (TAS)
Shootaf: “Oh dear Arceus, I’m gonna die
here, aren’t I?”
.... The towering Scyther took in a breath and held both blades ahead of him, their tips barely crossing. As he exhaled he slid his left foot backward. In the same motion he brought his left arm behind him. His arms now formed a line that pointed straight at the Quilava, who was breathing heavily even though no attacks had been thrown yet. King Jara began to lean forward, shifting his bodyweight onto his right foot.
Shootaf: “Kind! Seriously, any day now would be nice!
.... “Shootaf! Roll left, now!” Acting on instincts drilled into him by hours of practice, Shootaf did exactly that. By the time he consciously recognized that Kind was here to help, a dull-green blur flew past his right side and a pain raced across his flank. Shootaf landed on his back and tumbled across the grass. He had been hit by the Slash attack and fainted halfway through the roll. Without missing a beat, King Jara swiftly flew between his swarm and this human.
Wait, ‘this human’? Since when was there a human involved in here-?
.... Kind ran out of the forest, no longer caring about the thorny branches that clung to his clothes. He kneeled beside and hugged his bleeding partner.
“Thank you, now return."
Then He then walked in front of the Sandshrew, spread his arms wide, and in a firm voice proclaimed, "I do not know what is going on, but I know this: my Pokemon tried to protect this Sandshrew. That is enough for me. I volunteer for the Shandshrew’s punishment. Any harm you wish to inflict on them, you may instead inflict on me, as long as you promise that they will leave here safely."
… Wait, how can Kind understand what’s going on right now
with the Scyther? Like his address to the Scyther only makes sense if he overheard what was being said between Jara and Shootaf and comprehended it. It might’ve made more sense to frame this more along the lines of imperfect assumptions, given that I don’t think
you’ve portrayed your humans as being able to understand Pokémon up to this point.
Everyone looked at this human in shock. Only a few understood the words, but everyone understood the meaning. King Jara Hamee was the first to recover. "<That is very noble of you human. Let us see if your words have any substance.>"[/QUOTE]
… Well, never mind then.
Maybe this is like LC where humans and Pokémon can
just understand each other relatively frequently. I do
kinda wonder if this should’ve been shown off a bit more earlier this chapter and in Chapter 1, since that’s a pretty big worldbuilding detail that’s not super common in the fandom that you’d ideally want front and center for your audience since it carries a bunch of implications along with it.
Alright, onto the recap. I’m not sure whether or not you and NGamerS will actually be doing anything with this feedback since your last update was, uh… a while ago, but I figured I ought to leave it anyways for if you two ever decide to revisit or continue this story.
I thought that the story was pretty cute, and in the span of two chapters, you already have some characters that seem like they’d be promising to follow beyond this point. Shootaf and Chol being the main standouts. The art in Chapter 1 was also a nice touch, since it’s a little flourish that most fanfics simply don’t have for their stories. There’s also a certain down-to-earth-ness and simplicity about this story that for whatever reason, a lot of stories in this fandom don’t seem to have. Like the title is a bit on the nose about it, and I kinda wonder if it’d been more elegantly served with a title like “Nobodies
”, but it does feel pretty “everyman story”, or at least for wandering trainers.
Okay, onto the more critical part. As you likely gathered from the rest of the review, but there were some structural issues that I felt held the story back a bit. The lowest-hanging fruit is that there’s a number of awkward wordings, verb tense errors, and misspellings here and there. Ones that if you are still continuing this story somewhere else, or opt to dust it off and get the ball rolling again, you should make a point of doing an additional readthrough just to filter out.
There are also a couple paragraphs that are a bit “wall-of-text”-y, with Kind’s motor mouth gag in Chapter 1 being the most obvious offender. If you and NGamerS do revisit this story or do a revision of it, that also feels like something fairly simple to fix as well. As for less
simple fixes, there seem to be persistent issues with underdescription, which can make it a bit hard to visualize scenes at times or get into the characters’ heads. They’re not exactly easy
fixes to make, per se, but they’re at least easier
since most of the bones I had to pick with what I read of this story are ones that can be fixed simply by adding more content to it or slightly touching up what’s already there.
Though even with those quibbles, I had fun with this story @Kindoflame
, and I honestly regret not reading it a couple years sooner. I’m not sure if NGamerS will still be doing anything with it, though hopefully the feedback is still helpful for you and him and your present writing projects. ^^