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Marcus Lancing: Soleil Noir

Hotshot

Don't ask questions.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Pokemon or places mentioned/visited in this story.

Genre: Action/Adventure, Comedy, Drama (later on), Suspense (later on)

And just so you're not confused:
"Example" is for humans and Pokemon speaking in their native tongues (meaning humans speaking English, and Pokemon speaking their names).
"<Example>" is for Pokemon-speech translated into English.
"Example" is for human/Pokemon thoughts.

Also, constructive criticism is highly encouraged. Always looking to improve.

PM List:
Blaziken10285
Griff4815
DMerle
Macroboom


**********

They say that even the tiniest beat of a Butterfree's wings on one side of the world can, through a remarkable string of events, trigger a tidal wave on the other... And with it, immense catastrophe.

This is how the sun was eclipsed, and its light snuffed out.


**********


Marcus Lancing:
Soleil Noir



Chapter One
En Route 39

All was calm on Route 39. A warm sea breeze from the south brought the salty scent of Olivine City well beyond the city limits. The sun shone brightly overhead, glinting off the wings of a Skarmory as it took flight. A herd of Mareep took to grazing, their fleece shimmering in the sunlight. Swarms of Ledyba buzzed overhead, as a couple of Nidoran nestled themselves in the grass. The only noise to be heard was the bleating of Mareep.

But the serenity was not to last, for the rumbling of dozens of hooves interrupted the peaceful scene as a herd of frenzied Tauros came charging down the hill. The Ledyba took to the trees at the thunderous noise. The Mareep and Nidoran scattered, hurrying out of the immediate path of the panicked bull Pokemon. A young man and woman, out for a midday picnic, leaped to their feet and stumbled backwards as the many Tauros approached, blind with hysteria. The woman’s Furret bristled its fur and retreated to a nearby tree.

“There’ll be no stopping those Tauros until they hit something,” said the young man, watching as the infuriated Tauros thundered by.

“But they’re headed right for the city!” the young woman gasped.

The man started to reply, but was interrupted by the cry of a teenage boy, as he bolted down the hill after the rampaging Tauros. “I’m gonna be so grounded after this one! Graham! Nero! Come on, guys!”

The man sighed. “It’s Marcus again. Should’ve known he was behind this.”

Marcus Lancing--brave as he was crazy--had lost control of the family ranch’s Tauros herd. Again. The last time they’d only made it to the edge of his grandfather’s field, but this time he hadn’t been able to stop them. He was skidding down the hill at top speed. His red-and-white raglan shirt clung tightly to his thin, athletic torso, and his gray cargo shorts followed the rhythmic motions of his strong legs as he ran. A pair of worn-out sneakers donned his feet. As the wind whipped at his wavy honey-blond hair (ever-plagued by a perpetual Miltank-lick), it snatched his black-and-white cap right off his head.

But not for long. A large purple bulldog Pokemon--a Granbull called “Graham”--leaped into the air and snagged his trainer’s hat in his huge jaws. The Granbull landed with surprising nimbleness and, with a quick toss of his head, snapped the cap back to Marcus as they ran. Marcus caught the cap and winked a blue eye at his partner. “Thanks, bud!”

With renewed vigor, Graham tore forward even faster than before. Behind him, a black crow Pokemon of impressive size--Honchkrow--glided low to the ground.

“Nero, carry Graham to the front of the herd!” Marcus exclaimed, calling out directions as he ran. “Graham, stop those Tauros with your Scary Face!”

The two Pokemon obeyed. Nero beat his massive wings and surged forward, catching Graham by the shoulders in his strong talons as he flew. The bulldog Pokemon felt his paws leave the ground and watched as Nero carried him over stampeding Tauros. The Honchkrow overtook the herd easily and dropped Graham several yards ahead of them. The Granbull rose on his hind legs, teeth bared. He pulled down on his ears, made the scariest face he could think of, and barked loudly.

It worked. At least, it seemed to. Several Tauros in the front of the stampede reared back or skidded forward in surprise. The rest just plowed into them, which only served to whip up the frenzy even more.

“MOOOOOOHH!”

“<Ohmanohmanohman!>” Graham howled in Pokemon language, as he stumbled backwards in fright. He cringed, hoping with all his might to escape certain squashing.

“Nero, Mean Look!” Marcus called--just in time.

The crow Pokemon dropped in front of Graham and spread his wings defiantly before the stampeding Tauros. He cocked his head and glared at them, and as if by magic--or out of sheer terror--, all of the Tauros froze and collapsed in a heap.

The danger now averted, Nero turned his head around to Graham and crowed, “<These mortal bovines have learned an invaluable lesson this day: Fear the terrifying gaze of Darkness itself!>”

Graham plopped back onto his rear, panting, and muttered, “<Nero, for the last time, you’re not the embodiment of Darkness. Dimness, maybe. Darkness, no.>”

Nero ignored the remark. “<Fret not, my canine confidant,>” he replied with a cackle. “<With a bit more training, you too can transcend the limits of mortality and partake of the nectar of gods.>”

Graham rolled his eyes. The two Pokemon had known each other a long time. Nero had been the faithful (if somewhat eccentric) partner of Marcus’s mother, the late Tamara Lancing, who had disappeared during a Ranger mission in Kalos eleven years before. Of the commissioned team, only Nero had returned. Just three years prior to his mother’s disappearance, Marcus’s father, Paul Lancing, a field researcher under Professor Elm, had died in an avalanche inside Mt. Mortar.

Thus orphaned, Marcus had been raised largely by his grandparents on his mother’s side, who owned a Pokemon ranch north of Olivine City. The ranch had formerly been known as the MooMoo Farm, due to its famous MooMoo Milk, but due to the passing of its elderly namesake, MooMoo the Miltank, the name had slowly lost prominence. The owners--Marcus’s grandparents--had since widened their ranch’s emphasis, taking in domestic Pokemon of any sort. One of these was a Snubbull named Graham, who grew up alongside Marcus for nearly ten years as the ranch’s loyal guard Pokemon.

Graham immediately took a liking to little Marcus, as did all the other ranch Pokemon. The Miltank, Tauros, and Mareep, as well as both Graham and Nero, soon became like family to the orphaned boy.

“<Nero, you’re crazy.>”

“<Erroneous. I am perfectly sane.>”

Marcus, having finally caught up with them, skidded to a stop among the terrified--possibly petrified--Tauros. He placed his cap back on his head and pulled it backwards. “Whew! That was a close one! Good job, guys!”

He paused and poked at one of the Tauros. It didn’t budge. He crossed his arms over his chest and frowned. “Now how are we going to get all these Tauros back home?”

Nero raised a wing. “<Not it.>”

*****

As Marcus, Nero, and Graham herded the Tauros back into their enclosure, a massive, burly bull came trotting up to Graham, puffing his chest up arrogantly.

“<Well, if it isn’t Grahamps!>” the Tauros declared loudly, drawing the attention of a few Miltank as they passed by their pen. The Tauros swaggered in a circle around Graham.

“<I’m trying to do my job, Zeus,>” Graham growled, trying to avoid a direct confrontation with the much larger Tauros, “<so if you’ll just excu-->”

“<Oh, and a splendid job you’re doing of it! I’m feeling herded already! HA!>” Zeus guffawed, trotting proudly right in the Granbull’s way. He winked in the direction of the Miltank, who had gathered at the edge of their pen to watch and giggle as Zeus harassed Graham once again. It was starting to become a regular thing.

“<You should’ve seen your face, Grahammy!>” Zeus prodded, poking at Graham with his hoof as the bulldog Pokemon stomped past, grumbling. The Tauros sat back on his hind legs and cupped his face with his hooves, exclaiming, “<You were all like, ‘Help me! Help me! Nero, swoop in and save me from the mighty Zeus!’>”

He made sure to flex his beefy muscles as he emphasized “mighty Zeus” for the watching Miltank.

Graham snorted. “<Funny. I seem to remember you wetting your fur when I used my Scary Face.>”

Zeus cast a glance in the direction of the Miltank and laughed nervously. “<That was a pity-pee, Grahamps. I was feeling sorry for you.>”

“<Uh-huh. Sure.>”

*****

“Grandma? Granddad? We’re back!” Marcus called, throwing open the door to his grandparents’ home. The Tauros had returned to grazing peacefully (as peacefully as Tauros could) out in the Pokemon ranch’s field.

As Marcus entered, a grinning purple monkey swung into the hallway and grabbed onto Marcus’s face. His tail served as an extra appendage (a literal appendage, with a hand and everything), and he used it to snatch Marcus’s hat and place it on his own little head. The monkey then swung onto Marcus’s shoulder and laughed.

“Aipom pom!”

Marcus chuckled at the little Aipom’s antics. “I was only gone an hour, Shimmy!”

“Oh, Marcus,” he heard his grandmother call from another room, “did you manage to get all the Tauros back?”

He reclaimed his cap and followed her voice into the kitchen, where the sturdy old woman was busily chopping vegetables. “You bet, Grandma!” he replied, dropping into a chair. Shimmy slid off his shoulder and onto the table, where he proceeded to lift himself up on his tail and bounce up and down. “Shim, get off the table!”

“Pom pom!” the monkey declared, laughing. He leaped onto the hanging lightbulb and swung up into the rafters.

Graham plodded into the kitchen and took his seat next to Marcus at the table--just like a person. A purple, big-jawed person. Marcus patted him on the head. “Graham here was a big help. He and Nero managed to rein the big ol’ beef-heads in!”

Grandma laughed. She was about to say something when Granddad swung open the backdoor and walked in, overalls muddied from work outside. An old Growlithe trotted in behind him. “Hyee-doggy! Those young Mareep know how to give an old man a shock! Good thing I wore my rubber gloves to give ’em a good wool-trimmin’!”

He snapped the large shearers a couple of times to emphasize his point.

“Oh, hey, Marco!” he said, bushy eyebrows raised. “Were those Tauros okay for ya?”

Marcus and Graham looked at each other and shrugged.

“Oh, yeah. Same old, same old.”

Graham nodded. “<They’re just as dumb and slobbery as ever,>” he muttered in Pokemon-speak. To the humans it sounded like the low bark of a dog.

Shimmy the Aipom hung upside-down by his tail from the beams overhead, clutching his toes with his hands. He grinned down at Graham and said, “<Look who’s talkin’! Hah!>”

“<Why you little--!>” the Granbull barked, leaping onto the table and shaking his jowls angrily. This only made the monkey Pokemon laugh harder.

“Graham! Get down!” Granddad exclaimed sternly, snapping his shearers angrily. “You know you’re not supposed to sit on the table!”

Graham pointed up at Shimmy and whined.

“I don’t care what Shimmy told you,” Granddad replied, accurately guessing what Graham had said, “I’m telling you to get off the table!”

Graham complied and, with an enormous frown (for his jowls were quite large), skulked out of the room.

“Wow, Granddad,” Marcus whistled. “It sounded like you actually knew what Graham was talking about that time.”

“I did,” Granddad said, sliding his shearers onto the counter and wiping his face with a dish towel (much to his wife’s displeasure). “It’s not hard to figure out what the problem is whenever that pesky monkey’s around!”

Shimmy laughed again.

“Oh, that reminds me--” Grandma mused, stabbing her knife into the cutting board and turning around, “--someone called for you earlier, Marcus. Someone from the city. Said his name was… Oh… Or… Or-something…”

“Orion?” Marcus offered.

“Orion! That was it!”

“City-folk? Nothin’ good can come from no-good city-folk!” Granddad declared--for the fourth time that week.

Marcus ignored the jab. “He’s a trainer in the Olivine City gym. An assistant of Jasmine. What did he want?”

“Didn’t say,” Grandma continued, turning back to her vegetable-cutting. “Just that he needed to speak with you. Best not keep city-folk waiting!”

Shimmy folded his little arms over his chest and hung upside-down in front of Marcus. “<Yeah. They hate that,>” he said smugly, though Marcus couldn’t understand him.

“I’m warnin’ ya, Marco!” Granddad said, as Marcus rose to leave. “Nothin’ good can come from city-folk!”

“Alright, I’ll watch out for ’em, Granddad!” Marcus replied with a laugh, hurrying out of the kitchen. Shimmy bounded after him.

Granddad reached down and patted the old Growlithe that had fallen asleep at his feet. “That’s right. Nothin’ good from city-folk…”

*****

His second trip down the hill was much more peaceful than the first. The picnickers had since left (probably fearing an encore of earlier events), but most of the Pokemon had returned to enjoy the rest of the afternoon. Shimmy was perched on Marcus’s shoulder, pointing and snickering at Pokemon they passed that he thought were funny looking. Graham, despite his general dislike for the monkey, had insisted on coming along. He was as loyal as they come, and always stuck by his master.

Marcus was used to Route 39. He took it often when he delivered their ranch’s products--milk from Miltank and wool from Mareep--to the Olivine market. Many of the citizens had come to like him, but others were convinced he was a troublemaker. Still, they all had to acknowledge his way with Pokemon--befriending, training, and battling them.

He’d grown especially close to Jasmine, Olivine City’s gym leader and the city’s representative of the Pokemon League. For years it had been her Ampharos that had lit the port city’s lighthouse. But her Ampharos had grown old, and a new one had been needed. It was Marcus’s that had been chosen to replace it: an Ampharos named Ella that he had raised since she was just a baby Mareep. He made frequent visits to see her there in the lighthouse, as she guided ships safely to shore day in and day out.

As Marcus approached the edge of the port city, he noticed a familiar figure waiting for him. “Ah, Marcus! I was hoping you’d come!”

“Orion! Hey, man! What’s up?”

“<Besides your general weirdness,>” Graham commented.

“<And your crazy hair!>” Shimmy added, snickering to himself. It was quite true, for Orion was a tad eccentric, and it showed most notably in his peculiar hairstyle. His steely-gray hair was parted right down the middle: half of it was standing on end, as if electrocuted, and the other half was sleeked back. His attire was mostly normal--albeit a bit formal--, consisting of a metallic vest over a white button-down, and a pair of black pants and shoes. He pushed a pair of glasses up his nose as he approached, smiling at Marcus.

A Pokemon floated behind Orion. It actually looked like three gray, one-eyed Pokemon stuck together with magnets. Marcus had seen it before, but it still confused him every time. Magneton, he remembered it was called.

“<That thing’s staring at me with its three eyeballs,>” Shimmy whined from Marcus’s shoulder. "<Make it stop.>"

Marcus turned his attention back to Orion.

“I’ll cut to the chase,” the Olivine gym assistant began, pushing his glasses up again--they seemed to slide down a lot--, “Miss Jasmine has a friend in Hoenn, and needs someone to pick something up for her. Ever heard of the Devon Corporation?”

Marcus shrugged, throwing Shimmy off-balance. “Yeah, sure. They’re pretty famous all over the place.”

“Well, their headquarters is in Rustboro City,” Orion continued, “and they’ve just developed some new equipment for gym leaders. Johto’s been a little slow on the uptake these past few years, but our Pokemon League’s making a comeback! Trouble is, there’s not a mail-carrier that runs from Hoenn to Johto, so Jasmine needs someone to pick her package up.”

“But why me?” Marcus inquired.

“<Yeah, why us?>” Graham echoed.

Orion grinned, sliding his glasses back up his nose. Again. “Well, naturally, it needs to be someone she can trust, and we’ve all got our hands full right now with the big trainer boom in Johto as of late. And since you’re a responsible guy and the toughest trainer this side of Ecruteak--besides us, of course--Jasmine thought you’d be a perfect fit for the job.”

“Well, gee, that’s cool and all,” Marcus replied, scratching his head, “but what about my Ampharos, Ella? She won’t have anyone to visit her if I’m gone.”

Orion retrieved a Pokeball from his belt and extended it to Marcus. “I anticipated that, and I have her Pokeball right here.”

Marcus received the Pokeball and raised an eyebrow. “What about the lighthouse then? If Ella is gone, who’ll guide the boats into port?”

“Jasmine says her Ampharos can hold down the fort until you get back,” Orion answered--he seemed to have an answer for every objection. “She may be old, but she’s still got plenty of light in her for that lighthouse!”

Marcus still seemed unsure. “Okay, so how will I get there?”

“<I’m not swimming,>” Shimmy resolved, arms crossed.

“<You can’t swim,>” Graham muttered.

“<Which is why I’m not doing it.>”

“Don’t worry about getting there! We’ll take care of it. We’ve already got a round-trip ticket for the S.S. Aqua to take you from here all the way to Slateport City in Hoenn.”

“Whoa. Sounds like you guys had this all figured out,” Marcus mused, looking down at the Pokeball in his hand. “A trip to Hoenn and back, huh? An adventure outside of Johto? Sounds like fun.”

He turned to the two Pokemon with him. “What do you think, guys? Should we take a quick trip all the way to Hoenn?”

“<Nope. Sounds like trouble. Let’s just go home,>” Graham woofed.

“<Do they have girls in Hoenn?>” Shimmy inquired. “<Because if they do, I’m totally in.>”

Marcus still couldn’t understand them, but it didn’t matter. He’d already made up his mind: “Great! That settles it!”

He turned back to Orion, who was eagerly awaiting his reply. “Orion, we’re in.”

“Perfect! Glad to hear it!” the assistant exclaimed. “Especially,” he thought, breathing a sigh of relief, “because those tickets were nonrefundable!

Graham groaned. Shimmy laughed.

Orion handed Marcus a round-trip ticket. “This ticket will see you there and back. You can use it at your leisure; there’s no specified date on the return trip. The ship leaves at ten o’ clock in the morning, so I’ll meet you at the dock then. Sleep well, Marcus! You have an adventure ahead of you!”

Marcus couldn’t help but think that maybe he’d made a rash decision. His grandfather had told him many times that “nothin’ good can come from city-folk.”

But as he parted ways with Orion that afternoon, he was excited. Excited for a chance to explore beyond the life he’d grown accustomed to. Excited for a chance to see new things. Excited for…

an adventure.

And it was just a quick trip, right?
 
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ShuckTsubo

PASBL Novice
**********

They say that even the tiniest beat of a butterfly's wings on one side of the world can, through a remarkable string of events, trigger a tidal wave on the other... And with it, immense catastrophe.

This is how the sun was eclipsed, and its light snuffed out.


**********


Marcus Lancing:
Soleil Noir
Wow, very interesting prolougue. The presentation of the title makes this feel like a movie. The story hasn't even started yet, and it's already really good!


All was calm on Route 39. A warm sea breeze from the south brought the salty scent of Olivine City well beyond the city limits. The sun shone brightly overhead, glinting off the wings of a Skarmory as it took flight. A herd of Mareep took to grazing, their fleece shimmering in the sunlight. Swarms of Ledyba buzzed overhead, as a couple of Nidoran nestled themselves in the grass. The only noise to be heard was the bleating of Mareep.
Nice beginning paragraph. I can really visualize the scene. I like how you used so many Pokémon in such a short time.

But the serenity was not to last, for the rumbling of dozens of hooves interrupted the peaceful scene as a herd of frenzied Tauros came charging down the hill. The Ledyba took to the trees at the thunderous noise. The Mareep and Nidoran scattered, hurrying out of the immediate path of the panicked bull Pokemon. A young man and woman, out for a midday picnic, leaped to their feet and stumbled backwards as the many Tauros approached, blind with hysteria. The woman’s Furret bristled its fur and retreated to a nearby tree.
Again, I like the use of so many Pokémon. The first sentence of this paragraph is really nice as well.

Marcus Lancing--brave as he was crazy--had lost control of the family ranch’s Tauros herd. Again. The last time they’d only made it to the edge of his grandfather’s field, but this time he hadn’t been able to stop them. He was skidding down the hill at top speed. His long-sleeved, red and white shirt clung tightly to his thin, athletic torso, and his gray cargo shorts followed the rhythmic motions of his strong legs as he ran. A pair of worn-out sneakers donned his feet. As the wind whipped at his wavy honey-blond hair (ever-plagued by a perpetual Miltank-lick), it snatched his black-and-white cap right off his head.
Nice description. This really gives a good impression of what Marcus looks like.

Thus orphaned, Marcus had been raised largely by his grandparents on his mother’s side, who owned a Pokemon ranch north of Olivine City. The ranch had formerly been known as the MooMoo Farm, due to its famous MooMoo Milk, but due to the passing of its elderly namesake, MooMoo the Miltank, the name had slowly lost prominence. The owners--Marcus’s grandparents--had since widened their ranch’s emphasis, taking in domestic Pokemon of any sort. One of these was a Snubbull named Graham, who grew up alongside Marcus for nearly ten years as the ranch’s loyal guard Pokemon.
I like how this is in the future, so the currently famous Pokémon are getting old. It really adds another layer to the story.

Nero raised a wing. “<Not it.>”
Ha ha! this is really funny.

But as he parted ways with Orion that afternoon, he was excited. Excited for a chance to explore beyond the life he’d grown accustomed to. Excited for a chance to see new things. Excited for…

an adventure.

And it was just a quick trip, right?
Nice cliffhanger. This really shows that there is more to this trip than it seems. I'm excited to see what happens next! Can't wait for the next chapter!
I know I was supposed to have constructive criticism, but I can't think of anything that could be improved. It's just that good.
 

Hotshot

Don't ask questions.
Thanks for the review, ShuckTsubo! I appreciate your kind words and interest in the story!

I like how this is in the future, so the currently famous Pokémon are getting old. It really adds another layer to the story.
Yes, I am very excited about some of the things I have planned for the regions involved. Because it's not just famous Pokemon who grow old, but famous people too. This left me with some interesting possibilities.

Nice cliffhanger. This really shows that there is more to this trip than it seems. I'm excited to see what happens next! Can't wait for the next chapter!
I know I was supposed to have constructive criticism, but I can't think of anything that could be improved. It's just that good.
That's very, very kind of you, and I appreciate the compliments. I'm sure there are many things to be improved on in the chapter, though!

Thanks for reading! I'll try to have the next chapter up soon! It's just about finished. Just need to make some tweaks here and there.
 

Griff4815

No. 1 Grovyle Fan
Hey, Hotshot!

I'm liking this quite a bit. I like the insight into Marcus' backstory and family. It helped to flesh him out.

One of the best parts of your writing is your sense of humour, and it naturally shines through in this. I particularly like the interaction between Graham and Nero. Nero's snarky attitude kind of reminds me of another crow-guy of yours, but only a little. Heh.

I'm pretty curious about what you have planned, plot-wise. I look forward to finding out. I can see the resemblance of the old story, but it's different enough, and that one only got one or two chapters in anyways.

Sorry this reply sucks. xD It's late (and I'm not very good at this). I'll definitely be reading the next chapter though. It was fun.
 

DMerle

Guess who's back
Woah, this is good! I really love your writing style, your description and character interactions are spot on, and you have a nice touch of humor thrown in which really gives the story something. For the amount of words you've really done well, I'm already interested in Marcus, like both his Pokémon, and am really intrigued to see where it goes (in one chapter!), Here's eagerly awaiting Chapter 2.

But as he parted ways with Orion that afternoon, he was excited. Excited for a chance to explore beyond the life he’d grown accustomed to. Excited for a chance to see new things. Excited for…

…an adventure.

And it was just a quick trip, right?
This finishing line in particular is great.
 
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Hotshot

Don't ask questions.
I'm liking this quite a bit. I like the insight into Marcus' backstory and family. It helped to flesh him out.
Certainly more of that to come! I'm excited about quite a few characters' backstories too.

One of the best parts of your writing is your sense of humour, and it naturally shines through in this. I particularly like the interaction between Graham and Nero. Nero's snarky attitude kind of reminds me of another crow-guy of yours, but only a little. Heh.
Haha, I really enjoyed writing all the Pokemon interactions. Unfortunately, everybody always seems to be picking on Graham. Guess he's just that guy.

I'm pretty curious about what you have planned, plot-wise. I look forward to finding out. I can see the resemblance of the old story, but it's different enough, and that one only got one or two chapters in anyways.
There'll be a little glimpse into the plot's unfolding in the next chapter, so keep your eyes peeled! Thanks for the review, it was very helpful!

Woah, this is good! I really love your writing style, your description and character interactions are spot on, and you have a nice touch of humor thrown in which really gives the story something. For the amount of words you've really done well, I'm already interested in Marcus, like both his Pokémon, and am really intrigued to see where it goes (in one chapter!), Here's eagerly awaiting Chapter 2.
Hey, thanks for your feedback! I really enjoy writing Marcus's story, and somehow the idea for his Pokemon all just came together. What a motley crew. I appreciate your help!
 

Hotshot

Don't ask questions.
Alright, here's Chapter Two, folks! I'll try to update pretty frequently, so stay tuned!

Also, if you'd like to be on a PM list, let me know! I'd be glad to let you know when a new chapter comes out. Also, if you're just interested in the story (or sharing ideas), and want to talk about it with me, I'm always game.

Lastly, I'll be looking for some OC trainers on and off to make appearances, so if you'd like to help create a minor character, let me know, and I'll fill you in on available and upcoming "roles!"

**********

Chapter Two
First Glimpse of a New Land

“See? What’d I tell ya? City-folk come buttin’ into our peace, an’ nex’ thing y’know, they’re whiskin’ ya off to who-knows-where!”

“If you were a Pokemon, you’d be a Krabby,” Grandma said, quieting her grouchy husband. She had affirmed Marcus’s choice; having been a traveler herself, she was a little more openminded about the rest of the world than her husband. Marcus recalled that she had been a Pokemon trainer years ago, before she settled down with Granddad.

“Besides, a Pidgey has to leave the nest sooner or later,” she reminded her husband, as they helped Marcus pack some basic necessities for his trip.

Granddad was sitting on Marcus’s bed, rolling up a jacket to stuff in the teenager’s knapsack. “I know it! I jus’ wish he’d go somewhere more sensible--like Route 38!”

Marcus rolled his eyes. “Route 38’s just up the road, Granddad.”

“Exactly!”

Marcus and Grandma laughed. They’d already packed the necessary items for Marcus’s short journey: some money, a change of clothes, toothbrush, jacket, and a couple of other small things he might need. He’d tied a little sleeping bag on the side too, because Rustboro City was several towns away from the port. Marcus would probably have to spend a night or two outside. He didn’t mind it, though. He’d done it many times before, spending the night out with Graham and the Mareep.

Despite Granddad’s rants (and they were many), Marcus felt sure he was doing the right thing. He’d always been fond of Jasmine--and even weird ol’ Orion--so he was excited for a chance to help them out.

Grandma handed him a pair of red swim trunks. “Here, you’ll want these.”

“Trunks? What’s he gonna need trunks for?” Granddad asked, furrowing his brow.

“I heard Hoenn’s got some pretty beaches,” Grandma replied, with a wink. “They probably have some pretty girls to go with ’em. I don’t want Marcus missin’ out!”

Marcus looked skeptical, but took the trunks anyway. “Uh… Thanks, Grandma.”

“<Woohoo! Girls!>” Shimmy the Aipom exclaimed, popping out of Marcus’s closet with some very tiny swim trunks clasped in his tail-hand. He bounded up onto Marcus’s bed and stuffed his own trunks into Marcus’s knapsack. Then he raised himself on the end of his tail and bounced up into the rafters. “<When they see me in those babies, the ladies will lose their minds!>”

*****

It wasn’t long before Marcus was all packed up and prepared to go. Knapsack on, shoes tied, cap backwards, Nero and Ella in Pokeballs on his belt, Graham and Shimmy at his side, and ticket in hand--he was ready. Graham had a totebag around his shoulder with the lunch Grandma had made: personalized sandwiches for each of them.

She’d even put in an extra one in case they met a pretty girl.

Grandma sure was weird.

Marcus hugged his grandmother, endured another verbal jab from his grandfather, and then hugged him too. Marcus knew the old man didn’t mean any harm--it was how he expressed his sadness at seeing his grandson leave.

Marcus still thought he was exaggerating, though. He’d be back before long. After all, it was only a quick trip to Hoenn and back.

As he crossed the field where Granddad’s Tauros were grazing, he looked back and waved to his grandparents. Both were still at the door of their tiny, old house in the hills. Beside it stood the family barn, where a lot of Pokemon Marcus had grown up with dwelt. Granddad would let some of them out to graze and exercise a little later. He paused a moment at the edge of Granddad’s field, and scanned the sky. Not a cloud; only a flock of Pidgey flying overhead, heading who-knows-where.

Marcus grinned. He was about to join them.

Shimmy leaped from his perch on the boy’s shoulder and hopped toward Route 39’s familiar path. “<Hurry up, Slowpokes! There are babes waiting for me!>”

Graham stopped to scowl at Shimmy, but then followed the purple monkey. Marcus just laughed and hurried after them. This was going to be a good day. He could feel it in his bones.

His very own adventure.

*****

It wasn’t long before they reached Olivine City. The port city was already bustling with life as markets opened, ships came in to dock, and citizens and sailors hurried about their business. Towering high above them all, the watchful lighthouse stood guard on behalf of incoming ships, though its services were not necessary on such a bright and sunny day as this. Marcus smelled the salty sea air. It wasn’t as thick or as usual, he noted. Probably due to the fresh breeze swept in from the ocean. Sailboats would have a hard time leaving port today, but luckily most sea vessels nowadays typically employed other--more advanced--means of travel.

The dock was crowded as always, and Marcus had a hard time finding Orion (despite the gym assistant’s outrageous hairstyle). Graham was much too short to be of any help, but Shimmy proved the usefulness of his prehensile tail once again, this time climbing up onto a windowsill to get a better view. When he had spotted Orion--via his half-sleek, half-spiky hairdo--the Aipom leaped back onto Marcus’s shoulder and turned his head in the right direction.

“Oh, there he is! Thanks, Shim!”

Graham rolled his eyes. “<I could do that too if I had an extra arm sticking out of my butt.>”

Shimmy stuck his tongue out at the bulldog Pokemon and retorted, “<But you don’t, do you?>”

“Orion!” Marcus called, shoving his way past a couple of burly sailors and a Machoke. Graham managed to squeeze through too. “I’m ready to go!”

Orion greeted the teenager with a handshake and then slid his glasses back up his nose. “Fantastic! And you’ve got your ticket then? Great; you’re all set. The ship’s leaving soon, so we’d better get you on it. Right this way!”

Marcus followed Orion along the crowded dock, past sailors and Pokemon carrying crates and barrels of supplies for trading or voyaging, keeping his eyes on the spiky side of Orion’s hair so he never lost sight of him. Graham, whose legs were a good deal shorter, had a harder time keeping up, but he managed alright (though he nearly knocked an unwary woman off the dock and into the water when he bumped into her).

“You’ll be riding the High-Speed Vessel S.S. Aqua from here to Slateport City,” Orion explained while walking. As they neared the vessel, it became obvious that the ship was built for speed. It wasn’t terribly small either, and in fact could carry over thirty passengers comfortably. It had nearly as many today, all lined up to board. Orion drew near the end of the line and stopped to make sure Marcus had everything accounted for.

“Okay, you’ve still got your ticket? Good. Now, the captain’s name is Captain Sully, and he makes frequent trips to and from Olivine. Should be a fairly quick ride; no more than a couple of hours. Remember, your destination is the Devon Corporation in Rustboro City, which is northwest of Slateport. Here’s a map--” He paused to hand Marcus a map of Hoenn. “--in case you need help. Oh, and let me give you my number in case you need to contact me--”

After writing his phone number down on a small piece of paper, he gave it to Marcus. “Alright, that should do it. Now, is there anything I’m forgetting?”

Marcus scratched his head. “I just have one last question: This thing that I’m picking up… What is it exactly? If you don’t mind telling me, I mean.”

“Ah! Not at all. I meant to--it just slipped my mind. You’re picking up a PokeNav from the president of the Devon Corporation, an acquaintance of Jasmine’s. You’ve heard of the Pokemon Navigator, correct?”

Marcus, Graham, and Shimmy shook their heads.

Somewhat surprised, Orion continued, “Hm… The Pokegear, then. Are you familiar with the Pokegear developed by Silph Co.?”

Marcus and Graham nodded. Shimmy stuck a tail-finger in his ear.

“Well, the PokeNav is quite like the Pokegear,” Orion went on to explain, “except that its original intent was to monitor Pokemon, their feelings, and their growth. Not to mention, it had a host of other functions built in. However, the Devon Corporation’s recent advancement in technology--along with the help of former Professor Samuel Oak--has led it to the development of a new generation of PokeNav--one which serves as both a Pokemon Navigator and a Pokedex, allowing it to store data on any and all known Pokemon! Isn’t that great?!”

Marcus nodded slowly. Graham shrugged. Shimmy was too busy picking his ear to care.

“Yes?” Marcus ventured, still not really understanding. All the technological talk and terms made his head spin. He did recognize the name Samuel Oak. Everyone--even Marcus’s Granddad--knew who Oak was. The man was as legendary as Lugia, the guardian of the seas.

“The new PokeNav would be useful to any trainer, to be sure,” Orion persisted, his excitement growing, “but just think of how invaluable it would be to gym leaders, as they seek to help teach and train the next generation of Pokemon trainers! The Johto League is making them standard-issue for all its gym leaders. I’ve heard that Kanto, Sinnoh, Unova, and Kalos have too. Naturally, Hoenn has been on the ball for some time already, but we are quickly following suit!”

Orion wasn’t finished. He went on to ramble about different functions of the new PokeNav and their “indispensable” uses, and other some-such as that. Marcus had lost focus shortly after Graham did (the bulldog Pokemon had been distracted by Shimmy’s uncouth breach of etiquette). The teenage boy turned his attention to the S.S. Aqua, which was just receiving its last few passengers.

“Uh, Orion?” Marcus stammered, interrupting the gym assistant’s monologue. “I think the boat’s about to leave!”

“Well, it’s not really a boat,” Orion corrected, pushing his glasses up. “It’s more of a ship.”

“Okay, well, ship then. Don’t I need to be on it?”

Orion’s eyes widened. “Oh, yes! Yes! Off you go!” He shoved Marcus up to the bridge, where a burly sailor stood inspecting tickets.

Orion waved him on. “Take--luck! I mean, good luck! Take care! Come back soon!”

Marcus flashed his ticket, and the sailor allowed him, Graham, and Shimmy to board the ship. “You’re just in time,” the man said with a big grin. “I was worried that weird fellow’d make ya miss your boat!”

“Whew… Me too,” Marcus replied, breathing a sigh of relief as he cast one last, brief look at Olivine City and Orion, who was just disappearing back into the crowd, only his hair still visible.

Hah. I knew it was a boat.

*****

It wasn’t long before the S.S. Aqua had, like an oversized speedboat, thrust itself upon the ocean and was hurtling over sea at high speeds. Marcus had to hold onto his hat to keep it from flying off in the wind. Most of the other passengers had gone below deck, but he had wanted a full view as he traveled across the ocean for the first time. Graham wasn’t overly excited about this because, apparently, sea travel made him queasy. He tottered towards Marcus, standing by the railing, and Shimmy, standing on the railing, and whined pitifully. He clutched his stomach with one paw, and held the other to his mouth: a sure sign of seasickness.

“<Urf…>” Graham moaned. “<I don't feel so good...>”

“<Hey, if you’re gonna toss your cookies,>” Shimmy said, folding his little hands over his chest as he clung to the railing by his tail, “<toss ’em overboard. This is a poop deck, not a puke deck.>”

“You don’t look so good, bud,” Marcus said, withdrawing a Pokeball. “Here, I’ll hold onto the bag of sandwiches for now. You take a rest.”

Graham gratefully handed the totebag over to his trainer and allowed himself to be returned to the Pokeball in a flash of red light. Now that it was just him and Shimmy, Marcus looked for something to do. “What do you think, Shim? Should we go below deck?”

“Aipom! Pom!” Shimmy just laughed and pointed towards the stern of the boat. Marcus followed the monkey’s line of sight to two figures, one large and the other small, seated side-by-side along the back railing.

*****

The larger of the two figures was a teenage boy, and looked about Marcus’s age; perhaps a little older. He was built bigger than Marcus--both broader and chubbier--and had a fuller, rosier face. A big puff of curly black hair sat on his head. His clothes--a forest green shirt, cutoff jean shorts, and hiking boots--looked heavily worn and weathered. An enormous backpack filled with all sorts of necessities for a long journey (even a frying pan tied to the outside) lay next to him.

His name was Harold. Harold Flynn.

He was sitting cross-legged behind the rail, with his fishing rod in hand. At his side sat the smaller figure: a decidedly frog-like Pokemon. It had dark blue skin and white stripes around its waist. Black and orange markings decorated its fingers, and the orange sacs on its cheeks were filled with poison. A pair of yellow eyes stared out over the sea, unblinking, as the S.S. Aqua hurtled over the water.

“You know, Croagunk,” Harold began, all smiles, “sometimes it feels great to just sit here, on a boat, with nothing to do. Isn’t this relaxing?”

Not even sparing his trainer a glance, Croagunk replied, in the tongue of Pokemon, “<It would be if you would stop talking.>”

“I love just sitting here fishing with my best buddy at my side!” the chubby blond boy continued, still grinning at his frog-friend. “I can’t think of anything more fun!”

Croagunk continued to stare out over the water. “<I can. Like sleeping on hot coals, for instance. Or being eaten alive by ravenous Sentret.>”

“Yep, this is the life!”

“<You do realize you can’t catch anything at this speed, right?>”

Harold sighed. Turning his gaze back on the sea, he murmured, “I wish I could understand what you’re saying.”

Croagunk looked up at him, smiling smugly. “<I wish you’d fall in. That would be hysterical.>”

“Oh, Croagunk!” he exclaimed, erupting with fake laughter as he pretended to understand his Pokemon’s speech. “You’re hilarious!”

“<True. And you’re an idiot.>”

*****

“Hey, let’s go over and talk to them, Shimmy!” Marcus suggested, already moving in the direction of Harold and Croagunk.

“<What? But they aren’t girls!>”

Shimmy groaned, but followed his trainer nonetheless. When they reached the duo seated at the back of the boat, Harold stumbled to his feet, still gaining his sea legs. Croagunk ignored them.

“<Harold, sit back down. Maybe they’ll go away.>”

“Hi there! I’m Marcus,” Marcus greeted, offering the larger boy a handshake, “and this here’s Shimmy!”

“Hey, Marcus!” Harold returned with a fist bump, which resulted in an awkward mess of neither knowing what to do. “Whoops. Sorry ‘bout that. Name’s Harold! Harold Flynn! Pleased to meet ya!”

Then, gesturing to his Croagunk, he added, “And this ray of sunshine is Croagunk! Trust me, he’s pleased to meet ya too! He’s just not so good at showing it.”

“<Yeah, that’s it,>” Croagunk muttered, rolling his eyes.

Shimmy hopped over to the frog Pokemon and clapped him on the back (which nearly sent him tumbling overboard).

“<Hey, dude! You seem pretty cool. I’m Shimmy!>”

“<Delighted.>”

“<Delighted, huh? That’s a funny name.>”

Marcus placed his hands on his hips. “Look at that. They’re pals already! Say, that’s not a Johto Pokemon, is it?”

“Nope, Croagunk’s from Sinnoh,” Harold replied with a grin. “Pastoria City, actually. Same as me!”

Marcus whistled. “Wow. Sinnoh, huh? That sure is far. What brought you fellas all the way to Johto?”

Harold chuckled and patted the oversized backpack at his side. “I’m a backpacker! Spent the past year backpacking across Kanto and Johto! And now it’s on to Unova!”

“Uh, isn’t this boat going to Slateport City in Hoenn?” Marcus asked, his face paling.

Harold frowned. “Hoenn? I thought this was the boat to Unova!”

“<I tried to tell you,>” Croagunk said with a ribbit.

Harold inspected his ticket. “Right ticket, wrong boat. I wonder how the ticket-checker guy missed that. Bummer, man.” His smile returned just seconds later. Nothing could keep this guy down. “Oh, well! Looks like we’ll be backpacking across Hoenn this time, Croagunk!”

He looked back at Marcus. “Well, now that that’s settled, what brings a country boy like you out to Hoenn?”

Marcus cringed a moment, but found himself laughing. “It’s that obvious, huh? I’m runnin’ an errand for Jasmine, gym leader of Olivine. Needs me to pick something special up for her in Rustboro City.”

“Oooh, something special, huh? Sounds sketchy,” Harold commented, eyeing Marcus closely. “What is it? An experimental Pokemon? Plans for world-domination? Drugs? I heard she’s notorious for getting trainers to pick up drugs for her.”

“<Why do we always make friends with the weird ones?>” Shimmy asked, raising an eyebrow at Harold.

Croagunk rolled his eyes. “<Tell me about it.>”

Marcus laughed again, nervously. “No, no… Nothing like that. A Poke-something. Said it was like a Pokegear, but also like a Pokedex… Or something.”

Harold was obviously disappointed. “Oh, that’s not as exciting as I’d hoped it’d be.”

Harold’s stomach rumbled. “Aw, man. I’m starving. Croagunk, do we have any of that trail mix left?” He unzipped a few of his backpack’s pockets, looking for snacks.

“<Nope. You inhaled it for breakfast.>”

“Darn, I think I ate it already,” he muttered, plopping down next to the pack.

Marcus looked down in his totebag. “Hey, my Grandma packed an extra sandwich in here if you want it.”

Harold’s face lit up. He leaped to his feet. “Really? Grandma-food? I love grandma-food!”

“<What?!>” Shimmy protested, climbing onto Marcus’s shoulder. “<But that’s the pretty girl’s sandwich!>”

The two trainers ate their sandwiches ravenously. Marcus hadn’t realized how hungry he was. Shimmy, too, devoured his--a peanut butter and banana sandwich almost as big as his face--in mere minutes. Between mouthfuls, with crumbs all over his pudgy cheeks, Harold explained, “I was gonna try to catch a fish or something to cook for lunch, but no luck.”

Before Marcus could respond, they were both startled by a man’s voice from behind: “The only thing you could catch at this speed is a Sharpedo, lad! And you don’t want one of those on the end of your line!”

The two boys leaped to their feet, having been completely unaware of the man’s approach. They turned to look at the speaker, and were met with an ear-piercing, squawking noise.

“Squaaaaaawk! Sharpedo! End of your line! End of your line!”

Marcus blinked a few times, his ears still ringing.

Before them stood a tall, grisly-looking man of rugged build. His scarred face, shaved head, and black, stubbly beard made him appear all the more menacing. He wore a navy blue coat with cutoff sleeves, a pair of dark pants, and scuffed-up boots. Except for his weathered coat, his torso was bare, revealing a hairy, barrel-chest. A dark blue bandanna was tied around his head.

Marcus and Harold both thought he looked like a pirate.

A parakeet Pokemon perched on his shoulder. Its head was black and shaped peculiarly like an eighth note, and its body was covered in blue, green, and yellow feathers. It squawked again. “Squawk! Sharpedo! Sharpedo!”

“Whoops, sorry about that, lads,” the man who looked like a pirate said, shooing the bird away. “Chatot’s as noisy as they come!”

He extended a hand to Harold, then to Marcus. “I’m the captain aboard this here ship! The name’s Captain Sully!”

For a scary-looking pirate-man he was surprisingly goodnatured.

“I’m Harold,” Harold spoke up, grinning at the captain. “And this is Michael--”

“Marcus.”

“I mean ‘Marcus.’”

“Glad to meet you, boys,” Captain Sully replied with a big grin of his own. “I just wanted to let you know that we’d be arrivin’ soon. You can already see the shoreline off in the distance from the bow.”

“Awesome!” Harold fist-pumped the sky. “A new adventure awaits us, Croagunk!”

Marcus hurried to the front of the ship, with Harold at his heels. Shimmy and Croagunk followed with Captain Sully and Chatot (who had returned to perch once more on its master’s shoulder). Marcus shielded his eyes from the sun and squinted. Along the horizon he could see land fast approaching. The sand of a beach. Trees along the shore. Tall buildings glinting in the sunlight. Mountains in the distance.

He grinned. There it was. It was his first glimpse of Hoenn.

A sudden unease returned to him. Turning back over his shoulder, he asked, “Hey, Captain, that is Hoenn, right?”

Captain Sully raised an eyebrow.

*****

Smoke poured from Mt. Chimney’s open vent, spiraling into the air and showering the nearby towns of Fallarbor and Lavaridge with thick ash-rain. Deep within the mountain’s volcanic crater, molten-hot magma bubbled and gurgled. The majesty of the region’s great volcano was unrivaled by any of its other natural formations. Mt. Chimney rose above every other mountain, watching over the region from its fiery peak.

Three figures stood at the volcanic crater’s edge, staring into the orange glow of simmering lava.

“It really is too bad,” spoke the figure in the middle—a young woman of average height. Her long hair, thick and red, had been coiled behind her head in a messy, fiery bun that looked very much like a Fire Spin whirling atop her head. She wore an unzipped, sleeveless, fur-collared leather-jacket, a black tank top, as well as a pair of black-gray camouflage pants and combat boots. Her bare arms and midriff were obviously well-toned—typical of someone of the battle girl trainer class. Her amber eyes reflected the glimmering heat of the magma below.

“What is, Corona?” inquired the figure on her right—a man of large and burly stature. He was dressed like the woman, only his (ample) midsection was hidden beneath his undershirt, and he had taken his fur-collared jacket off and slung it over his shoulder, most likely due to the sweltering heat of the volcano. He rubbed his shaved head and wiped his sweating brow against the back of his hand.

The woman—Corona—rolled her eyes and motioned to the younger, similarly-dressed trainer on her left. He was small and thin, quite the opposite of the bald man on Corona’s right, but carried himself with an air of hidden strength, as if he possessed an inner power that he could call upon at any moment. Still, he recognized and honored authority, for he responded to Corona’s motion.

“What she means, Cue Ball—”

“Hey, don’t call me that!”

“—is that Mt. Chimney possesses all this potential, this power,” the younger, smaller trainer continued, “and yet, despite their advantage in numbers and terrain, Team Magma failed to harness it eight years ago.”

“I’m not a cue ball,” was all the bigger trainer could say.

“Ursa, Aquila, shut up,” Corona growled, turning on her heels and stepping away from the crater’s edge. She placed her hands on her hips and glanced over her shoulder at them. “Enough sightseeing. We have a job to do.”

The bigger of the two, Ursa, chuckled. He pulled his sleeveless leather jacket back on and cracked his knuckles.

“Rustboro City, here we come.”
 
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Blaziken10285

The Dojo Master
I've been following the story so far, and it has been really good. If you're making a PM list, I'd like to be added. One of the things that I would like to really praise you for is how well you have been able to describe the characters and settings. All of the characters so far have been well done. The dialogue, especially from the Pokemon, has been one of my favorite parts. I'm actually in the early stages of writing a Hoenn-located fic post-Aqua/Magma as well, so I'm interested to see how you portray the region.
 

Hotshot

Don't ask questions.
I've been following the story so far, and it has been really good. If you're making a PM list, I'd like to be added. One of the things that I would like to really praise you for is how well you have been able to describe the characters and settings. All of the characters so far have been well done. The dialogue, especially from the Pokemon, has been one of my favorite parts. I'm actually in the early stages of writing a Hoenn-located fic post-Aqua/Magma as well, so I'm interested to see how you portray the region.
Thanks for that, Blaziken! (Can I call you that? The numbers throw me for a loop. Haha.) Your praise means a lot. I would be glad to add you to the PM list!

Also, I'll be on the lookout for your Hoenn-fic too!
 

Griff4815

No. 1 Grovyle Fan
Hey, Hotshot! Pretty good second chapter there. The narrative is pretty good; it has personality to it. Also, Harold and Croagunk seem like interesting additions. They definitely have a funny repertoire, and it's cool that they're from a foreign region as well. It brings another dynamic.

I'm wondering about those three at the end. The antagonists of the piece, maybe? I guess we'll find out.

I feel like this is a mistake: "Granbull had a totebag around his shoulder with the lunch Grandma had made: personalized sandwiches for each of them." I think you meant either "Graham" or "The Granbull"?

You can go ahead and add me to the PM list, by the way.
 

Hotshot

Don't ask questions.
Hey, Hotshot! Pretty good second chapter there. The narrative is pretty good; it has personality to it. Also, Harold and Croagunk seem like interesting additions. They definitely have a funny repertoire, and it's cool that they're from a foreign region as well. It brings another dynamic.
I'm not sure how helpful Harold and Croagunk will be to Marcus, but I like them a lot. And everybody needs comic relief.

I'm wondering about those three at the end. The antagonists of the piece, maybe? I guess we'll find out.
I guess you will.

I feel like this is a mistake: "Granbull had a totebag around his shoulder with the lunch Grandma had made: personalized sandwiches for each of them." I think you meant either "Graham" or "The Granbull"?
I meant "Graham"! Haha. Thanks for pointing that out. I fixed it. I'll add you to the PM list too! Thanks for the review, pal!
 

DMerle

Guess who's back
Chapter 2. Here we go!

I've never seen "Granddad" instead of "Grandad" before, it's right but I'm just wondering what country that is from?

As he crossed the field where Granddad’s Tauros were grazing, he looked back and waved to his grandparents, who were both still at the door of their tiny house in the hills. Their barn stood beside it, where a lot of Pokemon Marcus had grown up with dwelt. Granddad would let some of them out to graze and exercise a little later. He paused a moment at the edge of Granddad’s field, and scanned the sky. Not a cloud; only a flock of Pidgey flying overhead, heading who-knows-where.
This comes across as a little bit awkward to read, I don't know if it's just me but I'd recommend changing it to something like. ...

He looked back to the tiny house in the hills, waving to his Grandparents who were stood at the door. Besides them was the barn where a lot of the Pokémon Marcus had grown up with dwelt..
Same thing here, I don't know if it's the busied and buisness thing but it came across a little weird to read.

and citizens and sailors busied themselves with their business
Perhaps something like;

..and citizens and sailors hurried about their business

Apart from those two things, (and once again it's not wrong it's just what I would personally change it too,) the rest of the chapter is great. I don't know if I mentioned it before but your use of the Pokémon talking between themselves is great, and not something I see all that often in fics. It really adds an extra depth of humor to your story, and you utilize it very well. I like the ending too, it's very intriguing and it would be great if you could add me to the PM list. Pumped about Chap 3!
 

Hotshot

Don't ask questions.
I've never seen "Granddad" instead of "Grandad" before, it's right but I'm just wondering what country that is from?
Well, I'm not sure exactly, but it seems more common in the US than "Grandad." Haha.

This comes across as a little bit awkward to read, I don't know if it's just me but I'd recommend changing it to something like. ...

Same thing here, I don't know if it's the busied and buisness thing but it came across a little weird to read.
Ah, thanks! I think I just wrote all that without really thinking. I'll work with it and see what I can do.

Apart from those two things, (and once again it's not wrong it's just what I would personally change it too,) the rest of the chapter is great. I don't know if I mentioned it before but your use of the Pokémon talking between themselves is great, and not something I see all that often in fics. It really adds an extra depth of humor to your story, and you utilize it very well. I like the ending too, it's very intriguing and it would be great if you could add me to the PM list. Pumped about Chap 3!
Thanks for your feedback! I'll get you on that list!
 

Hotshot

Don't ask questions.
Honestly, I don't know how this happened so quickly. I never write this fast. But it happened, so I'm posting it.

Keep your eyes peeled, because there are a lot of R/S/E game-references in this baby.

Enjoy!

**********

Chapter Three
The Seashore House

“Dude, the Hoenn region’s so awesome,” Harold asserted, for the third time since stepping off the S.S. Aqua. The boat had docked at one of the bustling beach’s piers, and its passengers had flooded onto the beach and into the city of Slateport, eager to enjoy Hoenn’s tropical climate. Marcus, Harold, and their Pokemon bid farewell to their semi-pirate friend, Captain Sully, and his Chatot.

Marcus had been very thankful that their destination was, in fact, Hoenn, and not some terribly far-off region like Kalos or Almia.

“I’m telling you, it’s just so great!” Harold continued, as they walked across the soft, warm sand, carrying their shoes in their hands.

“You’re just saying that because this beach is full of girls in swimsuits,” Marcus said, grinning and thumbing over his shoulder to a few swimmers playing beach volleyball with their Pokemon.

Harold folded his arms over his chest and raised an eyebrow. “Yeah, so? Scantily-clad women make everything better!”

“<This guy knows what he’s talkin’ about!>” Shimmy said, whistling at a bikini-clad trainer as she passed by. The girl looked at Marcus and giggled. The boy’s cheeks burned.

Graham, having been released from his Pokeball upon their arrival, followed behind the two trainers with Croagunk.

“<So, you’re a frog Pokemon, huh?>” he stammered, trying to strike up a conversation.

Croagunk glanced over at him. “<Yeah, something like that. And let me guess, you’re a dog Pokemon?”

Graham frowned. “<Sorta. But they tell me I’m actually a fairy Pokemon.>”

“<Pfft.>” Croagunk swallowed a snicker.

“<What was that?>”

“<Nothing.>”

“Man, I’m hungry!” Harold whined, clutching his stomach.

“We just ate,” Marcus pointed out.

“<Yeah, you ate our babe-sandwich,>” Shimmy muttered, still bitter.

“<Speaking of sandwiches, what happened to mine?>” Graham barked, bounding up beside Marcus.

His trainer looked down at him and patted his head. “I know you must be hungry. Sorry, boy. We gave your sandwich to Croagunk.”

Croagunk swallowed another snicker.

“There’s a beach shack up ahead!” Harold exclaimed, startling a flock of Wingull and sending them squawking into the sky. “Maybe they have food!”

Marcus twisted his cap around to shield his eyes from the sun and allowed his gaze to follow the direction Harold indicated with flailing arms. Beyond the assortment of colorful umbrellas and tanning beachgoers sprawled out on towels, there stood a sizeable seaside-shack, with windows open all around its perimeter to allow the cool ocean breeze entry. Through them, the two teenage boys could see a number of people (mostly sailors and swimmers) dining on varieties of seafood.

The Seashore House, huh?” Marcus said, reading a makeshift, surfboard-shaped sign hung above the restaurant’s entryway. “I guess I could go for a glass of milk or something.”

“Hurray! Food!” Harold shouted.

“<Hurray! Food!>” Graham barked behind him.

*****

The constant hustle and bustle of the Seashore House kept Tori busy day in and day out. She waited tables, and it wasn’t so great most of the time. Sure, it was pretty exciting to watch trainers battle right outside the shack (and sometimes right inside), but the job didn’t pay well, and it certainly didn’t tip well. Most customers came in their swimsuits, so they were at a loss for where to keep their change. She’d seen Pokemon Dollars come out of some really weird places.

Tori was a pretty girl of slim figure—practically made for the beach—but, unfortunately, she was stuck in the restaurant most days to make enough to live on her own in Slateport City. Her rippling, wavelike brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail. Unruly strands she tucked behind her ears. An eye-catching, dyed strand of blond wove through her brown locks.

She was dressed like the other Seashore House waitresses: a form-fitting, white tank-top, a pair of cut-off jean shorts, and low-top converse. Unlike her coworkers (all of whom seemed brunette cut-outs of one another), Tori also wore her red-tinted sunglasses on her head and sported a small, silhouetted tattoo of a Swellow on her left ankle. Three piercings decorated the rim of her right ear, while only one donned her left.

Her brown eyes caught a couple of new faces as they entered the Seashore House. They looked about her age. She sighed inwardly, but put on a smile and stepped up to meet them at the door. After seating them and their Pokemon—all of which she’d never seen before—, she handed the two boys a couple of menus.

“Good afternoon! I’m Tori, and I’ll be your waitress today,” she said, faking a smile. “Can I get you boys anything to drink?”

The chubbier, curly-haired boy spoke first: “Hey, Tori! I’m Harold and this here’s—”

“Hi there, I’m Marcus,” interrupted the other one, a blonde boy wearing a black-and-white cap. He took it off and ran a hand through his wavy, honey-colored hair before placing it on the table. It was quickly snatched up by the purple monkey Pokemon sitting in a highchair beside him. “It’s nice to meet you!”

Tori realized she was staring and looked back at the chubby boy.

On cue, Harold said, “I’ll have a soda pop. And Croagunk—”

The frog Pokemon sitting next to him,” Tori surmised, mentally filling in the gaps.

“—will have one too.”

“<Ugh. I hate soda,>” Croagunk grumbled.

Marcus glanced down at the drink list and frowned. It was shorter than he expected. “Do you guys have any milk?”

“No, but we have soda pop,” Tori replied.

“How about some fresh water?”

“Fresh out. Would you like a soda pop?”

“Lemonade?” Marcus ventured.

Tori thought about it for a moment. “I don’t usually do this, but for you, I’ll check. Be back in a minute!”

*****

With Tori now gone, Harold looked over at Marcus and grinned. He rummaged through his backpack and thumbed through a small guidebook. “Luckily for us, I’m a genius.”

“<Is that what they call it?>” Croagunk gurgled.

Shimmy laughed from his highchair. Graham just rolled his eyes.

Marcus leaned his chair on its back legs and looked at Harold expectantly. “Uh-huh.”

“I just so happened to have brought my collection of pocket travel books! I’ve got Unova, Orre, Fiore, Kalos, you name it. I’ve even got…” Harold held up the book he was flipping through. “…Ta-da! Hoenn!”

He flipped back to the first few pages and scanned the table of contents. “See, with this baby, we’ll have all the information we need for a successful backpacking excursion!”

“Harold, I’m just here to pick something up.”

Harold ignored him. “Here’s Slateport… Look, they even have the Seashore House in here. Oooh. Half a star. That’s no good. No wonder all they have to drink is soda pop.” He flicked through some more pages. “Dude, Hoenn’s crazy. They have a history of gang wars, weather-related calamities, and primal Pokemon clashes. That’s sick. Oh, look! Lavaridge has a co-ed hot spring! Let’s hit that place up next!”

Marcus and the three Pokemon rolled their eyes.

“Oh, wait. No,” Harold muttered, reading further. “Lavaridge’s hot springs are apparently full of old people. That’s disgusting.”

Marcus opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted by a thunderous explosion outside the shack, followed by the clamor of a growing audience. Marcus jumped out of his chair and rushed to the door, leaving Harold and the Pokemon to stumble over each other after him.

*****

Tori, having become accustomed to the commotion of everyday Pokemon battles, had ignored the sudden outburst. She carried good news and two soda pops back to her customers’ table.

“You’re in luck, we just got more lem—” she said, just as the boys and their Pokemon tumbled out of their chairs and headed for the door. “Hey, wait! Ugh.”

Outside, a Pokemon battle had begun.

*****

His name was David, and he was the reigning Beach King. Of course, he’d won the title only yesterday from Rodney, the last king of the beach. It was a fairly fluid title, and traded hands fairly consistently. The title could be held for as long as someone could defend it. The longest anyone had ever held Kingship was two weeks.

But David was confident. He was a slick, able-bodied swimmer with a knack for Pokemon battles. And he also looked really good in a speedo.

He was up against Simon, a beach trainer who’d never outgrown his tube. He still carried it with him everywhere. David thought he might be into the title because it was like a get-babes-free-pass. It had sure worked for David, because he could have a chick on each arm wherever he went.

He was the King.

The battle didn’t last long. Challengers always presented their Pokemon first, so Simon threw out a puffed-up Azumarill (probably fed a healthy diet of protein and carbos). David chuckled at the choice of Pokemon and pulled a Pokeball out of his speedo.

The crowd of similarly-clad beachgoers went wild.

“Tentacruel, take him down!”

In a burst of light, Tentacruel emerged, eyes narrowed and tentacles ready for battle. The Pokemon had grown accustomed to this lifestyle. It was simple—win battles, make trainer happy, drink lots of soda pop. Tentacruel enjoyed soda pop.

David couldn’t help but grin as Simon’s Azumarill began the fight with a Bubblebeam. Tentacruel avoided the attack and Poison Jabbed his opponent in the stomach for super effective damage. Azumarill was part-Fairy type, so it took extra damage from Poison type attacks like Poison Jab.

Mere seconds later, Tentacruel downed Azumarill without taking a scratch, sending Simon away, defeated. The gathered crowd cheered for their Beach King. A couple of swimmer girls fawned over him.

He relished it.

“Come on!” David roared, flexing his swimmer’s body—even clenching his buttocks. “Is there anyone else who dares to challenge THE BEACH KING!”

“Uh, yeah. I do.”

The crowd went silent, all eyes searching for the challenger. A sea of near-nude bodies parted to allow him passage.

It was Marcus.

“He doesn’t even look like a swimmer,” said someone from the crowd.

“That’s because he isn’t,” Harold declared, piping in as he stepped up beside Marcus. Winking at him (and ignoring his glare), Harold continued, “This is Marcus—what’s your last name?”

Marcus rolled his eyes. “Lancing.”

“This is Marcus Lancing, world-renowned trainer from Johto! He’s here to test the strength of Hoenn. And he’s gonna start by taking the title of Sea King!”

Beach King,” growled the assembled audience in unison.

“<Seaking’s a Pokemon, dumb-butt,>” Shimmy chuckled, bounding up onto Marcus’s shoulder.

“A foreigner, eh?” David the Beach King said, strutting towards his opponent. “Alright, the Beach King accepts your challenge!”

******

Marcus sighed at Harold’s false-introduction. He’d really just wanted to have a battle. There weren’t many decent trainers in Olivine because they all flocked to the Johto Battle Frontier.

He figured the Beach King would use a Water Pokemon, being a swimmer and all—probably even the Tentacruel from before. He’d better use his Ampharos, Ella. Marcus reached for her Pokeball.

“Arf?”

His thoughts were interrupted by Graham, who was tugging on his shirt. The Granbull looked at the Beach King and his Tentacruel and growled. Marcus thought about the matchup a moment, then glanced back down at Graham.

“Sorry, bud, I don’t thi—”

Graham clenched his fist, and the faintest of sparks rose from his knuckles.

“Heh, alright then. Go get ’em, boy.”

Graham stomped forward and barked a challenge. “<Hey, Tentacruel, why don’t you pick on somebody your own size?>”

The Tentacruel glared daggers at his challenger. “<Bring it, pup-squeak.>”

David folded his toned arms over his chest and laughed. “They never learn, do they, Tentacruel? Second Fairy you’ve beaten today. Take out this Johto trash.”

Marcus grinned. “Graham, let’s show them what Johto trash can do.”

The crowd erupted, and the battle began.

*****

Tori watched with intrigue from the doorway as the Beach King battled his next challenger, the trainer named Marcus. She’d gotten bored with these battles lately: it was always the same trainers over and over again. But she had a feeling this one would be different.

The two Pokemon sprung into action. At David’s command, Tentacruel landed a Poison Jab in Graham’s gut, but the Granbull—stubbornly—didn’t budge. He winced at the sharp pain, and retaliated with his best Scary Face.

Startled, both David and Tentacruel stumbled backwards. The Water Pokemon’s moves began to slow. Marcus’s brow furrowed. He knew Graham wasn’t particularly fast, so their first order of business in battle was to slow their opponent with some intimidation. Graham was so used to the battle tactic, he didn’t even require an order from Marcus to put it into effect.

“Atta boy, Graham. Stay on the defensive until my signal! Work on blocking and dodging those strikes!”

David gritted his teeth, but managed a crooked smile. “Shake it off, Tentacruel. Speed doesn’t mean anything if they can’t move! Let’s Wrap things up!”

Six of Tentacruel’s tentacles shot at Graham, ensnaring the bulldog Pokemon. Graham dug his feet into the sand, struggling against his opponent’s pull. His arms were pinned to his sides, and he was losing ground fast.

“When you rein him in, hit him with another Jab!”

Marcus frantically wracked his brain for an idea. Graham’s fists were temporarily out of commission, and if he released the hold he had with his feet, he’d get sucked right into a Poison Jab. That only left one weapon in the Granbull’s arsenal.

Luckily, it was his biggest.

“Bite!”

Graham, having been struggling against the pull of Tentacruel’s arms, hadn’t even thought of it. With a growl, he whirled into a death-roll and crushed Tentacruel’s tentacles between his huge jaws. The Water Pokemon flinched and jerked his wounded arms back, freeing Graham from their grasp.

The Granbull landed in a roll and shook the sand off his fur. Several of the onlookers laughed and cheered at the move, which only served to infuriate David the Beach King even more.

“Enough! Tentacruel, finish this NOW! Poison Jab!”

Marcus pumped a fist. “You know what to do, Graham! Dodge it with Dig!”

Tentacruel’s whip-like tentacles lashed at Graham in a last-ditch attempt to pin the Granbull and deal a heavy blow to the Fairy type. But Graham was quick on his feet, and avoided a critical hit by burrowing deep into the sand below. Sand was thrown into the air, clouding their makeshift battlefield and momentarily blinding Tentacruel.

It was all the time Marcus and Graham needed.

“Thunder Punch!”

Graham tore upwards with a snarl in a blur of purple, just below Tentacruel. The jellyfish Pokemon tried to pull back to defend himself, but he wasn’t fast enough. Graham snagged his beak-like appendage and hurled a crackling fist right between the Tentacruel’s eyes. Bursts of electricity exploded upon impact and sent the Water Pokemon spiraling through the air. Tentacruel landed with a thud in a shower of sand, sparks coursing through his body.

Tentacruel fainted.

Harold leaped forward and lifted Marcus’s hand high. “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,” he proclaimed, with the most gigantic of grins, “YOUR NEW BEACH KING: MARCUS LANCING!”

The surrounding audience (having doubled in size since the first match) erupted with shouts and praise. A dozen beachgoers swarmed Marcus and Graham and swept them onto their shoulders. Even though the title passed hands quite frequently, it never lost its magnificent charm on the people. Besides, that battle had been a nice break from the usual Bubblebeam-exchange of most beach battles.

Tori watched with several others at the door of the Seashore House, a smile on her lips and an idea in her head. This kid might just be her lucky break.





==========================================​

Thanks for reading! Just one little final note I thought you might be interested in is the general timeframe of this story.

Based on what I've surmised from studying the game's internal chronology (and shamelessly reading everything I could on Bulbapedia), I've come up with this timeline of events. Based on the information gathered, I assumed the events of R/B/Y and R/S/E began at the same time (a fictional year I've dubbed "Y0" for easier understanding):

Y0 - Events of FR/LG (Harold born)
Y1 - Marcus and Tori born.
Y2 - Paul Lancing (Marcus's father) died in Mt. Mortar (Marcus = 1 yr old)
Y3 - Events of HG/SS // D/P/Pt
Y5 - Tamara Lancing (Marcus's mother) disappeared on Ranger mission (Marcus = 4 yrs old)
Y6 - Events of B/W
Y8 - Events of B2/W2 // X/Y // OR/AS
Y11 - Marcus begins as a trainer (Marcus = 10 yrs old)
Y16 - Events of Soleil Noir (Marcus = 15 yrs old)

It may not be 100% accurate, but this is the general timeline I've used in constructing the history of Soleil Noir.
 
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Griff4815

No. 1 Grovyle Fan
Heh, good chapter. I like the aside character tidbits that you give to the characters. I can now bond with that Tentacruel over liking soda pop.

I'm liking Shimmy, the Aipom pervert. Haha, Graham is a fairy Digimon, isn't he? That won't be easy to live down.

Most customers came in their swimsuits, so they were at a loss for where to keep their change. She’d seen Pokemon Dollars come out of some really weird places.
This made me chuckle. So did the list of Pokémon drinks and the fact that their adjectives are always necessary.

“<Is that that they call it?>” Croagunk gurgled.
"that they" -> "what they"

That was a fun chapter. Excited to see how things unfold with Tori and Marcus. That timeline helped put things into perspective.
 

Hotshot

Don't ask questions.
I'm liking Shimmy, the Aipom pervert. Haha, Graham is a fairy Digimon, isn't he? That won't be easy to live down.
Shimmy's a personal favorite of mine. (Digimon on the brain, huh? :p)

This made me chuckle. So did the list of Pokémon drinks and the fact that their adjectives are always necessary.
I always thought it was funny how the games felt it necessary to affirm their water's freshness. It's not like there were any competing brands or anything!

"that they" -> "what they"
Ah, thanks! Typos, they're killer.

That was a fun chapter. Excited to see how things unfold with Tori and Marcus. That timeline helped put things into perspective.
Thanks for the review! Numbers aren't really my thing, so it took me a while to work that timeline out. Not sure how ORAS will mess it up yet, though, because there are some features kinda like XY in it... So maybe the Hoenn-plot should be booted up to XY's year.

Bah, I'll probably just ignore it. That's usually what I do with my problems.
 

DMerle

Guess who's back
That's a great chapter, which is surprising. I must admit when I read your PM I was a little skeptical about you doing it in a day, as I thought it might come across as rushed, but honestly it was great. (I'm jealous I have to spend days tweaking mine and it's still not right after all that time.) So great job, you have a great style of writing back-and-forth dialogue between characters, it's hilarious and feels really natural. Good Job, and I know Griff pointed it out above but.

Most customers came in their swimsuits, so they were at a loss for where to keep their change. She’d seen Pokemon Dollars come out of some really weird places.
That line is just killer, thanks for adding me to the PM list. Good luck with Chapter 4, can't wait!
 

Hotshot

Don't ask questions.
That's a great chapter, which is surprising. I must admit when I read your PM I was a little skeptical about you doing it in a day, as I thought it might come across as rushed, but honestly it was great. (I'm jealous I have to spend days tweaking mine and it's still not right after all that time.) So great job, you have a great style of writing back-and-forth dialogue between characters, it's hilarious and feels really natural. Good Job, and I know Griff pointed it out above but.
Hey, that's fair! I was skeptical about it too. I think it turned out pretty good for being written in such a short time, if I do say so myself (unfortunately, it usually doesn't work out that way!). Thanks for your kind review!

*****

Also, to anyone interested, I'm always looking for ideas for minor characters to fill roles like David the Beach King or Captain Sully. If this interests you, and you think you'd like to help create a character to fill some minor roles at some point in the fic, shoot me a PM and I'll let you know what sorts of characters I need coming up! This could be a fun way for readers to get involved too!
 
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Macroboom

Beyond Infinity
I just started reading your story today and I'm hooked. It's really great. Also, could you please add me to the PM list? Thanks in advance.
 

Hotshot

Don't ask questions.
I just started reading your story today and I'm hooked. It's really great. Also, could you please add me to the PM list? Thanks in advance.
Thanks for reading! I added you to the PM list!

*****

Note: I made a minor change to the timeline I posted after Chapter Three. Essentially, I decided to use the remakes (i.e. FR/LG, HG/SS, and OR/AS) as canon instead of the originals, and made a creative-executive decision to place the events of Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire around the time of X/Y). In other words, this puts the major events of Hoenn eight years before the events of Soleil Noir. It just seemed to fit a little better.
 
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