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Heart and Soul: The one shot Contest!


9th Place

Morpher01, “From the Other Point of View”

Bay: 6th Place (61 points)
Breezy: 8th Place (54 points)
Negrek: 21st Place (14 points)
Total: 129 points

He had always stolen what he needed. He usually needed food, water, other such necessities, and with no money available, he instead stole them. And now he needed the creatures called Pokemon for something else he needed.


“You’re no father of mine,” growled the boy though gritted teeth, seething with hatred. “You’re just someone who needs to pay.”

He looked at the Pokeball in his hand.

“And you’re going to help me become the greatest trainer in the world,” he continued, “just so I can show that old man up. And then I’ll finish him off. We will finish him off.”

He clicked the button in the center of the Pokeball, prompting the device to open in a flash of light. The light took a lizard-like shape, and formed into a humanoid blue alligator sporting red fins down its back. A groan revealed the pointed teeth capable of tearing a boy’s hand right off his wrist, but this boy had no fear. He barely even knew the meaning.

“Totodile,” remarked the boy. “Good. Water-type. Learns Dark-type moves. Very good.”

“Dile?” rasped the sharp-toothed lizard, staring up inquisitively at the boy.

“You listen to me,” snarled the boy. “You’re my starter. I’m your trainer. You’re going to help me become the strongest trainer there ever was.”

A one shot speculating Silver is Giovanni’s son, huh? I know in the manga Silver is Giovanni’s son, but their relationship in the end is totally different than what you have there. XD I assume you’re going with the games, though. Anyways, I quite like it, actually. I love how you put Silver’s thoughts about wanting to get stronger, which is so him in the games. Not only that, you expanded it by wanting him to have revenge on both of his parents. Also, love how you have Silver chosen this name for himself because he’s opposite of Gold. Very clever actually, considering how the two players are opposites of each other (even if the main player never talked :X )

I also want to say nice expansion on his background history. Love that you put not only he had stolen the Pokemon, but before he had to steal other things like food and water. Very realistic for Silver to take that approach, considering he’s a runaway and has no money. I also think Silver in this stage of his life because of his father seems like a reason for who he is right now.

On the ending, I thought it’s a great one for this one shot. Having the ending be of Silver getting the opportunity to make his Pokémon stronger is a good one. Also, I thought it was a good idea to just have the one shot end with the battle just getting started instead of the end of the battle for two reasons. One, we don’t know the outcome of the match (although I think I know what everyone’s predictions will be XD). Two, relates well more with Silver’s thoughts of wanting his Pokemon to be stronger than having the one shot end after the battle.

Your writing style is good and clear as I’m able to figure out what’s going on and the action and feelings of the characters flowed nicely without dragging a scene or emotions. Grammar and spelling, as far as I can see, is fine. The other judges might catch them better than me, though. ^^; However, there are a couple parts that confused me a bit.

“What could I have seen in her?” continued the man bitterly, glaring at the door as if expecting it to answer. “The minute I found out she had YOU, I wanted her dead. She could have put to waste all that I’ve worked for.”
The bolded part I’m kind of confused what you’re trying to say here. First Giovanni says about wanting that woman dead because she had Silver, and then about “put to waste.” Do you mean that she could have put good to the waste (which I assume is Silver, though I could be wrong)?

“You won’t call me anything,” the boy continued. “You’ll just fight when I tell you to. You’ll be strong when I tell you to. Don’t even think of getting weak on me, or you’ll wish you were never born. Understand?”
I don’t know, but to me the bolded part sounds awkward to me. How can you tell someone they’ll be strong when you tell them to? Usually you would just say if that person is strong or not. Maybe you meant Silver to say, “You’re not strong unless I tell you that you are?” I’m not the best person to mention this, though. ^^;

Another thing I want to mention is despite me thinking Silver’s reason for being emotionless in the games because of his dad is a good one, I think you could have expanded that, most notably the beginning. Why his mother all of a sudden left? What situation suddenly made this family fall apart, and whose fault is it (that is, if there is someone to blame)? How is Silver able to comprehend what happened at such a young age? The beginning just felt like I’m suddenly thrown into a situation without knowing what caused it to happen. Sometimes scenes like that are actually good for action stories and also mystery ones, but in this case, it didn’t work out. I think you can expand the beginning by developing the characters a bit more and also keeping those questions in mind. A few more pages won’t hurt.

Last thing is you mention his mother would be next after Silver deals with Giovanni. I thought it was all of a sudden because throughout the one shot you keep mentioning him wanting to revenge on his father. I think you could have mention a few times how he wanted revenge on his mom too and also why—that is, if there is another reason why he want revenge on her besides leaving both him and Giovanni behind. Again, a little development of her goes a long way.

Overall, you have an excellent one shot there, and if the beginning is expanded and the characters are developed at the beginning, then it would have been solid. Good luck with any other contests you plan to enter and any other works you have plan!

I was hoping someone would write a story like this, since I think it's one of the most memorable scenes in not only G/S/C, but I think all the games so far. It was an enjoyable piece, and I liked your spin on why/how Silver was the way he was in the beginning of the game. The plot of this one-shot is pretty straightforward (a little concerning, but we'll get to that later), but it's also interpretive as well. I like how you developed your own reasonings for Silver's heartless demeanor.

To be honest, I found the first scene with Silver as a young child kind of ... melodramatic. Soap opera-ish, if you will. I could seriously imagine all three characters in a dark room, with the mother turning toward the camera, her head cast down, before storming out, while Giovanni murmurs to himself about hating his baby's mama while downing a bottle of wine.

“What could I have seen in her?” continued the man bitterly, glaring at the door as if expecting it to answer. “The minute I found out she had YOU, I wanted her dead. She could have put to waste all that I’ve worked for.”

“You’re no daddy of mine!” shrieked the child suddenly, red eyes overflowing with tears. “You’re just a big meanie!”
Suddenly is right. I understand why Silver would cry after that, but I think any child would first be hit with confusion at such cruel words, and then the more it sunk it, the more hate would bubble up. But that's just assuming this is the first time Giovanni said such words (and it seems as such with the mom leaving and him musing afterward).

“What?!” bellowed the man, striking his child across the face. “What did you say to me?!”

“You’re a big, fat, meanie!” repeated the child, receiving another undeserved slap.
Being the odd child that I was, whenever I got smacked for saying something like that when I was little, I immediately shut the hell up, and I'm pretty sure a few of us would have done the same. But not only does Silver not shut up, he goes ahead and repeats the same thing that got him slapped in the first place. I'm not sure if there that many kids that would REPEAT said line, knowing the consequence. And this wasn't a smack on the behind; this was a slap in the face. If that's not shocking for a child, then I'm not sure what else is. But that's kind of opinion, I suppose.

If the boy heard any of the cries, he showed no acknowledgement. His only response was to dive through the window, shards of glass scattering about, several even catching in his red hair. They mattered nothing to him.
... You know, besides in action films, you really can't crash head first through a window without getting hurt because of just that. Even if the window was already broken, you could injure yourself on the shards. Hell, you need one hell of a hard head/hand to break through glass period. And even if he somehow miraculously didn't get hurt, it would have slowed him down. That's why G/S/C had that one random open window in the laboratory just so picky people like me didn't wonder how he broke through the window; the window was already open so he could easily escape. =P It would seem more like Silver to wait around just for the right time to sneak in and steal a pokemon anyway.

“The name’s Gold, and don’t you forget it!” said the blue-haired boy, striking a pose. “What about you?”
I always thought Gold had black hair. o_O But eh, I suppose it could seem a dark navy blue to some.

... Gold clutched his hand, staring in shock, while Silver was as emotionless as ever ...

... “Only a fool like you wouldn’t understand,” Silver began. “Totodile wants to get stronger, just like every other pokémon should ...
I actually liked this small tidbit, especially since I think a few people wondered why pokémon would even obey such a cold-hearted trainer like Silver.

It is a bit different from the original games (Gold, for example, never really chased after Silver), but I understood why you needed to alter the game plot just a tad in order for it to make sense. I think you captured Silver's personality down to par, and I like how you addressed his hatred for Team Rocket via his hatred for his father, Giovanni (or so most of us assume anyway). You addressed a lot of questions that I'm sure many of us had about such a mysterious person. Your pacing was nice; you made sure to take time to detail things, and the little pieces of information, like why Totodile stayed with Silver, were some of the smaller “quirks” that I enjoyed. I do recommend slowing it a bit down during the first scene with Silver's childhood since things happened rather quickly (mom leaving, Giovanni fuming, Silver running away). As I said, though, I enjoyed it. You have a very likable style which doesn't linger too much on certain thoughts but still details enough that I could picture it in my mind.

This one-shot feels extremely unfinished. If anything, it's like the prologue to a longer 'fic. As it's supposed to stand alone, though, the lack of a resolution hurt it. It looks as though your intent was to explore Silver's character, tell events of the game through his eyes, which could have gone well. The way you set about doing that, though, didn't really work out--this reads more like a game transcript (flipped to focus on Silver, of course) than a real character-centric piece, and it ends on a kind of cliffhanger.

In terms of prose style, yours is overall serviceable but lacks flair; there's a lot of telling going on here, and not a lot of showing (part of why this doesn't really feel like a character-centric piece). You have a tendency to go overboard with your descriptions--lots of adverbs in here slow things down and tend to be placed a bit awkwardly; and you look to be actively avoiding "said" in your speech tags. Overall, though, the writing's serviceable, and your grammar and punctuation is better than most--it's just that the way that you present what's going on that's a bit flat.

Not bad overall, but like I said, this doesn't stand on its own very well.

Thanks for entering, Morpher01. Silver is cool like that. :p
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Third set of ties: Umbreon Ruler and FocusPressenceEndurance for 8th place.

8th Place tie
Umbreon Ruler, “What I've Lost”

Bay: 10th Place (44 points)
Breezy: 12th Place (38 points)
Negrek: 8th Place (54 points)
Total: 136 points

With a shout, she dived, sliding onto the rock, scraping every part of her body on the sandy texture. Fiery pain exploded within her, but she couldn’t afford to lose a moment, so she lifted herself onto hands and knees and scrambled forward, falling off the rock and onto a pile of smaller, pointier stones. But she was numb at this point, and all that mattered was that she was, hopefully, safe.

After only moments of lying there, she felt the boulder surge forward a few inches and watched a spinning grey form, as wide across as her body’s full length, ramp over her. Having no way to stop itself, the angry Pokémon continued rolling away after it landed, eventually disappearing within the more vegetated area far off at the bottom.

Elizabeth breathed a sigh of relief, followed by less controlled wheezes as she relaxed. For a moment, she had the instinct to reach into her pocket for her cell phone and text Sara, detailing what just happened. Then she remembered for the hundredth time how her cell phone had died long ago. Not that it mattered, since it hadn’t worked since she got there.

She wondered if she’d ever be used to this.

A Tarzan like story, huh? I thought it’s interesting how the story starts out about Elizabeth adjusting life in the Ilex Forest and how she progressed. Later on though, things take a dark turn (the tree house on fire and Celebi) . I love her development in the story, from her thoughts about her life before stuck in Illex Forest to thinking back what she learned at school and use that to survive in the wilderness. You even put in some humor there, like when she and Jenny were in volleyball practice. I like big butts and I cannot lie! XD; Sorry, I just had to do it. ^^;

What’s more interesting is the story in two points of view—basically you have the actions be in third person narrative while you have Elizabeth’s thoughts and the time gap in her point of view. Unlike Breezy (and I think Golden too), I actually like it a lot and it didn’t disrupt the flow of story for me. In fact, in my honest opinion I think it’s necessary. I think that’s a good technique for this time of story as you’re trying to only show the most important events to happen to Elizabeth but at the same time have her thoughts shown and also how well she’s doing living in the forest.

I actually almost cried at the scene where Chip runs away. Already I thought the two have great interaction together and it saddens me that little guy suddenly runs away like that. I would have cried if Chip was killed. XD

Spelling and grammar, as far as I can see, you did fine. I notice one typo, though.

Lightning lit up the Ilex Forest’s sky and rain washed over the landscape, leaving nothing it its wake dry.

The only criticism I have here are some plot holes. The first plot hole is if her friends and family tried finding her and if they knew she went missing. I understand this story is mostly in Elizabeth’s point of view, so we won’t exactly know what her family and friends are thinking. It would be nice though if there were a couple of scenes that show Elizabeth’s loved ones looking for her. I recommend reading Psychic’s story, “A Battle of Wills.” The story did the exact same structure you did, both first and third person POV narrative, but when there is third person narrative, the narrator chronicles what happened with the other characters and not just the main one. Even if you think this story won’t work with showing Elizabeth’s family and friends looking for her, you didn’t show if she’s wondering if they’re thinking about her or not. It’s like she doesn’t care if they worried about her or not. Not only would I think about my family and friends, but also if they’re trying to find me.

Next plothole is why she didn’t think of having Chip or any other Pokemon help her get out of the forest? I assume some Pokemon would be able to get in and out of the forest with ease, so they can help her with that. Then again, perhaps there are some wild Pokemon that would not hesitate to kill her and such.

Another plot hole is the ending, most notably this line:

“Gold,” she whispered, looking at the hollow indention. Suddenly, a rush of memories flooded her mind: the green Pokémon resting in the cave she found, beaten up and angry; the way he rocketed toward her, and she closed her eyes to brace for impact, but the pain never came; how when she opened her eyes, she was standing on a pile of large rocks, in the middle of the Ilex Forest. But it wasn’t the one she knew. It was primal.
First, I’m confused if Elizabeth had attacked the Pokemon or not. I assume it’s not, considering the line, “the green Pokemon resting in the cave she found, beaten up and angry.” If not, why Celebi attacked her in the first place? Her trespassing its territory or a distrust in humans I guess? If she indeed beat up that Pokemon with a Pokemon of her own (if she has any at all), why she didn’t use her Pokemon to get out of the forest? Okay, that last question I’m wayyyyyyyy ahead of myself. XD;

Another problem is the last part of the story, which got me confused even more. First off, when she finally sees people, why she didn’t think of asking them how to get out of the forest (yeah, this goes back to my complaint why Elizabeth didn’t ask any Pokemon for help ^O^; ). Actually, I didn’t think she was actually in a mental institution until after reading Breezy’s review. :O If she does get in an institution, how she got there in the first place if she said earlier that leaving the forest is not an option?

Overall, your story is very touching and I love Elizabeth a lot, but there were some plotholes and questions that I want you to be aware of. Then again, I overthink things too much. XD

My life, like pretty much everybody else’s, began when I was just born.
What? Lol. That's probably one of the most obvious and oddest introduction sentences that I have ever read. Though I suppose it can be philosophical; when does life really begin?

Er, anyway.

The beginning few paragraphs was just information overload, and while I understand that you probably needed to get all this information out to reveal how “lucky” this girl is, it's just kind of ... tedious. I don't really care that much about this girl's friends and how they fit the cliches of sidekicks: the close friend, the athletic friend, and the one random boy that sticks around and has a love interest with main character. And it's good to know that this girl has a good, supportive family, but is all this detail about them necessary at this point in the story if at all? It's all listing after listing of one fact after the other, making it hard to get to the actual meat of the story.

The actual story, past the introduction, was intriguing, well described, and surprising. I did not see that ending coming. I liked how everything seemed to be circular and how both of her homes caught on fire in both the beginning and the end of the story. The relationship with the sentret (Chip) was a little ... odd, since sentrets seem like creatures that would flock together and run away from something bigger than it, but you made it seem believable and kind of endearing. The actual setting itself was a little confusing if you don't read it properly and through to the end, but again, I understand that you wanted the element of surprise, and some of my questions and nitpicks were eventually answered the further I read.

However, there are some questions that still remained unanswered. They can be nitpicks, or just confusion on my part. One question would be why couldn't she find a human or a way out of the forest if there was a statue of celebi in the forest. Surely, something nature made could not have carved that out of rock, and neither could a pokémon, so it had to be human made, thus there being humans somewhere out there. I wondered about it and thought, eh, maybe she flew forward in time when she hit the shrine ...? Or somehow she flew forward just when she was about to hit the shrine, thus causing her to see the shrine in such a decayed, ruined state ...?

Then I thought, well if she did fly forward in time until after she touched it, then wouldn't there be difference in forest structure? The paths would have been cleared by then, and there probably would be a path drawn out by trainers that had to travel through there or something else obvious that made her realize that she wasn't in primitive Ilex Forest anymore. Not unless she was that insane. Or did she even travel back in time at all? Bah. And if she did travel forward again, how did it happen without her seeing the actual celebi again? Eh, I don't know. Something isn't clicking together, though I'm not sure if it's me or the actual story. Not sure if you wanted it to be like that. Lol.

So yeah, obvious strength was the plot. What seemed to be a story about a girl trying to survive in Ilex Forest (which I found odd at first but that was explained later) turned out to be something darker with her unfortunate end of losing her only friend and winding up in what I suppose is a mental hospital. The character is innovative, and I do like how she was determined to survive and then found some sanity in a sentret. Ignoring the italic parts of the story, you did what you could with a character that rarely talked and only showed emotion through action. I thought the desperation scene where she was looking for Chip was portrayed well, and you could slowly see her start to lose it until she eventually reaches the shrine. And like I said earlier, the description was great, not too much, and not too little.

My major issue with this story, however, was the interchange of first person to third person. I thought the third person was brilliantly done. You have a way of wording your sentences that keeps your reader intrigued and makes them feel like they're inside the story. Yet when I read first person, it horribly snapped me out of it. It really felt like “comments from the peanut gallery” and frankly, I'm not sure if the first person was actually needed, outside the part where Elizabeth talks about her home being on fire and the end where she ends up in the mental institution, and surely those could have been written in third person as well. The first person just seemed to reaffirm that “yeah, this crap actually happened to me, and god I'm so lucky that I survived that,” and other obvious things that you could have omitted because, well, it's obvious. I don't recommend switching narratives like that, especially from one style to another back to the first style. It really does snap your reader out of the story. Personally, I would have stuck to third, and made your italicized, first person thoughts embedded with third person-like thought since it would have kept the flow smoother. I can kind of understand why you decided to switch a lot. This is kind of a shot in the dark, but I thought you wanted to allude that Elizabeth was kind of nutso and was talking to herself by the time you reach the end, but all of the first person just seemed unnecessary and redundant.

I mean, if you want to keep the first person, I would strengthen the “luck” thesis that you mentioned and refer back to it when you write in first person. Other than that, I found it pointless.

It's a good 'fic, though, and others can or will disagree with me on the narrative switching. Like I said, the ending was a nice plot twist, and the development of Elizabeth as she became more hardened from the rough terrain was interesting to watch. The story itself, even with my nitpicks, was still pretty powerful. Well done.


Interesting idea. Both the structure of the narrative and the plot are unusual, but while I think the second works just fine, I'm not so sure about the first. The points at which you shift back and forth from first- to third-person narration are are rather abrupt--breakers might have helped a bit to ease the switch. Moreso, though, I don't really feel you need them; the first-person perspective has the feeling of an excuse to infodump or transition between important scenes. I think it would have been much more effective to go in media res with the donphan attack to start off, then gradually work in details that hint at what happened to Elizabeth--how she reaches for a cell phone that doesn't work, remembers a friend with whom she can no longer speak, and so on, and so slowly bring the reader up to speed on what her situation is. It's sort of akward to have one POV, throw in a bunch of narrative stuff, switch to another quick scene, and then cram in a bunch of narration again. Third-person limited could have worked as well or better the whole way through, in my opinion.

The ending, too, is interesting. It's certainly a twist, to suggest that some or all of her experience in the forest was/is a hallucination, but it's not a very satisfying twist. The rest of the one-shot doesn't really build to it in any meaningful way, and it comes out of nowhere. It just leaves me confused--was Elizabeth in a mental hospital all along? Was just the "travel back in time" part a hallucination? Was it real, but then she really *did* manage to get home and someone found her out gibbering in the forest and she's just been scarred ever since? The only clue I can see is the parallel between the burning home briefly mentioned at the beginning of the story and the burning treehouse near the end; that would seem to point to option one, but it's hardly conclusive. But anyway, the real question is does it matter? And no, I don't think so. How does Elizabeth's being in a mental institution change the meaning of the story? So far as I can tell, not at all. The plot twist doesn't seem to really be making a point; it doesn't really comment on what's come before, at least to my mind.

Your prose is overall decent. You have a tendency to word things awkardly or use the wrong word entirely, but other than that it's pretty solid. Not a bad one-shot, this, although I do feel that some of the risks you took with it didn't pay off.

Thanks for entering, Umbreon Ruler. We'll be aware of Celebi's shrine. D:


8th Place Tie
FocusPresenceEndurance , “A Letter of Apology”

Bay: 13th Place (35 points)
Breezy: 11th Place (40 points)
Negrek: 6th Place (61 points)
Total: 136 points

As the first months of our journey went by, we were faced with many challenges. In the beginning, for every time we succeeded, there were many times more failures. But for every time we were defeated, we would get back up, brush ourselves off, and keep on moving. For it is during those times that can make or break a trainer. Not only did it put the physical and mental strength to the test, but it also tested the strength of the bond between trainer and Pokemon. This was where many trainers failed, but we were bound and determined not to be defeated by the very beginning of our journey.

Before too long, our victories began to outweigh our defeats, and later still winning became a regular occurrence for us. By that time, we had already risen above Falkner, Bugsy and Whitney, the first three of the eight gym challenges. Words cannot express the happiness we shared during those times. The excitement that we were making our way up in the world, the fondness we had towards each other. It seemed as if nothing could stand in the way of our dreams. Oh, how I miss those days. However, by the time we had attained our third badge, I was beginning to become concerned. You still had not evolved, and I was positive that you should have done so by then. It was something I had been looking forward to since the day I got you. I wanted to see you evolve, I wanted to see you grow stronger.

I didn’t think much of it until we met up with my friends again. I was stunned, and admittedly, slightly envious, to see that both of their Pokemon had already evolved. Again, I was challenged by Kelvin to another battle, and though this battle was more of a struggle than the first, we still managed once more to come out of the battle on top.

Afterwards, when we had a chance to rest and catch up on what we’ve been up to, Kelvin raised a question that had been lingering in the back of my mind for some time. Why hasn’t your Totodile evolved yet? This I could not answer, for I was becoming worried that something may be seriously wrong with you. Despite this, I tried not to think about it, reassuring him, as well as myself that you were due to evolve very soon.

Aw, this is a heartwarming but sad piece here. ;_; Not sure where to start because GAH, I’m too distracted by the sadness of it. ^^; *takes deep breath*

Guess I’ll start with the interaction between Delta and Andrew. Interesting but sad at the same time how it went from a very great one to suddenly downhill when Andrew realizes Delta hadn’t evolved yet. Part of me thinks he’s selfish for wanting Delta to evolve as first stage Pokemon can be able to defeat evolved ones. For instance, in the anime Ash’s Cyndaquil is able to defeat a Steelix; a –effing Steelix of all else! XD;

I also find it interesting Delta doesn’t want to evolve. I read some stories with Pokemon like that. As to the reasoning behind that (at least what Andrew thought) seems plausible. There’s always this belief that once a Pokemon evolves, their personality can change, for better or worse. One other entry, Ibuberu’s, also has something similar. The main character is a Jumpluff and she would think about how when she was a Hoppip she was childish and then when she became a Jumpluff she’s a totally different Pokemon.

Love the character development here too. You have Andrew realized his selfishness and trying to fix that. Too bad it was too late, though. ;_;

First problem is I wonder—did Andrew do anything the last ten years? If not, I don’t know, but I find it hard to believe he wasn’t able to move on with his life because he lost Delta. True, he’s very upset about it and you did that very well. Also, I understand that Andrew will still keep those toys and think about Delta time to time. However, I can’t imagine myself moping and doing nothing like that for ten years. If he did something though, like pursing a different career, then you could have briefly mention that. Doesn’t have to be fully detailed, a few sentences at most will do fine.

Another problem is the disclaimer you put at the beginning said there are two styles of battling, team and single battles. However, I don’t see any reference on team battling. True, the focus is Andrew going to single battles, but I’m also trying to find if there’s any mention of team battling. ^^; Might have missed it, though.

Last problem is a bit complicated. Even though it’s nice that you have this story in a letter form, I’m afraid it doesn’t really feel too much like it to me. Letters are usually short and to the point. You have the dialogue, thoughts, and emotions in the letter, which you did very, very well, but I think the way you presented the story won’t work well for a letter. This feels too formal for one and the writing style would be better as a short story than a letter. Pretty much be careful what kind of writing media you’re going to use (poem, letter, prose, script/drama, etc.) because sometimes one story would be presented better in prose than if written in script form.

In the end, just love this piece a lot and it had touched my heart. However, don’t believe Andrew would do anything after ten years and also it doesn’t feel like a letter to me. Great work here!

It was the day when Kelvin, Persephone and I were to choose our very first pokémon.
Those aren't ... weird names at all, especially for a story set in the year 2002. o_O But eh, okay.

Anyway, um ... I really liked the idea behind your story, and the formatting itself separated itself from the rest of the entries in this contest. I thought it was an interesting twist on ideas; it is rare to find authors that write about a trainer disliking his pokémon's choices, like not wanting to evolve, and not being okay with it. I found the ending really touching but really bittersweet; I am glad that Andrew finally understands Delta's choice of not evolving, but unfortunately it came too late. I thought the emotional impact was the strongest there, so kudos.

However, I do have concerns. First person is difficult when writing description because it really does sound odd when the main has to stop and explain things to his “readers.”
All I know is that by the time I cried myself out, the rain had stopped as well, and shafts of sunlight began to radiate down through the canopy of the rain soaked trees.
That would be a great description – in third person. First person ... eh, not unless your character likes to muse and thinks poetically like that, I think you're kind of overdoing it. There are still ways to says that it had stopped raining and the sun had come out without it sounding ... flowery for a first person piece, let alone a personal letter.

Then we have another version of “too much” description when your character details EXACTLY what happened despite the event happening nine years ago:
Your eyes were swimming with tears, your mouth was curled downwards in a bitter frown, your shoulders were slumped and your breath was continuously cut off by sharp sobs.
Okay, obviously the trainer will remember that his pokémon was devastated, but to that extent?

It was a touching fic; however, it really did really feel formal, especially for such deep and personal subject matter. I'm glad that you took the time to detail things so that the reader was clearly aware of what was happening, but it sometimes felt that you entirely forgot that this was a personal letter in order to get the facts out, like the description of the river. In certain paragraphs, you affirm to the reader that Andrew was angry or sad, but never really reflected that he was still feeling sad about losing Delta during the present day (until the few end paragraphs anyway).

What I thought you did well was retelling and describing the events that happened. I liked how the character of Andrew's younger self progressively built from absolutely adoring Delta to being disappointment in it. I thought the build up to Andrew's “snapping” scene was done well in terms of the pacing to get to that scene. Like I said earlier, some description bits within the story sounded odd, but for the most part, you did pretty well; first person description is pretty hard to write in. The basic mechanics (grammar, spelling, sentence structure) were done well, too.

What I really think could be improved on is adding more of a personality of Andrew within the letter besides near the end. Yes, it is obvious that he regret what he has done (out of obviousness, I suppose), but sometimes, especially during the paragraphs that told what happened, the writing seemed too formal and impersonal (yeah, kind of repeating points here). It would have been nice to see more emotional depth outside the first and last paragraphs strung within the blocks of story telling besides the “I regret it now” line. Even then, I still wish there was a little bit more emotional depth at the ending scene. I'm kind of curious about Andrew's current state: does he still have this deep regret that stopped him from becoming a trainer, or does he know better as a trainer and as a person? Something besides the emotion of “regret?”

Other than that, I did appreciate the originality of your story; letter-type stories are some of my favorites because you really do get to see the character's true personality. Again, I wish you were a little more informal/personal with it, but there were moments that made me feel sad for poor Andrew and Delta.

The letter format is an unusual angle on your story, but unfortunately what you've got here doesn't really work with it. Because the narrator is talking to someone who was there for everything he described, it comes off as packed full of "As you know, Bob" moments when it's clear that the information being conveyed is solely for the benefit of the readers--the character to whom it's being relayed should really already know. Overall, it's just not written the way that someone would write a letter. When writing so someone, you might try to evoke certain memories ("You remember that time when XXX?") or make reference to an event ("That time when YYYY was so cool."), but you don't go back and tell the other person in detail what happened about stuff that they lived through. Sentences like "As the first months of our journey went by, we were faced with many challenges" are just weird in a letter.

It is to be expected that your character would be most interested in conveying his feelings, the things that Delta doesn't already know, rather than telling a story of which the totodile is already aware. If you cut out all the explanatory stuff, the piece would feel a lot more genuine, and leaving parts of the story implied rather than explicit really wouldn't hurt your reader's ability to understand the story, either, I think. As it is, this story looks more like it wants to be a more standard third-person reflection rather than a letter written to another character. Just the idea of it being a letter is pretty weird, in fact--how on earth could the character even expect that there'd be the slightest chance it would get delivered? It's going to show up at the Olivine Pokémon Center, and then what? Someone's supposed to go wandering around in the wilderness looking for a totodile named Delta to read it to? I guess one could go with the premise that the letter-writer really doesn't think it will be delivered or want it to be, but just wants to get his feelings out--but in general, it seems like you kind of wanted to try out the format without thinking about whether it made sense for the situation or the story you wanted to tell.

Not badly written, although the author's wording gets a bit pretentious to feel genuinely emotive at times, and in general it doesn't really sound like someone who's twenty years old and grief-stricken (kinda) that's writing this--the prose is a little bit too formal and carefully worded.

Not a bad one-shot, but I think that you really didn't take advantage of your chosen medium. A real letter from trainer to pokémon would be fascinating to read, I think, but this felt more like something that wanted to be a regular story, not a letter, to me. Fortunately, it wouldn't have been an awful story on its own, so the fact that the letter format didn't save it isn't a tremendous deal, but it doesn't really add anything to it, either.

Thanks for entering, FocusPressenceEndurance. Letters to Pokemon are always bittersweet things. ;_;


7th Place
Ibuberu , “Tasteless”

Bay: 9th Place (48 points)
Breezy: 4th Place (72 points)
Negrek: 16th Place (25 points)
Total: 145 points

She watched as the child floated towards the clouds, silently and solemnly observing the young Hoppip flailing his short arms in the air, his frantic cries and shouts audibly loud. Tears began to stream down his body as he turned to face the ground. These teardrops caught the sunlight as he continued to weep in fear, appearing as glimmers and sparkles to the Pokémon below.

The Jumpluff’s stubby feet remained rooted firmly to the ground despite his predicament. It was her duty to take care of them, not to pamper them. Such luxuries were irrelevant. Such luxuries were useless. If they couldn’t survive a wind like that, there would be no reason for them to continue living there. The wind would decide where they would go next. She suppressed the gnawing sensation that pained her heart underneath these rational thoughts, willing herself not to get involved.

The timid Hoppip clustered with each other, unsure of what to do. They knew that she wasn’t going to do anything about it. She never bothered.

“I know!” a voice piped up.

“You do?” a second voice inquired.

“Hurry! Hurry!” a third squeak urged.

One Hoppip leapt apart from the others, her green leaf still linked to her partner’s as she began scurrying towards the forest, leading the other six along as she skidded to a halt in front of a large oak tree that marked the ending of the beach and the beginning of the forest. She pointed at the oak, a determined look crossing her face as her brothers and sisters nodded with understanding. The seven siblings then began hammering the brown tree trunk with their hands, crying out in an attempt to wake the oak’s sleeping occupant.

Yay, another Hoppip story! XD Yeah, I just love those little creatures. ^^; Anyways, this is a lovely story here and so many things I love about it. One, love the references of the Hoppip and Jumpluff from the pokedex. Nice inclusions you put in there.

Another thing I like is I like how you have Jumpluff trying to be mature because she thinks she have too. I always thought that the later stages of the Pokemon do grow more mature, but not much fics emphasis on that. Not only that, interesting that she doesn’t want to grow attach to the Hoppip because she wants them to be mature too and they’ll be going away soon. Nice development though at the end when she saved Tiny. Haha, you know what, I love the Jumpluff! She’s one of my favorite characters in this one shot. :D

Next, the writing style. You have a way with words in many places and there are a few lines that I adore. Here’s my favorite:

She relived that memorable night, the only night that she had wished upon a star as a young Hoppip. When she was childish, believed in foolish tales, and dreamt of impossible dreams.
I love this quote because you compare her when she was a young Hoppip to when she is now. Nicely done there.

One last thing I love about this one shot is the contrast between swimming and flying throughout this one shot. Both ways of travel are totally different in terms of speed, how much strength you need to do them, and where you can stop (I think flying you can stop at more covient places than swimming). Also, love the irony that the Jumpluff wished she learned to swim after all. Gotta say you hit home with the them by having the beginning and ending lines contrast to each other.

I want to mention a few things, however. First off, there were a few places where the paragraphs were not double spaced from each other. Next time make sure you doublespace each paragraph.

Next is grammar and spelling. There were a couple typos, like “things” instead of “thing” in the beginning of the story, but for the most part you did well with spelling. Grammar you did fine too, although there is one mistake that you have been making throughout the one shot, and it’s punctuation on dialogue. Now, there are parts where you got it right, like this:

“I know!” a voice piped up.

“You do?” a second voice inquired.

“Hurry! Hurry!” a third squeak urged.

However, many times you have it wrong, for instance:

“Tiny got blown away!”The fifth explained franticly.

“Help, Coelman! Help!” All seven Hoppip pleaded.
You don’t capitalize “the” and “all” because you’re not making a new sentence after the dialogue.

“Go play with your brothers and sisters.” Her voice was cold, devoid of understanding and compassion.
Here it’s fine to capitalize “her” as you’re describing the tone of her voice and as new dialogue too. Um, hopefully you get my explanation on dialogue. ^^;

Another mention is I’m confused over the ending. It’s vague on whether the Jumpluff was saved or eaten by Lugia. However, I’m assuming the latter because of the Tentacruel getting away and the ending line “The sea is tasteless.” If my assumption is wrong, let me know. ^^;

Last mention is the centering of the beginning and ending lines. Now, I can understand the reason for that is to emphasis the contrast between swimming and flying, but sometimes doing that can make it as if you’re trying to be too artistic and doing it because everyone else does. More explanation in this thread. In short though, the lines can still be important without centering and other aesthetics. However, you didn’t overuse it, so I guess this is minor.

Overall, love this one shot, but watch out for punctuating when doing dialogue. Also, you don’t need bolding, centering, etc. to put an emphasis on a certain scene and all. Good luck on any other projects and contests you’re thinking of doing!

Oh, sweet god. Lol. Probably one of the cutest, more depressing stories from a pokémon's perspective that I've ever read. I'd hate to make comparisons, but your story reminded me quite a bit of Finding Nemo: the weak, runt of the litter dreaming of something bigger with his parental figure telling him that things like that weren't possible. Then little runt ends up getting captured, and parent goes after him anyway after timeless warning. I mean, you even got the supporting bird character, too. X3 Unfortunately, things did not end the same way. =( On a side note, I'm not criticizing you about finding some sort of similarity with your story in the movie; more of a compliment as I absolutely adored that movie.

Anyway ... Everything about your 'fic was strong, but I think what was your strongest point was your characters, especially the Jumpluff character. You based her off her silver pokedex entry (and probably the later generation ones), and I love how you picked and twisted at it to pretty much write her personality; if she has to spread her seeds, that does mean she'll probably never see her first group of children ever again, so she has to be cold, but loving at the same time. I think your build up on how unemotional she was just strengthened the power behind the scene where she did end up rescuing her Hoppip:
“I caught it! It's mine! Buzz off!” The Jellyfish pokémon scowled at her, unwilling to let his capture go so easily.

The moment that watery statement reached her, a flame seemed to click to life in her chest and a grim frown plastered itself upon her face.

Such a simple reply but such a powerful one as well.

Tiny is just an adorable character, so hopeful and wide-eyed, and I just want to squeeze him to death. XP I can't help but feel bad for him now, as he feels so much regret after his mother tried to save him, and it seems like this pattern of leaving your family to start another is just going to repeat.

One of my favorite moments:
Despite her negative thoughts, the Jumpluff couldn’t help but become captivated by the warm glow of the light. They reminded her fondly of a night sky that she had seen long ago. The pain from the Tentacruel’s hold fading away as she grew lost in her memories, her consciousness beginning to escape from her as her eyes drifted shut. She relived that memorable night, the only night that she had wished upon a star as a young Hoppip. When she was childish, believed in foolish tales, and dreamt of impossible dreams.

'I want to grow up soon! I want to be a great Jumpluff!'
I love how everything is circular in your story, with the Jumpluff character having childish dreams just like Tiny did. Even your beginning ended with the same line (well, sort of).

My only concern was the actual battle that took underwater and how Tiny or the jumpluff managed to swim. It's plausible, I'm sure, but looking at their design, it seems that hoppip would have a lot of trouble walking with such tiny legs and feet, let alone swimming. Jumpluff, with the cotton balls for arms, would look like it would have problems, too, and its lack of arms being one of the key disabilities that you mentioned quite often. And then, while this might just be me being biased on design again, it looks like both Jumpluff and Tiny would have, at least eventually, float to the top because of their shape and their light weight.

You also capitalize words that don't need to be capitalized, like sun and lighthouse, though I'm not sure if this is a regional thing. One of the only times you would capitalize “sun” is when its in context with other celestial bodies that you would usually capitalize, like Venus. Such as, “Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun.” When a word is followed by the definite article (the word “the” in English), you usually wouldn't capitalize the word following it. But enough rambling about useless grammar rules that didn't really effect the enjoyment of the piece anyway.

That being said, this is a fantastic 'fic. You're very good with emotion; it's not overly dramatic and corny, but not oversimplified either. There's such a childlike wonder in the first half, and then a depressing reality in the second, and I'm pretty amazed at how you flowed from such a light subject to a pretty heavy one without it sticking out or seeming like a soap opera gone wrong. Overall, it's just one helluva great fic that I thoroughly enjoyed. Well done.

I like that you actually kept in mind that you were writing about pokémon for this one-shot. While they were still rather humanoid, you took a good stab at relating the jumpluff's nomadic lifestyle to her feelings towards the hoppip and having the pokémon interact with their environment in a realistic fashion. I don't have any major beef with anything up until the part where the jumpluff goes in after Tiny.

A lot of what in the water just didn't work. First off, I doubt that Tiny would have been all eager for a moment of happy cudliness after being released by the tentacool--he's just been pulled underwater and is probably desperate for air. There's plenty of time for reunions after you get something to breathe; he should have hightailed it to the surface and only come back after he was feeling better. Further, the jumpluff has air issues to worry about as well; why would she be wasting breath on talking? Also, if you've ever had someone try to speak with you underwater, you know that it's pretty incomprehensible--I can see the tentacool being able to talk, since that's its element, but not so much a jumpluff who is completely unaccustomed to being underwater.

Next, it's a literally dark and stormy night. The water is dark, the sky is dark, and Coelman is black. I don't think a diurnal pokémon would be able to look up and see the murkrow from under the waves, much less hear him, what with the wind, the rain, the thunder, and the distortion of the water. You wouldn't be able to sprinkle stun spore under the water; it would just dissolve. The jumpluff apparently goes from not being able to swim at all when she first enters the water to propelling herself around with little apparent difficulty in the fight against the tentacruel.

You seem to be trying too hard to make your writing sound dramatic and sophisticated. You often use the wrong word ("ploughs" of black ash?) or write something redundant ("brutal and savage"), presumably as a result of trying to use sophisticated vocabulary. There's also the side effect that your characters' dialogue sounds unnatural and melodramatic--who actually says things like "Forget about those impossible, unobtainable dreams?" In general, it just makes your writing awkward (you really went with "appendages" over wings? How is that better?). You also have some problems with comma splices and punctuating dialogue. And avoid JRPG kind of "emote" dialogue ("-!" or just "!" looks ridiculous in prose). The ALLCAPS shouting looks pretty silly, too.

All in all, this really wasn't too bad. The writing was a bit overwrought, and the underwater battle was a bit riddled with logic problems, but you did a decent job of keeping the pokémon pokémon-ish and the characters' predicament somewhat believable and sympathetic. I would suggest you loosen up a bit on trying to be descriptive and dramatic; it smothers the story rather than enhancing it.

Thanks for entering, Ibuberu. Yes, the sea is tasteless, unless you count salt water (not a science person). :x


Last tie, Yamikarasu and Total Potato for 6th place.

6th Place Tie
Yamikarasu , “Strength in the Heart”

Bay: 2nd Place (90 points)
Breezy: 5th Place (66 points)
Negrek: 19th Place (17 points)
Total: 173 points

A tall figure was walking up the side of the river, it was a boy. A human boy. A trainer.

As the trainer approached, Beid noticed that he was wearing a black cap with a vertical yellow stripe. He wore a red jacket and black shorts, and a bag was slung over his shoulder and resting on his back. On his wrist was a tiny device, Beid could only imagine what function it could possibly serve.

The Pokemon in the clearing fell silent as the trainer approached, and Beid could tell that Sagin’s mind was racing to find a suitable action to do next. The new trainer was walking along the edge of the river, on the opposite side of Sagin. Desperate to be the first Pokémon to confront the trainer and carelessly ignoring the fact that he was still out of breath from his first trip across the river, Sagin leaped once again into the rushing water.

Now the other Pokémon returned their attention to Sagin, although could no longer see him because he was submerged under the rushing water. “Where’d he go?” said the Hoothoot, with his attention divided between the approaching trainer and the submarine Rattata.

The trainer was approaching quickly now as he had noticed the group of wild Pokémon.

I want to kill you, Chozo, and Ysarvvryl for giving me a hard time deciding which entry I want to have as first place. D: Nah, just kidding. In all seriousness though, I really want to give you three first place, but I can’t as that would mean a three way tie for first place. :O All three of you have really great writing styles, awesome characters, and creative ideas on how to go by this open Johto theme, so it’s hard to choose. Enough rambling, let’s get on with the review.

Nice that you have the story the POV of one of the Johto Pokemon. What I love more about this is you feature a Sentret. I just love those creatures. XD What’s even more interesting is Beid didn’t speak at all throughout the fic (well, you mention he talked with his parents at the end, but you didn’t show it). True, this might be because of Beid’s timid personality, but he’s still such a cutie. :3 Usually that can cause a problem because when a character speaks, we the readers will be able to find out more how they speak and also how they react to some people. Here though, you did well with Beid’s character without him speaking. I’m able to know Beid’s feelings throughout the one shot like over whether he should root Sagin to cross the river and also his shock he was chosen to be that trainer’s Pokemon. Once more, a very unique approach on developing Beid’s character and you did well with it.

Love the names of the Pokemon. Is there any special meaning to them and also are they from another language? Just curious. :)

Another thing I find interesting is the Pokemon holding rituals to see which ones are suitable to go along with a trainer. That actually makes sense for two reasons. One, Pokemon are capable to have intellect like an average human, considering there are many pokedex entries that prove that fact. Second, those dang wild battles. XD

Your writing style is good and clear as I’m able to figure out what’s going on and also the feelings of the characters. There is one part though I was confused, the part where Beid was saving Sagin. At first I thought Beid saved Sagin himself, but after reading it again, the trainer also helped a little bit. My bad. ^^; This is minor, though.

Grammar and spelling I see not much problems here. There were a couple odd sentences though:

Sagin had been one of the young Pokémon chosen be trained by a new trainer, multiplying Beid’s misery.
This sentence doesn’t flow right. Perhaps, “…Pokemon chosen to be trained…” sounds better.

The boy had not seen any luck all day, and he emitted an air of low spirits and uncertainty.
Seen luck? I think you mean, “The boy had not gotten any luck all day…”

One other thing is I wish you expanded more where Baid explained to his parents what had happened, so that we get to know his parents more. However, considering you had focused on this one shot with Baid not talking, this too is minor.

Once more, I just love this piece a lot. I’m so impressed you’re able to have the main character developed well, even without him speaking. Also, just love the idea of Pokemon having their own growing up ritual as this is the first time I saw that. Good luck on any other writings you have and also any other contests you plan on entering!

Charming. =) I'm not sure if it was the plot as the whole or the fact that these woodland creatures are just grouped together in a Bambi-like scenario, but either way I found it charming. Beid is a very likable character, albeit a little timid, but I suppose that's how you got me, and most likely your future readers, cheering him on to become the hero that he was deep inside. Sagin was also characterized nicely as Beid's “rival” (in a sense, I suppose), a cocky little rattata that I really can't bring myself to hate but wasn't exactly pitying when his ego got in the way. I also adore how you kind of did a reversal on us with a pokémon trying to prove that it's ready for a trainer.

Grammatically, your major problems were comma splices. Comma splices are deemed “okay” when you're connecting short, choppy sentences (like “I came, I saw, I conquered”), but other than that, they're just complete run-ons. Example:
The other Pokémon gasped[,] none of them had actually thought he would do it.
If you're afraid of using a period due to choppiness, I suggest using a semicolon. A semicolon can act as a weaker period, so you can use it to bind two independent clauses (complete sentences) that are closely related. There weren't too many comma splice errors that it took away the enjoyment of this piece, but there were still quite a few that the problem needed to be pointed out. Other than that, er, nothing, really.

Hum ... There really isn't much I can critique, actually. Dammit. Well, not for you. XP

It's a very feel good, classic underdog story. Admittedly, the whole “honored to be captured by a trainer” was a little odd for me. I mean, I'm not sure if I'd like being ripped away from my family, unlike a trainer who still can visit his family if he so chose, but to each his own. I think the pokémon rituals were interesting in comparison to the human trainers, though it kind of makes me wonder why these pokémon would obey such rituals if they failed the test when there really is no way to enforce them. I suppose that's what makes pokémon more honorable, though. =3

I'm glad that Beid had the common courtesy to check back with his parents (okay, maybe he was too chicken to go with the trainer at first) and the ending line:
A look of pure happiness washed over the boy as he saw Beid appear in the firelight
was just so corny (in the good way), that it made me smile, but the entire ending scene kind of had this air of, “Uhh ... I'm not sure how to wrap this up because, uh, this is pretty much it. Oh, let's just throw together some scene later that night where he comes back to the trainer to end it.” Granted, I'm not sure how you could extend anymore on it since that's all there is to it. I don't want you to drag it out, and I'm glad that things worked out, but it felt ... I wouldn't say rush, per se. Just thrown together, I suppose.

Besides the slight nitpicking that really isn't all that important anyway, I did enjoy this piece, and it really is a nice, heartwarming 'fic. Great job.

The little system whereby pokémon sort of elect who gets the chance to travel with a trainer is clever, but other than that I'm afraid that I didn't find the story improved by the fact that it centered on pokémon. The characters really just read like little human kids, with the same kinds of personalities, concerns, and ways of interacting with their world. Further, I could see where the story was going a mile away as soon as we got Beid, Sagin, and the river all together in the same place; this follows the same basic premise as any number of moralistic kid's stories, i.e. the underdog kid ends up rescuing the talented kid with a big ego who does something stupid to show off, then is recognized as being better because he's got a big heart. It's not a very complex way to engage the idea of what it means to be a good human (or pokémon).

Prose is generally okay. Your grammar and spelling is usually fine, but you do have a tendency to use inappropriate or downright incorrect words (at one point "dissected" when I'm guessing you meant "bisected," for example), in what I would guess is an attempt to spice up your prose with big words. I think that your prose could indeed use some spice, but breaking out the big vocab isn't the way to add it. Rather, what you should address is the kind of "summary" feeling the story gives off--it's sort of like, "This happened, then Beid thought this, then this happened..." and so on. It's kind of a show, don't tell issue--everything is very explicit, and as previously mentioned you can see where it's going a mile away.

Nothing terrible about this entry, but I don't feel that it takes advantage of being pokémon-centric. It's also kind of simplistic in its message and delivery.

Thanks for entering, Yamikarasu. Who says Sentret are weak? :p


6th Place Tie
Total Potato “The Smell of Adventure”

Bay: 4th Place (72 points)
Breezy: 6th Place (61 points)
Negrek: 11th Place (40 points)
Total: 173 points

Sadly, adventure, danger and laughter don’t just drop on your doorstep. A sailor travels all around, and whenever one arrives somewhere, it’s always cause for a celebration. Olivine, on the other hand, is variable. I had to rely on the outside world to bring me adventure, danger and laughter, and recently, the outside world had let me down. Everybody knew the name “Jim” around here, and the sailors often wanted to hear what they’d been missing in Olivine whilst on their travels. If they asked this time, though, I’d have no answer. It was a small concern, but the closer I drew to the Cloyster, the faster that concern grew.

I paused for thought, then immediately wished I hadn’t. This was no time for hesitation! I’d been looking forward to tonight for weeks! I took another deep breath, drawing on the familiar smell of my hometown to strengthen my resolve.

My nose twitched when I detected something that wasn’t part of the usual evening aroma. A thick sea fog had blown in earlier, so it was difficult to spot the source of this foreign fragrance. It was so faint that a visitor to Olivine may have missed it, but its sweetness stood out as alien to me.

I followed the scent until I made out the outline of a girl in the fog. This surprised me – girls didn’t often venture here unless they were caked in makeup, smoking a cigarette and looking desperately for the sailors’ “custom”. As I got closer, I started to hear the soft clack of heels on the ground. Intrigued, I crept closer still, until I could make out an outline. She was lean, wore a plain dress... and that was it. Bizarrely, my pulse started to quicken at her simplicity – simplicity was unusual, and unusual things often made for fantastic tales.

Irony fics FTW! XD *coughs* Anyways, unto the review. Firstly, excellent beginning here:

Adventure, danger and laughter. Any man worth his salt isn’t satisfied until he has his daily dose of these three things. Whenever the sailors return to Olivine, you’re guaranteed to get more than your fill of adventure, danger and laughter. And grog. That’s the fourth thing.
This got me hooked. The lines, “Adventure, danger, and laughter,” got me wondering what kind of story this is going to be and made me read on.

The character is a great story teller, I can tell you that. Love his description of Olvine City and because of the smell of that city he didn’t leave. For instance:

I was kidding myself a bit, though. Despite my striped shirt, blue trousers and spotted bandana, I was no sailor, and I only needed to take a deep breath to remind myself why. The smells of Olivine were unmistakable and irreplaceable. Earlier in the day, I would have caught the scent of fresh fish from the market, mingling with the smell of industry from the shipyard, with the salty tang of the ocean in the background. It was only at this time of night that the character of the city changed, and despite the acidity of alcohol and the smoke from various cigars and cigarettes, that salty tang never left the air. That tang was what made Olivine unique. I’ve heard some call the night-time aroma repulsive. I call it invigorating. For me, the incredible mixture of smells was more powerful than any drug – no wonder I couldn’t bring myself to leave.
This is great description of Olivne City there. Not only you describe the physical features and the activity of it (as most fics with description of someone entering the city the first time), you also added in the scent of the city too and expanded it by explaining how it’s like a drug to Jim. Excellent. I really loved Olvine City both in the game and the anime and I thought you told the main features of the city well.

I also love the parts where he explains he tries to be a sailor when he’s not and also he would listen to the other sailors’ adventures. Also nice contrast that while Jim wants to listen to the sailor’s adventure, they want to listen to what they have missed back home. Realistic there as there are times when we leave to another place for a while we wondered what’s happening back home. *remembers my week long trip to Northern California, lol*

Have to say, Jim’s “adventure” with Jasmine made me laughed aloud. Oh shi- indeed. XD Who says adventure has to be overseas. ;P Also, love this quote:

As I got closer, I started to hear the soft clack of heels on the ground. Intrigued, I crept closer still, until I could make out an outline. She was lean, wore a plain dress... and that was it. Bizarrely, my pulse started to quicken at her simplicity – simplicity was unusual, and unusual things often made for fantastic tales.
Reminds me a lot of the “Nerves of Steelix” episode when Brock compliments Jasmine’s simplicity. XD

The truth, don’t see much problems here, although I have one concern. Like Draco Malfoy’s entry, not sure if you’re using Jasmine’s personality from anime, manga, or games. I know in the games Jasmine is timid (which you showed when Jim started to touch her) and also that she named her Steelix Rusty (well, in the DPPt games when she enters contests). Anime Jasmine, on the other hand, is very confident and also puts a tough show when battling. For game Jasmine would probably be scared facing off Jessie, James, and Meowth, but in the anime she’s not). Manga Jasmine though I’m not actually sure since I’m not familiar with that media. If you’re using both anime and game Jasmine, it’s fine (in fact, I find it interesting you would portrayed her like that if that is the case), but like Jim I’m also surprised at her change in personality. Then again, I had a character in a fic of mines that also had a drastic personality change. XD

Out of all of the entries, this is the most simple, but I love it as such. :) Also, love the Jasmine scene, even if I’m not exactly sure what kind of canon you’re going for, in terms of the gym leader’s personality. Love Jim and also Olvine City in this one shot. Great work here!

I really enjoyed this. =) You write first person splendidly (I particularly enjoyed the beginning with the “grog” bit and when you went over the introduction of Jim’s name) in terms of both personality and description; you never really made your character stop and describe things except when appropriate, like when Jasmine was approaching, and your character’s thoughts flowed smoothly with the text, something that is pretty hard to do. Well done.

Some nitpicks:

A thick sea fog had blown in earlier, so it was difficult to spot the source of this foreign fragrance. It was so faint that a visitor to Olivine may have missed it, but its sweetness stood out as alien to me.

I followed the scent ...
Not really a nitpick (more of a comment), but this Jim guy must have the nose of a dog to make out the scent of this girl (not unless she was wearing tonsss of perfume or something). Not that it really matters as I can imagine a sailor-like character having a good nose for some reason. =P

... until I made out the outline of a girl in the fog ... As I got closer, I started to hear the soft clack of heels on the ground. Intrigued, I crept closer still, until I could make out an outline.
You wrote that Jim made out the girl’s outline twice. Perhaps the second meant Jim waited until the outline became more than just a black silhouette?

There was also some confusion when Jim encountered the girl, which is revealed to be Jasmine. If he’s been there for so long, wouldn’t he have known it was Jasmine, a well known figure in Olivine, once she came into better view? Wouldn’t he know better to not mess with the gym leader of Olivine City if he’s been a native there for so long? Surely he would know that she was a pretty aggressive battler who has a pretty powerful steelix on her team.

Besides that, I thought the plot itself was interesting. While it did get “dark” at a certain scene, you kept it relatively light and hearty which I really admired considering that those are a few traits of the sailors you were describing. I enjoyed how you tied everything back to adventure and danger with Jim’s want for adventure, then Jim’s disappointment in his lack of stories of adventure, to Jim finding an opportunity for adventure, then Jim getting a story to tell about adventure – which he won’t tell, of course. There are a lot of stories for this contest (I’m sure you realize this), and a lot of them tried to prove a point, or go into something deep. This, however, was an extremely refreshing change of pace because you did something simple: tell an entertaining story that doesn’t try to establish morals (besides maybe not messing with gym leaders) or go deeper than it needed to be. Just a good, creative tale with a kind of likable character (well, I do like him with the exception of pulling Jasmine in the alleyway).

Speaking of Jasmine, I thought you did her extremely well, considering she’s a pretty difficult character to work with. Her personality explained why she didn’t scream when she was grabbed; Jasmine was never really an aggressive character ... until she actually battles. I thought the transition from soft-spoken character to a determined battler was believable. I was kind of put off by the laughter – I read it as mocking laughter, even though you wrote that it was laughter pure triumph, but it seemed ... kind of odd to have someone laugh in that situation. Then again, it is Jasmine.

Like I said, it was a very enjoyable piece to read. Well done.

This is a weird little story. A guy who likes to hang around on the docks goes to rape a girl, then finds out she has a steelix and runs away. (One would think Jim would have recognized the gym leader and known to stay away, given that he's clearly very familiar with/fond of Olivine City, and she's a pretty prominent figure there.) The writing itself isn't bad, but I just don't see where you were going with this. As is, the story lacks direction and feels like it should be a scene in a larger piece, not something to stand on its own.

Thanks for entering, TotalPotao. We'll sure to have our own grand adventure. :p


5th Place
Koridojo_Blaziken, “A Broken Trinity”

Bay: 7th Place (57 points)
Breezy: 10th Place (44 points)
Negrek: 3rd Place (80 points)
Total: 181 points

The other Trainer’s name was Christian. He’d seemed decent enough, although he’d also acted a bit nervous and had shied away from any mention of battling. I had been traveling with him for a month and a half, and was glad for his company—even though I had started my journey tagging along with Liam and his Cubone, I had eventually parted ways with my brother as different opportunities pulled us in separate directions. Christian was the first real human friend I’d had since then. Still, I couldn’t help but be curious about his introverted habits. I knew he had a Pokemon, for I had seen him toying idly with a Pokeball in his left hand from time to time, yet I had never seen it for myself. Interested as I was, though, I never thought to push the matter. I just figured that he was the type that preferred to battle only occasionally. So, I didn’t think it was a big deal when Christian approached me in Mahogany Town with a request.

“Would it be a problem if I borrowed Tiru for a couple of hours?” he asked me while we were both in the lobby of the Pokemon Center. “I was thinking about heading up the route north of here to see the Lake of Rage.”

I looked up. “This is random,” I commented. I was seated on the floor next to a bench. Tiru, the Pokemon in question, was stretched out next to me, his blocky head resting in my lap and eyes drowsily half-shut. I found it adorable that he was still such a cuddle bug even after seventeen months of battling. “I thought you had a Pokemon, didn’t you?”

Christian balked for a second. “Well, yeah, that—I mean, I just thought I might need another Pokemon for backup, you know, if we end up in any battles or something. I mean, it’s still pretty weak…”

First off, didn't know a calf can be a baby elephant. You learn something new everyday. XD;

Have to say, this is a very touching one shot. I love how you have the saying, A friend is a priceless treasure—two are a blessing the main point of the story. You did well with Emma and her interactions with her two Pokemon. Also you expanded that by having a great message about friendship at the end. Even though Tiru is gone, the two will go on and also they know he will still always be with them.

Speaking of Tiru, the scene of his passing is a sad one. I almost cried. ;_; Pokemon dying aren’t always a pretty picture to see. Have to say though you did well with both Merc’s and Emma’s emotions of the ordeal and then they were able to bounce right back at the end.

I like Emma, Merc, and Tiru a lot. Nice you have the two Pokemon teach each other about life (Tiru teaching Merc how to have fun while Merc teaching Tiru how to calm down). I kinda wish you would show a couple instances of that instead of tell, like have a flashback of a battle the two did. However, I can understand the focus is at Maghony Town and the Lake of Rage, so this isn’t that much of a problem. I love Emma because she has common sense that Pokemon battles are dangerous, but also knows how to handle that. Also, I can tell she really cares about her Pokemon a lot, especially the ending.

Last thing is there’s one part I like:

Merc yawned and rolled onto his side, shook himself off, then stood upright and looked eagerly at me as if to say, Whatever you say, boss.
The boss statement reminds me of Chozo's entry, in which the trainer's Pokemon would also call her boss. XD Also I think this is a cute scene. :3

One of the biggest criticism is the Weavile scene and there’s a lot of questions that came up while reading this. First off, Christian hurts Tiru and after he releases his Weavile, he freaks out. I can understand if the Pokemon went too far, but I find it weird Christian would be all worried if the trainer’s intention is hurting Tiru in the first place. Also, assuming the trainer’s intention is to only hurt Tiru and not kill him, why Christian releases his Weavile if he knew he can’t control it? Next is if he can’t control it and is scared of the Weavile in the first place, why don’t he send it away, store it in the PC, trade him (although I can understand that Weavile might attack him/her and their Pokemon), etc.? Hm, I think I might misunderstood something in this one shot, so if I do, let me know. ^^;

Speaking of Christian, I’m a bit iffy about his personality. At first he’s shown as quiet and not much of a battler. Later though, at Lake of Rage he accepts the battle and even does the first turn. However, he didn’t command Tiru. When Tiru loses, he lashes out at him and sends out his Weavile. When the Weavile goes out of control, he freaks out. You catch me here? ^^; Basically there’s this weird contradiction with Christian. He doesn’t battle but accepts one. He’s indecisive on commanding Tiru but when he loses, he hurts the Dophan. As soon as he sends out his Weavile, things get out of control and he was not sure what to do.

Last thing is even though I like you have the ending be of Emma and Merc have inner peace and know that Tiru is still with them in spirit, I think an hour is a bit too fast to recover, especially after what Tiru has gone through and Emma lashing out at Christian. Probably a scene or two showing of Emma still heart stricken by Tiru’s passing, but then slowly realizes she must go on and all that jazz.

Wrapping things up, love your one shot as it’s very touching, has a great message, and great characters. However, confused over the Weavile scene and also Christian’s personality. I might missed something here, so don’t hesitant to correct me. Also, both Emma and Merc recovered a bit fast. Nice work.

A very powerful, emotional fic. There were small bits that did shock me a bit or made a lump form in my throat. I thought the characterization of Emma was done well, especially with her reactions to hearing the news, encountering Christian, and then reflecting on what happened.

A friend is a priceless treasure—two are a blessing. My mother used to drill this motto into us at every available opportunity she had. Like the skeptical kids we were, my elder brother Liam and I just brushed it off as a nostalgic cliché, not realizing that behind those overused words there lay an indomitable truth.
I like your beginning. It does kind of seem like a weird thing for a mother to tell you, let alone drill into you (it really sounds like a Hallmark card sort of line), but I like how you made your character state that it seemed like such a useless piece of information like most people would and then realized that her mother's words were always, sometimes annoyingly, right.

Mercenary, the great Typhlosion at my side, gave a small whine and craned his neck from where he was to nudge my arm. For once, the shaggy-furred navy and yellow fire pokémon was not romping and racing in tight circles around the room, as he usually did, but was hunkered down at my feet on the floor, scrunched in the narrow space between the bed and the nightstand.
I liked the personality of Mercenary; I don't know why, but typhlosion in stories are always portrayed as playful creatures. Not sure if that's a pokedex entry or because of the way they look, though. Either way, I like how he remained loyal to Emma and tried to comfort her. I quoted this bit (well part of the bit I liked), because I found this scene very telling of Merc's character and his loyalty to the ones closest to him. On the nitpick side, though, I did think the bold part I highlighted stuck out. It might be the colors (I would just omit them). Typhlosion don't have shaggy fur either (imagine if they did when they did attacks like Flamewheel; their fur would get in the way). It's more coarse and short.

Christian’s reaction was a shock to Scott—he’d lashed out at Tiru, hitting him square in the side and sending him stumbling back a good few feet, before immediately bringing out his own pokéball and summoning its inhabitant, a Weavile. This might have been out of reflex, intended to defend himself, or perhaps something else entirely, but in any case what happened next had had terrible consequences. The Weavile had immediately gone for Tiru with all the rage of a wild Gyarados, viciously slashing and biting, the savage snarls that ripped out of its throat contrasting sharply against Tiru’s trumpeting screams of pain and Christian’s shouts trying in vain to get his pokémon to stop.
I thought this was one of your more powerful description scenes, though I am a little bit confused about why Christian didn't return his weavile once it started to attack Tiru so viciously even while he was telling his weavile to “stop it.” Christian’s choice to release his weavile wasn't really a reflex either. Kicking Tiru because he touched him was, but you have to stop, think, then release a pokémon. So ... not really a reflex in my opinion.

Then we kind get to point two: If Christian was so scared and threatened by pokémon, why keep the pokémon you're so afraid of in a pokéball that it could one day break out of (seen a few times in the anime; psyduck, for example)? Or be traveling around pokémon? Or accepting challenges for battles? He wasn't under threat to battle or anything. Logically, all your things can be answered with Christian wanting to hide his secret, but it sounds kind of fishy to me. Like if I were afraid of something, sure I'd hide it, but I don't think I'd keep the thing I'm so afraid of near me. Or I would have shown some sign that I was scared by pokémon (since they're everywhere).

Anyway, as I said earlier, I thought your emotional reactions from Emma were done well.
I jerked sharply away from his touch. “Don’t,” I snarled, low and furious. “Don’t you dare try and touch me with those filthy hands of yours.”
I liked this bit, though I think exclamation marks would have fit better instead of commas/periods, especially when you have words like “snarled” as a speech tag. One-worded responses always seem to be them most powerful responses – at least in my opinion.

“Do you remember all that stuff I’ve said about you before?” I asked him, my voice wavering with the threat of tears but muffled by his fur. “How you were always such a pain, and impossible to work with? Don’t even think for a minute that’s all true, Merc. You are an incredible pokémon, and one of my closest friends, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. I love you for what you are, Merc, so don’t you ever change. Got it?” In response Merc’s wide tongue slopped my face, leaving traces of Typhlo-drool on my cheek. It was his way of confirming that I was still the boss, that he was doing whatever he could to try and make me happy.
I thought this was a touching moment as well. Emma learned from this experience, hopefully not to take things for granted anymore. It's a nice Merc moment, too.

Overall, I thought the piece was executed well in all departments. Description was nice (though I do warn you to be wary about overdoing it in first person – it ends up looking odd if you overdo it), not too much and not too little. Again, I repeat the above quote as some of your most powerful description in this piece; you could have chose to be more gory, but you restrained yourself and still managed to get the horror/shock of this scene out. Your emotions were powerful (I won't repeat it, but it's the same as what I said above =P). It really wasn't a plot sort of story (more of a reflective piece), but the pacing was done well, like in the scene where Emma was finding out the news about Tiru.

I do think, however, that Emma came to a resolution/peace rather quickly. The anger scene was done well, the distraught/shock/crying was good, too, but the end scene, in terms of emotion, jumped from anger to peace, rather quickly. I know you wanted to wrap things up and give the reader, and Emma, an inner peace instead of ending the fic on a rocky, shaky note, but she recovered kind of fast, or you didn't really write that she would still be grieving. I do like your ending, but maybe you could add something like that she was still be grieving, and probably will be for awhile, or it'll be odd traveling without him but she's doing this for him ... just so it doesn't seem that she's over it like that.

Other than that, very compelling, gripping, and bittersweet. Emotional/personal stories is your forte (I think), and I was glad I read this. It puts a lot of perspective on how trainers in a lot of stories just ruthlessly throw their pokémon into battle and none of the pokémon really get hurt.

This isn't an uncommon kind of story to see, but at least you were able to give it a bit more heart than most; overall, the character's emotions felt genuine rather than forced and overdramatized. It did shade towards the trite and preachy a bit at the end, as you kind of ground in the typical friendship/moving on despite grief message, but other than that I think you handled it pretty well.

The writing was pretty good, too; your paragraphs got a bit mind-eatingly large, but other than that, the structure was decent and your mechanics, aside from the occasional typo ("pommel" instead of "pummel," for example) were sound.

So, nothing really revolutionary about this story, but I think that you did a nice job on the execution. The explanation of why Christian would let his weavile out to attack Tiru, and his behavior in general, was a little strained, but other than that everything seemed to come together nicely. This was a decent read.

Thanks for entering, Koridojo_Blaziken. Weaviles are scary, yeah? XD


4th Place
Katiekitten, “Harmony”

Bay: 8th Place (54 points)
Breezy: 7th Place (57 points)
Negrek: 4th Place (72 points)
Total: 183 points

She couldn’t breathe.

Panic wound a tight whipcord around her chest, crushing her ribcage, sending splinters of pain spiking with her every heart-thudding pant- but yet it wasn’t; her breaths were even, her heart beating a slow, trance-like rhythm. She was screaming, crying, clawing her way towards the door, past the shadowed men that blocked it and out of this accursed room- and yet not a sound murmured past her lips, not a curl of a finger graced her half-closed hands.

And she was so afraid.

Liquid ice still licked through the bottoms of the soles of her feet to the last hair on her head, numbing her entire body until it felt that she was floating, the occasional dull crackle sending tiny, uncontrollable spasms rippling through her. She shuddered inside herself at the feeling, shrinking into as small a ball as she could – she was alone, bound with no way to defend herself, no way to even move.

The man that had attacked her lounged by the door, guarding her only escape route; the other was in the center of the room, back turned cockily towards her. The obnoxious insignia of Team Rocket was emblazoned across their backs, clear even in the dull light, confirming her worst fear in less than a heartbeat even as she struggled to break free of her paralysis.

I have to say, I actually like the different POVs portrayed here. This gives us insight on what the characters were thinking and also their emotions. For instance, the part on the woman’s POV. I thought you did very, very well on her emotions there and also mention about her knowledge of Team Rocket. Nathan’s part at the end of the one shot is nice also as you did great with his emotions on the assault wave.

Speaking of the assault wave, just love the twist to the Goldenrod Radio Tower incident. Love how Nathan is shock and sad at the same time how the revolution didn’t go as plan. Yeah, why can’t the Goldenrod Radio Tower incident be like you portrayed? Would have been so much better. XD

Love the name Magpie. ‘nuff said. XD

There are a few things I want to mention. Grammar and spelling, for the most part you did well, but I think the other judges can find them better than me. You did a couple typos, mostly “Magnetron” instead of Magneton.

He looked up as Nathan’s Magnetron stirred suddenly from its stolid vigil of the door, magnets whirling as it swung towards its master, glazed eyes aglow.
A Magnetron would be a nice addition to my third Transformers movie. :D *gets shot*

Another problem I want to mention is the misuse of canon. First, the Goldenrod Radio Tower incident happened three years after Team Rocket’s disbandment, not ten. Second, Giovanni hadn’t returned to take over Team Rocket and instead the admins (unless I miss something in your fic here). I know you’re doing a different version of that incident and it’s fine (in fact, I like it ten times better than what happened in the games), but some things in canon have to be in tact. For instance, in the first games Giovanni states because of his loss to a ten year old trainer, he feels so ashamed of that, so he goes off training. I don’t think Giovanni doesn’t have plans to get back to Team Rocket without a good reason. As for the ten year gap, the Pokemon world would drastically change, like a lot. Heck, in the games a lot has changed in three years.

Next is your writing style. For the most part I love it as it has this poetic feel to it and makes the emotions come to life. Also, love the detail you put in the emotions, especially on their actions like their mouths quivering and such. However, the one shot went at a slow pace because you put too much adjectives and adverbs in one place sometimes.

The sudden, monotone hum of electricity by her left ear, and a glint of silver, and she flinched as the Magneton roved slowly over her head, a single, glazed eye glancing dumbly over her as it kept its solemn vigil- she found herself hating its dead, flat gaze.
See here? You could have made the action of the Magneton hovering over the woman and her hating that Pokemon’s gaze much faster if you take out a couple adverbs and adjectives. Maybe the action might come across more clearer also that way.

Now, I don’t want you to change your writing style and all, but sometimes writing isn’t just about pretty prose. Writing is also to make sure the action, setting, and actions clear so that the readers can enjoy those elements also. I love your prose, really, but sometimes I get confused what was going on because of too much adjectives and adverbs thrown in. Again, this is just me giving advice on how to make the actions clearer, but if you feel you’re able to convey your story in this writing style, I’m not stopping you. Mind you, you have improved a lot since I first read/reviewed your earlier works. :) *hugs*

Last thing is I’m confused as to how that woman could interfere the men’s mission and why it’s important to kill her. I might have missed something though, so I apologize for that.

In summary, love the different POVs in this one shot and also nice twist to the Goldenrod Radio Tower incident. There are some things that you got wrong according to canon though. Also, love your prose, but sometimes the action and setting is unclear due to too many adjectives and adverbs in one sentence. Not going to say to change it, though. Great job.

So what I particularly liked about your story was your use of figurative language:
Another silence. It dragged its feet slowly across the matted carpet of the room, trailing its fingers in the tracks of dust, stalking contentedly past the muted men.
Yay personification. To sound naïve with my lack of knowledge and all that, I do like how you, er, write. I am positive that you could have gone further and written more figuratively, but you chose when it was appropriate and when it would have the most impact. Or flowed well with the text. Or whatever.

I also thought the dialogue between Zackary and Nathan was strong; I like the playful/witty chemistry between the two of them:
A teasing wrinkle of a nose - Nathan slipped from his perch to the floor, expression mockingly disgusted. “That rat’s slow. Told you he was a waste of time.”

Zackary snorted. “Say that again, and I’ll string you alive.”

“Just try it, pretty boy-”
It also shows that there's more to Team Rocket members then some hard shell that they're portrayed to be in the games/anime. I'll get back to this later. ;P

I do have a few nitpicks with clarity and game canon, though (assuming you're using game canon. Might be manga canon, or, hell, even anime canon, and if it is, feel free to correct me as I don't really read the manga ... or watch the anime anymore).
... They were a ruthless revolutionary front – but they were fighting for death, and for power, not for liberty, and it was on that score that they had been finally defeated and disbanded ten years ago, not long before she’d turned six.
I'm assuming this is semi AU or perhaps not even related to the games at all. If this is based off the Goldenrod Tower takeover in the games, the span between when they were first defeated in FR/LG (or R/B/G) was three years (they make the player sure of this in the G/S games lol).

Team Rocket had finally mustered their ‘troops’ for the first time in a decade, their leader – his leader, Giovanni - taking the center stage and here he was, a part of it – sitting on the brink, waiting to leap over.
Kind of the same confusion here. Are you saying Giovanni's with them or is the leader again after they disbanded? Because technically this isn't true in game canon. If you remember the games, the radio message TR sent out was for Giovanni because he disappeared, and they wanted to prove to him (and the rest of Johto/Kanto), that Team Rocket was still alive.

Now that I read it over, this section has a lot of dashes, and it's kind of jarring. It's not that they're incorrectly used, but perhaps you could use a softer break (specifically the dash between “it” and “sitting”), like a comma.

He didn’t look up as, with a gentle brush of air, Magpie brushed gently past him, roving calmly forward; didn’t imagine the writhing sparks that accompanied the sharp crackle of electricity as they powered up for a final attack.
The bold part is repetitive. Either omit one “gentle brush” or reword a part of it. The semicolon here is also used incorrectly. I do get what you're trying to illustrate here by making the text semi short and run on (like thought), and I don't want to ruin the sentence by adding a pronoun before the “didn't imagine ...” but perhaps there is another way to reword this sentence so it still has the same effect but is still grammatically correct. Not unless you don't mind “... roving calmly forward; he didn't imagine ...”

That being said, it was a powerful scene/sentence, and again, I love your use of language.

I also like how you made Nathan and Zackary, well, human ... which is a weird comment, I know, considering that they are human. Quite often, an author will use the guise of “Team Rocket member” or Team [insert whatever here] to make his character tough, or cold-hearted, or emotionless, but you kind of did the opposite, starting off with the shell of a Team Rocket member but actually making him feel emotion toward the girl they held hostage, eventually leading to ... well, you know:
Kill her. And then it won’t matter, will it?

Something, something wet and warm was dribbling down his cheeks, and he couldn’t go a step further, falling to his knees, his head in his hands. The room spun as the people screamed, his mind, his thoughts, zeroing into a twisted snarl of chaos.
It's very precise, yet subtle, and still has that powerful impact. I also how you gave the reader insight about why a person would join something as “horrible” as Team Rocket. I loved how you made Nathan go back and forth between his thoughts about hurting the girl then going back to Team Rocket, and questioning what was right.

He’d joined the Rockets because he'd believed what they'd believed- they were a flag risen high above the muck of the ****ing, drug-rolling Bourgeoisie; a stand against those who'd ridden this state to the ground with their idiot of a puppet.
Yeah, I'm really quote happy for some reason. =P I did like how you delved into the other side of Team Rocket and depicted them as somewhat vulnerable and human, especially when the life of another human is in their hands. I actually find it more realistic this way.

Overall, this is an excellent piece. I thought it was a fascinating character analysis and a creative twist on a Team Rocket member, and an interesting insight on what was going on INSIDE the radio tower while Team Rocket was in the plans of taking over it. The way you strung it together was done beautifully, too. Again ... again, I do like how you mixed heavier description scenes with smaller, one sentence ones; it was an odd mixture, but a mixture that you used to your advantage, giving more emphasis on the stronger, emotional scenes. I am a little curious about the time frame or what canon this was based on, but other than that, it was a compelling read.

This one shot felt a bit stretched to me. It might have helped if you hadn't had the very beginning section with the dead girl lying there--then I might have felt the tension a bit more as the grunts agonized over whether or not to kill her. As it was, I *knew* she was going to buy it and was just waiting for them to do it. Their agonizing seemed elongated and overstated; nothing really novel here, just the usual "oh god what have I gotten myself into," "I'm not a murderer" kind of thing. I feel you really overplayed this; it felt heavy and belabored. Additionally, I had a lot of difficulty telling the characters apart and got them confused several times; it might just have been inattention, but they didn't really distinguish themselves from one another in my mind.

Overall, the writing wasn't bad. You have some issues with commas: too many where they don't belong, sometimes, or none where you need them at others. Sometimes your prhasing is a bit awkward or you use words in a strange way, but on the whole it hangs together pretty well. Only other thing I noticed was that you used "Magnetron" instead of "Magneton" at least a couple times.

On the whole, this wasn't a bad one-shot. Magpie was cool, and the premise really wasn't bad. I just think that you went over the top in your attemtps to highlight the anguish of the situation. Something a little briefer might have made the impact more acute. The story felt just a little bit strained, like you were working a bit too hard at trying to bring out the drama. Not a bad one-shot, though.

Thanks for entering, katiekitten! Magnetrons will be coming your way, Michael Bay style. :p


Anyone still here? All righty folks, now the top three. This is what you all have been waiting for. Now, it’s already mentioned that the first three places will get banners, and they’re made by my good friend Zadros. :) If you don’t like them though, bother him for a better version of the banner! :p We’re so close to the finishing line, folks!

3rd Place
purple_drake, " Diachrony"


Bay: 5th Place (66 points)
Breezy: 3rd Place (80 points)
Negrek: 1st Place (100 points)
Total: 246 points

[/quote] She seethed. They dared—! They dared to invade the Clan’s stronghold. They dared to bring their darkness and dishonour into her home, into her bath—those shades of people, the ninja.

Long and long had the Clan reigned in their mountain city, and less long had it been since the ninja had laid their lair so near the borders of the Clan’s domain—but long enough. What else must have been in their heads, but to threaten the Clan’s sovereignty? For no other reason would they have—could they have—to build their home so near.

They were people of shadow, slaying from darkness and with dishonour, so their victims saw naught of them. They were creatures of fear; such was their power. But the Clan would not fear ones with such black hearts and could not abide their threat so near to the West, and the ninja could bear none with the courage to stand proud in that which they called their darkness.

And so they fought, samurai against shinobi, until even their daughters were given a blade at the cradle and both their brethren lay slaughtered in their own rooms or executed within stone walls.

She would not allow such to be her fate. [/quote]

Someone battling in the nude? Awesome. XD; I think that somewhat inspired from Breezy and me. :p *coughs* Okay, to the review. Have to say the battle between the two women is nicely written. A lot of action going on, fast pace, and also great emotions there. I can tell that both women are really angry at each other and they won’t hesitate to go at one another’s throats. Also, they have good taste in weapons. ;)

I also find it interesting the huge conflict between the ninjas and dragons and you laid out their history very well by a mixture of the two girls’ POV, Lady Ryukko’s journal, and Lance’s thoughts on the matter. I think I remember hearing something about that, but not sure where. ^^; No matter, though. Have to agree on Breezy though this is awesome you’re able to come up with a story just from those signposts. Neato. *runs and looks at the signposts at my neighborhood*

Speaking of POV, you’re able to do the switching POV thing well in your story. Usually authors have trouble with that as sometimes they would repeat the same event and the different character might feel the same thing. Also, the emotions might be lacking. However, you did well. Both the ninja and Lady Ryukko’s emotions were laid out well, both when they were thinking about their battle and also about how their clans are going against each other. I also love Lady Ryukko’s journal. Really adds a touch to her strong willed personality and also shows more on her thoughts on the warring clans.

The last part of the story I thought is both thoughtful and cute at the same time. :3 First off, I actually find it funny the last contest you have Lance lost his sanity after the tragic incident at the Rocket’s headquarters and here you have him all calm and playful. :p I see anime Lance more like that than game Lance (like I said to Ysavvryl, able to watch the episodes that featured him) because the former is more compassionate and fatherlike while game Lance is like that too, but with more attitude. Didn’t say anything about manga Lance as I haven’t read the Special manga, so for now I’m going by Lance’s personality in the anime and the game. You know more about Lance than me, though. XD; Besides Lance, I also like his granddaughter. She’s so adorable, that all I got to say. :D Have to say very nice that after that battle scene you have the two clans come to terms in the present and Lance thinking what would the two women think of that (I’m wondering about that myself too ;) ).

There are a couple things I want to mention. While the battle between the women itself is well done, I think you could have make the Pokemon (or demons :p) be more involved in the battle. There have been a couple parts where you did that, like the Crobat attacking Lady Ryuuko. I would like to see more of the Pokemon attacking the girls and the Pokemon attacking at one another since it looks like the Pokemon didn’t do much but stand there.

Another problem is I would be confused who’s doing what in the battle a couple times. Part of the reason is because you didn’t mention their names during the battle. I know you don’t want to reveal their names to keep that a secret or something, but it would be much easier to keep track of the battle if their names were revealed (I know you revealed Lady Ryuuko’s name later in the story, but you could have done it sooner). Actually, the ninja’s POV I’m able to figure out who’s doing who fine, but in Lady Ryuuko’s POV that was when I got confused. :x

One final thing is the writing style. Well actually, I love this new writing style you’re going for this story. It gives the quick pace of the battle and also a nice way of showing the women’s emotions during battle. However, there were a couple places where you have two colons in one sentence, which I have never seen before.

She rolled and came to her feet, her heart racing and with a tantō already drawn, but her hand very nearly went slack when she saw what she faced: a dragon: a long, serpentine dragon, its scales sleek with water, hanging coiled in the air; a dragon, here, where her target should have been most vulnerable.
On the bolded part, it’s a bit weird to have two close to each other like that. Perhaps get rid of a dragon as the next part you already described the Pokemon to be of a dragon.

Nearly too late she saw the gleam of steel in her opponent’s other hand: a kunai: an arrow-shaped blade stabbing beneath her guard.
Another one of those sentences. Not going say how to change that as there’s actually a couple different ways, but I would rather let you decide that on your own.

Well, to sum it up, excellent story here. The battle is pure awesome and love the ending with Lance and his granddaughter to bits. The colons being close to one another is what that threw me off and so is the confusion on who’s doing what and the Pokemon not involved much during the battle. Still though, it’s a fun read and I enjoyed this study very much. :D

You know, I never really thought about Mahogany Town or Blackthorn City (mostly because I never read the signs in the games XP) as rivals/enemy clans, but it really does make sense. Ninjas versus dragon tamers ... Ah, I can picture it now – most of it is because of your writing.

I liked a lot of things about your story, but I think what I enjoyed best was the different perspectives from Lady Ryuuko and the ninja woman. I thought it was clever that you wrote them with such different beliefs, yet at the same time they're very similar; both think of each other's clans as dishonorable scum while their clan was the “right” clan with more honor and morals. The sword battles between them was written beautifully; I could imagine it perfectly in my mind, almost like a movie. I also really enjoyed your writing style in this section. I'm not sure how you did it or how to explain it, but I really felt like I was ... like I was in the time frame. Am I nuts? It was ... like ... wow. Lol. I actually was a little bit afraid of the glossary you had at the top that explained what each word meant because I always had trouble with fics that used different languages, but you wrote it so smoothly that I didn't really need to use the glossary. It just made sense that “random word here because Breezy really is that lazy to look up the actual word” would mean sword or whatever.



I thought Wataru as an old man was done well; he would seem like one of those grandfathers that would sit in their chair near the fire and read histories after years of an adventurous life. I'm not an expert on Lance (don't kill me!), but it was very believable. I also found his relationship with his granddaughter very cute. I also enjoyed Lady Ryuuko; I'm always a fan of strong woman that can kick ***. Plus the opening line of her perspective (“She seethed. They dared—! They dared to invade the Clan’s stronghold. They dared to bring their darkness and dishonour into her home, into her bath—those shades of people, the ninja.”) won me over. I thought the transition was really done well.

Was this story just based off that the sign post in Mahogany and the references to dragons in Blackthorn? If so, I am really impressed. I never, ever really thought of the two cities as rivaling clans, and the fact that you created an entire history (well a segment of history) from it just adds to my amazement. I really am wondering if something like this was in the games; if not, dammit, they should add it. Would make things a whole lot interesting. XP

I was confused on one part, though:

What would they have thought of her, I wonder? Of all the people for his cousin’s daughter to marry, it had to be Kyou’s grandson.

The old ninja had been intensely amused.
Is the old ninja referring to Kyou or Wataru? o_O Now that I read it over, I can connect that you might be referring to Kyou, but my brain jumped to Wataru after that statement. So maybe something to re-tweak? Then again, I'm slow so ...

Other than that, there really isn't anything constructive that I could add. Again, I am astounded by the idea that you concocted this entire story from one simple quote on a signpost. The description was impressive, your writing style is beautiful (I really enjoy your style if you couldn't piece that together, haha), and the characters are very likable. Waahhh. In short, I enjoyed this immensely and I liked pretty much everything about it. I probably won't look at the two cities the same way again.

Nice little slice of Johto history here; The battle scene was generally exciting and well done, though I'm not sure whether some of the moves would really interact as described given their timing. I don't really know enough about that sort of thing to be sure, though. The little girl at the end was cute and quite genuine, too. The middle section, however, between the diary and where the granddaughter shows up, kind of slams down a big chunk of history; it's not uninteresting, really, but it splits the piece apart and lets the energy built up from the first section fizzle out. To an extent, it feels as though you were trying to write two different one-shots; the first and last sections could really stand on their own if need be.

Overall, the writing was of a high quality, as I would expect. There were some places where it went quite strange, though, especially in the first section. I don't know whether it was because you were trying to use a slightly archaic style, but there were sentences like "She took little notice"--little notice of what? The sentence before suggests it would be the bat that she has on her back, but given that she knows it's there and is presumably used to carrying it, one wouldn't expect her to notice it at all. There are others, but that's the one that really stood out to me. It also seems like it took a long time for those castle guards to show up, considering that the fight as described would have been pretty noisy and there had apparently been someone right outside the room just before it began (it sounded as though the room was just off a normal corridor, not way up in a tower or something where it would be reasonably isolated). Other than that and run-of-the-mill typos, though, no problems.

In the end, it was a good read, but it didn't leave a real lasting impression on me. As previously mentioned, it seems a little broken up; the two halves of it aren't integrated terribly strongly, so there's less a sense of the story flowing towards a cohesive conclusion. It was nice to see something more muted and... I don't know, cozy, after all the srs bsns in the other entries.

Great job there, purple_drake! ‘cause naked chicks and Lance are A+++ :p *coughs* Anyways, for getting third place, Lance will come at your door as your lover for a day. :3
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2nd Place
Ysarvvryl, "Bamboo and Cherry Trees"


Bay: 1st Place (100 points)
Breezy: 1st Place (100points)
Negrek: 9th Place (48points)
Total: 248 points

“So this is how I’ll make sure it reaches my time.” He put his hand against the tree and noticed something. “Wait... I’m green now.” Flying back to the pond, he got a better look. Instead of yellow with green stripes, he was green with yellow stripes.

“The instability of our time leads to an instability in your appearance. I believe it is the same way with my system specifications, at least the cosmetic ones.”

“I see. So where will we find Lance?”

“There is another pond northeast of here. I placed you here to avoid the problem we had with the last jump, when you got injured by coming into a time of conflict.”

“All right. Thanks.” He flew to the northeast.

At the other pond, he found two human boys talking. One was Lance at six years old, without the blue cape of the Dragon Clan. The other was older, somewhere in his late teens. “Are there going to be Dratini in this pond, Eusine?” Lance whined “We’ve been out here forever; I want to go home.”

I hate being the devil’s advocate. I wanted to give you, Chozo, and Yamikarasu all first place, but for individual rankings I can’t give a three way tie, which sucks. ^^; Yeah, liked I explained to both Chozo and Yamikarasu, I thought the three of you did exceptionally well and I really hate do to a huge compare and contrast between them. ^^; After a long time though, I decided to give you first place. Hopefully I explained well why I decided so throughout this one shot. ^^;

First off: Oh…my…gosh. A Mewtwo crashing onto a building and Mew criticizing him for that? That is just priceless. I love you for that. :3

Anyways, I love the overall theme of this story a whole bunch. Sure, the time-travel story has been done a thousand times, but what I love about this is the twist. Instead of the usual, “you can never change the course of history” theme, you have this hopeful note that there’s a small chance you can fix history if you take it one step at a time. Also nice comparison between the big and small events there.

I like how also not only the events changed, but the people and even Celebi changed, in terms of both physical appearance and personality whenever the main character changes a event in history. Even Celebi’s gender changes, which I thought is interesting. On an off note, Celebi’s change in physical appearance reminds me of the ending of the fourth Pokemon movie when the Pokemon was about to die and all of a sudden different Celebi come to revive it. I loved that part in the movie. ;_;

The canon characters, mostly Lance and Eusine, I thought you did them very well. You put Eusine’s love for rare Pokemon and Lance’s love for Dragon Pokemon here. However, I thought it would be OOC for Lance to say the people of Kanto are jerks (unless they say Dragons aren’t superior :p ). I know game Lance is a tad harsher than anime Lance (watched both the Red Gyrados and the Kyogre and Groudon showdown arc episodes that he’s featured in), but I don’t see game Lance lashing Kanto like that. Then again, I’m going on both anime and game personality of Lance, so manga Lance might lash at Kanto (heard he’s an antagonist ._. ).

The events unfolded in the story are interesting, too. Cool how there were some events that were peaceful and some that were just seriously messed up. My favorite is Ho-Oh challenging the sun. Love how even though the legendary got cooked like fried chicken (sorry, just had to sure it ^^; ), there is still hope the bird will revive again (and yeah, love the reference to the phoenix legend). Also, I thought you did well portraying Ho-Oh also. Both you and Chozo have different portrayals of the legendary bird (he does Ho-Oh more as a wrathful beast of sorts), but I like them equally.

Your writing style I love also. Your description of the setting of some of the events are nice and flows well. I’m able to picture what happened and also you made me very sad whenever there was destruction going on. Also, you did the character’s emotions well within just a few words and not drag it on. Basically, your writing is simple and clean, the way I like it. :) As for grammar and spelling, not able to find any mistakes at this time, but I think the other judges are better at that than me. XD

I admit, there aren’t many criticisms I could give you, but a couple minor points I want to talk about. One is even though I love the events, there’s too much going on for a one shot. You have Celebi going the events that connected Lance and Eusine, then Lugia and Ho-Oh, and Celebi’s forest. I can understand they’re somehow connected and you try to drive the point that changing big events lead to changing even bigger events, but it’s hard to keep track sometimes of the events and what is Celebi really trying to focus. It’s like Celebi is trying to change history with just a snap of a finger (although I love at the end Celebi must take baby steps if he/she wants to fix history decently). I think Celebi would be able to figure out the time/space problem just fine within a few time travels. Oddly enough, I’m able to figure which events happen first and all by reading carefully what Fiji said and also Celebi would find one event, goes back in time to try to fix it, goes forward to see that another problem arises and then goes back to another historic time to fix that problem. Too much work for the little guy. XD

Overall, one fantastic story here. The only things that I’m a bit iffy are Lance being OOC in one of his dialogues and too many events to keep track. Love the creativity of Celebi and Cherrygrove City here, though. Hopefully you’ll do more contests in the future and maybe compete in another one against you. ;)

I am actually really amazed and impressed by the amount of intricate detail you have in your piece. The subject you chose to write about was no easy task; you had to deal with several time jumps, most of them relating back to one another, yet you wrote it with such clarity. I already told you in one of your older stories that I was a fan of your writing style because its so smooth and straight to the point nor do you really do an awkward stop to describe things but rather have your character's perspective do the describing for you. I ramble much. Anyway ...

There really isn't anything negative I can say about this piece. You did have the occasional typo here and there that wouldn't be caught by the spell checker (become instead of becoming for example), but there weren't really many. The bit with Fiji, the oracle super computer (or whatever) was a bit confusing since I didn't really understand it. It can function, but it doesn't exist, right? So it would be a voice inside Celebi's head? Or was it still a machine or ...? If so, that makes a lot more sense with how Celebi communicates with it. Celebi also switched genders a few times, but I know it changed formed with each time skip, so I figure gender switching was also a part of changing forms. Actually, I kind of understand why Celebi's physical features would change, but I don't get why/how Fiji's computerized voice would go back between masculine and feminine if it only functions but doesn't necessarily exist. But eh.

My favorite little bit or time skip or what have you was when Celebi traveled back to the time where Ho-Oh wanted to challenge the sun because it really does sound like a myth (and a plausible myth for Ho-Oh). Your characterization was done well throughout your entire piece, but I thought this was one of the moments that stood out for your characters, major or minor. I really could see Ho-Oh as vain enough to challenge the sun. Before that, I thought your characterization of Lugia when it was alone in the world was done well; the two time skips connected beautifully. Another great character scene was with Mew and Mewtwo (kind of curious how it turned out to be playful instead of a creature of war with all that war going on, but eh – minor detail). Playful Mewtwo was ... interesting, but believable in that type of scenario, and Mew was portrayed well as the giggly but still motherly creature.

What I really thought was excellent was that you trailed back to the first scene with the warrior at the end, but things are different now thanks to Celebi (and who knew that that much would change because of a bamboo stick being pulled out). I'm not sure how the woman got there in terms of how one small change made a woman appear, but her presence certainly would change the world of the Ilex Forest and one step closer to Celebi's true goal – finding her (his?) family again. It's almost depressing thinking about it; like you said, it was only one tiny step, and Celebi would forever be a servant of time.

So I really do applaud you because like I said before, this is one helluva hard subject to deal with, and I'm sure a lot of authors would goof up somewhere and mess up the story. Or at least confuse the reader. I appreciate all the time (no pun intended) you took to detail this story out and how you logically thought about how one thing would change the time frame of another. Some scenes were a little shaky and confusing since there were a lot of time jumps, especially when the time jumps/scene shifts didn't connect in some way, like the first scene with the warrior to the second scene where Celebi was just realizing it turned into a pokémon somehow. But I suppose that's to be expected, and maybe you were trying to confuse your reader a tiny bit due to all the time jumps. Characterization is done well; I really do hope that one day Celebi will make things right for him/her and find his family again. Description was excellent; it wasn't too vague, but not too overzealous that I got bored and skipped it over. And your style, at least to me, was very likable. Again, I commend you for your plot and all the detail in it. Great job.

Interesting take on the "bright and shining future" the Celebi pokédex entries referred to. Some of the stories got rather crazy-unbelievable, though I suppose if one accepts time travel that somehow turns a human into a pokémon, all that follows after has to be expected to go a bit insane.

This isn't badly written; your prose is pretty good. However, it doesn't have a lot of emotional impact--perhaps just because you were trying to cram so much plot into the story, there wasn't a lot of room for more emotional impact. But this is the kind of story where I'd really expect to see some wear on the protagonist: Celebi is off on this crazy journey because his/her parents have disappeared, (s)he isn't sure if (s)he will be able to bring them back, and over the course of his/her journey (s)he encounters all kinds of weird and often terrifying things. But I don't really feel Celebi's despair when (s)he bursts onto the alternate timeline where Ilex forest is dying, orher fear when Lugia tries to kill him/her, or his/her wonder during the time when (s)he and Lugia are flying through space at about a bajillion miles per hour in order to make it to the sun in a matter of minutes (not to mention when they're within miles of the sun and not totally fried). There's a lot of crazy stuff here, but the protagonist never really seems to reel with it. You say now and then that the protagonist feels X or Y, but there never seems to be a great deal of evidence of those sentiments in the story itself, no real visceral feeling of empathy for what Celebi is going through.

As it is, the stories picked to show Celebi's progression through time seem a bit random; the story ends at an arbitrary place after Celebi agrees to stop changing really large events. As it is, you probably could have cut one or more of them out, and perhaps taken the space to describe one or two of the others in greater depth. My overall impression of this piece was that it was a bit rushed, being burdened with trying to detail all these time jumps, which in turn robs it of a lot of its punch. It's a cool idea, but as the story is I just don't really feel it.

Awesome work there, Ysarvvryl. Fiji the machine will be coming at your place soon. :p
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All right everyone, time for the first place. Drumroll, please! *drums* And the winner for the 2009 HG/SS One Shot contest is…*rips envelope*


What? Once again over my dead body! :< *gets shot* Nah, just kidding. You deserved it. :3 ONTO THE LAST REVIEWS!

1st Place
Chozo, "The Limits of Kindness"


Bay: 3rd Place (80 points)
Breezy: 2nd Place (90 points)
Negrek: 2nd Place (90 points)
Total: 260 points

Ho-Oh moved.

A cry went up amongst the soldiers as they saw the great avian form spread its wings and take flight, the mist surrounding it blown away like a pair of curtains covering an open window. It came towards them, gaining speed and altitude as it flew.

“Scatter!” the general shouted to his men. “Archers, prepare to fire!” The general had fought enough flying Pokemon in his lengthy career to know that soldiers grouped together were easy prey, and he had come too far to not treat the legendary Pokemon’s power with a healthy dose of respect. His men ran in all directions as fast as they could go, the spearmen taking what refuge they could find against the flat, tilled earth while the archers drew their arrows, keeping Ho-Oh within their sights.

Ho-Oh came faster, flames beginning to trail off its brilliant plumage. It gave an ear-piercing cry.


Arrows erupted from the scattered arches like an angry swarm, flying from the ground towards Ho-Oh with breathtaking speed. None found their mark: those that were in range found their aim foiled by a great stroke of the legendary Pokemon’s wings, the wind generated causing the arrows to fly far off target if they were not stopped completely.

Ho-Oh passed overhead as the general shouted at his men, trying to regain control of his scattered troops and exhorting his archers to ready another volley. He had lost no men in the first path, and this baffled him: Ho-Oh had plenty of opportunity to strafe them, so why did he refuse to attack? Was he running away?

The general had no time to consider this as he watched Ho-Oh glide into a turn, the legendary Pokemon readying itself for another pass. It came towards them, faster and higher than before and…

Ignored them.

The general ordered his archers to hold fire as Ho-Oh flew above and past them a second time, well out of their range and apparently unconcerned with the humans below. The fires coming off the mighty Pokemon were now raging so hot that they could feel the heat from the ground, the flames leaving brilliant contrails in the sky.

The general was at a total loss. Ho-Oh had made two passes and had not attacked, yet was clearly preparing for a mighty strike. What else was there to attack?

The general’s eyes followed Ho-Oh as it flew towards the tower, now so covered in flames that it was impossible to tell that a giant avian was at the center of the conflagration.

The pieces came together in his mind, screaming at the top of their lungs.

“Men, to me! Forward, forw—“

The general’s orders were drowned out by Ho-Oh’s keening screech and the terrible roar of flame. A massive tendril of flame erupted from Ho-Oh’s flaming body, straight towards the tower itself.

The general and his men could only watch stupefied as the Brass Tower was engulfed in flames.

I’m really impressed with this story and the writing quality here. I actually have a damn hard time figuring out the first three places here. I just want to give you, Yamikarasu, and Ysarvvryl all first place. All three of you have unique writing styles, great characters, and awesome ideas on how to go by the Johto theme. Let’s get started, shall we?

I like the beginning where Blaine explains the fascination of fire and also Ho-Oh and Entei. It’s reasonable for him to talk about that considering he’s a Fire Type gym leader and also he would come up with riddles and quizzes. Also, like how his account is similar to what’s going on later in the story.

The comedy in this story I love also. I laughed aloud at the mentions of Stonewall’s incident with that Espeon and also when he’s a pervert. XD This is my favorite quote:

“So wha—okay, you got a point.” Stonewall grunted, disappointed. It was apparently his destiny to get no girly action.
XD Nice.

Speaking of comedy, I like the writing style you have here. A lot of places there would be a serious situation, but you would sneak in a joke or two and I like it actually in part to show that the story is more lighthearted and not going all dark or epic. My favorite of this writing style you have:

What transpired next is probably easier to understand in the context of both participants. Entei was a creature of immense power, blessed by Ho-Oh himself: he was used to giving commands and used to having them obeyed, usually with the commandees alternately begging and/or pleading for his blessings and/or to spare them his wrath. Stonewall, by contrast, considered most authority figures to be “bloated self-important jackasses,” assuming he chose to be that charitable in the first place. The events that followed might have taken a very different course had Stonewall gone against his inner nature, but Stonewall did not “disappoint.”
Here you have a quick description about Entei a powerful legendary Pokemon, and then mention about Stonewall thinking authority figures being jackasses. XD Just priceless. And also, not only that, I too thought this did well showing both Entei and Stonewall’s personality in a lighthearted way.

Of course, the story also has loads of dramatic scenes and you did well keeping the scenes intact and not put comedy in randomly. All those Brass Tower being burned scenes as an example. I actually love how the events in the past will relate to what will happen in the present. Have to say my favorite past!Ho-Oh scene is definitely the part where Ho-Oh burns the tower.

The general was at a total loss. Ho-Oh had made two passes and had not attacked, yet was clearly preparing for a mighty strike. What else was there to attack?

The general’s eyes followed Ho-Oh as it flew towards the tower, now so covered in flames that it was impossible to tell that a giant avian was at the center of the conflagration.

The pieces came together in his mind, screaming at the top of their lungs.

“Men, to me! Forward, forw—“

The general’s orders were drowned out by Ho-Oh’s keening screech and the terrible roar of flame. A massive tendril of flame erupted from Ho-Oh’s flaming body, straight towards the tower itself.

The general and his men could only watch stupefied as the Brass Tower was engulfed in flames.
Would have quoted the whole scene as it is just that awesome, but I already put enough long quotes in this review. ^^; *gets shot* Anyways, I absolutely love this part because of the army’s reaction and also you did well not having Ho-Oh attack until last minute—and the target being the Tower. True, in the anime version of the tower incident Ho-Oh did burn the tower so that should be expected if one has watched the episode “For Ho-Oh the Bells Toll”, but not too much is mentioned about the whys and the aftermath, which you did throughout this piece.

Speaking of the tower burning scenes, love your portrayal of how the legendary beasts died and how Entei and Suicune got back. I’m a bit surprised that woman the general and his army trampled on earlier turns into that Pokemon. Also that scene is just damn awesome. ‘nuff said. :)

Last praise are the characters as they just kick butt. I just love Stonewall because he’s so perverted, very funny, a great battler, and also he has a serious side to him too. Alexis is a great character too as I like how despite everyone said Stonewall will be hard to train, she’s able to put up with him and also can see through the good side of him. Kochu is cool too because she’s like the opposite of Stonewall but also because of that he needs her support. XD Not only that, she’s very caring and has common sense. I like your portrayal of Ho-Oh despite the bird not speaking. You’re able to show his feelings of both the Brass Tower incident and of the incident with Entei and Stonewall by his actions and physical movements. You did well with Suicune and Entei also. You have showed their devotion and fears (in Entei’s case) towards Ho-Oh. Dang it I’m being vague here. D:

There are a couple things I want to bring attention. First is your vocabulary. For the most part you did very well with word usage, but there has been a few words you have that aren’t used often and sometimes that can lead to the readers to stop to find out the definition. A couple examples:

The Gastly were Spiting him, using the infamous ghost technique to siphon away his energy and with it his ability to harm them.
Siphon seems like an odd word to use, especially in a battle scene, where you want the battles to be quick paced. Something simpler like drain or take would be better, IMO.

The Gastly screamed in unison and the nascent Ice Beam disappeared almost as soon as it began to form, the ball of ice energy extinguished with no more thought than a man might blow out a candle as another wave of force slammed down on his body.
Same thing with nascent. I think growing or emerging would sound better.

He felt clods of dirt thrown against his lower abdomen moments before he felt a large pair of [b ]incisors [/b] grip him from underneath
Hm, I think teeth would be better.

In short, when it comes to vocabulary, it’s good so that you don’t repeat the same word over and over again, but you also don’t want to use a less used word that will make the readers wondering what that word mean, even if they’re able to get a slight idea of what that word means by the context of the sentence.

Another problem is on one part of the story there’s mentions of Hoho and Ghos. Not sure if those are typos or specific names/species of the Pokemon. Sorry. ^^;

Last thing is I feel this one shot could have gotten a faster pace, mostly on the Tin Tower incident. I think you could have shorten the battle a tad bit. It’s quite good though and I love how you mention Alexis teaching him those techniques. Also, like Breezy, like how this battle is more of survival as I haven’t seen one of those in a while. This is actually minor though since part of me thought maybe the pacing at the Tin Tower is necessary. ^^; I think the other scenes are necessary for character development and to not have plotholes.

Pretty much to sum it up-this is one hell of a one shot you have here and you did extremely well. Love the characters and the writing style here. Watch out on your vocabulary though, as in when trying to pick a different word, choose one more known. Would be nice too if you explain the Hoho and Ghos thing I was confused over (I is dumb). ^^; Also, the incident at the Tin Tower could have been faster. Even though I would love to do a three way tie for first place, the things I mentioned are what held me back for giving you a second or first. However, those problems are very minor so don’t worry too much. You should be proud. :)

50 pages? Only 42 on mine. You must have been cheating and using wider margins. ;P

Anyway, we'll see how this goes. This is one of my only reviews that I'm going to read and review at the same time, so you might random, pointless comments that I’ll try to merge together into one coherent, general thought at the end. Most of the random comments are just reminders of what happened during that certain segment. So here we go!

So the introduction bit was very interesting and a nice way to start the fic. I was always a little bit shaky when people write in a text book/history book type of formation, but you did it quite well. You got the facts out, but there was nothing “fact-like” or listy about it. I liked the vocabulary in it, especially when you countered benevolent with malevolent when comparing two versions of god. I also thought the description of the relationship between Ho-Oh and Entei very telling.

The souls of all living things burned with a brilliant light visible only to the great pokémon’s eyes, and as it sat brooding on its perch two great collections of soul light crashed against each other, hundreds of sparks of life extinguished in a moment with no more consideration than a man might blow out a candle.
This sentence is ... erm, rather long, and if I read it, it feels like you're missing a comma some place, like between “perch” and “two.” And what is “soul light?” o_O Like the spirit of a creature, or it that some fancy jargon? Your sentences do tend to get a bit windy (there were a few more examples before this part), and while technically they are proper sentences, I felt you could have used different punctuation or different structure so your reader has a chance to breathe.

Ecruteak was a beautiful city, a city that appeared to have grown up as naturally as any of the large, thick-coughed trees surrounding the city limits. Squat, beige-painted structures—many hundreds of years old--comprised most of the buildings of the city, and their modest construction only served to reinforce the image of a city living with nature as its partner rather than as its master. Indeed, the city’s only apparent indulgence was the large, ten-story tower that comprised the sole building in the Ecruteak skyline, a building of legend and prestige. It was, all in all, a city with a long, proud lineage but a quiet dignity.
Loved this bit of description. Always loved the use of personification for cities as that's more telling than “tall buildings built by proud people.”

Stonewall wished that she had asked for his opinion: for a Raticate human history is little more than a chronicle of who was laying out the mousetraps in any given period of time.
Another one of those “I'm pretty sure you need a comma otherwise you're saying something entirely different” quotes. I think you need a comma between “raticate” and “human” because technically you're saying the history of a raticate human which is kind of a cool idea in itself but not what you were going for.

I do enjoy Stonewall's “third person” thought, though and his relationship between the other characters, especially with Sparks. Very amusing.

The window gave a slight sigh as it slid open.
Sigh? Personification, onomatopoeia (or whatever) or not, “sigh” is a weird verb for a window. Groan kind of sounds more believable.

... Stonewall was fairly sure that there was no way that he could spin “I beat up a holy man” that wouldn’t cause Alexis to—at minimum—shove his own pokéball down his throat. The only option left, then, was to Dig his way under the patrols and into the tower itself, but even that was no guarantee: there might still be monks in the tower itself, and he would be Digging blind and just as likely to pop up in front of a surprised monk as inside the tower itself.
For starters, I loveeee the first line. X3 Second, do you really need to capitalize “dig” and “digging?” I know they’re pokémon moves, but you’re not using them in the battle sense either.

The following scene with the armies was beautifully described despite its bloody terrain. You don’t overdo it, and you could have made it gory but chose not do; I was particularly impressed with the scene where the general killed the woman. It was obvious what happened, but you didn’t straight out tell the reader either. Nice use of language, wording, and description for that bit.

“Um, it’s not that I don’t think you’re cute,” she said, “but I don’t think it’s going to work out.”

Stonewall stared at her blankly.

“You know…mechanically,” she added.

Stonewall’s blank look continued unabated. “What the Hell are you talking abou—“
Love your sexual innuendo jokes. X3

For all the monks patrolling outside and implying the existence of some sacred forbidden fruit by their presence, there wasn’t much to see inside the tower itself. Stonewall’s unauthorized tour had allowed him to see several floors worth of completely empty space periodically filled with support beams and a simple statue or two, if there was even anything at all: the builders had clearly been more focused on the height of the tower than doing anything with it once they had built it.
Again, great description; I love when authors throw a hint of their personality (or the personality of their characters) inside the description. I really wish people encouraged it instead of frowning upon it to keep things “neutral.”

The battle scene between Stonewall and the gastly was done well; I’m glad it was more of a battle of survival instead of the generic pokémon throws an attack, then the other counters, and the pattern repeats. The tactics both sides used were interesting, and the description of the attacks were original (I especially liked your interpretation of spite). The small scene after of it what I assume to be Stonewall reflecting on Alexis picking him was also a nice touch on both Alexis’ and Stonewall’s character.

I must say, I really am enjoying Stonewall’s character. You developed him well and made him hard-headed and strong but also quirky and comical at the same time. I like the pair up between him Kochu. They have excellent chemistry, and it also reflects your excellent comedic timing.

The scene that covered Entei’s emotional and physical battle during the fire was interesting. The bit with the encounter between the raticate pair and Entei was also very telling of their characters with Stonewall trying to act tough and Kochu cowering behind him.
What transpired next is probably easier to understand in the context of both participants. Entei was a creature of immense power, blessed by Ho-Oh himself: he was used to giving commands and used to having them obeyed, usually with the commandees alternately begging and/or pleading for his blessings and/or to spare them his wrath. Stonewall, by contrast, considered most authority figures to be “bloated self-important jackasses,” assuming he chose to be that charitable in the first place.
I love your comparisons. They’re witty but still informative. This scene was probably one of the more stronger personality scenes for Stonewall, from standing up to Entei and being proud about it then quickly changing to horrified as soon as he figured out that Entei would be going after his trainer.

... waving her arms wildly and screaming at them in a language neither the male Raticate nor the Arcanine understood. “Kochu, what the Hell is this *****’s malfunction?” Stonewall asked, the woman’s voice starting to grate on his currently tenuous self-control.
Did I mention how much I love Stonewall? X3

The woman suddenly seemed more surprised that a Raticate had spoken to her in English than the fact that a legendary creature had burned a hole in her inn. “You talk?”
Wait what? It talks ... English? This wasn’t one of those stories that at least the trainer can understand the raticate babble or arcanine babble because they’ve been together for so long? Do all of Alexis’ pokémon talk in English? o_O

I liked the scene with Kochu questioning why Stonewall was doing so much for a trainer “that he hates.” It shows Stonewall’s personality in terms of his “love” for his trainer. Good sexual innuendo joke, too. XP I also liked the scene with Stonewall, Alexis, and Entei. There was great dialogue between Alexis and Stonewall (good comic relief bit), and the details about the war and Ho-Oh’s pact were interesting. I especially loved the bit with Stonewall after Entei's story.

I gotta say, I am impressed by every aspect of your story. You planned it amazingly well. So much to say, and I’m not sure where to start.

Sooo, let’s start with Stonewall, one hell of a awesome pokemon. He has an amazing personality, and he was obviously one of my favorite characters. Very true to his name: strong, determined, but stubborn. Such a jackass, but one of those witty, likable ones. I won’t dive into detail since I pretty much did all that with the parts I quoted, but I love that Stonewall played both the “hero” character yet still had amazing wit and good comedic timing. I liked his reluctance to admitting he cared for Alexis; I thought the scene where he attacked Kochu was very telling about how he felt about his trainer.

Alexis herself was a well developed character. She and Stonewall have great chemistry, and the both of them have excellent comedic timing between the both of them as well. I thought the scene where she was facing Entei was very telling of her character; strong, like her pokémon, and maybe a little stubborn as well. It also explains how she was able to train such a rogue raticate with such a strong personality herself.

Then we have cute little Kochu. I had a few laughs with the sexual tension between them (well, the one-sided sexual tension coming from Stonewall), and although she did fit the cliche formula of scared sidekick, you gave her her own quirks that set her apart in her own right.

We also have Entei and Ho-Oh, two both powerful creatures with two distinct sets of personality. I enjoyed Entei’s bit with the history of the towers and his dedication to his master; yet he contrasts greatly with Ho-Oh in terms of the worth of humans. Ho-Oh, as the benevolent god, was very true to her character, despite not having a set personality in either canon (I think). The bit between the two of them made the beginning of this story make more sense. I thought Ho-Oh’s way of “defeating” the armies was so true to her character by destroying what they strive for.

Moving on, let’s talk about the plot; it is absolutely mind boggling (though I'm assuming this is AU as the Brass Tower burnt down another way). I’m not going to pretend I’m an expert on Ecruteak’s history, but the fact that you elaborated and detailed why the Brass Tower burned down and how the three beasts came to be was astounding. While this part was small, I enjoyed how you described how Suicune came to be. Due to the length, I did kind forget about the woman that stood in the way of the general (lol), but I was pleasantly surprised when you came back to her and revived her into the form of suicune; it makes a whole lot of sense. I was a little concerned with all the time hops between the present and the past, but they were done well (or at least it didn’t irritate me).

And then we get to the actual mechanics of this story; it is OBVIOUS that you spent a lot of time on this piece because there were barely any errors (I pointed out the ones I could find in the rambly part of my review). I will admit that I was afraid by the length and I prayedddd that you were one of the authors that used the style that I liked, and hurrah; you are. Your writing style is very likable (at least to me); it gets from one point to another without stopping with awkward breaks of lengthy, boring description. I absolutely love that you put a little piece of your personality (or your character’s) inside the third person narrative. It made things a lot more interesting to read and it just strengthened your character’s personality – or showed how witty you are.

The only think I really questioned was the part where Stonewall talked to the owner of the hotel (or whatever) and he spoke English. But then again, I think you kind of/sort of got back at people that noticed that with:
The trainer’s Raticate was similarly taciturn, looking mildly confused at anyone who suggested that it spoke a human language.

There was also another bit during this scene where Sparks said it couldn’t make out Entei’s scent (I do love the reasoning for it with the beasts being hard to find), but then was able to make out Alexis’ scent after dialogue between Stonewall and the hotel keep. But eh; I might have missed something while reading.

In short, I loved this story. It was well worth the read and the length was certainly needed in order to explain the story properly, though I will admit you probably could have trimmed it down. I don't mean omit scenes, but at least shorten them a bit. Every scene was important which I’m glad because I was damn ready to slap any scene that I found unnecessary to the plot with a “tl;dr.” Your characters also made the read most enjoyable ... but I’m sure I’ve reaffirmed that a million times. Great job.

Quite the monster you've put together here. All in all, not bad writing, although I do feel that it shows a bit of rushing and lack of proofreading--understandable, as I don't envy the idea of staring down over forty pages of material to comb through for errors, but nevertheless disappointing. There were instances of dropped words and interesting typos ("thick-coughed trees" being a favorite of mine), and a tendency towards awkward phrasing, often with at tendency towards repeating the same word within the same sentence ("great conflagration... great Pokemon", etc.). No huge problems, really, but on the whole the writing lacks polish.

As for the story itself--overall engaging and enjoyable, but I'm afraid you do action and humor much better than you do philosophy; especially towards the end of the piece, dialogue tended to devolve into long-winded morality speeches. These are relatively boring and often don't seem to match the character giving them very well; maybe Entei is a bit of a blowhard, but Suicune and the general go at it for at least a page, and even Alexis waxes poetic about Stonewall for a bit. It's a little melodramatic and really slows down the story... it comes across as a bit cheesy.

I don't really think the opening essay is really necessary; I'm not really sure what you were going for with it. Maybe you were trying to get readers to watch out for the contrast between Ho-Oh and Entei? In any case, I don't really think that it adds a great deal to the story. Meanwhile, the Ho-Oh "flashbacks" are integrated somewhat strangely; there's a couple at the beginning, then nothing for a while, then a couple more at the end. I spent a long time wondering where you were going with that, as you left it hanging (especially with the woman who got whacked; felt like a rather unnecessary "kick the dog" moment to me for a long time); it didn't seem to mix with the rest of the story very well. You did eventually bring it back and tie everything together with the last part of the flashback, but the placement of the scenes felt rather strange. I think it might be better if you shifted them more towards the end of the story so there wouldn't be such a big gap between them so there's a more consistent buildup with that thread of the story (though I recognize slotting them in around the other flashbacks would be difficult).

Not a bad one-shot overall, although as I said, it does look as though you rushed it a bit.

CONGRATS, CHOZO! For being in first place, you get a free trip to Ecruteak City and meeting Ho-Oh (and bragging Morty about it :p)

Wow, finally this contest is over. o_O All right, want to say this: YOU ALL DID DE-LOVELY. You all should be proud. :3 I didn't expect twenty nine entries here, but it's great all of you have great interest in this contest. :) First, wanna thank Golden for starting this up in the contest, even though in the end he wasn't able to judge all of them. Also to elyvorg for helping with us for a while until she quit. Next to Breezy and Negrek, both great writers and reviewers, so listen to what they say, not me. :p Lastly, thanks to the GSC and the HG/SS games for the inspiration that you guys got your stories from. ^^

So yeah, lesson learn: longer is higher quality. XD; Hopefully this contest is a huge success for you all and that you're not upset over some of the rankings spread out and the four ties. D: *runs away*


Lost but Seeking
Hah, interesting how that all shook out. I expected my rankings to screw with everyone else's (as they did in the last contest), but not quite in the way that they did here. For the most part, though, I was amused whenever the reviews tended to say the same general thing even though the piece got wildly different rankings from the judges. A good study in why I don't usually like to do number ratings or rankings for fanfiction, I suppose.

Anyway, my apologies for how long it took for me to finish the reviews, and how short and generally cranky they ended up being. It was very difficult to rank the entries for this contest, and if I could have given out ties, I would have done so in a lot of cases. Congrats to all the entrants, and the winners especially.


Hah, interesting how that all shook out. I expected my rankings to screw with everyone else's (as they did in the last contest), but not quite in the way that they did here. For the most part, though, I was amused whenever the reviews tended to say the same general thing even though the piece got wildly different rankings from the judges. A good study in why I don't usually like to do number ratings or rankings for fanfiction, I suppose.

Anyway, my apologies for how long it took for me to finish the reviews, and how short and generally cranky they ended up being. It was very difficult to rank the entries for this contest, and if I could have given out ties, I would have done so in a lot of cases. Congrats to all the entrants, and the winners especially.
Yeah, rankings aren't easy. D: I don't like to rank fics either because people have different ways how they do that.

Thanks again for stepping up to the plate, though! Don't worry, you did fine. :)


Winning Smile
Staff member
Super Mod
Well, congrats to everyone who participated, and the winners as well - just entering a contest is a pretty good achievement in itself. XD

And a big cheer to the judges, especially Negrek what with the short-notice rescue and all. Seriously, 29 entries must be a record very easily, I believe, and to read and review (and IMHO review well there as well, have to say) and place each one is a scary thought. That in itself is one hell of an achievement.

I believe there will be a lot of stories coming through now for us to read. Hoping to do so, so get to polishing those fics again and post them here. ;P

EDIT - everyone should be notified now about the result being in. =)

EDIT 2 - Zadros' banners are nice there. =)
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Well-Known Member
I lost my copy of my entry a lttle while back, actually. Gives me a chance to rewrite it. Congradulations to the winners and everyone who entered. I hope to read some of these fics, if you're willing to post them. ^_^

Starlight Aurate

Just a fallen star
*Sighs of releif* Woah, thank you so much! The suspension was killing me! And don't apologize for your reviews Negrek, I thank you and will be sure to take your advice for any future writing.
Crap.... Now I feel bad for writing this. Makes me feel guilty. I'm going to go watch a scary movie now. Happy Halloween!

Oh, and congrats to everybody who participated! You all did well!

Yonowaru in Chaos

gaspard de la nuit
Congratulations, everyone.

Hope I'm not asking too much, but I do want to know what I theoretically could've been been ranked at if not for the offender.
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Shadow Trainer
It's finally over. Thanks for the reviews and you were all right. I intended for it to be a series but I decided to test it out as a one shot when I heard about this.


Vegetable of Doom!
I'm... actually amazed at my position in this contest. When I read how much other people had written for their entries, and knowing that mine was only two pages long, that got me a little worried. I also knew that mine was pretty simple, with no big moral at the end or anything. I'm so glad you liked my story, and I'll be sure to keep your criticism in mind for the next time I write something!


Sweet, the results!

19th... Not bad! A lot better than the last Contest I entered where I tied for last, haha.

Yeah... About the spelling and typos... This is going to sound really bad, but I wrote my entry really last minute. Like, most of it was written the day before the deadline... Sorry about that...

I too thought the ending was anticlimactic, but, I wanted to submit it so I went with it. Probably not the best idea ever.

I'm going to go back and edit this, taking into account the tips you guys gave me. Including the random shifts between serious and funny... I'm not really sure why I did that... I was sort of experimenting with this piece, I've never written a battle before.

About Jolteon's death, I probably should have given a little more depth to his fire wounds. I think (now, I'd have to go back to my story and reread the death scene, and I'm feeling lazy right now) the wound was worse then it came across in the story.

Some of the formatting I had in the story didn't get transferred to the forums when I submitted it, mostly because I typed it in MS Word and because of my last-minute-entry I didn't think I had the time to go through and edit in italics for the thoughts and such.

I'd probably have more to say if I had recently read my story, but I didn't reread it because I didn't want to put myself in a pessimistic point of view like I normally do.

Lesson Learned: Don't procrastinate!

Thanks for the reviews, comments, and advice! I'm probably going to go through and edit the one-shot (can I even call it that with the lenght? Haha) before I post it. But I will post it!

P.S. I'm glad you guys liked the dance scene's description. I thought it gave character to Naoko (she and Flareon were essentially the main characters. Mostly because Flareon is underrated and Entei is awesome!).

Also, I'm glad you enjoyed the Xatu vision scene. I thought it had a unique twist.

And the description... I had a hard time deciding how much was too much and when I used too little. I think that's what I need to work on. Then again, if I don't back myself into a corner where I'm rushed, it might not be as bad...

Thanks again! And congratulations to Chozo, and everyone else who entered!