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Ionization

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by PhalanxSigil, Jul 11, 2017.

  1. PhalanxSigil

    PhalanxSigil BONK!

    Hello once again, Serebii. No long introductions here, just straight into the story. I hope you all enjoy...


    Ionization

    Chapter List:

    The waiting room is cold. Granted, it is 8 AM on a Sinnoh morning, but I feel like the least the Sandgem Laboratory could do is turn the heat up a little. However, no one else seems to mind, so I choose not to say anything. Guess I should’ve expected as much, Sinnoh is a cooler region than Unova, but jeez, even in the buildings? I try to wrap myself further into my hoodie, clawing desperately at any scrap of warmth it brings me. Thankfully, it was made for skiing, so it’s warm enough. Doesn’t stop me from shivering a bit, though.

    I feel a tap on my leg. My friend, Yossele, is looking at me. He taps my leg again, with two fingers this time, letting me know he wants to talk. His thick, light blue mud-brick arms move surprisingly quickly for such a heavy creature.

    {How are you doing?} he signs. {You look like you’re getting sick.}

    “Nah, I’m fine,” I response with a sigh. “It’s just been a really long day.” I take another look around the room. There are some other people in the room, most likely waiting for the Professor. This is the office of Professor Rowan, after all. Most of the others are far younger than I am, probably not even more than ten, eleven years old. Never made much sense to me why most regions let them go on journeys this early. Fourteen is more than early enough.

    Although, even I know that me starting a journey at eighteen is more than a little weird. Guess that explains the odd looks.

    “Kinda crazy how many kids are up this early,” I mutter. “How much longer is it until my appointment with the Professor?”

    Yossele looks at the clock by the door and holds up one finger. {Not enough time for a nap,} he continues.

    “Gonna try anyway,” I retort.

    However, I don’t even have the time to cover my eyes with my hoodie before a young woman enters the room. The top of her head is covered by a pink-and-white beanie, while her straight, dark-blue hair falls to about midway down her back. I’d half expected her to wear a lab coat, or something sciency, but she is instead adorned in a fashionable red coat with a short skirt, white scarf, and large pink boats. It looks like she’s trying to be more cute than professional, at least to me.

    “Is Mathilda Kasdan here?” she asks. I jerk up in my chair and give her what I hope is a cheerful nod. However, the woman just gives a chuckle, while Yossele lets out a low rumble that I’ve long equated with laughter.

    Real funny, you guys.

    “The Professor will see you now,” the woman giggled. “I’ll guide you to his office.”

    “Cool, thanks,” I say as I sluggishly get out of the chair, not trying to hide my exhaustion anymore for fear of embarrassing myself more. In front of 10-year-olds, no less! “Mind if Yossele walks with me, or do I need to return him to his Pokéball?”

    The receptionist looks at me with a surprised look. “Oh, it’s yours?” she asks. I nod in the affirmative. “Well that’s super convenient,” she continues. “Now we don’t have to worry about a starter pokémon, and we can just skip to the important stuff!” She pumps her fist in excitement. How are people so energetic right now?! “I think you should be fine keeping the golett out of its ball, the Prof won’t mind.”

    “Yay, convenience,” I deadpan. Yossele also gives his approval with a thumbs-up.

    I just hope the important stuff isn’t too excruciating.

    -----------------------------

    It doesn’t take long for the three of us to reach the main office, but when we enter the room, I feel like office is the wrong word for it. It’s actually a rather large room, with some machines and science equipment scattered throughout. What strikes me, though, is that more than most labs I’ve seen, this one has a bunch of bookcases and desks lining the back, reminding me more of a library than a chemist’s playground. Sitting at one of the desks, an older man wearing a brown trench coat and sporting a large grey moustache looks up from the book he’s reading.

    “Ah, is it that time already?” he ponders to himself, carefully placing a bookmark in his text. “Thank you, Dawn, I believe I’ll take things from here.” He gets up out of his desk chair and briskly walks over to me, arm extended. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Kasdan.”

    “Just Mattie, thanks,” I say as I shake his hand. He has an incredibly firm grip, so much so that it almost hurts to hold on. “I take it you’re Professor Rowan?”

    “In the flesh, my dear.”

    “Funny, I’d always thought you’d be grumpier. You’ve got that reputation back in Icirrus.”

    The old man lets out a hearty guffaw. “Oh, they must have seen that old video. That was from years ago, before the Galactic Incident and my dealings with our current Champion.” He sighs deeply. “I’d just about lost passion for my work around then, but it was my interactions with Lucas, alongside the astounding new discoveries made by my good friend Sycamore in Kalos, that reinvigorated me. I’ve been a new man ever since.”

    “Oh, you mean the Mega Evolution stuff?” Dawn interjects. “Yeah, that was really interesting.”

    “Yes, but we’re getting off track.” He motions toward the desk he was sitting at, and nods at Dawn, who grabs a chair for me to sit on. “You want to begin a Pokémon Journey, and I am in no mood to interfere with such a wish. However, there are some logistics that we need to go over, so I would like to get through that as soon as humanly possible. Please, do make yourself comfortable.”

    I’m a little worried when he mentions the word “logistics,” but I don’t see any sort of worry or anger on the Professor’s face, so I assume I’m fine. I sit down in the chair, which is much more comfortable than I thought it would be. Professor Rowan takes out a few sheets of paper, which I assume is my résumé and record, puts on some tiny reading glasses, and starts to peruse my files.

    “Let’s see here, your name is Mathilda Kasdan, yes we know that already. You mentioned you were from Icirrus City. Is there any particular reason you decided against conducting your journey there instead of your home region?”

    “Eh, no particular reason,” I say with a shrug. “After all the upheaval that had gone on the past few years, I kinda just wanted to get away from that, you know?”

    “Quite understandable, although to be quite frank, Sinnoh has had its fair share of nastiness in the last five years as well. Also, is there any particular reason you picked Sinnoh over the other regions? Kalos and Alola, in particular, are quite beautiful, so why pick such a cold and desolate place?”

    I can’t help but laugh at his jesting. He’s so different than what I thought he’d be like. It’s such a relief.

    I feel like it won’t last long, though.

    “Now, for the business of your Starter, normally I would ask you about acquiring one from the League, but considering your friend, here, I would guess that you are not in need of one?”

    “Yeah, that’d be the case.”

    “Now, how did a novice such as yourself acquire such an interesting first pokémon, if I may be so bold?” he inquires.

    Oh, Arceus, here we go.

    “He’s, uh, been part of my family for a while. His name’s Yossele, by the way.” The golett waves his hand, almost on cue. It’s a small relief when Rowan smiles at the pokémon. Yossele, however, is not finished.

    {I mostly help out around the house,} he signs. {Every once in a while, I take part in some friendly battles with Mattie’s mother and her pokémon, but for the most part-}

    “Oh goodness, goodness, slow down!” Professor Rowan interjects. Turning back to me, he continues, rather astonished. “It’s true that golett are rather intelligent, but I had no idea they could learn to sign!”

    “Yeah, it’s pretty impressive,” I respond. “My dad’s mostly deaf, so I sign too, and he picked it up pretty quickly. He’s been a huge help. By the way, did you catch any of that? I don’t know if you sign or not.”

    “Unfortunately, I do not,” he admits sheepishly, “but I would surmise that he’s a helper of sorts. Is that fair enough?”

    “Yeah pretty much.”

    Nodding, Professor Rowan turns back to his notes. He flips to the next page, and out of the corner of my eye, I catch a stamp mark in bold red letters. I recognize this one. It's my permanent record.

    Shit.

    “Before you say anything, Professor,” I begin, “let me just say that-”

    “Now, now, don’t fret about this too much,” the older man interrupts. “I take it you are worried about the particulars on this page, but I can assure you that I’ve seen this before, and nothing on your record would indict you of anything that would signify the cancellation of your League journey.”

    I want to sigh with relief, but I can’t. I know what’s there. I hate what’s there. And from what he’s saying, the League already knows what’s there. I can’t feel good about that, no matter how hard I try.

    “Normally, I would not speak with newer Trainers about their records, as once the League approves a newer Trainer, there’s no need. And don’t worry, the League has already approved you as well. You are not in trouble.” He strokes his mustache, looking like he’s thinking hard about something. “However, due to your…rather interesting background, I wanted to talk with you about it personally.”

    “Alright,” I say, hesitation making my voice waver. “What did you want to ask me?”

    “Well, quite frankly, when I was given your record, I was a little shocked at what I saw. You have a decent home life with respectable parents, your grades in school are good, and you seem like a generally well-put-together person. So, I was caught off guard, that’s all.”

    I let out a long sigh. “I know where this is going, Professor. You don’t need to sugarcoat it.”

    “Well then, I will be blunt, Ms. Kasdan.”

    I brace for it.

    “Why would someone like you join the Team Plasma cult?”

    The revelation elicits a stunned gasp from Dawn. Clearly she hadn’t known that information before, considering how much it's blindsided her. It shocks most people, learning that good-ol’ Mattie Kasdan was a Team Plasma Grunt. I don’t respond immediately, slowly fiddling with the tips of my bangs, still dyed orange from when I was inducted – no, wait, indoctrinated, more like – into the ranks of the team. I’ve been too lazy to cut it all the way yet, and the tips serve as a constant reminder of my shameful choice.

    “I didn’t know what it would become,” I slowly mutter. “I mean, no one did. When I joined, it was just an anti-pokémon abuse group. I was in a rebellious phase, and I’d seen people be nasty to pokémon before, and it just felt like a good way to get the word out at the time. I didn’t…” I hesitate, my voice catching in my throat. “I didn’t know it would end like that.”

    “And how could you?” Rowan continues. “According to my research, you joined it a good four months before the Accumula rally even happened. The ‘liberation’ front hadn’t even been revealed yet, correct?”

    “Mhm,” I nod.

    “Did you ever participate in the rallies?”

    “No, I just helped organize. I wasn’t a ‘boots-on-the-ground’ Grunt, I was still going to school. But I wanted to help, so I helped spread the word, get papers in order, that kind of thing.”

    “So you’ve never stolen someone else’s pokémon?” Dawn asks.

    I look down at the floor. “That’s…I mean, no, I never stole a pokémon for Plasma.”

    While Dawn breathes a sigh of relief and Rowan gives a contented nod, I turn to Yossele, who shakes his head. The message is clear. Nothing more needs to be said.

    “Also,” Rowan continues, “I noticed that you have a registration in the Icirrus Police database. However, you do not have any arrests on your record. I’m curious, can you explain that?”

    “I, uh…” I hesitate for a moment, trying to come up with the right words. “I, kinda, you know, went to the police myself.”

    Professor Rowan raises an eyebrow. “So you’re saying you turned yourself in?”

    “Kinda, I guess? I mean, it was close to when that crazy castle burst out of the ground, Plasma was getting out of hand, and I didn’t want any part of it anymore. So, I went to the Icirrus Police Department, told them I had info on Plasma, which I did, and I guess it was good enough for them, ‘cause I didn’t get in any trouble.” I let out a sigh. “They told me it was gonna be anonymous, though. Kinda pissed that they lied about that.”

    “I can sympathize. I know I’ve had my fair share of run-ins with the police in my younger years, and they pulled similar stunts to this.” He chuckles to himself, but quickly regains his composure. “Regardless, that is all I wanted to ask about your personal history. It was a strange finding, to be sure, but I am confident that you will still make a fine Trainer.” His face turns deadly serious. “However, I would advise not telling people about that very specific aspect of your past.”

    I hold back a guffaw. That’s almost funny, saying I shouldn’t tell anyone I’m an ex-Plasma Grunt. It’s not like I’ve been doing that for, oh, I dunno, the past two-and-a-half years, right? “I’ll keep it in mind,” I say instead, not wanting to sound mean-spirited to the Professor. I don’t know why, but I get the feeling from his mentioning of “researching” my case that he might’ve had to pull a few strings to let me do this. I silently thank him for that.

    “Good, good. Now, because of their involvement with the League, the Gym Leaders have been given your record, as is the case with every new Trainer, so they will know about your past. I cannot speak for everyone, but for the most part, they will more than likely look past it.”

    “I hope so.” My legs are getting a little cramped, so I stand up and stretch my arms over my head. “Is that all you wanted to ask?”

    “It was indeed,” he responds, also rising from his chair. “Dawn, would you be so kind as to grab a League Card and PokéDex for me? I’d like one more quick word with Ms. Kasdan.”

    With a quick nod, Dawn scampers out of the room. She didn’t ask where the professor had placed them, so I assume she knows where they are. However, I’m a bit confused on the PokéDex request. “I thought you already filled out the Sinnoh PokéDex?”

    “Oh, that’s not for research purposes anymore,” Rowan counters. “It mostly serves as a helpful reminder of the whereabouts and capabilities of the pokémon in the region. If you choose to travel to other regions, their data is stored in the device as well.” He extends his hand towards me. “If you have one, may I say your PokéGear for a moment?”

    “Uh, sure, I guess,” I mutter, taking it out of the center pocket of my hoodie. “Any particular reason?”

    “I’d like to give you my contact information, just in case you would like to talk at some point in your journey.”

    “…or if something comes up.”

    The old man sighs and places a hand on my shoulder. “Inevitably, I know something will come up. Your past is a part of you, and no matter how much you want to hide it, or how forcefully I ask you to keep it a secret, people will find out eventually. If you ever encounter any trouble, know that I am more than happy to lend a hand.” He smiles. “I know you will make a fine Trainer. In your kindness and fervor towards the well-being of pokémon, I see echoes of Champions in you. Embrace it.”

    “I will,” I say, returning his smile. I don’t know what my friends were seeing in him, Professor Rowan is pretty nice. I catch of glimpse of Dawn walking back into the lab, a key card in one hand and a small, rectangular device in the other.

    “Here you go,” she says, handing the objects to me. “The card is mostly for ID purposes, so you’ll have to take a picture for it. You can do that at any Pokémon Center. As for this,” she continues, motioning to the device, “your PokéDex comes equipped with GPS, regional data, and a money exchange service for the customary after-battle exchange.”

    “Actually, I can just use VenMa for that,” I interrupt. “It’s way more convenient, especially since most everyone has PokéGear these days.”

    “Good point,” she continues, “but also bear in mind that some Trainers are a lot younger than you, and probably don’t have full ownership of their bank accounts yet.”

    “Right, forgot you let ten-year-olds go on journeys here,” I deadpan. This elicits a snort from the Professor.

    {You know, I think he likes you,} I catch Yossele signing to me. {I approve.}

    {So do I,} I quickly respond behind my back, taking care not to drop the Dex as I place them in my pocket. {He’s cool.}

    “I believe that’s it, then,” Rowan says, shaking my hand one more time. “I look forward to hearing about your many adventures, Ms. Kasdan.”

    “Hopefully they won’t be too crazy,” I respond, trying my best not to give him a flimsy grip to shake. After lingering for a moment, I exit the room with a quick wave, Yossele close behind. I let him pass me as we enter the hallway, take a deep breath, and center myself.

    “Alright, let’s go. Sinnoh’s waiting for me.”

    ----------------------------------

    CHAPTER 1: Grunt Work
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
  2. Cutlerine

    Cutlerine Gone. Not coming back.

    Yours is an interesting Rowan, I have to say. He's always seemed like the least pleasant of the professors to actually be around, constantly haranguing people or else turning his back on you to monologue for a while, and I like that you address that here while also making him a much more bearable kinda guy. I'm all for writing canon characters not as they are but as they would be after something else has happened to them, since that makes them easier to write means they actually have a few surprises in store for even someone very familiar with canon, and I feel like I don't necessarily see all that many examples of that sort of thing.

    But of course he pales in comparison to Yossele and Mathilda themselves, who are great. Plasma is, along with Skull, my favourite team, and with Mathilda you hit on one of the reasons why: a huge number of basically good people could so easily have bought into it, and that means, as the two opposing Plasma factions in BW2 imply, a whole lot of narratively interesting pain and trauma. Put her alongside Yossele, a pokémon clearly capable of making the sort of decisions about his life among humans that Plasma would have presumed to make on his behalf, and that's a really interesting dynamic. Definitely looking forward to see where these two are going, and maybe even more interestingly, where they came from.

    One minor thing that kinda took me out of the story a bit: I'm not sure what purpose the inclusion of Mathilda's height and weight serves other than as a way of communicating it to the reader – it doesn't feel like something that would really be brought up in this kind of establishing-administrative-details context, since as far as I can see it has no real bearing on her trainer journey. If it's just there to tell us Mathilda's height and build, it might be better to find another way to work it in – even if it's just someone else she meets at some point making the joke that she tells Rowan she hears a lot. I understand that this whole scene is basically disguising exposition as dialogue, but this bit seems a bit too obviously that.

    I think you're missing either a 'the way' or a 'the by' here after “By', depending on how Mathilda speaks.

    That said! I think this is a really strong start. A trainer fic is half about the world and half about the trainer, and you've definitely nailed at least the latter part already. I'll be interested to see how you develop it further, and what you plan to do with the former as well.
     
  3. JX Valentine

    JX Valentine Ever-Discordant

    IT BEGINS.

    So, yeah, you probably already know via our chats that I was 100% on board with the whole idea of having a former grunt go around Sinnoh to find herself. Journey fics can get hella interesting if one knows how to play with them, and casting the main character as someone who was influenced by one of the antagonist teams (most of whom are either misguided organizations trying to improve the world in the most damaging ways possible or just straight-up cult-like entities) means we get a nice chunk of insight on how much damage a villainous organization can actually do. Mattie clearly joined Team Plasma for a reason, even if she didn't entirely agree with the methodology at the end, so it'll be fun to see her expound on that as time goes on.

    Speaking of, I just generally like the contrast between Mattie and everyone else here. You can tell she's rough and awkward, not only in how dry she seems when she speaks (and by "dry," I mean "when she explains why she has a police record, there's just something about her voice that seems a little gruff ... which is understandable but still") but also in how she acts, what with her introduction to Dawn and all. Granted, I know that might have something to do with [spoilers], but then again, it was just so awkward watching her try and fail to gauge the appropriate level of enthusiasm to display. Yet at the same time, you have an energetic Dawn (fist pumps and all) and a jovial Rowan of all people, so setting Mattie against those two just makes her seem like even more of a ball of gloom and dry wit than she might have been on her own ... which, honestly, isn't a bad thing because it means she's even more of a fish out of water. As in, here is this bright, sunny world full of happy people, and there is Mattie.

    And, of course, you also have Yossele, who as Cutlerine has said is obviously sentient enough to make his own decisions. Given Mattie's Plasma ties, it should be rather nice to learn more about how those two interacted back in Unova and what that means for their relationship now. But mostly, I just think it's adorable that: 1) this golett is signing and 2) he also seems to be a down-to-earth, possible voice of reason between the two of them. (I don't know what makes me think that. Maybe it's just that he seems less awkward about responding to both Dawn and Rowan than Mattie is.)

    In all, a rather fun start! Definitely looking forward to seeing how Mattie develops from here—and, well, just how good Sinnoh will be for that girl.
     
  4. Oh f*ck yes I'm all for a grunt redemption story. Very interesting start, and I'm already liking where this is going.

    As Cutlerine and JX Valentine have pointed out, I think you've built up Mathilda and Yossele to be very strong characters so far, both in how they react to other characters and in how they react to each other. I already know that you're gonna have a great time building up their interactions with each other down the line, and while we only get a glimpse of that here, I think it's something that's really gonna make your story a good read.

    And that's not taking away from Rowan, who I thought you did well in hitting that balance between stern and, uhh, "fatherly" I guess. I think you did well in establishing that while he has his disagreements with Mathilda, he's still on her side. I wanna say "for now" but I'm actually pretty interested in where you're going with Rowan's position as an "ally", so yeah.

    There was just one small and honestly nitpicky thing I wanted to point out:

    I thought you could've presented this a little better. This is definitely a big plot point for the story, and I think that how it's presented now is a bit like a kid with a piece of paper stuck behind his back saying "PAY ATTENTION TO ME". I dunno, I think you could've presented this similarly to the quote you'll see below in that it's a bit more smooth.

    But again, this is just being very nitpicky and I understand that this part of the story needed to be said, so don't think this deters the chapter from being a very good start! And actually, I thought that part was pretty important in contrasting Mathilda from an "ideal" trainer like Dawn, so yeah. Really looking forward to what's next, and I'm also looking forward to finding out why you've titled it as Ionization. :)

    And one last thing:

    There's something about this that makes me think that you'll be coming back to this part of their relationship. ;) Great job with it!
     
  5. Chibi Pika

    Chibi Pika Stay positive

    Yahaha, congrats on once again joining the chapter fic club! Don’t forget, you’re here forever. >:D

    Since Convergence fell apart due to lack of main character arc, let me tell you—you’ve already laid the foundation for a potentially fascinating main character arc in this fic. Mattie is a fun character—dry, blunt, and just a little sarcastic. And can we just talk about that backstory for a bit? Now I see why you couldn’t answer the interview question I gave her! xD No but seriously, writing about an ex-Plasma great is just an awesome idea. Out of all the teams, it’s the easiest to see why someone well-meaning would end up joining them, and it also has just great potential to come back and bite her in the butt later.

    Also, I’m jumping on the wagon and saying that I quite like your portrayal of Rowan. I always found him to be the least interesting of the regional professors. But seeing his calm, steadfast, and protective demeanor here, I might need to give him a second chance, because I'm already liking him.

    I still think the idea of humans and Pokémon communicating via signing is ingenious. Also it gives us a highly talkative Golett, which is great.

    So with that strong opening, there are a lot of ways this story could go. New troubles brewing in the Sinnoh region? Mattie’s past catching up with her? And what sort of goal is she aiming toward with her journey? I’m excited to find out!

    ~Chibi~;249;;448;
     
  6. DreamSayer

    DreamSayer Name's Adam.

    I was honestly expecting this to just be an ordinary trainer story, then you dropped the team plasma bombshell. Doing so instantly makes Kasdan a much more interesting character. How her past continues to haunt her through the course of the story is surely something that'll be interesting to see play out. I must say, I can't wait to see more of this in the future.
     
  7. Sike Saner

    Sike Saner Peace to the Mountain

    Lord do I sympathize. Eff mornings. :p

    Okay now you've got to realize that if you lay something like THAT in front of me, I'm gonna get curious. What did you do, Rowan? What kind of unlawful shenanigans did you used to get up to, ya old dork?


    Protag's certainly got an interesting background. Rowan's not alone in assuming something WILL come up for Mathilda--I'm (insert high percentage of your choosing)% certain that that little bit of orange hair is far from the only bit of her Plasma days that's hanging around.

    Also, I like the heck out of Yossele already. :D That's one heck of an interesting starter, and the means by which he speaks with his trainer is clever af.
     
  8. Polipuff

    Polipuff Artisan of Words

    Hey Phalanx, I promised myself to review your new fic ‘Ionization’, so here it goes.

    First off, I will say that this is absolutely brilliant for the first chapter. It’s both interesting and creative not seeing a golett using sign language, but seeing how you executed it not just by description, but also by using {braces}. However, I find it interesting that while the golett understands language:

    In another part of the chapter we see Mathilda responding in sign instead of speech:

    A small nit-pick though is that after she responds to Rowan with:

    He never uses ‘Mattie’.

    I also really love the foreshadowing here, making us readers guess why she came to Sinnoh, because we know that it wasn’t because of her ‘made-up’ reason. Also, it’s also interesting how she doesn’t respond to the second question.

    Anyway, your quality of work is always really high, so there isn’t much to criticize that the others haven’t done so already. I’ll be looking forward to chapter 2!
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2017
  9. PhalanxSigil

    PhalanxSigil BONK!

    Holy mother of Arceus, guys, you're nuts! Six reviews in a week? I freaking love this.

    Side note, this is perhaps the most motivated I've ever been towards writing...well, anything really, and I'm actually almost done with the next chapter. Which is completely unlike me. Something's wrong.

    Please help.

    ANYWAY, let's get on to the specific reviews.

    Cutlerine

    Oh yeah, that's definitely one of the fun aspects of Plasma. The factional aspect to it (especially considering that she quit before the factions split) will make her former Plasma musings all the more fascinating.

    Thank you so much! The world, although very similar to the Sinnoh (and other regions) of the games, has its own unique little details that I look forward to sharing. It's gonna be super fun.

    JX Valentine

    That is very much how I envisioned her acting. In the next chapter, she's actually gets to swear a little bit, and she's gonna have some super fun lines, but she's not brooding. She can get excited by stuff, and she totally has a sense of humor, but she's definitely gruff, and while that was compounded by the fact that she was dead tired, it still means that she's gonna be super fun to write.

    Yeah, but there will be times that he's, well, not the voice of reason. He hasn't interacted with the outside world much besides with [spoilers], but it definitely makes him, though somewhat reasonable, also a bit naïve. He's gonna be great.

    Dramatic Melody

    Not gonna lie, there was actually no other way she could've said that. There's backstory that I just can't get into right now, so if it seems a bit like she's crying for attention, there's LEGIT something she's hiding. From, like, everyone.

    Best I can word that, unfortunately.

    Chibi Pika

    Honestly, it's been a theme I've wanted to explore in a fic for a long time, so having a golett know how to sign is gonna make things super fun in this one.

    Sike Saner

    That, believe it or not, is a head-canon based on a Serebii reference. I'm a huge fan of Mrs. Lovett's Roots, and because of the story, I actually began to head-canon that Rowan was a delinquent in his youth, and something made him get way more formal and straight-laced.

    So, basically, it's a Roots reference.

    Thanks again everyone for reading (including Dreamsayer and Polipuff, I didn't forget you), and look forward to the next chapter coming...soon, I think.

    -Phalanx, out
     
  10. PhalanxSigil

    PhalanxSigil BONK!

    You remember when I said soon?

    Sorry, I meant now.

    CHAPTER 2: Magnitude of Your Words​


    I’m sitting on my bed in the Sandgem Inn, looking at my newly minted Trainer ID. My picture doesn’t look…awful, I guess. I mean, my hair’s a mess (probably from putting up the hood from my hoodie all day), there are huge black circles under my eyes, and my smile is so goddammed forced it hurts my soul to look at, but…eh, it’s fine. Those things never look good anyway. It’s like a driver’s license photo, they all suck.

    I flop down on the bed, dropping the card on the desk by the bedside. My hoodie is getting really hot, so I toss it off as well. Judging by the sudden creaks and grunts I hear moments after, it appears I hit Yossele, who promptly throws it back at me.

    “Not in the mood for this, Yosie,” I mumble, “wanna take a nap.”

    He taps my bare foot with two fingers. {It’s 2:30 in the afternoon. It’s far too early to fall asleep for the day. I, for one, don’t feel tired at all.}

    “Fuck off, man, you don’t sleep anyway. And besides, you were in your ball the entire flight.” I sit up, staring down the now sitting golett. “Jetlag is a thing, you know.”

    {I understand,} he responded, {but you do remember what Dad said about long distance travel, right?}

    I sigh, frustrated that Yossele is being such a stickler about this. “Yeah, yeah, stay up as late as you can the first few nights, I get it.” I sleepily slip my feet off the bed. “Fine, you win. Whaddaya wanna do to pass the time before I sleep?”

    {Well, we can start by trying to finish learning the new move.} He lifts his left arm, showing off a list of arcane-looking runes etched into his wrist. {I feel like I’m really close on that ground-shaking one. I’ve even got a cool rune thought out.}

    “Oh yeah, you’re right, we were getting pretty close on Magnitude,” I mutter. “Uh, sure, I guess. Can’t hurt to have more moves in your arsenal in case a battle pops up, right?”

    Yossele pumps his fist in excitement and practically jumps to his stubby feet. I can’t help but feel amused at his excitement towards learning a new move. However, my amusement turns to fear when he taps the spiral symbol on his chest, his customary ritual for charging the ghostly energy inside his body for combat. I leap out of my bed and try to restrain him.

    “What the hell are you doing, you lunatic?!” I yell. “You’re gonna wreck the room!”

    {But I thought we were going to practice,} he says. {Why the change of heart? What’s wrong?}

    “Nothing, no, we’re still gonna practice, but outside. We’d be in deep shit if we destroyed our hotel room, and I’d rather not get in trouble the first week we’re here.”

    {But Mom and Dad never got that mad if we practiced at home and broke something. Why is this so different?}

    “Mom and Dad were able to pay for the stuff we smashed. And believe it or not, they did get pretty mad that we broke things. The hotel, that we are paying to stay at, by the way, will not be so kind.”

    {But the hotel owns the stuff in the rooms, right? Wouldn’t they pay for it?}

    “Nope. It would come out of my pocket.”

    Yossele doesn’t respond immediately. I think this revelation has shaken his worldview a little bit. He’s never really had much interaction with social situations outside of me and my friends, so I can understand why he wouldn’t know this, but I feel like it should be common sense.

    He waits a little longer, then quickly claps his hands. {Outside, then.}

    “Good choice.”

    -------------------------------

    Route 202, although not particularly memorable in terms of landmarks, is perfect for a little bit of combat training. It’s mostly open spaces, with a little bit of tall grass dotted throughout the plains, making it a popular spot for beginning Trainers to hang out and have their first battles. As Yossele and I look for a place to practice ourselves, we encounter a bunch of eager kids, clearly just starting their journeys. None of them feel like battling me, as Yossele seems to intimidate them a little bit, but they’re all interested in him. They poke his body, grill me on where I got him, it’s a little overwhelming. By the time I find a nice open spot to practice moves, I actually have a small posse.

    “Hey, you might want to stand back a little bit, guys,” I announce to the group of kids. “We’re practicing a new move, and it’s a little bit wild, and I don’t want you to get hurt, so…yeah, might want to take a step back.” The kids, who are already somewhat intimidated by Yossele’s large frame, need no further encouragement. They give us a wide berth.

    {So, how did we start this, again?} the golett asks. {I remember working on this a little bit back home, but it’s been a while.}

    “It has something to do with your arm engines, right?” I motion to his thick forearms, which house nascent energy cannons within their bulky frames. As a golett, he still doesn’t have full control over them, which is why we’re only attempting Magnitude right now, nor does he have the capability of flying yet, but it’s a start. “I think you were supposed to, like, smack the ground as you fired your arm jets, or something?”

    {I’ll give it a try, see how it goes,} he responds. As I back a couple of yards away, he touches the symbol on his chest again, and begins to radiate a ghostly, indigo-colored aura as he powers up. He pumps both of his arms, channeling some of the mysterious energy into his fists like twin shotguns, and quickly slams them into the ground with a loud “bang”. I instinctively recoil, bracing for a miniature earthquake to hit my legs, but I don’t feel anything. When I look back at Yossele, I see that, while he’s made small craters around where his fists hit the ground, not much else happened.

    {I think I fired them a little too early,} he says, looking at his smoking hands. {Didn’t time it right.}

    “Yeah, other than that, it looked perfect,” I reply. “Let’s try it again, you were close. Maybe wait a half-second more before firing.”

    We go about this for about 20 minutes. Each time, I write down the results in my pocket notebook I keep in my hoodie. I’ve gone through many of these over the years, especially when I was still interested in planning Plasma events, but now they serve to document Yossele’s progress in learning new moves. It was a very interesting process learning Stomping Tantrum, especially since Yossele doesn’t usually have those.

    “Alright, Magnitude trial number 48…7?”

    {It can’t be that much,} Yossele exclaims, {I only started learning it last week.}

    “Ever heard of sarcasm, buddy? One more time, but this time focus on punching the blast into the ground, not just hitting the dirt. It seems like you’ve got the timing down, just not the seismic focus.”

    Charging his arms again, Yossele slams the ground, and the results are drastically different. As soon as he unloads his ghostly charge into the earth, I feel an immediate rumbling in the ground, and I start to regret not having us practice near some trees. As the ground cracks beneath me, I jump and dodge around flying pieces of rock and dirt before I feel Yossele’s mud-brick arms surrounding me, protecting me from debris. After a few more moments, the shaking dies down.

    “That…was…AWESOME!” I shout, as my fear gives way to adrenaline-filled excitement. I burst out from Yossele’s arms screaming at the top of my lungs, much to the amusement of all the kids still watching me. “I dunno what you did different that time, but I could barely stand up while that was going on.” I take a breath, and take out my notes. “What did you do differently that time?”

    {What you told me and a little extra.} He taps the sides of his fists together, and motions towards the now cracked ground. {I definitely punched inwards, but I also thought it would be a good idea to channel both blasts together, and I guess it made a…} He struggled to find the right word. {A…what’s the center of an earthquake?}

    “An epicenter?” I say as I try to think of the motion for signing it. Not remembering it, I make one up, joining my hands together in a ball and shaking them violently. I’ll try to remember that one.

    {Yeah, that,} he continues. {I guess that was enough to get the earth shaking.} He twiddles his thumbs briefly. {My control over the jets in my arms still isn’t very good, so it might have varying levels of power, but it’s something for a pinch, I’d think.}

    “Well, that’s Magnitude for ya,” I reassure him. “It’s always difficult for Ground-types at first, that’s why it’s variable.” I pat his shoulder. “Don’t worry about it, you’ll get a consistent Earthquake in time.”

    He gives me a thumbs-up, assuring me that he’s okay with that. I scan the ground, and find a thick branch that I hadn’t seen before. Guess even the trees weren’t totally safe. I should probably ask around, see if people are alright. Before I do that, I hand Yossele the branch. He proceeds to turn it to his left wrist, etching another rune onto his short list. So far, if I remember correctly, he’s got Shadow Punch (that comes standard with all golett), Mud Slap, Iron Defense, and Stomping Tantrum. I’m thinking maybe having him learn Mega Punch next.

    “Ms. Trainer!” I see a young boy run up to me, a worried look on his face. He pulls on my hoodie. “I think that attack hit a pokémon. There’s a shinx a little bit away, it looks really hurt.”

    Yossele and I look at each other for a second, and then we leap into action. “Crap, I was worried about that. Alright kid, show me where it is. Do you have any potions on you?” He nods. “Good, give me a couple of them, just in case it’s very badly injured. Yosie, when we find it, make sure that no one gets near it. We don’t want anyone capturing it when it’s hurt like that thinking it’s free pickings.” The golett nods, then looks at the boy expectantly. He points towards a small patch of woods – probably where the branch came from – and begins to lead Yossele there. “Is anyone else hurt, human or pokémon?” I ask the rest of the Trainers. Most trainers shake their heads or murmur “No,” which is a relief.

    I sprint over to where the kid took Yossele, and see a very strange sight. The golett, potion in hand, is being shooed away by a boy, about my age from the looks of it, with shoulder-length blond hair and small, angry blue eyes. He’s moving his arms frantically, but his face, weirdly enough, is wearing a sort of grin. He seems to be guarding the shinx, its black-and blue body curled up in a little ball as it mews softly in pain.

    “Back away from the shinx,” he yells, “it’s really hurt! No one get near it!”

    “Hey, you its Trainer?” I say, running up to a very confused Yossele.

    “Well, no, but-”

    “Then let me handle this,” I continue, showing him the potion in my hand. Yossele holds one up as well. “If you’re just gonna shoo people away, you’re not helping.”

    “But, but,” he stammers, “you’re just going to catch it, right? You’re totally gonna exploit its injuries and ‘add’ it to your team, aren’t you?”

    I look at him, eyes wide with shock. I know that line of reasoning way too well. “That’s…that’s the exact thing I’m trying to prevent,” I respond. “I don’t want it to get hurt anymore.” I turn to the golett, pushing the crazy thought out of my head. “Yosie, try to get close. Slowly, like I taught you. Try not to scare it, and maybe apologize a little bit.” He nods, and starts to approach the kitten. His gentle rumbling and slow, methodical hand motions seem to calm the shinx, as its whines get much quieter. He strokes its fur as he sprays the contents of the potion bottle on its wounds and bruises.

    {It’s going to need more than this to get back to full strength,} he signs to me. {We should take it to the Pokémon Center, let it recover.}

    “Well, let’s see what it thinks,” I say as I approach the shinx myself. I notice the longer tufts of hair on its head, meaning the shinx was male. I take that into account as I attempt to talk to it. “Hey, little guy,” I say as I try to pet it. It's definitely hurt, as I see nicks and cuts all over its body, and he's injured enough where, even if I wanted to catch him, most Trainers would just let it be, but the wounds are healing rather quickly due to the potion serum. No broken bones, at least. He shrinks away at first, but, seeing that I mean him no harm, he lets me touch him. “You feeling alright? Can you move?”

    As if to answer my question, the shinx gingerly tries to stand, positioning its hind legs under it. While it still looked hurt, it seemed like it could move easily, so I let it run off into the woods. Yosie was just over-reacting a little, that's all. As I see it fade into the distance, I turn my attention to the boy who’d accosted me earlier.

    “Okay, what the hell were you trying to pull there?” I exclaim. “I get the feeling you didn’t trust me for a second when I was, read, helping that shinx. What’s your deal?”

    He glares at me like I’d just flipped him the bird. “The only reason you let it go was because I was there. I can see it in your eyes, you wanted to catch that poor, helpless creature. Why else would you hurt it so badly?”

    I stand there, stunned at the sheer idiocy of the words I hear coming out of his mouth. “Okay,” I respond, slowly, to make sure my words penetrate his skull, “first of all, fuck off with assuming why I was helping that shinx. I didn’t know he – the shinx was male, by the way, don’t call him an it – I didn’t know he was there until after some random kid told me he was hurt. Which leads me to my second point, which was, why the hell would I have Yossele use an area-of-effect attack, which he’s not totally proficient with, by the way, to specifically attack a shinx that I didn’t know was there? That makes no goddamn sense.” I take a long, drawn out breath. “And third, how do you get off saying that all Trainers would exploit wild pokémon like that? There are so many good Trainers out there, and generalizing about them is really fucking awful. That’s something only assholes would do, and to be quite frank, something that a member of Team Plasma would say.” I pause for a moment. “You Unovan?”

    “Born and raised in Mistralton, Miss Know-It-All,” he responds in a very, ironically, know-it-all fashion. Well, that would explain it. Tons of Plasma sympathizers live there. “I happen to think that Plasma may have been on to something in their message.”

    “Including the part where they steal people’s pokémon?”

    “Hey, that’s completely unfair, they only stole from pokémon abusers!”

    “Bullshit, you know full well they ambushed people and mugged them for their pokémon. There were even some reports that some Grunts around Icirrus stole wallets and cash along with Pokéballs.”

    “That’s…that’s…” He hesitates, clearly at a loss for how to respond to my overwhelming evidence against him. “You don’t know that! How can you know that?”

    “Trust me, I know.” I don’t have the heart to tell him that it was actually former Icirrus Grunts that I worked with who mugged innocent bystanders. In front of me, no less. Not a fun experience. I think that was part of what made me want to quit, actually. “Look, I’m gonna leave now, make sure you didn’t try to convince these kids to give up their pokémon. See ya later, N wannabe.”

    “For your information, my name is David Paulson!” the guy yells. I remember that the Paulson’s were a very rich shipping company based in Mistralton. Maybe had Plasma connections? Eh, no idea.

    “Cool. I’m Mattie Kasdan. Now fuck off.” I turn to walk away, motioning for Yossele to follow. As I see him catching up to me, I notice David’s body twitching with what I presume is pent-up anger. I don’t give it much thought.

    Until he starts speaking, a grin once again spreading on his face.

    “Battle me.”

    I turn back to him. “What?”

    He stands up straighter, looking as cocky as he was while blocking the shinx. “You’re gonna battle me, and I’m gonna embarrass you in front of all these people, and then you’re gonna admit to me that I was right. Then, just because you gave me the idea, you’re gonna release that golett right there, and you’re gonna walk away.”

    I stand there, trying to process what he just said. Then I start laughing. The rumbling to my side tells me that Yossele is laughing too. “You can’t be serious,” I giggle. “You – you do realize that you sound like a hypocritical dumbass right now. Like, a Plasma sympathizer, willing to get a pokémon hurt? Dude, you sound so much like the Plasma from a year ago it hurts.” I calm down again. “And by the way, that’s the Plasma that wanted to take over the region, not the ones with a noble pretense. So, no, I’m not gonna battle you, you’re a fucking hypocrite, and now I guess I have more reason to check on the other Trainers.”

    Before I can turn away, however, David grabs a Pokéball from his belt and throws it in my direction. As the ball breaks in two, a small, greenish-blue creature emerges from the white light bursting forth from the device. Its green eyes and glowing fingers sporadically light up and dim as it stares at us, tilting its head out of…curiosity, I guess?

    “An elgyem, huh?” I mutter. “Yep, straight out of Mistralton, that one.”

    {He probably spends all his time brooding in the Celestial Tower,} Yossele continues. {Might be where he gets the crazy from.}

    “If you call yourself a Trainer, Mattie Kasdan,” David pontificates, “then you have no choice but to battle me! Isn’t it common practice for two Trainers, locking eyes, to do battle?”

    “Yeah, see, that’s how it works in the video games, buddy. Those games, by the way, are hot garbage, and you should be ashamed of yourself. IRL, nobody does that. I don’t have to battle you if I don’t want to, and I don’t want to. So, once again, goodbye.”

    As I turn to leave…again… David desperately searches for anything more to say. At last, he says, “Are you scared of facing me, you coward? Are you that scared of someone like me hurting your precious pokémon, or worse, your pride? Do you think that little of your golett?”

    “No, I think that little of you. Now do as I say, and FUCK. O-”

    I stop as I look over at Yossele. He’s weirdly still, save for his hands, which are trembling, balled into fists. He only gets like that when he’s mad, something’s up. {Hey, you alright?} I sign to him.

    {Let me at him.}

    My eyes widen in shock. “Wait, what was that?” I say aloud.

    He turns his head to me. {He called me weak. But more than that, he insulted you. Worse, he used me to insult you. So, I’ll say it again. LET ME AT HIM!} He points viciously at the boy, almost ignoring the elgyem entirely. He was almost glowing with ghostly energy, he was so pissed off.

    “Arceus dammit,” I sigh. I turn back to David. “Alright, you’ve ticked off Yossele, so, you win. We’re gonna battle. You happy?”

    He sneers at me. “Very.”

    “Fine. Let’s get our wagers ready, then.” David gives me a weird look. “The wager,” I continue. “You…do know that most Trainers put some money on a battle, right? Trainer etiquette? Common practice?” I pull my PokéGear out of my hoodie. “We can do it over VenMa, if it’s easier.” I return his smirk. “That is, if you’re not worried about your pride.”

    The look of anger on his face is almost beautiful. I can sorta see some veins popping out of his forehead, and his cheeks are as scarlet as a Cheri berry. “1000 PB,” he growls.

    “Deal.” We both stand back, letting our pokémon approach each other. We’re in a small clearing in the woods, so there’s a nice little area for the two fighters to move around in. The younger trainers from before, who had been listening to our little exchange, gather around our makeshift arena when they realize a battle’s about to start, mumbling to themselves. From what I overhear, they don’t like David very much.

    “Alright, Yossele, let’s end this quickly,” I instruct. “Normally I’d be worried by the long-range capabilities of most Psychic-types, but you’re super strong already. Concentrate on getting close.”

    {Right.} He cracks his knuckles, shedding bits of extraneous mud-brick substance that had built up since his last battle. {This elgyem is a novice. I can tell from the way it’s blinking its comm lights. It should only take one, maybe two hits at most to knock it out. I’m not worried.}

    Much to David’s surprise, Yossele puts his fists up to his face, angling his body slightly sideways and putting his left foot at the front of his stance. I smile. It’s a unique element of this golett’s fighting style. It always catches people off-guard the first time they see Yossele put up his dukes like a boxer.

    The first rune on his wrist lights up. A wave of ghostly energy envelops both of his hands, and he clangs them together before resetting his stance. I know that signal.

    Yossele is ready to kick some major ass.

    “Elgyem, don’t let it hit you!” David calls out. “Use Confusion!”

    A wave of pinkish energy slams into Yossele’s frame, causing him to wobble slightly. His stance never wavers, however, as he moves his back foot to regain his balance. I hear his rumbling laugh at the pitiful attack. Barely even a dent.

    “Move up to it, Yosie,” I command. “Quick as you can. Try to avoid getting hit, but if that’s all your opponent has, you got this.”

    Nodding, Yossele slowly begins lumbering toward the elgyem, the ground quaking with every step he takes. Panicking, the elgyem begins emitting a harsh, staticy sound that makes the golett visibly wince. “Yeah, nice Growl, Elgyem!” David shouts. “Now hit it with another Confusion!”

    “Get out of the way, Yossele!” I shout. In sync with my command, the golett quickly loads his arm jet and blasts a blank round to his side, moving him out of the way of the psionic wave. He unloads another blast to put himself back on track, and puts himself within striking distance.

    “Uh, uh, get out of the way, Elg-”

    “Grab it!”

    Yossele shoots out his left hand, latching onto the elgyem’s large, cylindrical head. The alien-like creature begins squirming around, trying to break free of the golett’s grasp, to no avail.

    “You said you’re mad, right, Yosie?”

    He nods.

    “Alright then. Stomping Tantrum, let’s go!”

    Yossele proceeds to slam the elgyem into the ground, venting its anger as he repeatedly bashes its body with his thick arms. After a moment, he stops, and the elgyem weakly floats off the ground again. It looks towards its Trainer, practically pleading David to end the battle. Yossele turns his head to me. {I think it wants out,} he says.

    I nod. “I think your elgyem’s had enough, David. Stop the fight, and forfeit with your dignity intact. I’ll let you walk away.”

    However, David angrily continues shouting at his pokémon. “Now, while its back is turned! Use Confusion to, uh, push it away or something!”

    The elgyem lets loose yet another ray of pink light, yet although this one hits Yossele, he doesn’t look even remotely phased. His shoulders sag, resigned to the inevitable conclusion.

    “Yeah, I know buddy,” I mutter. “I didn’t want to do this either. Shadow Punch.”

    Almost faster than I can give the command, Yossele decks the elgyem with a devastating right hook, his hand coated in a purplish, ghostly flame. The elgyem careens into a nearby tree, floating to the ground limp and unconscious.

    “You lose, David,” I say, approaching him. I can feel a grim look spreading across my face, but I don’t even care at this point. “Take your elgyem to the Pokémon Center and get it looked at. It should be fine in the morning.” I look at him, and I don't feel much. I think, though, that I feel some semblance of disappointment. "This was stupid, David. Don't try that again, or you'll seriously hurt your pokémon."

    I’m right up next to him now. He’s about my height, but skinny, almost gaunt-looking. His eyes are almost wild with anger, even hate. “You’ll see me again, Mattie Kasdan,” he hisses, almost slamming our PokéGears together as he initiates the customary money transfer. “I’ll be stronger, and you’ll be the one whose pokémon are lying in the dirt. You’ll see.” He scrambles over to his elgyem, picks it up, almost cradling it like a newborn child, and runs off towards Sandgem.

    I sigh deeply, rubbing my eyes out of frustration and exhaustion. My jetlag is catching up with me again. I feel an arm on my shoulder. {Let’s get back to the hotel, alright?} Yossele suggests.

    Nodding, I begin to trudge in the direction of Sandgem, Yossele following close behind.

    I really hope everyone else in Sinnoh isn’t like this.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
  11. Cutlerine

    Cutlerine Gone. Not coming back.

    You start off strong with some more insight into Yossele's character; I always like seeing how people take these inhuman perspectives, the assumptions and preconceptions they build into these viewpoints, and Yossele's is definitely shaping up to be quite interesting. He's clearly very perceptive, but only in certain ways; you get a sense that he probably thinks he understands humans better than he does, because he's looked at them and gone oh right so it's like that without actually looking past surface impressions. It's really cool, is what I'm saying, and I look forward to seeing more of that sort of thing.

    Mattie's conversation with the Unovan guy is interesting, and it goes without saying that the whole thing is an effective illustration of the way even those of Plasma who really believe slip into hypocrisy through the force of their obsession, but it does raise some questions. I think I don't quite understand how capture works in this world – do people not fight pokémon before catching them? Nobody present seems to think it's normal or good that the shinx got hurt. If they don't, how do they capture pokémon? Both the mechanics and the ethics surrounding this feel very unclear, and I'm guessing that that's something you're going to explain further, since this is a Plasma fic and it kinda has to address that sort of thing, but I thought I'd raise the issue here and now.

    Finally, and minorly, there's a typo in Yossele's line about trying to finish learning his new move; I'm pretty sure that's intended as 'the new move', rather than 'thennew move'. Otherwise, yeah, still very much interested. Even after the second chapter, it's kinda difficult to tell where you plan to take this story, and it'll be interesting to find out.
     
  12. Sike Saner

    Sike Saner Peace to the Mountain

    This describes the overwhelming majority of photos I've had to be in. Dear relevant parties: not everyone naturally shows teeth when they smile. When you insist that someone show their teeth when that's not what their face is naturally inclined to do, what you get is not a smile, or even a grin. It is a grimace, and it is awful, and rest assured it's no more fun to make that face under those circumstances than it is to look at it.

    P.S. Stop insisting on eye contact (lens contact?) in photos, people. That ****'s harder to nail than you might expect. XD;

    Yossele is getting cuter by the installment, I swear. No, you precious thing, not every place is an appropriate training ground for attacks that trigger/simulate seismic activity. :p

    Also I love that a living (?) creature has arm engines. Good grief golett are cool.

    Nice to see him kicking ***, too. :D At the same time, though, I do feel sorry for the elgyem. That's gotta suck, having such a b-hole for a trainer.
     
  13. Chibi Pika

    Chibi Pika Stay positive

    Alright, finally here to review chapter 2!

    Man, I can just tell that you are having way too much fun writing such an incredibly salty protagonist. xD Yep, Mattie's dialogue/narration is gold, and I'm willing to bet it pretty much writes itself, it feels that natural. You're also doing a solid job using and abusing the 1st person perspective to its fullest. I always say, if you can straight-up convert a character's narration from 1st to 3rd without losing something, then it should've been in 3rd to begin with, but that is absolutely not the case here.

    I really like the way you wrote the process of Yossele learning a new move. It was fun, realistic, and informative. Not to mention, who could say no to having more opportunities to show off the Golett line's totally sweet arm engines? I like the idea that said engines are utilized in more than just their final evo's flight.

    The only the thing I feel a bit conflicted about is that the entire encounter with David felt like the universe coming together to create the perfect blend of thematically appropriate ***hole for Mattie to beat down and look like a badass in front of everyone, including the reader. Admittedly, it does flip the script a little (the textbook early-chapter jackass in a trainer fic is usually a Pokemon abuser, whereas he's the complete opposite, a Pokemon rights extremist.) But that adds to the whole "universe engineering the perfect opportunity for protagonist superiority" thing in that what are the odds of an ex-Plasma immediately running into an uppity Plasma sympathizer after traveling halfway across the world? One that she can effortlessly crush in both debate and battle?

    The reason I say I'm conflicted about it? Well, because dammit, it worked. xD I did want to see Mattie beat the crap out of that guy. I was thrilled when Yossele was willing to battle, even when she wanted to walk away. And I loved getting to see his other moves!

    So yeah, make of that what you will. Either way, it was still a fun chapter! Just maybe be a tid bit careful with lining up coincidences to show off how totally cool your main character is, even if she really is that cool. ;P

    ~Chibi~;249;;448;
     
  14. Ambyssin

    Ambyssin Winter can't come soon enough

    Err, I don't think I've got quite the detailed response as some of the other stuff, but I'm really enjoying the beginning of this. Usually when I think of a redemption arc the things that come to mind are antihero/jerks with hearts of gold archetypes, or someone who's kind of fallen into a real pattern of being an introvert. I don't really think this falls into those categories, and I think the colorful narration really helps with that. Gives the piece its own attitude. As for the two chapters themselves...

    Ch 1
    Definitely an interesting start. It’s mainly establishing background for the main character, and the current Sinnoh setting. I see it’s a considerable time skip after DPPt and, less so BW. Although I’m wondering if any of the plot of B2W2 will factor into this, since it seemed like Mathilda got out at the equivalent of BW’s climax and the timing seems about right. I enjoy the first-person narration, mainly because it’s got a lot of snark from Mathilda. Reminds me a bit of the Ace Attorney series. I’m a big fin, so I like seeing 1st person snark. And it’s interesting to see a service Pokémon turned into a starter. Makes me eager to see what Yossele might do aside from battling in the future. Rowan’s characterization here just makes me think of Professor Oak, but I do like that there’s a bit of development tying into the Sinnoh games' events and Mega Evolution.

    Ch 2
    That early tidbit with Yossele makes me wonder if part of his characterization involves taking things too literally at times (being an automaton of sorts, it would totally fit). And oh, right off the bat he knows a Gen VII move. Nice. I like his and Mattie’s interactions. I know she hints there’s a bit of backstory between the two when talking to Rowan, but they’ve got a ‘best buds’ vibe about them. And, wow, it did not take long for the Team Plasma connection to come into play. And I guess it answered my own comments about B2W2 Plasma. Having the kid come from an affluent family is only icing on the cake, if you ask me. Also:

    That one had me in stitches! If this David guy’s the rival (or a rival), it should be an entertaining one to watch unfold.

    Looking forward to more in the future!
     
  15. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.

    This is a good idea for an opening - it shows the setting and gives us an idea of the POV style right off the bat. It strikes me as a bit wordy and drawn out, however, which takes away from it being a strong opening.

    I mean, I'd think that getting a starter pokemon is the most important part of the process, but to each his own, I guess. XD

    He had to at least know a little bit to realize it was sign language, right?

    Oh, okay. I wasn't expecting that. XD Anyway, now that I've caught up, this is an interesting take on Team Plasma as well as a trainer past I haven't really seen explored before. I've seen trainers who were affected by "evil" teams like Plasma indirectly, but none that were part of the team then not part of the team. I suppose Cutlerine's Go Home kind of counts, but the main character had never really signed up for the team, just temporarily followed their ideologies and let them guide her actions.

    Anyway, I'm trying to say this is unique and I'm looking forward to seeing where you go with it, lol.

    Hmm. I mean, it could still be used for research purposes if you wanted. What if a trainer discovers a fact that contradicts or could be added to the information already provided? Also, I really like the money exchange feature added to the pokedex. I see the trainer winning/losing money will take effect here, another thing I don't see often in fics (but it makes sense, because seriously, journeying must cost a ton of money).

    I like this dialogue a lot. It gives us more insight into their family life before the journey (without showing actual family interaction, which works if the parents aren't going to be actual characters) and more info on Yossele's character. I can't say I like how Mathilda's yelling at Yossele, but she's 14 years old, so... she's probably not the most mature person yet.
    Ohh, this is an interesting character quirk here. I daresay all trainers should do this - it'd probably help with training a ton. XD

    And I really like the idea that Magnitude is basically just a lower leveled, inexperienced Earthquake attack. Mmm, this fic is just full of good ideas. Please keep writing.

    I think adding that to the conversation would've escalated things and not helped, anyway, lmao.

    I lol'd.

    Like I said, please keep writing, okay? Okay.
     
  16. PhalanxSigil

    PhalanxSigil BONK!

    NANI??!! Phalanx doesn't post chapters!!

    Joke's on you, mother f's, here's Chapter 3!

    Chapter 3: Nibbles​

    I can’t sleep. I need to sleep, but jetlag’s killing me, and the Jubilife traffic is murder on my ears, even at night. I’d arrived earlier that evening, since I really didn’t want to be around Sandgem anymore after yesterday’s stupidity, and rented a room at a cheap hotel. Apparently “cheap” actually means “paper-thin walls.” Arceus, this is just like fucking Castelia. I wrap my pillow around my ears, trying to block out the wail of car horns, screeching tires, and – are people shouting at each other?!

    “Shut up, it’s 2 in the fucking MORNING!” I wail. No one hears me but Yossele, who’s resting at the foot of the bed. He turns to me and signs something. “Can’t see it, buddy, it’s too dark,” I mutter, burying my head in the pillow again. He quietly walks over to where my head is resting. There’s a soft glow to Yossele in the darkness of the room, a common trait in the golett line. I think it’s so they’re able to find each other in their native home of the Dragonspiral Tower, but it’s hard to say for sure. At any rate, I can see him a little more clearly now, so I can understand him.

    {I was trying to ask if you were alright,} he repeated, {but I think that answers the question.} He kneels next to me, placing a hand on my side. {Do you need something? I can go to the front desk and ask for something. I’ll write it down so I won’t need to sign.}

    “Think I just gotta walk a little,” I mutter. I roll out of my bed, nearly falling on my face, and pull on my hoodie and a pair of jeans. I’m about to leave the room when Yossele taps my side. “WHAT?!” I yell.

    He’s holding my belt.

    “Oh, uh…sorry, Yosie,” I mumble apologetically, groggily looping the brown leather belt along my waist. “Thanks. Sorry for yelling.”

    {You want me to come with you?} Yossele asks. {I’m worried about you.}

    “You always are,” I respond, patting his head sleepily. “Sure, why not? Let’s have a night on the town.” I thrust open the door, not really thinking about controlling my voice (or what I’m saying). “Just you and me, two weirdoes from Unova who don’t know what the FUCK we’re doing!”

    I’m about to keep yelling into the hallway when someone sticks their head out of their door. “Hey, can you keep it down?” the boy asks, his curly black hair a mess in front of his face. “People are trying to sleep right now.”

    My cheeks feel very hot. Arceus dammit, I’m an asshole. “Sorry, I’m being stupid,” I respond. “Did I wake you?”

    “Surprisingly, no,” the boy laughs, placing his hand on the back of his neck. “I just forgot to take my melatonin, so I couldn’t sleep, and I lost track of time reading.”

    “Wait, what’s a melatonin?” I ask sleepily.

    “It’s medicine that helps you sleep. It’s not a sleeping pill, per sé, but it’s, like, a pill that gives you an extra dose of your natural sleep hormone to help you sleep better. It’s totally natural, so you don’t have to-”

    “So it helps you sleep?” I interrupt. “’Cause if it is, can I have some? Need to get rid of this fucking jetlag somehow.”

    The boy sighs. “I shouldn’t give you some, because my mom would kill me if she knows I gave people pills without a prescription – because she’s a doctor, and doctors get kinda anal about that – but these are mostly okay. Here, I’ll cut you a deal.” He holds up a hand, basically signaling for me to wait, leaves for a second, and comes back with a small bottle filled with tiny orange pills. “I’ll give you a normal dose of melatonin, just for tonight. Sound good?”

    “Sure, I guess.” I clumsily walk over to him, and he gives me one little orange pill. “Is this gonna be okay?” I ask skeptically.

    “Yeah, it should,” he responds. “Hope it works, I guess.” He gives a little wave, and closes the door behind him. Nodding, I turn to go back to my own bedroom.

    Where I see Yossele with my PokéGear in his hands, a red light shining near the screen.

    “Why’re you recording me, Yosie?” I ask, popping the pill into my mouth and swallowing.

    {Just trust me on this,} he says, walking over to the door and plopping himself in front of it. He always does this, acting like a living barricade. {You’ll see in the morning. Get some rest.}

    I nod, throw my hoodie on the floor again, and basically fall onto my pillow.

    And this time, after a couple of minutes, sleep comes easily.

    ----------------------------------

    “Holy SHIT, how stupid was I last night?!”

    {Very. Very stupid.}

    I’m watching the video that Yossele recorded last night, and I don’t whether to be mad at myself for being so idiotic, or maybe just disappointed. The footage is embarrassing to watch. Did I seriously learn nothing about situations like this from being a woman in this Arceus-damned world?

    “It’s, like, what if that had actually been drugs?” I continue, facepalming as hard as I can. “What if, Yosie?”

    {Well, I would’ve punched the guy,} he responds, showing a strange sort of calm as he says this, {and then I would’ve taken you to a hospital, and then, after you woke up, I’d slap you for being stupid. Because you were being stupid.}

    “Yeah, yeah, please, go on and tell me how stupid I am again.”

    {You were, though!}

    “I KNOW, THOUGH!”

    I suddenly hear a knock on the door. My cheeks get really hot when I realize what that must’ve sounded like. “I…should probably get that,” I mumble as I get the door.

    The boy from last night is waiting outside, a thick pair of glasses I didn’t notice before resting on his nose. His hands are in his pockets, and I notice that his pockets are pulsing in and out, like his hands are tapping inside them.

    “Uh…hey,” I say, feeling a little awkward. “You been standing there long?”

    He lets out a little laugh. “Nah, not really,” he says. “Heard a little bit, though. I take it you were talking to the golett,” as he motions to Yossele, who is standing close to me with his arms crossed.

    “Yeah, but I probably sounded a little nuts, didn’t I?” I joke, feeling a little better that he didn’t actually think I was crazy. “He signs, so we were actually talking, just to clarify.”

    “Fair enough.” We both let out some awkward chuckles, and then let a somewhat uncomfortable silence fall between us. The boy takes a breath. “I…actually wanted to apologize for last night. That was totally sketchy of me, just offering literal pills to someone who was clearly zonked out of their mind from exhaustion, and I don’t want to come off as creepy to you. So…I’m sorry.”

    “Hey, we both acted badly last night,” I say with a slight giggle. “You coulda come off as creepy, I was acting like one of those dumb girls in the shitty PSA’s you see in health class.”

    “Oh, you mean the ones where the teachers try to shame you into never going out with your friends?”

    “That’s the one.”

    We both break into fits of nervous laughter, the tension dissipating from the room. We were both being weird and stupid last night. Nothing happened, and we both feel bad, so let’s just forget that happened.

    “So,” I continue, “in my exhausted stupor, I never introduced myself last night.” I extend a hand. “My name’s Mattie Kasdan.”

    “Blake Franklin,” he responds, giving it a vigorous shake, his darker-skinned hand nearly enveloping mine. “Good to actually meet you when we’re not both zonked out from exhaustion.”

    I’m about to respond, but an acute rumbling in my stomach stops me in my tracks. Thinking back on it, I didn’t have all that much for dinner last night, and my digestive tract is not letting me forget it.

    “Hey, could we move the conversation to the breakfast area?” I ask. “I’m starving.”

    ‘Uh, sure, I guess. Don’t really have that much else going on right now.” He backs up from the doorway. “You bringing your friend along?” he asks, motioning to Yossele.

    “Yeah, but he doesn’t need anything,” I respond. I wave at his head. He doesn’t move from his accusatory stance. “No mouth.”

    “Got it,” Blake laughs. “So, shall we commence with the eating?”

    “Yes, let’s.”

    ----------------------------------------

    Breakfast is quiet and awkward. Clearly both of us still feel weird about what happened last night, but there’s more to it than that. Yossele’s always been a little distrusting of people he doesn’t know that well, and the incident with the Plasma wannabe and what happened last night aren’t helping matters. He barely moves throughout the meal, his unmoving yellow eyes boring into Blake as he eats. Needless to say, there’s not much talking.

    When Blake gets up for seconds, I feel a tap on my leg.

    {This just feels a little weird to me,} he says. {He gives you pills, then wants to have breakfast with you? It’s difficult for me to not find it sketchy.}

    {I get that,} I sign back, {but I kinda feel bad. I probably disturbed him last night, and at least he’s trying to be nice instead of chewing me out.}

    {Just keep your guard up, alright? Please?}

    {I think this guy’s gonna be okay, Yosie. I’ll be careful, but he’s not David. Or Vera.}

    As I’m speaking, Blake returns, this time with a huge plate of bacon and sausage. “Uh, are you gonna eat all that?” I ask. “That’s a lot of meat.”

    “I mean, some of it’s for me,” he says, taking a bite out of a bacon strip, “but most of it is for my buddy.” He reaches down for his belt and grabs a Pokéball of his own. I raise my eyebrows. The ball itself has a grey top with blue knobs protruding in a circular formation. I recognize this as a Heavy Ball, from the Johto Region. “Breakfast time, Ally,” he says, tossing the ball.

    A brown, lizard-like pokémon with a huge head and white collar scruff emerges from the ball, arching its back and stretching its gaping maw in a very visible yawn. It takes a moment, sniffs the air, then leaps onto Blake’s lap before ramming its face into the plate of meat. After practically swallowing every atom of food and licking the plate clean, he turns to Yossele and me, letting out a few barks and grunts.

    “Mattie, meet Ally,” Blake exclaims, scratching the ridge above the tyrunt’s eyebrows. “He’s been my friend ever since I unearthed him a few years ago. He’s a bit feisty, especially in the mornings.” As he’s saying this, Ally jumps off of Blake and runs over to Yossele, where he wraps his jaws around his arm and begins to lightly…chew on him. “Oh, and he nibbles new people.”

    “I, uh, I can see that,” I say as the tyrunt moves to me. The “nibbling” actually didn’t hurt at all, as Ally didn’t seem to have a lot of teeth save the canines in front. The jaw muscles felt very strong, though, and I couldn’t help but think that he could probably snap my leg in half if he chomped down hard enough. “You from Johto?”

    “Wait, how’d you know?”

    “You summoned Ally out of a Heavy Ball. Aren’t those, like, only made in Johto?”

    “Good catch,” he laughs. “Yeah, I’m from Blackthorn. I dug Ally up when I was goofing around in the Shimo Caverns, and revived him in Pewter when my dad went there for work.”

    “Wait, what’s the Shimo Caverns?”

    He gives me a confused look, and quickly facepalms. “Right, you’re probably not from Johto, considering the golett.”

    “Unova, actually,” I say. “Icirrus.”

    “Got it.” He sighs heavily. “Yeah, that’s the local name for the Ice Path. Sometimes forget that people don’t call it-”

    “Ow! Ow, that’s a little too hard,” I yelp as Ally bites a bit more firmly on my leg, breaking the skin a little.

    “Hey! Ally, come back, you’re hurting her,” Blake commands. Ally, hearing his friend’s order, rushes over to his side, where the Trainer gives him a light smack on the snout. “You gotta stop doing that, nibbles,” he jokes, “I just met her.” He gives the dinosaur one more poke on the snout before putting the plate back on the table.

    “Dude, just because he hurt me doesn’t give you any right to hit your friend,” I remark. “How do you think he feels about that?”

    “You know, I can kinda see where you’re coming from,” Blake responds, “but to be honest, I’m not entirely sure how much he even felt it.” He rubs Ally’s snout. “Tyrunt have very tough skin, especially on the snout. Honestly, I didn’t really hit him, just let him know that it’s not okay to bite people.” He gives me a strange look. “Have you never had to do that before?”

    I’m a little taken aback. That looked a lot like a slap to me. But when I look at Ally, I don’t see a look of fear or resentment on his face, but rather one of acknowledgement. I don’t have the ability to hear the voices of pokémon like Lord N does, but it’s written pretty clearly on his face that the tyrunt doesn’t view Blake’s actions as all that harsh. In fact, almost as soon as Blake stops talking, Ally starts nibbling on his leg.

    “Heh, he’s pretty relentless,” I say, trying to change the subject. “Kinda like the family purrloin when she was teething.”

    “I’ll say,” Blake says. He chuckles, and his face suddenly lights up. “Hey, I know this is a bit random, but after we’re finished, do you want to have a battle?”

    He’s right, it is a bit random. However, the second that he says the word battle, Ally’s eyes grow wide, and he starts snorting rapidly, almost in anticipation.

    “Your friend certainly looks up to it,” I say. Looking to Yossele, I ask, “You up for a battle?”

    He crosses his arm, his foot tapping in contemplation. {Sure, why not?} he responds. {Maybe seeing how he interacts with his friend in battle will show how trustworthy he is.}

    (Definitely worth a shot,} I sign back. “Okay,” I respond verbally, “I’ll take you up on that offer.”

    “Awesome! Let’s meet outside the hotel, there’s a good courtyard not too far from here.”

    “Sounds like a plan.”

    -----------------------

    Thankfully it isn’t too difficult for us to get a waiter’s attention, and within half an hour, we’ve gotten the check and left the building. We’re outside in a wide-open park. There’s a children’s playground not too far from us, but it’s a school-day, so not many people are outside. Yossele is cracking his knuckles, loosening his joints for the bout ahead, while Ally is pacing near his Trainer, snapping his jaws in the air, almost like he’s trying to catch some invisible bug.

    “Do you want to have a wager on this,” I ask Blake, “or is this just for fun?”

    “Eh, I don’t really feel the need to bet money on this,” he responds. “This is, what, your first battle in Sinnoh.”

    “Second, actually, but the first guy was a total asshole. But sure, no money on this one.”

    “Fair enough.” He places his hand on Ally’s snout. “You ready, buddy?” The dinosaur gives a loud snort in response, digging into the soil with his foot.

    “Alright, battle number 2, Yosie,” I say to Yossele. “What are you seeing from Ally?”

    {He looks strong,} he responds. {Very strong. These two are definitely more experienced than David was.} He leans forward. {The jaws are well-developed, which makes sense, but his legs are toned and look pretty powerful. He’s likely going to be much faster than me.}

    “Well then, we’ll just have to outlast them. Think you can do that?”

    The golett slams his fists together and assumes his stance. {Let’s see.}

    “Ready when you are, Mattie,” I hear Blake exclaim.

    “Alrighty then.” I see Yossele’s hands flare with ghostly energy. Time to go. “Hit him hard and fast. Shadow Punch!”

    The rune on Yossele’s fist flares as he launches himself towards his opponent, his jet-arms adding to his speed.

    “Ally, heads up!” Blake yells. A little too late, I think.

    However, just as Yossele is about to slam into the tyrunt’s snout, his jaws, almost faster than my eye can process, envelop the golett’s fist, latching onto his arm. Yossele begins to squirm, trying desperately to pull his arm from the dinosaur’s maw, going as far as to expel some jet energy in an attempt to escape.

    “Right where you want him, buddy! Bite attack, let's go!”

    The tyrunt’s teeth begin to glow, and he begins to…chew on Yossele’s arm. It looks strange, but the attacks are clearly hurting the golett, judging from the high-pitched screeching coming from its body.

    “Shit, that’s not good. Yossele, try to knock him off with a Stomping Tantrum!”

    Upon hearing the order, Yossele lifts the tyrunt into the air, only to repeatedly slam him into the ground in an almost petulant display of rage. Between the slams, I notice that he’s also inserting spare Shadow Punches with his off hand in a desperate attempt to dislodge Ally from his arm.

    Clearly it isn’t having an effect, as his grip was as steady as ever.

    “Ally, Ice Fang,” Blake commands. “Keep up the pressure!”

    I can almost hear a chuckle coming from the tyrunt’s jaw. On cue, a thin layer of ice begins to coat his teeth, and he begins chewing again with renewed vigor, even quickly snapping the jaws open and shut to deal more damage.

    Wait

    “Yosie, find an opening to escape his-”

    “Ally, slam the golett to the ground and Stomp him to keep him there!”

    As if reading his Trainer’s mind, the tyrunt uses his powerful maw to flip Yossele onto the ground, and roughly slams his foot onto the golett’s crest, preventing him from using his legs, all the while continuing to chomp into Yosie’s arm.

    I think he’s had enough.

    “Yosie, can you go any longer?” I plead. In response, the golett lightly uses his free hand…

    To tap Ally’s snout in surrender.

    “Alright, that’s enough, bud. Let him go.” To my surprise, Ally complies quickly, releasing Yossele from his iron grip. I rush over to my fallen friend, potion in hand. As I look over at Blake, I see a potion in his hand as well, spraying his friend with the rejuvenating substance. Well, at least Yosie got a couple of licks in.

    “How you doing, buddy?” I ask as I kneel down next to him.

    {My assessment stands,} he weakly signs. {He’s strong.}

    “Clearly.”

    There’s a momentary pause as I begin to spray Yossele with the potion, thankful that he wasn’t totally out cold. Unlike with the battle with David, this bout went the way that they normally should, with both fighters still conscious.

    {He trusts him.}

    “What was that?” I ask.

    {The tyrunt. Ally. He clearly trusts his Trainer. It’s a far cry from what I saw with David and his pokémon.} He looks up at me. {I’ll trust him too.}

    “Good to know.” I turn to Blake as I help Yossele to his feet again. “Hear that, pill boy? Yosie trusts you now.”

    “I read you loud and clear, Mattie,” he laughs. He pats Ally on the shoulder. “I’m impressed. Your Yossele’s pretty good.”

    “I dunno, I get the feeling that Ally had me beat from the start.”

    “Yeah, but that Stomping Tantrum very nearly turned the tide." He points to Ally's jaw. "I don’t know what you saw from your perspective, but it looked to me like your friend almost ripped a tooth out. That’s stupidly impressive."

    {Don’t forget about the Shadow Punches!} Yossele signed.

    “I won’t,” I whisper to the golett. Turning back to Blake, I continue, “Being serious, it takes a lot to get Yossele to trust someone, and especially considering last night, you’ve definitely proven yourself to the both of us.” I give Yossele a look. “If it’s all the same to you, would you want to stick around? Yosie and I were gonna head to Oreburgh soon, and I think it’ll be nice to go with other people.” I turn back to Yossele, who gives me a curt nod. He’s not against it.

    “Actually, I was gonna ask the same thing,” Blake says. “I figured you were going to Oreburgh if you really are just starting out, and Oreburgh Gate has been a little tricky for a bit. Safety in numbers, and all that.”

    “Couldn’t agree more.” I reach out my hand, and Blake reciprocates with a nice, firm handshake. “Let’s rest our pokémon for a bit, maybe head out later. Late afternoon sound good to get moving?”

    “Sounds good. Meet back here around 3:30?”

    “We’ve got a plan.”

    As we start to head back to the hotel, exchanging numbers as we walk, I can’t help but breathe a sigh of relief. It’s Day 4, and I’ve actually met someone nice.

    I’ll take it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  17. Ambyssin

    Ambyssin Winter can't come soon enough

    Alright, lemme shake the rust off here. Went back to look at my previous review to try and get myself back up to speed. I am not good with the whole "remembering" thing...

    My first inclination at the start there was to think that Mattie was drunk. Off the mark there, but was still good for a laugh or two. Maybe not intentional, but her loud, obnoxious shouting pretty much screamed "Rude American (New Yorker more specifically)" which makes perfect sense since Unova's Pokémerica. Also, mad sympathy for ya, curly-hair. I need melatonin too these days (after 3 types of sleeping pills and possibly an anti-histamine failed to work).

    Work for a hospital, can confirm. )")b

    On one hand, this is absolutely hilarious. On the other, it actually speaks a mile about Yosie's character that he'd think to do this (and to record Mattie to show her the error of her ways the next morning). Like, dang that's a good relationship the two have going. Quite the strong level of trust.

    You can feel the awkwardness with the breakfast scene. At least until the Tyrunt comes and squees everything away with its adorable baby dino antics. I might be biased. The battle itself is possibly the best implementation of Strong Jaw I've ever seen; with Ally just locking onto Yossie's arm like that. And certainly not the only implementation of Strong Jaw. No sirree. And look, Mattie gets a friendly travelling companion/potential rival all wrapped up in a nice little present. Now I'll be wondering if things stay positive or something goes horribly wrong. XD
     
  18. Cutlerine

    Cutlerine Gone. Not coming back.

    I like the integration of the money-making mechanic from the games as a kind of wager system! Maybe that was in previous chapters; if so, I probably already talked about it, but, uh, I can't remember whether I did or not, so I'm going to praise it here. I also like the more fleshed-out look at how battles should work; I'm the sort of person who finds the moment when Bruno yells “fight as hard as you can till you faint!” towards the end of his Elite Four fight in HG/SS kind of uncomfortable, so I'm always happy to see that people have taken a hard look at how battling ought to work in a real-life context and decided that maybe bludgeoning each other into unconsciousness isn't the right way to go. (Although I guess 'fainting' is a state that still allows pokémon to use HM moves, so maybe the games are really saying that pokémon battle until they lose the will to fight, but you know.)

    As for the fight itself – that's the centrepiece of the chapter, and it's quite strong; I like the give and take between Mattie and Yossele as they decide when they ought to call it quits. That said, I think that there's a slight disconnect between trainers and pokémon: like, events on the battlefield appear to be taking place far too fast for the trainers to have time to say what they're saying. If Yossele is launching himself across what can only be a few feet of space with his jets, I don't see how Blake has enough time to mutter some commentary as well as order Ally to catch the fist. It's a good battle – iron fist versus strong jaw: which will win? – but it feels like a bit like two timelines acting in parallel, one for trainers and one for pokémon. There are two possible ways to affect that: one, you could have the trainers' commands be shorter, and two, you could let the pokémon take the lead on occasion when there isn't time for their trainers to react – it's meant to be a partnership, after all, and I think that that's the kind of pokémon training you're trying to represent here.

    And finally:

    Minor point, but “looping it through the loops” doesn't read very well. The repetition is a bit jingly.

    But yeah! Nice battle, some new friends, a bit more insight into Mattie's personality. Short chapter, but a sweet one, and the combination of brevity and quality leaves me wanting more. I'll be looking forward to your next update!
     
  19. Sike Saner

    Sike Saner Peace to the Mountain

    A tyrunt! That's cute, and those table manners are kind of hilarious. Kind of amazed he didn't break the plate in the process. Or eat the plate. Maybe that sort of thing used to happen and he's just gotten better with practice.

    The little friendly bites remind me so very muhc of one of my cats. She tries to kiss people. With her fangs. There's just something adorable about that sort of thing.

    (Well, I imagine it'd be less adorable if Ally had more of his teef in, considering that as it was he was breaking skin, but yeah.)

    It's telling, I think, that Mattie still thinks of N as Lord N. Telling of what, exactly, I'm not sure. Could just be just a persistent habit, I suppose.

    Cute! I bet if someone blew soap bubbles in front of him, he'd snap at them like a dog.

    Ally's battle style makes me think of this. That is absolutely his theme song right there. :D
     
  20. PhalanxSigil

    PhalanxSigil BONK!

    Just as a heads up, there's a little bit of graphic imagery in this chapter, along with some implications of PTSD. I can't in good conscience post this chapter without letting you know.

    Oh, also, I read everyone's reviews, and all you your suggestions were accounted for and implemented. Thank you so much to Chibi Pika, Cutlerine, diamondpearl876, and Sike Saner for your comments and criticism. Believe me, they haven't gone unnoticed.

    We good? Awesome. Then please enjoy.

    Chapter 4: Rockslide at the Gates​


    It’s interesting. I’ve done a little bit of work cleaning up the Castelia Sewers before – part of a community service thing summer after sophomore year of high school, was kinda boring – and I’ve seen zubat before. They flit around in the darkness, live in nests all over the place, and are surprisingly cute if you can get past the screeching and their apparent lack of eyes.

    But a swarm of zubat, flying right in your face? Whoooooole different story.

    “Arceus, these things smell awful!” Blake yelps, his arm held in front of his mouth and nose to prevent any of the creatures from flying into his mouth. “Mattie, should we be worried? Do they give rabies?”

    “No, that’s the woobat line,” I respond, also covering my mouth, “and even then, it’s only like, .5% of all woobat or swoobat.” I look over to the fox-like creature floating next to Blake. “But if you’re so worried, maybe tell your kadabra to put out the light? You’re kinda disturbing them.”

    “Copper, extinguish Flash.”

    Almost immediately, the small glowing orb atop the kadabra’s spoon flickers out, leaving us in the now much darker Oreburgh Gate. The swarm of zubat around us slowly dissipates, revealing the tunnel ahead.

    And it’s still light enough to see.

    “You know, I’m starting the think we didn’t need Flash,” Blake mutters, under his breath but still loud enough for me to hear. “It’s not much further until Oreburgh proper, just another half hour or so.”

    “Nice.”

    “Planning on taking on the Gym Leader?”

    “I mean, I guess, if that’s something Yossele wants to do.” I turn to the golett, walking beside me with a dim glow about him. “You interested?”

    {The little bit I saw of Trainers in Icirrus, they looked like they were into it,} he signs with a shrug. {Yeah, why not? Couldn’t hurt to try.}

    “He’s interested,” I say to Blake.

    “I mean, I figured as much.” Blake laughs. “Well, just as a heads up, the Gym Leader’s tough, especially on newer Challengers.” He fumbles with his pockets, producing a small black case with a gold trim. Opening it, I see a couple of pins on the inside, one brown and one green. “Believe me, I’d know. I faced him myself a couple of months ago.”

    “Honestly, I’m not that surprised,” I respond. “Ally barely had to move to beat Yossele in their battle, and Yosie had mentioned that he looked pretty experienced.”

    “Aw, you shouldn't have. When did he say that?”

    “He signed it to me before the battle.”

    “Course he did,” he chuckles. “Might need to start learning to sign myself, might be able to hold a meaningful conversation with your friend.”

    “Hey, it couldn’t hurt, right?” We both laugh a little at that. “That mean you’re sticking around?”

    “For a bit,” Blake shrugs. “You’ve gotten me motivated to restart my own Challenge again, so I’ll probably stick around for your battle with Roark, then I'm heading off to Hearthome.” He tosses a Heavy Ball from his belt, summoning Ally from the ball. “My little dinosaur has been itching to taste some ghosties.” Ally nudges Blake’s hand in approval, then starts running back and forth in excitement.

    “Aw, but we just started the trip. And you’re kinda the first friendly face I’ve met since the Professor, and I was hoping you’d stick around.”

    For some reason, this elicits a hearty laugh from Blake. Yossele and I look at each other, just super confused as to what’s so funny. As we turn back to look at Blake, his laughter slows, as a curious look stretches across his face. “Oh, you weren’t…oooooohhh, okay, okay.” He chuckles again.

    “Okay, I’m really confused, what’s so funny?”

    “Nothing, nothing,” he says. “Anyway, it’s not like I’m that far ahead of you, just two badges. You’re a very competent Trainer-”

    “Yeah, from the one battle you saw of me.”

    “-yeah, but you definitely showed some good smarts. You’ll catch up with me soon enough.” He pauses, an impish grin on his face. “You want some tips?”

    I snort. “Look, I’m still not sure if I’m even doing the-”

    I feel a large hand in my pocket as Yossele fumbles around in my hoodie. He brandishes my journal in front of my face, and I don’t even need to see him sign to know what he’s thinking.

    “Okay, so clearly we’re doing the Challenge,” I continue, slightly giggling as I snatch the book from him, “so yeah, tips away.”

    We both start cracking up at that, and I feel like a little bit of the tension is released. However, before he can start to regale me on the details of his battle, I hear another rush of zubat, this one sounding slightly more frantic than the previous one. They’re heading towards something near the other entrance to the Gate. I look at Blake, shrug, and start to follow the noise. And from the footsteps I hear behind me, I’m pretty sure he’s following along.

    ----------------------------

    Due to us not being swarmed by the zubat this time, Yossele seems to have a little conversation with some of the flock as we walk towards our destination. He lets me in on some of the more interesting tidbits. I’ve always found it very fun to have Yosie translate PokéSpeech for me. I’ll never be able to speak directly to pokémon like Lord N could, but this is the next best thing, in my opinion.

    {Apparently, there was a bit of a cave-in further ahead,} he paraphrases. {It disturbed their nest, and they’re a little spooked.}

    “Oh geez, that’s not good,” I mutter. Blake gives me an expectant look. “Cave-in, just ahead,” I tell him.

    “Yeah, not totally surprising,” he responds. “You remember when I said the Oreburgh Gate has been sketchy recently? Apparently, there’ve been more than normal.”

    “That’s really not good, Blake. What’s causing it?”

    “No idea. Roark and the Oreburgh Mining Company have been looking into it for a bit. I actually asked Roark about it after I battled him.”

    “Really? That’s interesting.”

    “Hey, he and his dad, Byron, are part of the reason I came to Sinnoh in the first place. They’re fossil people, like me. I was gonna ask them about-”

    He stops in his tracks. “Yep, there it is,” he says. I give him a look, and try to make out what he’s seeing. Ahead of us is a huge pile of rocks and stone. This must be the cave-in. A man with shoulder-length red hair is pacing back and forth by the rubble. And by the rocks, I can barely make out…

    Is that a shoe?

    “Oh no,” I mutter. “No, no, no, not again. Yosie, move!” Without a second thought, the two of us sprint over to the rubble. The figure turns towards us, a concerned look on his face.

    “Hold up, hold up!” he shouts, “take a step back! We have a kid trapped under there, and-”

    “I can see that,” I breathlessly interject. “We need to do something, right?” I look to Yossele. “We can help, trust us, we’ve dealt with this kind of thing before-”

    “Whoa, whoa, slow down,” the man responds. “I’m glad you want to assist, but this is a delicate situation. I’m not sure how badly the kid’s hurt, but I have reason to believe that they’re trapped and unable to move.” He pauses to take a breath. “Now, I’ve dealt with cave-ins before, so I have a plan of attack. I’ve already asked another Trainer I found to go get help. If you want to help, the best possible thing for you to do is let me do my job.”

    “You can trust him, Mattie,” I hear Blake say as he runs up to the two of us. “That is Roark, after all.”

    I’m not even hearing what they’re saying at all. Maybe it registers in the back of my mind that a Gym Leader’s addressing me, but honestly, I’m not even sure how much I care.

    I just see Koby. I just see his body buried under rubble outside the base of the Dragonspiral Tower. Out in the open air for all to see. I just see the limp, twisted remains of my friend, flattened by the unleashed power of Plasma’s scheme. His uniform torn, legs and arms broken, neck snapped. All because Plasma wanted the legendary dragon.

    And I only knew he was there because of his fucking shoe.

    “Yossele, get rid of the rocks!” I order. “Quickly, we don’t know how much they’re-”

    “Miss, we have things under control, there’s no need to-”

    “How can you say that, there’s someone trapped in there, we need to-”

    “CALM DOWN!”

    I feel two rough, gloved hands grip my shoulders. They shake me a little. I stop, but in the back of my mind I’m squirming, racing to think of some way to do something to help. The hands hold me still for a moment. I feel like fighting them. My breaths are shaky. I think I’m crying. I look up into the face of the person holding me. I guess it’s Roark, seeing as he’s the only other person here. His dark, burgundy eyes are dead set on me, steely and steadfast. He’s wearing a helmet with a lamp (that’s turned off, thank Arceus), and his face is dirty and grimy with soot. His look isn’t one of anger or frustration, but one of determination.

    “I need you to be calm for a second,” he says. He pauses, keeping a firm grip on my shoulders. “Can you do that?”

    I can't really respond in any meaningful way, but I feel myself beginning to settle down. My breathing slows, I'm not as shaky as before, and while I'm definitely still crying, I have the wherewithal to wipe my eyes.

    “Are you okay now?” he asks. I can feel my voice catch in my throat, so I just nod in response. He sighs, then continues. “Look. It’s great that you want to help. Admirable, really. But freaking out like this will help no one. In fact, stunts like this are liable to get people killed in the mines.” He sighs, but again, it’s not frustrated. It’s more…knowing. “And besides,” he continues, “considering where we are in the gate, it’s a pretty safe bet that they aren’t even close to dead.”

    I recoil at the statement. “What do you mean?” I stammer, finding my voice again.

    He lets go of my shoulders and walks over to the rockslide. He taps the rubble pile with a pickaxe. “More than likely, the kid’s alive, just trapped. They’re still in danger, don’t get me wrong, but we can be rational.” He taps the rubble a little more forcefully. “Hey, are you alright? Can you hear me?”

    I don’t expect a response. How could I? It’s small, but it’s still a rockslide. How can I help feeling a little hopeless when I see this?

    But then I hear a voice.

    “I can’t move my leg. A rock’s on tip of it. I think it’s broken.”

    As soon as I hear the voice – a young woman’s voice, from the sound of it – it’s almost like a dam breaks in my chest. I can breathe again. “How…how is this even possible?” I mutter, completely incredulous at her being alive.

    “Take a look,” Roark says, pointing to the wall. I take a look, and there’s a huge, sort of, cavern dug into the wall. It’s about the size of a crouching person, and something like 4 feet deep, with steel rods supporting it. And, most notably, it extends across the entirety of this portion of the wall. How did I not notice this before?

    “We’ve had rockslides for a long time,” Roark continues, “even before I got the job. Blame the machines in the mines, blame erosion, whatever, they happen. So, my predecessor, Opal, she had the brilliant idea of constructing a crevice where people could hide. She spared no expense: calling in teams of diglett from Kanto and Alola, engineers, architects, the works.” He walks up to the crevice and motions to the pylons. “They even installed a walkie-talkie system into the pylons just to make sure people who were too trapped to move could get help. It’s how I learned about this particular accident in the first place.” He sighs and walks up to me. “And thankfully, it seems the Trainer in question is awake. Now we can try to help.”

    He looks at both me and Blake – Arceus, I practically forgot he was there – and starts giving out instructions. “I remember you from before. Blake, right?” He nods. “How’s your abra doing?”

    “He evolved,” Blake replies, motioning to Copper. “He can use Kinesis pretty effectively, too, if that’s any help.”

    “Actually, that’s perfect,” Roark says. He turns to me. “You said you’ve worked with rockslides before. Has the golett?”

    I nod. “He’s with me. At Ic-” I pause, taking a deep breath to steady myself. My nose is completely clogged, so I sniffle a bit. “At Icirrus, we get them every once in a while. Always need people and pokémon to clear the rubble. Yossele’s done his fair share.”

    “Good to know. That’s good, because I’d rather not bring out my rampardos. He’d clear the rubble, sure, but he might start more slides afterwards.” He looks to Yossele. “You’re heavy, so don’t climb to the top of the rubble. Focus on removing debris from the front and sides.”

    {Got it,} he responds, rushing over to the rubble pile. Roark looks shocked. He shakes his head, then focuses on Copper. “I’ll need you to catch any debris that starts to move that shouldn’t. You can do that, right.” The fox-like creature nods his head, the spoon in his hand enveloped in a dull blue glow.

    “Alright, then, let’s get her out of there.”

    --------------------------------

    The work is slow. Roark, experienced as he is, seems to understand how tricky an operation like this can be. He’s meticulous, constantly checking on the specific rock that Yosie is handling, or which part of the slide Copper needs to support, and often checks on the girl trapped under the rubble to see how she’s doing. After a bit, I wander up as well, and talk to her myself. Her name’s Diana. She’s trained here for years, but this was the first incident that she ever saw herself. Her friend Curtis was the one Roark had sent for help before. I reassure her that we would get her out of there as soon as we could.

    When I introduce myself to her, however, a strange look overtakes Roark’s face. Again, it's a knowing one, but also one of interest. I brush it aside and keep working.

    Nothing comes of it for another 15 minutes or so, as we’re all focused on the rockslide. After a good amount of effort, Yossele and Copper both find the rock that’s pinning Diana to the ground. With their combined efforts, the boulder is removed, and the Trainer’s able to move again. Granted, she can’t put any weight on the foot, but Blake gives her a shoulder to lean on.

    “I’ll take her to the hospital,” he says, recalling Copper to his ball. He smiles, but gives me a concerned look. “You gonna be alright? You were freaking out a little.”

    “Dunno.” I let out a heavy sigh. “I’m just glad she’s safe.”

    “Me too. I’ll see you later. Still gotta give you those tips.”

    I nod as he walks off with Diana. The eastern entrance to the Gate isn’t far from where we are, so they’re out of the cave quickly.

    I feel a gloved hand on my shoulder. “Good work,” Roark says, “and thanks for keeping your cool. From your initial reaction, I can tell you haven’t had the most pleasant experiences with these things.”

    “Yeah.” I look down. “A friend of mine d-…he just…Arceus dammit,” I mutter, tears rolling down my face again.

    “It’s alright. Rockslides suck. They’re sudden, deadly, and completely unpredictable. There was nothing you could’ve done.” He gives me a stern look. “However, and I really hate to do this when you’re in a state like this, but I wanted to talk to you for a bit.”

    I sigh. “Right. You’ve probably figured out who I am by now.”

    “Mentioning Icirrus, your companion is a golett? Yeah, I’m pretty sure you’re Mathilda Kasdan.”

    “I go by Mattie.”

    “Fair enough.” He gets up and walks over to the scattered rubble. “I’ll be the first to admit, when your application came through to the League, I was a little shocked. It’s not every day that someone who used to be a member of a gang, and especially one of the notoriety Plasma had, goes on a journey. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it, there were some people among the League who thought you had ulterior motives. Most everyone, including me, were on your side, but there were a couple of people who didn't even want you in the region, let alone journeying here.”

    “Real nice of them.”

    “Sorry, just being honest. I was always on your side, to be clear.”

    "Sure."

    There’s silence for a bit. It’s uncomfortable. It’s a tough thing to hear that a Gym Leader didn’t want me here, but it’s not exactly something I didn’t expect.

    “The rockslide from before,” I continue. “It’s part of the reason I quit, you know.”

    “Oh?”

    “Plasma caused it. When they summoned zekrom, the explosion of power knocked some rocks loose from Twist Mountain. My friend Koby, who’d also joined, was patrolling the outside.” I pause. “I only found him two hours later.” I look over to Yossele, who’s still busy clearing out the rubble. “It’s the first time I ever used Yossele, now that I think about it. I didn’t have any pokémon on me, so I grabbed the first Pokéball I saw on another Grunt’s belt, summoned him, and dug.” I let out a short laugh. “Never returned him.” I look up at Roark. “I didn’t join Plasma for the liberation bullshit. Because it was always pretty bullshit. I joined to help pokémon that were being abused and misused by incompetent Trainers, not to separate people and pokémon entirely.”

    Roark nods, a smile on his face. “Good to know.” He approaches me. He extends a hand. “The holdouts'll figure it out, though.”

    I look at him confused. “What do you mean?”

    “The fact is, you rushed in to help a person who was hurt without knowing a thing about them, let alone asking if it was their fault, or if they injured any pokémon in the process. If that’s not a sign that you’re a good person at heart, and actually care about people, I don’t know what is.” He smiles. “And the fact that you taught your golett to sign is kinda the icing on the cake.”

    “My dad’s deaf, it makes sense.”

    {So’s mine,} Roark signs, much to my shock. “It just shows me that you don’t view pokémon as things to be coddled,” he continues verbally, “but rather as intelligent creatures that deserve respect.”

    “So you trust me now?”

    “Enough to battle you, should you be interested in the Gym Challenge.”

    {She is,} Yossele intervenes, {but that’s not important right now.} He taps me on the leg. {There’s a pokémon in the rubble, and it looks hurt.}

    “There is?” we both say simultaneously, my voice nearly catching in my throat at the thought of someone else trapped under rubble. I feel myself freaking out again, and I sprint over to the pile of rocks.

    A zubat is pinned underneath a small rock. It’s struggling, so at least it’s not badly hurt like that shinx was, but its left wing looks like it’s stuck. Yossele is keeping his distance, looking a little unsure how to proceed.

    “Did Diana have a zubat?” I shakily ask Roark.

    “No, just a bibarel, pachirisu, and roselia last I checked,” he responds. “She’s kind of a regular visitor to the Gate, I see her pretty frequently. It sucks that it was her that was hit by the rockslide.”

    “You mind if I help the zubat?”

    “Go right ahead.”

    I take out a potion and slowly approach it. Or, him, judging by the length of the fangs. Unlike the shinx from a few days ago, this zubat doesn’t shrink away when I reach out to him. He must be more used to people than a lot of wild pokémon in the area.

    “Hey, you mind if I move this rock?” I ask the little bat. I can’t understand the screeches, but I assume he’s okay with it, and a glance at Yossele nodding his head gives me all the confirmation I need. I gingerly move the rock off of his wing, waiting to see how he reacts. After a moment of him testing the wing, he tries to take off, but he’s a little off balance due to the injuries and flops back onto the ground.

    “Hold on, little guy, you’re still hurt!” I yelp. “Here, this should help.” I spray the potion onto his wing, and the wounds quickly seal up. The zubat tests the wing again, and it seems to function a lot better. Overjoyed, he practically leaps off the ground and flits around my face. “Okay, okay geez, you’re welcome, stop, stop!” I stammer while giggling to myself. I lose track of him pretty quickly.

    “Seems like you made a friend, Mattie,” Roark quips, a small smile on his face. “Maybe you could consider taking him along, show him the world.”

    “Arceus, I couldn’t do that, I just wanted to help him out,” I respond. “It’s just common decency to do that when a pokémon’s hurt. He’s probably already flown back to the nest.”

    “Check your left shoulder.”

    A little confused, I glance to my left, and almost do a double take. The zubat is perched there, flapping his wings to keep himself stable on my shoulder. He looks pretty funny, trying to balance on my shoulder without any legs.

    “Um…” I’m at a bit of a loss. “What…should I do in this situation?” I look at Roark, sort of pleading with my eyes for any help he could give.

    “Catch him! He wants to join you on your adventure.” He chuckles to himself. “What, did you think you were only gonna travel with your golett the whole time?”

    “Uh…kinda, yeah. Still feel weird about the whole catching thing. Don’t have any Pokéballs.”

    Roark starts laughing hysterically. “Okay, now that’s funny.” He grabs a small red-and-white ball from his belt and tosses it to me. “First one’s free,” he continues, “but from here on out, you’ll need to buy your own.”

    “O…kay.” I look at the zubat again. “You sure you want to come with me?” He vigorously nods his head in the affirmative. I turn to Yossele. “You good with having another companion?”

    He shrugs, letting out a small rumble. {It’ll be nice having another pokémon around, I guess.}

    Getting his, I gingerly press the button in the middle of the ball, expanding it to its full size. Almost faster than I can process, the zubat taps his wing onto the button. The ball opens at the seams, much to my shock. I accidentally drop the capsule, which emits a bright red light which envelops the zubat. The light retracts into the ball, which closes on its own.

    And starts to shake. Once.

    Twice.

    Thrice.

    And a click.

    “Congrats, Mattie,” Roark says. “You just caught your first wild pokémon.” He places a hand on my shoulder. ‘How’s it feel to take the first real step towards being a Trainer.”

    “Weird, honestly.” I reach down to pick of the Pokéball, gazing at it. I press the button again, releasing the zubat – wait, I have to name him, don’t I, dammit, naming Yossele was bad enough – and watch him start to fly around Yossele.

    “You’ll get used to it, don’t worry.” He smiles. “You don’t have to catch very many pokémon. Many Trainers don’t. But you seem to bond pretty quickly with pokémon, so I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple more latch onto you like this zubat did.”

    “I wish I could be happier about it,” I sigh, “but maybe that’s just the Plasma Grunt talking.”

    “Does Blake know?”

    “No, and hopefully I can keep it that way. For a while, at least.”

    He gives a thoughtful nod. “Fair enough. Let’s get to Oreburgh, see how Diana’s doing.” He starts walking towards the exit.

    And I, with my slightly larger posse, follow.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2018

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