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Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Celestial Guardians

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by RocketKnight66, Apr 30, 2018.

  1. RocketKnight66

    RocketKnight66 404: Consistent Schedule not Found

    Hello everyone! This is a gen 7 inspired PMD fic that I've been working on. It's worth noting that it takes place in it's own world rather than the main PMD world, so I wanted to clarify that. I'm looking to put chapters up every Monday, and I'll try my best to hold on to that schedule. I'm pretty new to writing, so any feedback is very much appreciated!


    Now, let's get on with the show!

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

    RocketKnight66 presents...


    Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Celestial Guardians

    Chapter 1: A Chance Meeting

    ~Shibuya, Japan~

    Night had fallen on the city of Shibuya. Despite it being so late, the massive city remained ripe with activity. It was full of buildings of all types and sizes, and amongst them was a smaller apartment building. The outside was mostly metal, with wood making up the inside. It didn't look as appealing as some of the bigger buildings next to it, but it was well made. Most of the lights had been turned off, although a lamp remained on in one of the bedrooms. In the bedroom was a young boy who was playing with a black game system that he was holding in his hands.

    This was Takumi Inoue, a teenager from Japan. He had black hair that looked rather messy, and he had red eyes. His skin was a light brown, and appeared somewhat pale. He was a bit on the lighter side, but appeared to be healthy. He was wearing a white shirt, and black pants. His eyes were focusing intently on the screen of the game system, and had a look of determination on his face.

    “Come on Litten, I know you can do it...” he mumbled tensely, concentrating on the game. A few moments later, his face lit up with elation. He jumped up into a sitting position, with his fist clenched in victory.

    “YEAH! That's another totem down!” he shouted with a big grin on his face, not thinking much about how late it was. Surely enough, this caught the attention of the other person in the building.

    “Takumi, quiet down! It's eleven at night, you should be asleep!” a voice sounding like it belonged to a middle-aged woman emanated from another room. Takumi flinched, startled by the voice.

    “S-Sorry mom!” he stuttered awkwardly, before looking back at his game system. She's probably right though, it's getting late... this feels like a good stopping point, anyway, he thought before pressing a button to turn the system off and closing it. With that, the boy flipped a switch on his lamp to turn the light off. He then laid down on his bed, pulled up his bed sheets, and got comfortable. Within minutes, he drifted off to sleep.

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

    Takumi heard a strange sound, one that almost sounded like a drop of water falling. He opened his eyes and found that he was looking at white. At this, he got up onto his feet to survey his surroundings. He appeared to be in a strange void of white, with some yellow creeping into parts of it. It looked surreal, and it was very quiet, aside from the occasional sounds of water. The ground underneath him didn't look like much at all; it was the same kind of void around him. As he was standing, it almost felt like he was standing on a cloud.

    “...Huh? Where am I?” he said with confusion, looking around. “Am I... dreaming?” he continued, beginning to piece together the situation. Suddenly, there was a flash of yellow light, and the boy shielded his eyes with his left arm in reaction. Moments later, it returned to the empty void of earlier before a masculine sounding voice suddenly echoed through the space.

    Hello, Takumi. I have been waiting for you. The sudden appearance of the voice surprised Takumi, who jumped backwards with a startled yelp and looked around frantically.

    To answer your previous question, this is a world within your own subconscious.

    “My... subconscious?”

    Yes. It is the world your mind resides in when you are asleep.

    “But wait... If this is my subconscious, then how did you get in here? Who are you?” Takumi asked, worried.

    I am a wandering spirit, one that works tirelessly to keep our world's balance. Takumi looked very surprised by the voice's words, but chose to continue listening. You needn't worry, I am not here to bring harm. Actually, I'd like to ask you a favor.

    “A favor? What kind of favor?” the boy inquired.

    You see, I have protected our world for thousands of years. A long time ago, I faced a terrible force, and sealed it away. However, as my power has begun to fade, the seal will soon slip. When that happens, a terrible calamity will approach our world... and I will be unable to stop it.

    Takumi's face paled. “A calamity?! Like the end of the world?!”

    Yes, and I am unable to do anything about it in my current state... but then I learned about humans. They seem to possess a strange power, one that could be of great help to us.

    The boy was confused by the voice's words, but simply tried to process them. As he thought about it, his expression dampened. “But... why would you want me? I'm just a normal kid,” he said meekly.

    I am aware of your world. You have a fondness for those creatures you call “Pokémon”, yes?

    Takumi furrowed a brow. “I do... But what does that have to do with anything?”

    That is why, the voice started again, surprising Takumi with it's response. Because of your affection toward Pokémon, I felt that you would understand them well. As such, I believe that you are my best option.

    “Because I like Pokémon?... wait, does that mean Pokémon are real?!” Takumi jumped back in shock and amazement, thinking that the creatures he knew as virtual actually existed.

    Not in your world, but yes.

    “Does that mean that you're a Pokémon, too?” he asked excitedly.

    You could say that. However, I currently hold no physical form.

    Takumi wanted to ask the voice more about Pokémon, but he assumed that wasn't it's purpose here. Thus, he held those questions back in his mind and asked what he assumed it wanted to hear.

    “So, what do you want me to do?”

    You must come to our world, and use your power to reawaken us. If you do that, we may be able to prevent the coming disaster.

    “Wait, there's still something I don't understand.” Takumi started, “You keep talking about a 'power' I have, but what do you mean by that? I've never had any special powers that I'm aware of...”

    ...I would like to answer that question, but I am running out of time. So, I must bid you farewell.

    “Wait, hold on!...” Takumi tried to stop the voice, but his cries were unheard.

    I wish you luck... And hopefully we will meet again.

    “Hey, I still have more questions-” the boy called out, but there was another sudden flash of light.

    Everything went to white, and his consciousness faded.

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

    When his consciousness finally returned, Takumi was able to hear the sounds of nature around him. He also felt some kind of vegetation under his body. Not expecting it, his eyes shot open. He sat up, and began to look around him.

    “Wha-?” he uttered in confusion.

    What he found was a vivid forest that was full of life, with large and healthy trees, grass that grew a lush green and was blowing in the wind. In the background, sounds of wildlife could seemingly be heard.

    Well, I'm definitely not in Shibuya anymore, he mused. But... where is this? How did I get here? he added, trying to look around. I won't learn anything by sitting here. Exploring is gonna be my best bet, he finished before trying to get up. However, when he tried standing up, he felt strangely unsteady.

    “Whoa!...” he said as he lost his balance and wobbled around, nearly toppling over. He managed to stay upright, but he wondered why his legs were so keen on letting him fall. That was weird... Why am I having so much trouble standing? he started to think, before shooing the idea. No, it's nothing. I'm probably just dazed- he continued before moving his right hand to rub his head.

    However, what he found was not a human hand, but a paw coated in black fur with a pair of red stripes around his leg. He stared at it for a few moments, eyes widened, before the realization set in.

    “AHH!” he yelled out in shock before losing his balance and falling onto his back, then quickly sitting back up. He again pulled up what used to be his hands, and saw that they were indeed paws now. Panicked, he then looked down at his body, and was unsettled to find that the rest of his body was also fur. His legs appeared cat-like, which would explain his trouble standing. On top of all that, he had a tail. Whatever he was, it became clear his body was no longer human.

    W-What? What's happening to me? he stuttered mentally, staring at his body in disbelief. Wait, don't tell me... He looked around frantically, trying to find something to help him. To his left, his eyes caught a pond that he hadn't noticed before. Ah, over there! attempting to reach it, he got up on his hind legs again and tried to walk. This time, he lost his balance and fell on his stomach. He let out an “Oof!” as his body hit the ground.

    I guess I can't walk like that anymore... he looked at his paws again and sighed. Well, if I can't walk, then I'll crawl, he added, crouching with all four of his legs on the ground. He pushed off, and slowly began to make his way towards the pond. Little by little, he inched his way forward, until finally, he was close enough to look down at the water. He gulped, worried to find out what he had become.

    Here goes nothing... he thought, lowering his head to look at the water. As he stared, his reflection formed, and it finally became clear what he was. He was a black cat tipped with red around his muzzle, and tufts of red fur on his cheeks. He had a pair of pointy ears, with faded gray fur on the insides. A pair of parallel red stripes ran across his forehead, and one between both split them down the middle. His sclera were yellow, and his eyes were red. His jaw dropped as he made the connection. I... I know what I am now. It's just as I thought... I've turned into a Litten!

    Takumi had to sit down from the revelation. He lifted up his right forepaw and stared at it in disbelief. T-This can't be real! I must be dreaming! he panicked, before stopping in realization of something. ...Wait! If I'm dreaming, then I just need to slap myself, right? That'll snap me out of it! He closed his eyes and slapped his right cheek with a forepaw. When he opened his eyes again, he looked down, and found that nothing had changed. No, I don't think I'm dreaming at all... this is real.

    He furrowed his brows in thought. But... how did this happen? Why am I here? His eyes then widened as a memory from earlier flashed in his mind.

    You must come to our world, and use your power to reawaken us...”

    Right... That voice said it needed me to come to their world, he mused as he looked around him. So, this must be their world. A few moments later, the cat's eyes widened. Wait. So if I'm a Pokémon, and this is their world, then... does that mean I'm in the Pokémon world?!

    Takumi's eyes sparkled. This... this is awesome! I've become my favorite Pokémon, and now I get to explore the Pokémon world! Maybe this won't be so bad, after all. Moments later however, his expression straightened. But I still don't really know what's going on... oh, right. I was going to start exploring.

    He slowly got up onto his four legs, being careful not to fall. He looked to his right, and saw what looked like a pathway. He confirmed his intentions and nodded. Well, there's no time like the present. However, as the Litten started to get going, he realized something: he had no idea how to walk on four legs.

    “Uhh...” he uttered in confusion as he stared at his paws, before deciding he just needed to try. He slowly put one leg in front of the other, wobbling around a little bit. He managed to make a few steps, but then when moving his right foreleg, he lost his balance and fell down. With a groan, he then pushed himself back onto his feet.

    Mom's cat makes it look a lot easier than it actually is... he thought as he made another attempt. He managed to make a few more steps before stumbling, this time keeping his footing. He slowly trudged on, slowly beginning to maintain his stability. I think I'm starting to get the hang of this! he was beginning to gain confidence, but that wouldn't help much when he failed to notice a fallen tree branch ahead of him. One of his paws caught on it, causing him to trip and tumble onto his stomach. Nevermind... he sighed in frustration.

    Takumi did eventually get the hang of walking on all fours, and was making his way down the path. As he was walking, he looked around him, taking in his surroundings. I didn't think much about it, but I've never really seen something like this, he mused. I didn't leave Shibuya much, so I never really knew what the forest was like. As he continued, he breathed in the fresh air, and smiled softly. This is wonderful... I'm glad I finally got to experience this.

    While he was thinking, he failed to pay attention to the front again, and he bumped into something black. He bounced off and staggered backwards, almost losing his balance. Upon regaining his composure, he looked up to find a large bear staring at him.

    It had black fur on it's body, along with it's arms and feet. It's head however, had pink fur. It's snout and ears were tipped with white. It had small black eyes, and it had a pink tail similar to that of a raccoon. Notably, it's arms were rather large, and they looked like they were strong. Takumi's face blanched upon seeing the bear. Oh no, that's a Bewear... I need to get out of here before he tries to hug me, he thought, trying not to panic.

    “U-Uhh, h-hey there...” the cat stammered. The Bewear continued to stare at him, making him even more anxious. Then, the bear spoke.

    “Hug?” he asked, sending a chill down Takumi's spine.

    O-Okay, d-don't panic. I can h-handle t-this, the Litten thought, trying to suppress his fear.

    “Umm, n-no thanks...” he replied with a stutter as he carefully walked around the Bewear. As he got past, he looked behind him, and saw that the bear was glaring at him. The look sent a chill down his spine. O-Okay, I think it may be time for a crash course in running, he pushed off with his hind legs and took off in a sprint.

    “Waait, come back!” the bear exclaimed before chasing the Litten, the loud noises of his heavy body stomping on the ground only making Takumi panic more. Up ahead, he saw a fallen tree branch that was rather large, although it looked just short enough to jump over. In reaction, the Litten briefly crouched down and pushed off, jumping into the air and clearing the branch before touching back on the ground. Takumi stumbled on landing, but regathered his bearings and running off again.

    Behind him, the Bewear was not very far behind. As he reached where the fallen branch was, he swung his right arm. His arm made contact with the branch, effortlessly smashing it in two with a loud crashing sound. Bewear was completely unfazed, and continued running.

    Takumi then came across a tighter pathway. The trees seemed to squeeze together, but the gap was large enough for him to slip through. Not wanting to give any ground away, he charged in at full speed, managing to slip out through the other side. Only a few seconds later, he heard another crashing noise, which made him squeak in shock.

    “Come back, kitty! I just want to give hugs!” the bear called out.

    P-Please leave me alone... I don't think I can keep this up much longer... Takumi was breathing heavily, very worn out from running for so long. Luckily for him, the Bewear suddenly slowed down, although he was too fixated on running away to notice. The bear slowed to a stop, before looking around with his right paw held up against his head in thought.

    “...What was I doing, again?” Bewear said absentmindedly.

    Back with Takumi, the Litten was still running. He then slowed to a stop and looked around, noticing the Bewear was no longer there. D-Did I lose him?... he thought tiredly. As he turned he head to look in front of him again, he saw what appeared to be a sharp righthand corner. Panicking, he crouched down and shifted his body to the right, turning for the corner before skidding to a halt. Before he could catch his breath however, he saw a blue sea lion-like Pokémon charging straight towards him. Both saw each other and they panicked, trying to slow down. However, the sea lion was moving too fast to stop in time.

    “Ahh!” they both shouted in surprise before the blue pokémon slammed into the Litten with an audible crash, causing the both of them to tumble onto their backs.

    “Ughh...” the two of them groaned, dazed heavily from the impact. Suddenly, a voice called out.

    “Alissa!” the voice shouted, sounding annoyed. At this, the sea lion snapped awake, and rolled over onto her stomach so that she could stand up. Meanwhile, Takumi was still on the ground, his head feeling like it was spinning.

    The voice belonged to a Rowlet, an owl Pokémon with a rounded body. He had a mostly brown plumage, although his face and stomach were white. He had large black eyes and a stubby beak, while his feet were an orange-brown and had two forward facing toes, and one backward facing. He also had a pair of leaves on his chest that looked like a bowtie, along with a large one that made up his tail.

    “Alissa, I told you to watch where you're going!” the Rowlet chastised the sea lion.

    “But he just appeared out of nowhere! There's no way I could've expected that,” the sea lion responded, trying to defend herself.

    Alissa was a Popplio, a blue sea lion Pokémon that was pinniped. She had large eyes with black pupils, along with a long, white snout that had black whiskers and a round, pink nose. Two small, rounded flaps made up her ears, and she had a light blue ruff around her neck. She had two large flippers on the front, and two smaller ones on the back, and the front flippers had a pair of white markings separating the toes.

    “That's why you watch ahead of you! So you can be alert and react to the unexpected!” the owl explained, before sighing and looking at the Litten that was still laying on the ground. “Look, just be careful next time, ok?” he began to calm down and walked towards Alissa and Takumi. “Now, excuse me while I fix the mess you made.” he complained while moving beside the Litten. Alissa moved towards the cat as well.

    “Hello? You alright?” he said, nudging the cat's body with his right wing. In response, the Litten moved both of his forepaws and rubbed his eyes with them.

    “Urghh... My head...” he said with a groan. As he slowly opened his eyes, he found the smiling face of a Popplio standing over him.

    “Hiya!” she shouted loudly, causing Takumi to yelp in surprise and scramble onto his feet. As he turned around, he saw the Popplio and a Rowlet looking at him.

    “I apologize for my sister. She's kind of... eccentric.” the Rowlet said. Takumi was taken aback by his words, however.

    Did he just speak? Like a human? he thought, before a thought crossed his mind. Oh, right. Since I'm a Pokémon, I can probably understand them now... Come to think of it, that Bewear spoke to me, too- his train of thought was derailed by the Rowlet speaking again.

    “Err, hello? Anyone in there?” he said while waving his wing, trying to get Takumi's attention. This snapped the Litten back to reality.

    “Oh!... Uh, y-yeah, sorry,” Takumi responded, sounding embarrassed.

    “Could I ask who you are? I haven't seen a Litten in these parts before,” the Rowlet asked in a formal tone.

    “...M-My name is Takumi,” the cat replied awkwardly. The owl looked like he was about to speak again, before the Popplio hopped in front of the two of them.

    “Hiya! I'm Alissa!” she said with a big smile, surprising Takumi with her sudden appearance. “Oh, and sorry for running you over earlier, I didn't mean to!” she added, although she seemed oblivious to any kind of guilt.

    Takumi gave an awkward smile. “Oh, uhh, It's fine.” He looked a bit to the right and found the Rowlet walking up to him.

    “The name's Mitsuharu, but everyone calls me Robin,” said the Rowlet, making a gesture with his left wing.

    The owl looked attentively at the Litten. “Say, you looked like you were in a rush. Mind if you tell us what you were doing?” he inquired. Takumi froze for a few moments, trying to think of something to say. Then, he spoke.

    “...I was running from a Bewear.” both the Rowlet and Popplio were surprised by the response, although the Popplio quickly recovered.

    “Ooh, that sounds like fun!” Alissa chirped.

    “N-No, it really isn't...” Takumi said, sweatdropping.

    “Wow, what did you do to piss him off?” Robin said sarcastically.

    “I-I didn't do anything! It was the first thing that happened after I woke up!” Takumi attempted to defend himself, freezing up upon realizing what he said.

    Robin's brow furrowed. “Woke up?... Hold on, you were asleep in the middle of a forest?” the Rowlet looked at the cat with skepticism. “Why were you sleeping in the middle of nowhere? It doesn't make sense to me.”

    W-What do I do now? I can't tell them I'm human, they'll never believe me! Takumi worried as he tried to think. But... it would be just as bad to lie. I'd never want to hold a secret like that. He went over his options and sighed. I can't... I just can't do it. I can't lie to them. I'm just going to be honest, and hope for the best. With his mind made up, he looked back at the two, and took a deep breath.

    “I'm a human... or at least I'm supposed to be. I woke up like this, with no idea why, or where I am,” he explained. The Rowlet and Popplio stared in silence for a few moments, which made him even more uncomfortable.

    “You have got to be kidding-” Robin started to speak before Alissa bounced in front of him.

    “Humans really exist?! No way, that's amazing!” she said with sparkling eyes, and pressed her foreflippers against her cheeks. The Rowlet put his right wing up against his face and sighed in frustration.

    “No they don't Alissa, he's clearly lying.” he said with exasperation.

    “I'm telling the truth, I swear! Look, I can prove it!” Takumi retorted, getting the two's full attention.

    “Oh, really? Then do tell, I'm dying to hear it,” Robin replied in a sarcastic tone which Takumi chose to ignore.

    The Litten took a deep breath and started to elaborate as best he could. “I grew up in a human city with my parents and two siblings, one older and one younger. Sometime later, we moved to another city, and I started school, hoping to learn how to program. My older sibling moved away a few years later, and eventually, it was just me and my mom. Last night, I had a strange dream, and then I found myself here, in the body of a Pokémon, with no idea how or why.”

    There was stunned silence for a few moments, before Robin spoke up. “Wow... you didn't hesitate,” he gave a surprised look. “Either you already knew all of... that, or you're the greatest liar in the world.”

    Alissa hopped onto her hind flippers, smiling happily. “See, see? I knew it, we can believe him!” she said excitedly, pointing at Takumi with one of her front flippers.

    “So... you believe me?” asked Takumi.

    “Yeah, I believed you right away!” Alissa replied very enthusiastically.

    Takumi was taken aback by her reply. “Wait, really? You trust me, just like that?”

    “I mean, it's true humans are only mentioned in fairy tales, but that doesn't mean they're made up!” the Popplio started, “I think things like that can be real, we just haven't found them yet! After all, there's still plenty of undiscovered mysteries out there!”

    That's... really open minded, Takumi thought to himself, before nodding and smiling happily. “Well, thank you for trusting me. I'm really glad.”

    “Yup!” Alissa responded, nodding back. She then turned around and looked at Robin, as if she was waiting for a response. Robin looked back at her, before looking over to Takumi and sighing.

    “Alright, fine. I'll believe your words for now,” the Rowlet conceded. “You clearly couldn't have made all of that up on the spot,” he continued. “But don't get excited, I still don't trust you. I just don't think you lied,” he gave Takumi a glare.

    Alissa's eyes widened and she had a big smile on her face. “Yess! I have a human friend! This is so cool!” she shouted happily, bouncing in circles around the Litten, who had a look of surprise and confusion on his face. Eventually, she stopped and looked intently at Robin.

    “Hey, Robin! Can we take him back to the village?” she asked.

    “I don't think that's such a good idea. We still can't really trust him-” he started before Alissa grabbed Takumi with her right flipper. The cat yelped in surprise before the Popplio squeezed him up against her cheek.

    “Pleeease?” the Popplio stared at Robin with puppy-dog eyes, making Robin feel increasingly uncomfortable until he eventually flinched and looked away.

    “Alright, fine! We can bring him!” he yielded. “Just quit looking at me with those eyes!” Alissa then let go of Takumi and jumped up on her hind flippers again.

    “Yayyy!” she shouted, clapping her flippers in excitement, before jumping up and flipping backwards, landing on all fours again. “Come on Takumi, the village is this way!” she added, looking at Takumi and pointing to the path behind her with her left flipper. Then without warning, she took off running in the direction of the village, shocking Takumi.

    “H-Hey, wait up!” the Litten exclaimed before taking off after her. Meanwhile, Robin sighed, pressing a wing against his face again.

    “Oh, Alissa... why am I not surprised?” he said with exasperation, before he began to follow them.

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

    And that's the first chapter! I hope I've piqued your interest, and I'll assure that there's more to come!

    Next time: Takumi meets some new faces and learns more about the world he's ended up in.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
    Virgil134 likes this.
  2. Ambyssin

    Ambyssin Definitely a winter

    Well, you're off and running. There's a bit of a prototypical "chosen one" scenario going on with Takumi's vision at the start there. I appreciate that he has some skepticism, but I think if you really want to sell that, the logical follow up to "As such, I believe that you are my best option." should have been something along the lines of, "What about the millions of other kids who play Pokémon? What sets me apart from them, huh?" And then you could mention that mysterious power that our disembodied voice (I'd say Solgaleo b/c "deeply masculine" makes me think of Mufasa, but it could easily be Tapu Bulu, too) brings up.

    Takumi himself is rather... lax about the whole affair. There's some momentary panic about his situation and some slight walking difficulties, but he seems pretty happy to be here. Which maybe actually make sense once we get some backstory. For now, I'm just concerned that he's not thinking about, say, his mom or his life back in the human world. Alissa and Robin have my interest the most out of the group, simply because of the potential with what I've seen so far. They did call each other siblings (despite being different species). And, at the same time, Robin is rather guarded and reserved while Alissa is a genki girl, for lack of a better description. I'm curious how they ended up so different if they grew up together. But I guess that'll come later.

    I also want to address the narration. I'm the wrong person to be doing this, becuase according to everyone everywhere I am bad at descriptions and that hasn't gotten much better. There's kind of a mix of things being over and under-described here. I say that especially because of the introductory scene having these odd juxtapositions. I can't make a clear mental picture of Shibuya (which is vague or asking me to go to Google), but Takumi's apartment building itself gets some attention. But then the apartment is glossed over while Takumi's human form gets an entire paragraph to itself. I bring that up because, in the future, you might be better off introducing a character's attributes by trying to incorporate it into the narrative flow of events. You could've had Takumi brush aside his black hair to see the screen of his 3DS, for example. Likewise, while you give considerable attention to describing Litten anatomy, not much attention is given to where he actually ended up.

    There are also some moments where you get a bit reptitive. For example, "consciousness" is used in the sentence right before and after your second scene break. Also, since it is established that Takumi is familiar with what Litten, Bewear, Rowlet, and Popplio are, I'm not entirely sure it's necessary to describe them in great detail. Ultimately, that's your choice, but narratively speaking I don't think it's necessary as it doesn't look like anyone in your plot isn't going to know the Gen VII dex (and your audience will know it, too).

    To end off, my usual string of random comments about things.

    Aww, snaps, we 'bout to get TWEWY up in here! Lemme grab my jams!

    He's not using Popplio? worst fic ever, 0/10, smh

    The 't' in 'the' is bolded when it shouldn't be.

    I know I made this mistake too when I started. When you're following dialogue with an attribution, you're not supposed to end it with a period. Because the dialogue attribution isn't a separate sentence (that's why you don't capitalize the start of it). You're supposed to end them with commas instead. I curse FanFiction.net for teaching this bad habit to many people! *shakes fist like an angry old man*

    Uh... dare I ask what happened to the father and younger sister? o_O

    And that's all I got for now. ^^
     
  3. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    Hey, welcome to the fanfic forum! Welcome to posting fic, at least; I know I've seen you reviewing Ambyssin's story before, and it's great that you decided to go ahead and try writing one yourself. I hope you end up having as much fun writing PMD fic as you do reading it.

    Nitpick, Shibuya is a district in Tokyo, not a city in and of itself.

    I think there isn't a great deal to say here, really. This is a pretty standard PMD opening; what matters most is where you go from here. We've had the obligatory wake-up and some brief work on getting used to the new body, we have a couple of pokémon, either one of which could end up being Takumi's partner, and we're on our way to the guild, presumably. So what's going to be the plot that starts up after Takumi gets there and starts taking missions? I think it's generally a good idea to bring what's new and different about your story to the fore as fast as you can; that's what's going to help your fic stand out from all the others, and that's where your creativity really comes in!

    One thing that might help is considering what's important to include in the story, and what you often see in PMD fics but which you might not need in your own particular fic. For example, the very first scene of this story, with Takumi in his house... What does it establish? That he's from Shibuya, that he's a pokémon player, and what he looks like as a human. But does it matter what he looks like as a human? We might see him as a human again sometime down the line, but I imagine it'll be a long way down the line, and I'll have forgotten his appearance by then! And the fact that he's from Shibuya, what his family's like, that he knows about pokémon, all of these things are established in the scene where he's talking to Robin and Alissa. I think if you deleted the first scene, it wouldn't actually change my enjoyment of the chapter at all, and it would let you bring readers to the interesting stuff that much faster!

    In any case, I'm interested to see where you decide to go with this. Takumi seems like a likeable enough guy, and it'll be fun to see how his knowledge of the pokémon games affects how he approaches life as a pokémon.

    I will admit that while I've seen a lot of this before, I haven't encountered an aggressively hug-happy bewear in a PMD intro before, and it definitely made me smile. That sort of humor is something fresh you can bring to your stock PMD tale. Congrats on getting your first chapter up, and I hope you have fun writing this!
     
  4. RocketKnight66

    RocketKnight66 404: Consistent Schedule not Found

    (Sorry if this looks janky, still trying to figure out how everything looks.)

    Thanks for the warm welcome, I appreciate it!

    Oops, I should probably fix that.

    I'll certainly be trying my best to do something different. Also, while there will be the guild of course, there's actually some other things coming up before it. ;)

    I really wanted to show the protag as a human before his adventure started. But yeah, I probably could've managed to do without that I guess. With that said however, I do intend to show some scenes from his human life somewhere down the road. It'll be a little while, but it won't be super late in the story.

    I love a lot of humor in stories, so I can definitely say there'll be more of that, and I hope it'll liven things up.

    Thanks for the review, and I hope you'll stick around for more!
     
  5. RocketKnight66

    RocketKnight66 404: Consistent Schedule not Found

    Thanks for all the feedback on the first chapter! I'm experimenting a bit on some of the descriptions for this one, so please tell me what you think! So with that out of the way, on with the show!

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

    Chapter 2: Welcome to Greenhorne

    Takumi had joined Alissa and Robin on the way back to their village. It was an open forest path that tended to go downhill, and was surrounded by lush vegetation. Sunlight pierced through the large trees and created spots of lighting on the ground. While the group was still traveling, Takumi looked at the sea lion next to him, like he wanted to say something to her.

    “Hey, Alissa?” he said, with the Popplio looking at him in response. “Can I ask you something?”

    “Sure, what is it?” Alissa replied.

    “Could you please not tell anyone that I'm human?” the Litten asked.

    “But why? I think it's cool,” Alissa said with a look of confusion.

    “I know you do, but... I don't think many will share that opinion,” Takumi started. “They'll probably think I'm lying, or trying to trick them... or something like that.”

    “Or they'll think you're insane,” Robin snarked.

    “R-Right...” Takumi tensed at the idea, before looking back at Alissa. “Anyway, can you do that for me?”

    The Popplio nodded. “Okay, I understand. My lips are sealed!” she said with a smile.

    “Thanks.” Takumi smiled back at the sea lion. After that, he looked ahead, finding that the path of trees began to clear ahead.

    “I think that's the exit right there! Come on!” Alissa called out as she increased her pace, breaking away from the group. The other two began to follow, then the sea lion stopped and turned around after she exited the forest. As Takumi made his way out, he saw what appeared to be buildings not too far off.

    “Takumi, welcome to our home: Greenhorne Village!” the Popplio announced excitedly as they all entered the area.

    The village was situated in an open grassy area not far from the ocean, as he was able to see the shore from where he was standing. There were four small houses of wood and straw on the right, one to the left facing north, and a sixth on the opposite side. He could also see some Pokémon moving around, going about their own business, although he couldn't make out what any of them were from that distance.

    A village of only Pokémon... I didn't know something like this existed! he thought, trying to contain his excitement as he looked around.

    “Pretty cool, huh?” Alissa said proudly, and Takumi nodded in response. “Come on, our house is this way!” she added, pointing at the building in the back, before beginning to move again. Takumi and Robin followed her until they were all standing at the door. Alissa then stood up on her hind flippers, and turned the knob on the door, causing it to open. She walked in, with the others in tow. After they all walked in, Robin closed the door behind them.

    “Hey, we're home!” the Popplio announced loudly. However, there was no reply. “Hello?” she called again, still hearing nothing.

    “...Is nobody home?” Takumi asked.

    “I doubt that, dad is probably just sleeping again,” Robin replied with tinges of annoyance in his voice.

    The Litten tilted his head to the side in confusion. “In the middle of the day?”

    “...Yes,” the Rowlet said with a sigh, acting as if this was normal. He and Alissa walked towards the leftmost of the two passageways that were in the house. Takumi looked around and noticed just how small the house was.

    There was not much aside from a fairly sized cabinet to the right, and the aforementioned passageways to the other rooms. The floor and walls were made up of simple wooden planks that at least appeared to be well made. There was also a window on the back wall, which allowed light to pass through. Looking above him, he noticed a roof of straw.

    “Oh, come on. Again?” his attention shifted upon hearing the quiet yet annoyed voice of Robin from the left room. He walked in, and found two rather large beds of straw. The one of the right was unoccupied, while he found a Toucannon sleeping on the other side. He was sprawled out on his right side with his left wing stretched out, and was snoring loudly.

    That does not look comfortable, Takumi mused as he saw the toucan's rather awkward sleeping position. Then suddenly, he heard the loud voice of Alissa.

    “Hey, wake up!” she shouted, her voice resounding through the room. The Toucannon's dark blue eyes shot open, and he reacted with a jolt.

    “Wha-?” he blurted out, before getting up clumsily and turning to find the three looking at him. “Oh, it's you two,” he said groggily, not noticing Takumi for some reason.

    “This is Shouta, our pops,” Alissa stated, pointing at the avian with her right foreflipper.

    “Why must you wake me up at this hour?” he said with an agitated undertone, before finally noticing the Litten in the room. “Wait, who is that?”

    “Oh, that's who I wanted to talk to you about!” Alissa started, “I made a new friend today!” the Popplio added as she then used her foreflippers to push a surprised Takumi towards the Toucannon until they were right in front of each other. “Come on, say hi!” she directed as the Litten looked up at Shouta with a nervous expression.

    “...Well?” Shouta said sternly. Takumi whimpered, intimidated by the Toucannon.

    “M-My name i-is T-Takumi,” the Litten stammered, sweating nervously.

    “...I tried to stop her, Dad. But you know the way she is...” Robin interjected, looking frustrated.

    “It's fine, I am very aware,” he replied before looking over at Alissa. “Where did you meet him?”

    “Oh, I ran into him in the forest. We talked for a while, and I found he was hu-” she started, cutting herself off when she realized what she said. Takumi flinched upon hearing it, and Shouta looked at him with suspicion. “I-I found he was really cool, I mean!” she tried to cover up her error. “Wow, where did that come from?” she finished, rubbing her head and grinning awkwardly.

    Shouta then looked back at the Litten, glaring at him. Takumi could feel the Toucannon's gaze piercing through him. He tried to hide the fear he felt, although he couldn't keep his legs from quivering.

    The avian's face suddenly dulled. “Alright, that's good enough for me,” Shouta suddenly sounded very calm and casual, which likely shocked Takumi even more. “Now leave me alone so I can sleep in peace,” he finished before returning to his earlier sleeping position.

    “But it's not even evening yet-” Robin tried to stop Shouta, but then he heard snoring almost immediately after. The Rowlet simply pressed a wing to his face and sighed in frustration. Takumi then awkwardly looked back at the two, looking very bewildered.

    “...What just happened?”

    As the group exited and returned to the main room, Takumi saw that Alissa appeared troubled.

    “Sorry, Takumi... I almost let it slip!” the Popplio apologized before he could even say anything. He noticed that she had a look of pure guilt on her face, an emotion he hadn't seen her show before. It was very clear that she was genuinely upset over her mistake. “That could've messed up everything...” she lowered her head in shame.

    Takumi was taken aback by her sudden change of emotion. Whoa, w-what's with the mood swing? After taking a moment to process, he gave a comforting smile. “It's okay. It was an honest mistake, right?” A surprised Alissa lifted her head back up to look at him. “And besides, you caught yourself before you said it, anyway.”

    Upon hearing those words, the Popplio returned to her usual cheery self. “You're totally right... thanks, you're really nice!” she said with a big smile. “Come on, let's go to my room!” she added, motioning towards the rightmost passageway and then taking off in that direction.

    “That's my room too, you know,” Robin quipped as he saw the two enter the room. He did not immediately follow them however, instead staying behind briefly, wrapped in thought.

    I can't keep my eyes off of him. He may seem alright now, but it's still too soon to trust him, he mused, before also making his way toward the room.

    The room had two straw beds in the center, these being smaller than the ones in the other bedroom. Alissa was already laying down on the rightside bed. Takumi looked at the other bed, then turned back to Alissa with a look of uncertainty. The Popplio then tapped on the bed with her right foreflipper, motioning that it was fine to get on it. The Litten then nodded and sat down on the bed. Meanwhile, Robin walked in and decided to sit in the corner in the back that was closest to Alissa.

    “Okay, I can't hold this in any longer!” Alissa started, standing back up. “I want to ask you something, Takumi.”

    “What is it?” Takumi responded.

    “What are humans like? What do they do? Where do they live? Do they like to play, too? What kind of games do they like? Are they really big? Do they lay eggs? Do they like circus acts? Please tell me they like circus acts.”

    “Whoa whoa whoa, slow down! I-I can't answer all of those!” Takumi faltered, panicking from the wall of questions he was given. “C-Could you just start with one?” he added, trying to calm himself.

    “Okay,” Alissa answered. Takumi breathed a sigh of relief, and then the Popplio started up again. “What do humans look like?”

    “Okay, let me think for a moment...” the Litten responded. He pressed his left forepaw up against his snout as he tried to think of the words to use. A few moments later, he put his foreleg back down and began his explanation.

    “Umm... I'll start by saying humans are bipedal. Their bodies are proportioned like, umm... I'd say like a Hitmonchan, or a Gardevoir, or something like that. They have hair on their heads, and their skin comes in a few color variations, typically in shades of white, tan, or brown. Oh, and they wear clothes.”

    In response to the last sentence, Alissa cocked her head to the side. “Eh? 'clothes'? What's that?” she asked, confused.

    ...Maybe I should've left that one out, he thought, realizing he probably shouldn't have mentioned something that likely didn't exist in the Pokémon world. Not in the way he was thinking of, anyway. “Uhh... It's something humans make with fabric. It's supposed to keep them warm,” he tried to clarify.

    “Ohh, I think I get it now,” the sea lion responded.

    “Okay, getting back on track now...” Takumi resumed his explanation.

    “...Most humans look different from each other. The colors of their eyes, hair, and skin usually differs from person to person. Their builds can vary a lot as well. One could be very bulky and strong, kind of like a Machoke, and another could be the opposite of that, being more flimsy and small. One person could be short, and another could be very tall.”

    Finally finishing, he sighed. “...Was that a good explanation?” the cat asked. Alissa didn't answer, however. She had her right foreflipper up against her cheek, looking like she was imagining something. A few moments later, she started giggling.

    “Humans look really funny!” she said, trying not to break into laughter. Takumi looked somewhat surprised and confused, wondering just what was going through the Popplio's mind.

    “I-I see...” Takumi uttered, sweatdropping. Meanwhile, Robin quietly watched the two.

    What was all of that? He sure knows a lot of weird stuff... the Rowlet mused, perplexed. It all seems to come to him pretty easily. He knows this stuff too well for it to be a prank. He then looked over to the Litten, still distrusting. Takumi... just what are you thinking?

    Takumi noticed that the owl was staring at him, but chose not to say anything. Instead, he turned back to Alissa, looking like he had something to say.

    “Err, anyway...” he started, “Since I answered one of your questions, could you answer one of mine?”

    “Okay, what is it?” Alissa replied, looking attentively at the Litten.

    “Where are we, anyway? It's been on my mind for a while now,” Takumi inquired.

    “You're silly! Didn't I say we were in Greenhorne Village?” the Popplio answered cheerfully. “But if you want to hear more, I'd love to talk about it!”

    “Uh-” Takumi tried to interject. What Alissa was about to say was probably not what he was looking for, but before he knew it, she had already started speaking.

    “It's really peaceful here, because not a lot of Pokémon live in these parts. Everyone is really relaxed too, so I get to play around with everyone, and pretty much do whatever I want!” she sounded cheery and excited.

    Suddenly, her face dampened. “...But, it kinda gets boring after a while. Nothing ever really happens here... I want to do something more exciting, you know? That's why I go explore in the forest a lot. I'd like to go beyond that, though.”

    “Umm... that's great, but-” Takumi tried to speak, but was interrupted.

    “I don't think that's what he meant, Alissa,” Robin cut in.

    “Wait, really?” the sea lion said with surprise, “What do you mean, then?” she asked, turning back to Takumi.

    “I-I meant this region. Or this part of the world, I mean,” the Litten replied awkwardly.

    “Ohh, that's completely different!” Alissa said in realization, before turning to the Rowlet next to her. “...Could you answer that? I'm not really good with those kinds of things.”

    Robin looked at her for a few moments, then sighed. “...Fine,” he said halfheartedly, moving a bit closer to Takumi before sitting back down.

    The Rowlet began his explanation. “...We're on Taiga Island, one of four main islands that make up the Shizen Region. The islands all have varying environments and demographics, so there's a large variety of Pokémon that live in this region. We get a lot of Pokémon moving here from other regions, as well. As for this island... Taiga is mainly forestland. It's also the smallest of the main islands, so we usually don't see many new visitors in these parts. The majority of the population is in Tasnica City to the north.”

    Takumi smiled gratefully. “T-Thanks, that helps a lot! To be honest, that was a lot more than what I was expecting,” he added.

    “Not a problem,” Robin replied nonchalantly.

    “Say, you seem know a lot about geography. Where did you learn all of that?” the cat asked, curious. Robin paused briefly before glaring at Takumi, making him feel rather uncomfortable.

    “...You already asked your question,” the Rowlet said coldly, the Litten's eyes widening upon remembering.

    “Oh, r-right...”

    “...Although it's nothing to get worked up about, so...” Robin added, sounding calmer. “...I learned it from my mother, that's all.”

    “Ah,” Takumi responded. Not much later, a knocking sound was heard from outside the room. The Litten's right ear twitched, and he instinctively looked around him. Alissa then hopped up onto her flippers.

    “Oh, oh! I'll get it!” she chirped, “You just relax and make yourself comfortable,” she looked at Takumi, who nodded in response before the Popplio ran off. With Alissa out of the room, Robin walked up to Takumi.

    Getting the cat's attention, he took the opportunity to say what was on his mind. “It seems that Alissa has taken a liking to you... but I'm going to make it very clear that I still don't trust you,” the Rowlet's eyes narrowed. “You better not do anything to upset her.”

    “I won't, I promise,” the Litten assured.

    “Good. I'll be watching you,” Robin replied coldly before exiting the room. Now alone, Takumi curled up on the bed.

    As he settled in, he gave a relieved sigh. This is actually pretty comfy... things have been happening so fast today, I've barely had time to think. It's nice to finally relax a bit... he mused. I'm glad I ran into those two, they've been really nice... he smiled softly at the thought of Alissa and Robin. And they've helped a bunch. I'd probably still be lost in that forest if it weren't for them.

    His smile soon faded as another thought crossed his mind. Oh, right... I need to learn more about my purpose here. I wonder if they know something that could help me? He couldn't continue his train of thought however, as a Rockruff suddenly charged into the room.

    “HI!” he shouted excitedly, his tail wagging. The canine's sudden appearance made Takumi yelp in surprise and he scurried away into a corner. Alissa then hopped into the room, having followed the brown Pokémon. As she looked around, she saw Takumi in the corner, eyes wide and fur standing on end. The Popplio couldn't help but giggle at the sight.

    “You can relax, silly! He's one of my friends!” she started, “Come on, say hi!”

    Still nervous, Takumi looked at the canine. “Umm, h-hello. My name is T-Takumi,” the Litten stuttered as he introduced himself.

    “Hi, Takumi! I'm Roderick, but you can call me Ricky!” the Rockruff said excitedly. “You're the new kid that Alissa told me about, right?” he asked.

    “Y-Yeah, I g-guess so...” Takumi answered, still uncomfortable.

    “Well, come on then! Everyone's waiting!” Ricky said as he suddenly darted out of the room, leaving the cat confused by his words.

    “E-Everyone?...”

    “Oh, right! I forgot to tell you,” Alissa said. “Ricky's mom is back, and everyone's gonna play together,” she elaborated. “And you're welcome to join in if you want,” she finished.

    Takumi thought about the notion briefly, then nodded slowly. “Umm, a-alright.”

    Alissa smiled brightly at his response. “Okay! Come on, let's go!” she chirped as she ran out. Takumi followed suit, and they both left the house. Robin, who had been watching quietly in the main room, calmly followed them both.

    Outside, Takumi saw that there was a group of Pokémon out in the open. Alissa had already caught up to them and was waving back at the Litten with her right foreflipper, motioning him to get over there. He increased his place slightly and joined the group.

    As he looked around, he saw that aside from Alissa and Ricky, the group also contained a Poochyena and a Wurmple.

    “Everyone, this is Takumi,” Alissa said, pointing at the cat. Then, she introduced the other two to him. “Takumi, this is Cross and Viletta,” she said, pointing at the Poochyena, then at the Wurmple.

    “Nice to meet you!” the Viletta said. Takumi smiled and nodded.

    “Hey,” Cross said calmly. “I'm guessing you've met my brother?” he asked. Takumi was briefly surprised, but caught on quickly.

    “He's... your brother?” Takumi asked, pointing at Ricky.

    “Yep,” the Poochyena replied with a nod. “Surprising, right? I mean, we're nothing alike,” he said jokingly.

    “Oh come on, we have some things in common!” the Rockruff interjected.

    Cross chuckled. “I know, I was joking.”

    “Now that we're done with introductions, let's get this started!” Alissa shouted in excitement, getting everyone's attention. She started to blow a bubble from her nose. Takumi's jaw dropped as the bubble grew to be just as large as the Popplio, if not larger. Then, the bubble dropped off and she used her hind flipper to jump on it.

    The group watched in awe as she then balanced herself on top of the bubble with only her right foreflipper supporting her.

    “How do you even do that?” Takumi asked.

    “Practice, lots and lots of it,” Alissa answered mid-balancing, not even fazed. “But that's not all I can do!” she chirped as she then moved around and stood on the bubble with her hind flippers. Then, she pushed off. The bubble compressed from the pressure, and popped just as the Popplio took off. She did a backflip in the air and touched down on the ground with her hind flippers, landing perfectly.

    “Ta-daah!” she said, posing proudly.

    “Woah...” Ricky said in amazement.

    “She does this all the time, and yet she never fails to amaze me,” Cross mumbled. “You know, you could totally be a performer with moves like those,” he added, speaking up.

    “Thank you all!” she said with a giggle, very much enjoying the moment. She then returned to her normal position, but continued her act. “And now, for my next act, I'll need... A volunteer!”

    Ricky's eyes sparkled. “Ooh! Pick me, pick me!” he said, jumping wildly and wagging his tail. As this was going on, Robin had been watching silently. Deciding he had seen enough, he walked up to the house behind them, and used his wing to knock on the door. He waited patiently for a few moments before the door opened slightly and a brown Lycanroc peeked out from the opening.

    “Hey, Brock,” Robin said calmly.

    “Hello to you too, Robin. What's up?”

    “I heard Tesla is back. Could I see her?” the Rowlet asked.

    “Sure, come on in,” the canine replied before opening the door completely and letting the owl in.

    “So, how have things been? I heard you made a new friend,” Brock asked.

    Robin flinched slightly. “...It's more like Alissa made a friend and forced me to deal with it,” the Rowlet said, audibly annoyed by the thought.

    Brock couldn't help but chuckle. “That Alissa is a special one, ain't she?”

    “That's one way of putting it...” Robin replied. “Anyway, where's Tesla?” he added, changing the topic.

    “Straight to the point, huh?” Brock started. “She's in the back, come on,” he began to walk towards a passageway to the right in the back of the room. Brock walked in, and Robin looked at the room.

    It was surrounded by fairly large wood bookcases on the left, right and back. The bookcases were stuffed to the brim with a fairly expansive variety of books. There was also a short wooden desk with a lamp that was turned on. The room was quite untidy, however. There was paper strewn all over the floor, and there were some books on the floor, albeit next to the bookcases. And at the center of it was a Mightyena sitting at the desk. She had glasses on and was trying to write something.

    “Oh Tessy, you have a visitor!” Brock teased playfully, eliciting a groan from Tesla.

    “I told you to stop calling me that,” she grumbled as she turned around, noticing that Robin was present.

    “Robin?” she said in surprise.

    “Yeah, it's me,” the owl responded. “I heard you were on break, so I wanted to come and say hi,” he added. “Do you have some time to chat?”

    “I was just working on a report, but I can take a break,” Tesla said, taking off her glasses and putting them on the desk, while Robin walked into the room.

    “Have fun you two!” Brock chirped before leaving, with Tesla facepawing and sighing in response.

    “Brock is so annoying sometimes...”

    “I have to deal with Alissa every day, so I know what that feels like,” Robin quipped, eliciting a chuckle from Tesla.

    “That's true...” she said. “So, anyway, how have you been?”

    “Well, Alissa dragged a weird Litten into my life... But aside from that, I'm doing fine.”

    “Weird? How so?” Tesla asked.

    “He says he's a human, and effortlessly spouts stuff I've never heard of... So a good 10 out of 10,” Robin snarked.

    “...Human?... like in those stories?” the Mightyena asked, perplexed.

    “Yeah, that kind,” Robin replied. Tesla paused for a moment, like she was wrapped in thought.

    “...I'm going to reserve judgement on that until I've met him,” Tesla stated.

    “...Anyway, what have you been up to?” Robin asked, changing the topic.

    “Oh, just your typical rescue work,” the Mightyena replied calmly. “We recently had a lot of downtime for missions, so the Guildmaster let me and Miu off on break.”

    “What about mom? Did she get off, too?”

    “...The Guildmaster offered her break time, but she rejected it. I guess she's just really into her work right now,” Tesla replied. Robin sighed.

    Tesla noticed he looked unhappy, and made an effort to help. “...Do you miss her?” Tesla asked with concern.

    “Maybe a little,” Robin replied, suppressing his sadness.

    Tesla frowned. “You don't need to hide your emotions, it's perfectly reasonable to miss her. It's been a month, after all.”

    “But I can't show weakness. When she's gone, I have to do most of the work around here. I can't slow down just because I'm lonely,” the Rowlet said solemnly. Tesla frowned.

    A thought went off in Tesla's head. “...You know, I think that Litten might be a good thing for you.” Robin blinked and looked at the Mightyena with surprise.

    “What?”

    “He's another Pokémon to be around, right? Having another friend would probably make you happier. You wouldn't be as lonely, after all,” she explained. “Don't you think that's a good reason to try and trust him?”

    “...I hadn't thought about it like that,” the owl said.

    “Do you feel better now?”

    “I guess a little bit, thank you,” Robin replied, a small smile appearing on his beak.

    “Now that we're all feeling better, why don't I show you one of the books I picked up back on Kauwela? I think you might find it interesting,” Tesla suggested.

    “Sure, let's see it,” Robin said with a nod. Tesla walked over to the bookcase and picked out a book with a red cover on it. Robin walked over and took a look at it.

    “...The Ruins of Taiga Island?...” he read out the title aloud. “Wouldn't that just be talking about the Ruins of Conflict?” he asked with an eyebrow raised.

    “Not exactly,” Tesla started as she began to flip through pages. “In Chapter 4, the author talks about other, smaller ruins on this island. Including...” she continued. “...If I can ever find the dang page...” she said with slight annoyance, struggling to find the page she was looking for. However, she did eventually find it. “...Here we go.”

    Robin looked over and read the page. When he came up to a particular passage, he read it aloud. “I've heard from several explorers that there are ruins hidden in... Celceta Forest.” When he realized what it said, he had to do a double take. “Wait, Celceta Forest?!” the Rowlet shouted, showing the most surprise he probably had in a while.

    “Yeah, that's what it says,” Tesla confirmed. “I had no idea. And there weren't many Pokémon in the guild who knew, either. Apparently, this book is pretty obscure,” she added, before grinning. “I bet it'd be worth a lot if I sold it.”

    The Rowlet's eyes widened. “No way, you're not seriously planning on selling this, are you?”

    Tesla chuckled, trying to hold back laughter. “Nah, I'm just messing with you.”

    Robin sighed in disbelief. “...Really?...”

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

    Meanwhile, the other kids were still playing around. Ricky and Cross were chasing each other, while Alissa and Takumi were playing around, with Viletta watching. Alissa was blowing another bubble with her snout.

    “What number bubble is this one? I think I lost count,” Viletta asked.

    “Fifteen,” Alissa said, her voice muffled because of the bubble blowing.

    “Geez, Takumi. When will you just admit defeat?” she teased.

    “I won't have to... because I'm sure this will be the one!” the Litten said, determined.

    “That's what you said the last fourteen times.”

    “All done!” Alissa said, finishing the bubble.

    “Alright, here.. we.. go!” Takumi said as he hopped on the bubble. He tried to balance himself on four legs, and was managing to do so.

    “Hey, he's finally learning!” Viletta said.

    But alas, even fifteen bubbles would not be enough, as the instant Takumi attempted to balance on his forelegs, he wobbled over and tumbled off, landing on his back.

    “Oh, geez,” Viletta said with a sigh. If she had hands, she'd likely be facepalming. “You have to the most unathletic Litten I've ever seen,” she snarked.

    “You know... I think I'm not very good at acrobatics,” Takumi said tiredly.

    “You think?

    Alissa giggled as she watched the two banter, when she heard a door open. Turning around, she saw that it was Robin, who was waving back at the Pokémon in Ricky's house.

    “You guys are still playing around?” he asked as he walked up to the three.

    “Yup!” Alissa said with a nod.

    The Rowlet then looked at the sky, and noticed the sun was beginning to set. “...It's getting late, probably time to start wrapping up.”

    “Aww, come on!” the Popplio pleaded.

    “I mean, he's got a point. I should probably go and get some rest,” said Viletta.

    Robin looked down and noticed that Takumi was laying down, exhausted from his... many attempts at acrobatics. “...And I doubt I need to ask what he's thinking,” he quipped. Alissa looked at everyone and sighed.

    “Oh, alright...” Alissa said, defeated. She then turned to Cross and Ricky off in the distance. “Thank you, this was fun! But we need to go home now!” she shouted, returning to her usual cheerfulness.

    “Okay, see you later!” Ricky shouted back at them. Takumi slowly got back up on his feet, and then the three went towards their house.

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

    Once they were back home, everyone went and ate dinner, and they readied to go to their rooms. As Takumi walked in, he noticed something different about the room: there was now a third straw bed in the back of the room.

    “Wait, when did that third bed get there?” Takumi started, before looking at Shouta. “Did you do this?”

    “Yep, made it while you three were gone. If we're gonna have a guest, might as well make him comfortable,” the Toucannon responded.

    Takumi smiled, albeit awkwardly. “T-Thanks Shouta, I don't know what to say...”

    “Don't worry about it,” Shouta replied. “Alright, I'll be heading off to bed now. You three make sure you don't stay up too late,” he finished, sounding rather nonchalant. With that, he walked off.

    Alissa yawned. “He won't need to worry about that, I'm spent...” Alissa said as she plopped down onto the rightside bed.

    “Me too...” said Takumi, who also yawned. He got up onto his new bed and curled up. Robin then sat down of the leftside bed.

    “...If you two care, I read something interesting today,” Robin offered, getting the attention of both the Popplio and Litten.

    “What is it?” Takumi asked.

    “Well, apparently there's some hidden ruins in the forest, and their rumored to contain relics of the island guardians.”

    “Wait, really?” Takumi said in surprise.

    “Yeah.”

    Island guardians, huh? Takumi thought.

    “Oh, I so know what I'm doing tomorrow!” Alissa said, perking up.

    “You can't be serious, right?” Robin was disconcerted by the idea. “The book was pretty obscure, so that information isn't exactly reliable. Who's to say if these so called ruins even exist?” the Rowlet objected.

    “Well, how will we know if we don't try?” Alissa replied, still adamant.

    “Even if they do exist, It'll probably be dangerous. Anything could be down there.” he continued trying to convince her, but he got no reply from the Popplio.

    Robin sighed. “...Look. If that's what you want to do, then I won't stop you. But I'd appreciate it if you tried to think things over this time.” Alissa looked at the Rowlet blankly for a few moments.

    “Okaay...” she said with a yawn, sounding rather disinterested. “...Well, this bed is calling my name, so I'm gonna go sleep now. Night guys!” she finished, still cheerful despite the tiredness in her voice. She then curled up on her bed, and closed her eyes.

    It seems like Robin cares a lot about Alissa... Come to think of it, what is their relationship, anyway? They said they were siblings, but they're not even in the same egg group... Takumi mused. He then looked at Robin. He noticed the Rowlet had a wing pressed against his face, and he could hear him give a frustrated sigh. The cat wanted to say something, although he looked very nervous.

    “Hey, umm...” the Litten started, getting the Rowlet's attention. “G-Goodnight, Robin,” he said awkwardly.

    To his surprise, the coldness in Robin's voice that he was getting used to hearing wasn't there. “...You too.” Takumi cracked a bit of a smile, feeling hopeful that the Rowlet was perhaps beginning to warm up to him. Robin looked away and began to settle down, leaving the Litten alone with his thoughts.

    Those 'island guardians' Robin mentioned sound like they're pretty important... I wonder if they know anything about where I'm supposed to go in the Pokémon world?... As he mused, the tiredness began to get to him, and he yawned again. ...I probably shouldn't worry myself about that tonight, though. I should get some rest.

    With that, his thoughts soon faded, and he drifted off into a deep sleep.

    ------------------------------
    I'm honestly a bit worried about how this will be received, since I'm kinda going on a slower pace here. I wanted to delve into the characters more before getting to the guild part, it'll still be a bit before we get to that. But trust me, things will start to pick up in the next chapter.

    Next time: The peace in Greenhorne is disturbed.
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
    Virgil134 likes this.
  6. Ambyssin

    Ambyssin Definitely a winter

    The descriptions here are definitely more detailed and paint a clearer picture. You may have actually swung toward the opposite side of the spectrum and overdescribed things in a few places. I think there are some redundant parts when describing the house and the material its made of. And you don't bother describing what Robin, Cross, Tesla and Viletta look like, but you do describe Brock, for some reason. Which is inconsistent, since none of your characters wouldn't know what any of these species of Pokémon look like.

    Still, Greenhorne Village, even by traditional PMD starting location standards, seems very small and quite sparsely populated. Something which Robin and Alissa touch on... making it nice that my thoughts were confirmed. It's also interesting that Robin refers to this as a "Region." It's a collection of islands, which does scream Alola. But the "region" bit really makes me think of, well, the world from the main games. I don't think I've read a PMD fic that addresses it as a region. It could just be a throwaway bit that I'm harping on for no reason. But maybe it has some significance? I mean, you do drop Ruins of Conflict into the mix and that is a canon locale from the Alola games. It can't just be a coincidence. The fact that there's a full-fledged city caught my attention, too. Just how big is it, huh?

    To address you little author's note, yes, I do think the pacing here was rather slow. We've ended with a sense of direction, but as it stands for me right now, how we got to that point is mostly fluff. You introduce several different characters to me, but I don't really have anything to say about them. Because the only one whose intro felt relevant to the story at hand was Tesla's, due to the guild affiliation and dropping the hints about both the ruins and the fact that Robin's (and Alissa's, maybe?) mom works for the guild and seems to be quite busy. Like, you could've had the chapter starting off with the trio running into Tesla and learning about the ruins, leading them to head back into the forest and, I don't know, encounter some trouble. That might've offered a more alluring second chapter. As it stands, I think it's perfectly fine. The chapter does what it sets out to do. And it does make me feel like I need to read the next chapter if I want a clearer picture of what's going on here.

    Whatever would give them that idea? *cough*

    Related to the other dialogue bit, this is not a dialogue atribution, but Takumi doing an action. In these situations, it's okay to end the dialogue with a period.

    So, while I do like the motor mouth moment here for Alissa, both the starting and ending bits of narration are redundant and unnecessary. It's pretty clear from Alissa's dialogue (and Takumi's line that follows) that she's gone into motor mouth mode and is pestering him with questions. I'd suggest you delete the narrative fluff.

    Even in another world, we're not safe from dog and cat shenanigans. :p

    You use "interest" twice here and it's pretty noticeable.
     
  7. RocketKnight66

    RocketKnight66 404: Consistent Schedule not Found

    Time for stuff to start happening, so buckle up tight! A different side of some of the characters are gonna come out in this chapter, so feedback would definitely be appreciated for that!

    Now, on with the show!

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

    ~Tesla's Home~

    In one of the bedrooms, there were two straw beds. Cross was sleeping on the left one, or at least he was trying to. The Poochyena was feeling restless, not much later opening his eyes and slowly sitting up.

    “Man, I just can't sleep tonight...” he groaned. “Maybe I'm just hungry,” he added, proceeding to groggily get up and walk out of the room. In his current state, he failed to notice the rightside bed was empty.

    Walking out into the main room, his ears perked at hearing sounds coming from the back room. Looking closer, he noticed some light coming from the room.

    “That's odd, I thought Tesla was asleep,” the Poochyena said with an eyebrow raised. He walked through the passageway before his eyes widened upon finding Ricky, who appeared to be reading a book.

    “Ricky? What are you doing up so late?” Cross asked. “...And since when do you read?” The Rockruff's head turned to look at Cross.

    “Hey bro, come take a look at this!” Ricky said, motioning Cross to come closer. As the Poochyena did, he recognized the red cover on the book.

    “Wait, is that 'The Ruins of Taiga Island?'” Cross asked, looking surprised. “How did you find out about that?”

    “Remember when mom said she brought some books back from Kauwela?” Ricky asked, to which the Poochyena nodded. “I got curious and wanted to see if there was any books of cool legends or treasures, or something like that. And look what I found!” he said, looking excited despite the time.

    A concerned look appeared on the Poochyena's face. “Hey, mom told me you weren't supposed to read that one...”

    “Too late!” Ricky replied with a goofy smile. Accepting the situation, Cross then walked over and glanced at the pages.

    “So, what did you find, anyway?” the Poochyena inquired.

    “It's here.” Ricky pointed at some text on the right page. Cross took a look at it, reading it out in his head.

    I've heard from several explorers that there are ruins hidden in... Celceta Forest? The Poochyena's eyes widened at the last part. He looked over to the Rockruff beside him, worried about what he could be thinking.

    You can't be planning to do what I think you are, right?...

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

    Chapter 3: Rescues are Ruff

    ~Shouta's Home~

    “Wake up sleepyhead, it's morning!” the first thing Takumi heard was the cheery voice of Alissa calling out to him. The Litten was not very keen on getting out of bed however, giving a tired groan.

    “...Just five more minutes...” he muttered. The cat had sprawled out onto his back over the course of the night.

    “Come onn, let's go!” The Popplio said, nudging Takumi with a foreflipper. That got the cat's attention, as his right ear twitched, and his eyes shot open moments later. He stretched his limbs out and gave out a yawn, before getting up into a sitting position.

    “Good morning, Takumi!” Alissa chirped, smiling warmly.

    “Yeah, good morning to you, too,” Takumi replied, still groggy. He was rubbing his left eye with a paw. He then looked over to the bed on his right, noticing it was empty. “Where's Robin?” he asked.

    “Oh? I guess he's already up,” the Popplio responded, seeming to not have noticed. “Well anyway, let's go have some fun!” she finished, her attention shifting back quickly.

    “Wait, right now? I haven't really woken up yet...” Takumi said with mild surprise, still sounding tired.

    “I guess you're not much of a morning person, huh?” Alissa asked, to which the Litten shook his head.

    “Why don't I ask Pops to make some Sitrus Juice, then? It'll perk you right up!” The Popplio suggested.

    “Sure, that sounds good,” Takumi replied with a nod before the two got up and left the room.
    A few minutes later, the two of them were sitting with Shouta in the main room. They all had bowls of yellow juice that were mostly empty, and they had also finished eating some apples.

    “So, do you feel better?” Alissa asked as Takumi picked up his bowl again and drank the last of the juice in it, then putting it back down.

    “Yeah, I do. And it tastes really good, too,” he responded. “Thanks, Shouta!” he added, turning to look at the Toucannon.

    “You're welcome. Now if you excuse me, I'll be heading off now,” Shouta replied before getting up and heading back to his room.

    But it's morning... Does he do anything but sleep? Takumi thought, sweatdropping.

    “Now that you're feeling better, what do you want to do today?” Alissa said enthusiastically.

    “Uhh... I haven't really put much thought into that,” Takumi replied.

    “That's okay! Hey, maybe we should-” the Popplio was about to suggest something, when the door behind them swung open to reveal Robin, who looked very serious.

    “Hey, you guys need to-!” the Rowlet started to speak, before noticing Takumi and Alissa were looking at him. “Oh, you're already awake. That's good,” he remarked.

    “What's up Robin?” said Alissa.

    “I came to get you guys because we have a problem, and it's a big one,” Robin stated. At those words, Takumi's eyes widened in surprise, and Alissa cocked her head to the side.

    “H-Huh? A problem?” Takumi said.

    “What's going on?” Alissa asked.

    “Just come with me, alright?” The Rowlet motioned with his right wing to follow him, and he ran out. The Litten and Popplio exchanged glances before getting up and taking off after Robin.

    As they were running, the two noticed that a big crowd of Pokémon had gathered in the center of the village. Soon enough, they caught up with Robin.

    “H-Hey... Will you tell us what's happening now?” Takumi said between breaths.

    “I don't need to,” the Rowlet stated, pointing to the front with his wing. Looking ahead, Takumi saw Tesla in the center of the crowd, with Cross and Brock beside her. The Mightyena appeared rather uneasy as she began to speak.

    “...So you all are probably wondering why I called you all here,” she started.

    “Yeah, could you key us in already? I'm tired of being left in the dark here,” a Sudowoodo complained.

    “...To put it bluntly, I have a problem that I need help with,” the Mightyena resumed. She knit her brows from worry. “It's Ricky. I woke up today, and he...” she trailed off at the end. She took a deep breath and continued, her voice uneasy.

    “...He's gone missing.”

    “WHAT?!” almost the entirety of the crowd shouted in unison. Takumi and Alissa gasped in shock, although Robin didn't seem as affected.

    “What do you mean missing?” a Beautifly in the crowd asked.

    “I mean, not here! I looked everywhere, but I couldn't find him!” Tesla snapped in response before looking away. She cursed under her breath, losing her composure. Brock walked up and placed a foreleg on her shoulder.

    “Tessy, it'll be alright. I'm sure of it,” the Lycanroc tried to comfort her. “Just calm down, and we'll figure out a plan, okay?” Tesla nodded and took a deep breath. As he watched his parents however, Cross appeared very anxious. Turning to the crowd, he spoke up.

    “...I think I know what happened,” the Poochyena said solemnly. Everyone turned to look at him, awaiting what he was going to say. “...I caught him reading the book about the ruins on the island. He... probably went into the woods to look for them,” he explained. Tesla turned to him, taken aback by his words.

    “I thought I told you not to let him find that book!” the Mightyena glowered, causing Cross to cower in shock. Upon realization of her actions, she looked away guiltily.

    “He found it while I was asleep... I'm sorry, I should've made more of an effort...” the Poochyena replied, downcast.

    The Mightyena frowned. “...No, you did nothing wrong, I should've made sure he couldn't get to it. I shouldn't have yelled at you. It's just... hard to keep my cool right now.”

    “Hey!” Alissa's voice emanated from the crowd. The three canines turned to look at her. “So what you're saying is, Ricky's in the woods looking for stuff?” the Popplio deduced.

    “...I guess you can put it that way,” Cross responded.

    “Well I go into the woods all the time, and I'm perfectly fine! So I'll bet Ricky's doing fine, too!” Alissa said, remaining optimistic.

    “I'm not so sure about that,” Robin interjected, getting Takumi and Alissa's attention. “And Alissa, that logic of yours is pretty shallow,” he added, criticizing the Popplio's remark.

    “When you go into the woods, you're just messing around. But Ricky? He's actively looking for those ruins. He'll probably be trying to find cave entrances and things like that. And if he does go in one, you can't say for certain what he'd find down there. There could pitfalls or wild Pokémon, just for an example. And there is one other thing...”

    Takumi's head tilted to the side. “Umm, what would that be?” he asked.

    Robin looked at him, and gave a blunt answer. “Mystery Dungeons.” At those words, most of the crowd gasped in shock.

    Mystery... Dungeons? Takumi thought, more confused than before. “I'm sorry, but what's a Mystery Dungeon?”

    Robin looked at the Litten with an exasperated expression. “Really? You don't know?” he said in a deadpan tone.

    “No, I don't... I-Is that bad?” Takumi asked sheepishly.

    “...Whatever, it doesn't matter,” the Rowlet said with a sigh before returning his attention to the original topic. “They're dungeons scattered all over the world. The layouts of the dungeons change every time someone goes into one, hence the 'mystery' part.” he explained, “They can appear just about anywhere, and they tend to disappear just as suddenly as they show up. And lately, we've been getting more of them in these parts.”

    “You... You don't think Ricky is in one of those, do you?” Takumi was concerned at the idea.

    “...I wouldn't rule out the possibility,” Robin replied. Takumi looked around, seeing that this had raised a ruckus in the crowd.

    This is bad... What if Ricky got lost in a Mystery Dungeon? I have to go help- the Litten began to mull over the situation, when he heard the voice of Alissa from behind.

    “Mystery... Dungeon...” her voice came out through shuddering breaths. Turning around, he saw the Popplio was trembling. She broke into a cold sweat, and her irises had shrunk.

    “A-Alissa?” Takumi stammered. Moments later, the Popplio flinched, and shook her head. When she opened her eyes again again, her expression was far more serious than Takumi had seen before.

    “I... I have to help him!” she muttered before running up to Tesla. “I'm gonna look for him!” she shouted.

    The Mightyena recoiled in shock. “What? You can't! This could be a Mystery Dungeon we're talking about here!”

    “That's why I have to go!” Alissa retorted. “He's my best friend! If he's in trouble, then I'm gonna help!”

    Tesla gave a stern look. “...No, it's far too dangerous. I'm a rescuer, I'll go look myself,” the Mightyena declared. Suddenly, Takumi ran up as well, stopping beside Alissa.

    The Litten looked nervous, but he took a deep breath and then spoke up. “I-I'm going, too!” Tesla's eyes widened and she turned to look at him. “Yeah, it sounds kinda scary, but I can't just stand by when someone might be in danger!”

    “Takumi!” Alissa exclaimed. The cat nodded in response. Tesla appeared to be mulling over whether to let them go or not, when another voice emanated from the crowd.

    “More Pokémon searching should make it easier to find him.” Robin walked up and stood to Takumi's left. “And besides, you can trust them with me around, right?” he added with a smirk.

    “And Robin, too!” Alissa shouted, smiling. “Well, will you let us go now?” she said as she turned back to Tesla.

    The Mightyena started for a few moments, then sighed. “...Very well.”

    “Yes!” Alissa pumped her right foreflipper in the air. “Let's go, team!” she said before starting to run off.

    “Hold on!” Tesla called, bringing her to a stop. “It would be better if you went with me. I'll go prepare, and we can go together,” she offered.

    “Okay...” Alissa replied. Takumi turned around and walked to her, leaving Robin with Tesla.

    “Make sure you keep those two safe, okay?” the Mightyena said.

    “I will,” Robin replied with a nod before turning around to join the rest of the group. A few moments later, Tesla returned to her house in order to prepare. Some of the crowd returned to their homes, although many remained out.

    “Alright, let's get going!” said an upbeat Alissa.

    Robin sighed in exasperation. “Did you not hear what Tesla just said?” he scoffed. “We're waiting on her to get ready.”

    “But I don't want to wait! Ricky needs our help!” Alissa replied impatiently.

    “Well, we won't be of much help if we go unprepared and get ourselves in trouble,” the Rowlet countered. Not wanting to give in to Robin's argument, the Popplio turned to Takumi.

    “What about you, Takumi?” she asked. Takumi flinched from the sudden question.

    “M-Me?” he stuttered, to which Alissa nodded. “Umm, well... I want to go help of course, but... It seems smart to make sure we're ready,” he answered awkwardly.

    “I am ready!” Alissa persisted.

    “No, you only think you are because you're letting your emotions take over,” Robin rebutted. “Just be patient and wait for Tesla.” In response, Alissa turned away and gave a frustrated huff. Takumi, who was caught in the middle, felt rather uncomfortable from the exchange.

    Well, that was unpleasant, he mused before looking over to the Popplio. ...And is it just me, or is Alissa acting kind of strange? He then looked over to Robin, who appeared to be lost in thought. ...Maybe I should keep an eye on her just in case. As he finished his thought, he saw Robin look back in his direction, before jumping in shock. Takumi's attention returned to the right, his eyes widening in surprise upon finding Alissa running off towards the forest entrance by herself.

    The Litten's right eye twitched. Are you kidding me, Takumi?! Did you seriously look away, right after saying you need to watch her?!

    “Come on, we need to catch her!” Robin said before taking off after the Popplio. Takumi froze for a moment before flinching and shaking his head.

    “H-Hey, wait up!” the Litten called out, following suit.

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

    ~Celceta Forest~​


    Celceta Forest was lush and beautiful, with large trees, grass and many sorts of vegetation lining the area. The terrain sometimes formed hills and small rocky walls. The scenery however was not on the minds of Takumi and Robin, who were rushing through in search of Alissa, although they were struggling to find her. In a more open area, the Rowlet came to a stop, and looked around him.

    “Arghh, where is she?!” the Rowlet growled in frustration. Moments later, Takumi caught up, looking exhausted.

    “She's... really... fast...” he said, out of breath.

    “Yeah, she's a lot quicker than she looks. You'd be surprised how quickly she can get away when no ones watching,” the Rowlet replied.

    “I-I'm sorry...” suddenly, Robin heard the voice of Takumi. Turning around, he noticed the Litten had a gloomy expression, lowering his head to look at the ground.

    “Huh? What for?” the owl asked.

    “I saw how strange she was acting... I should've been paying more attention to her.”

    “Oh, that? Don't worry about it,” Robin replied. “To be honest, I wasn't paying much attention, either. I was kinda lost in my head for a bit, heh heh...” He rubbed the back of his head with a wing and chuckled awkwardly. “And besides, she's gone off on her own too many times to count. I'm more used to this than I should be, honestly.”

    “...But that's enough of that,” the owl changed the topic. “Let's get back to looking. The sooner we find her, the better.” He beckoned Takumi to follow him, and the two continued on their way.

    They eventually started climbing in elevation, with a clifface beginning to show itself on the righthand side, while the left remained dominated by trees. Soon enough, they reached another more open area.

    “Alissa!” Takumi called out, hoping the Popplio was near.

    “Alissa, where are you?” Robin was doing likewise. However, it seemed she was not in the area. Robin sighed. “We'll never find her at this rate.”

    Takumi frowned. “I just hope she's okay...” Behind him, Alissa appeared from the bushes, walking up to him.

    “There you are!” she chirped. Takumi yelped in shock, spinning around to find the Popplio looking at him.

    “A-Alissa? Where were you?” he stammered.

    “We've been looking all over for you!” said Robin.

    “Y-You okay? Nothing happened?” Takumi asked, concerned.

    “Yeah, I'm fine! The forest is no sweat for me!” she replied, causing Takumi to sigh in relief. “Actually, I was wondering where you guys went.”

    Robin walked up the Popplio, a scowl on his face. “Well, it's not really our fault when someone leaves us behind without warning. I thought I told you to wait for Tesla.”

    Alissa gave a frustrated groan. “And I already told you I wasn't going to wait. Ricky could be in danger!”

    “But you never take on a rescue mission unprepared! Because the unexpected can happen, and heart alone won't help you then,” the Rowlet countered.

    Alissa glowered. “Ugh, why do you keep going on with that? You're all 'prepared' this, and 'prepared' that! You sound like a broken record, you know.”

    Robin seemed unfazed by the Popplio's comment. “Because apparently, once isn't enough to get through that thick skull of yours,” he replied coldly. Alissa's eyes widened momentarily, before clenching a foreflipper and uttering an angry growl. She then turned around and began to leave.

    “A-Alissa? Where are you going?” Takumi stuttered in surprise.

    The sea lion turned her head to look back at him. “Looking for Ricky, of course! Let's get going already!”

    Takumi looked at Robin, then back to Alissa. Robin threw up his wings and sighed in exasperation, before the two proceeded to follow her.

    The three continued on their way, Alissa leading with Takumi and Robin staying back. It seemed like both sides began to give way to a cliff the further they went, until they came across a bridge. It was made of wood, and the strings making up the sides and holding it together appeared rather worn. It almost seemed like it was shifting in the wind.

    “That bridge looks awfully flimsy...” Takumi observed.

    “Maybe we should find way around,” Robin suggested.

    “We don't have time for that!” Alissa responded, “Come on guys, let's go!” she motioned the two to follow her, as she began to step onto the bridge. As Takumi moved closer, he took a look at what was below. There was a fast-flowing river below, dotted with several large rocks.

    His eyes widened. “U-Umm, I-I dunno about this...” he said nervously.

    Alissa turned around as much as she could to look back. “Don't worry, it's a lot better than it looks!” the Popplio said, trying to encourage the cat.

    Takumi nodded slowly. “O-Okay.” Looking at the bridge once more, he breathed in deeply. Okay, here goes... he thought. As he got on, he made sure to tread slowly. A gust of wind came by, causing the wood to make rattling noises, frightening him.

    “Eep!” he uttered, wincing. His legs shook, before he took another deep breath. D-Don't look down, j-just don't look down... he thought, trying not to feed his fears. Forcing himself to look ahead, he continued, catching up to Alissa. But then...

    *Riiip!*

    He heard the rope begin to tear. His face blanched, and his legs froze completely, paralyzed by fear.

    “The bridge is gonna fall! You have to move! Now!” Robin shouted as loud as he could, but it was too late.

    *Snap!*

    The rope gave way, causing the bridge to fall, and Alissa and Takumi with it.

    “AHHHHH!” the two plummeted towards the river below. Takumi closed his eyes shut, waiting for the impact. He did get one, but not where he expected. He felt something ram into him from the side. He felt his trajectory change, and moments later, he landed on solid ground, with the sounds of two separate impacts also being heard. He grunted from the impact, tumbling a bit before coming to a rest on his stomach. There was silence for a few moments, before the Litten slowly came to.

    Takumi groaned, slowly opening his eyes. ...I think I'm in meowhalla... he thought, still dazed from what had happened moments before. He snapped back to attention however, upon hearing groaning from both Robin and Alissa. Looking around, he found he was indeed on rocky ground, with the raging river only just to his left. To the right was a rough wall of rock. Wh... What happened?...

    “...You two okay? You fell when the bridge collapsed.” Takumi turned back to the front of him upon hearing Robin's voice, finding the Rowlet pressing a wing up against his aching head.

    “U-Umm, I guess so...” Takumi stuttered, still in shock.

    “Yeah...” he heard Alissa's voice from behind, turning his head to find the Popplio getting back up onto her flippers.

    “W-What happened? I thought we were going to fall into the river,” the Litten inquired.

    “I jumped off and caught you two,” the owl replied.

    “Wait, really?” Takumi said, surprised. Robin nodded. “T-Thanks, I don't know how to repay you...”

    The Rowlet shook his head. “Nah, the thank you is good enough for me.” Meanwhile, Alissa remained silent, the Popplio seemingly staring off at the river with a blank expression. Robin took notice of her, and his expression changed to a scowl almost immediately. “As for you...” he started as he walked up to her.

    “...This is what happens when you go on a rescue mission unprepared!” The Rowlet barely managed to subdue the anger in his voice. Alissa snapped out of her trance and turned her head to look at him.

    “The unexpected happens. You have to be ready for when things go wrong, because rescue missions go wrong a lot. Passion and heart are good, but you need more than that. You need good intellect, sharp reflexes, and most importantly, you need to be prepared.” Silence followed for several seconds, before Alissa turned back to face him.

    “...Why do you talk like you know everything about rescuing?” she started, with Robin raising an eyebrow in response. “You act like some big know-it-all, but you've never been on a rescue team! What makes you think you know all that?” the Popplio complained.

    Robin however, remained calm. “Alina does. She taught me everything she knows, and Tesla has given me pointers as well. Sure, I don't have experience yet, but I learned my rescuing knowledge from the best rescue team in Shizen. You think I'm wrong? Fine, tell me why we ended up in this situation.” Alissa responded with a light gasp, realizing she did not know how to respond, before turning her head away. A few seconds of silence followed, and then the Popplio turned to look at him again. This time however, her expression was much more intense.

    “...You just don't get it!” Robin and Takumi jumped in surprise from the sudden shout. “Ricky's my best friend, and he could be in a lot of trouble! I'm not gonna just stand by and let that happen! And yet here you are, thinking like I'm some kind of idiot for trying to help him!”

    “You're twisting my words, I never said anything of the sort.” Robin glared, although his voice didn't denote any anger.

    “Oh come on, I know that's what you're thinking. I'm here trying to help my friend, and you just stand there, acting like you don't even care!” Alissa snarled. Robin's eyes widened from the accusation.

    “Wait, what? What do you mean, 'I don't care?'”

    “I've been worrying about Ricky this whole time, that's why I want to rush off and help him! And yet, you keep telling me not to go!”

    “I kept telling you not to run off because we needed to prepare and do this right. Like you know, not being rash and putting ourselves in danger?” Robin rebutted.

    “You keep saying that, but I know you don't like me or him! I bet you want something to happen to him so he'll stop annoying you!” at those words, Robin and Takumi gasped in shock. The two stood in stunned silence for a good while.

    Takumi's eyebrows were knitted from anxiety. ...I thought they seemed to get along fine, but... he looked back and forth at the two for a moment. ...I guess I just didn't know the full picture. I need to do something to help, but what?... He was deep in thought, when suddenly, Robin spoke up.

    “You want the truth? Fine.” he started, irritation finally beginning to creep into his voice. “I didn't panic because A: I'm actually trying to be calm and think rationally over how to solve the problem, and B: I already knew what happened. I woke up early in the morning, went over to Tesla's, and I can bet you know what happened from there,” he finished his rant, glaring at the sea lion. “There, I told you the truth. You happy?”

    Alissa was not happy, however. “You already knew?! Why didn't you say anything?” she shouted.

    “Because I didn't need to! Tesla told you everything, didn't she?”

    “Yeah, but it sure would've been nice to know that you care, and you're not just cold-hearted!”

    A brief silence followed again, but then, Robin finally snapped. He walked up to her face, giving an intense glare, and spoke up once more, no longer holding back the anger in his voice.

    “Okay, here's the deal: Firstly, I am not cold-hearted. I'm just not as intense as some. Secondly, I have been doing the best I can to get everyone out so Tesla could even tell you guys about the dang thing. And thirdly, and I think you really need to hear this, You. Are. Immature.” Alissa's face paled upon hearing those words, but the Rowlet hadn't finished yet.

    “You do not, and I mean, do not, tell someone that they hope something bad happens to someone else. It doesn't matter to me whether or not you've got heart. Clearly, you don't even have two brain cells to rub toget-”

    “Cut it out, guys!” Takumi exclaimed as he ran between the two and pushed them away from each other. There was silence for a few moments, then Robin and Alissa turned to look at him. “...Guys, I know the Ricky situation is bad. But... you can't let it get into your heads like this. It's just asking for you to lose your cool and say something that you'll regret,” he said solemnly.

    Continuing on, the Litten frowned. “I know you two are better than this... You're both good Pokémon, I'm sure it's not too late to fix this. So please, quit fighting and work it out...” he pleaded. The Rowlet and Popplio looked at each other for a while, unsure what to make of the situation.

    “Umm...” Robin scratched the back of his head with a wing. “...He's right. I lost my cool somewhere down the road, and...” his face dampened with guilt. “...I'm very sorry. I said some horrible things to you, Alissa. You're my sister, you should never have to hear something like that.” Alissa stared for a few moments, before smiling faintly.

    “Thanks... I guess it's my turn now, right?” she looked at Takumi, who nodded. “...Honestly, you're totally right, Robin. I am immature, I said some horrible things too. I feel like I've been acting so very... not me,” she said, guilt on her face as well. Then, her eyes widened like she had realized something.

    “Wait, the Mystery Dungeon!” the Popplio shouted in realization.

    “Huh? What about it?” Robin asked.

    “Ever since you mentioned those, I kept on thinking that Ricky could be in one, and...” Her words trailed off, as she tried to fight back tears. “And... I'm freaking out! I can't bear to think that he could be in one of those!

    She paused again, before continuing. “...And, well, I think you were right, again... I let my emotions completely take over my head. And...” she trailed off again, before shaking her head quickly. “The point is, I'm sorry... I'm really really sorry!” she began tearing up again.

    “No no, there's no need for the waterworks,” Robin replied as he walked up to the Popplio and hugged her. “I forgive you, and you don't need to worry. I'll always be here to support you.”

    Alissa wiped the tears from her eyes, and the two held each other in warm embrace. Takumi watched them with a warm smile. “There we go! That wasn't so hard, right?” he said cheerfully.

    The Rowlet and Popplio let go of each other, and they both turned to look at the Litten. “Yeah, you got me there. Not one of our finest moments, eh?” Robin said with a chuckle. “But in all seriousness, you handled yourself well. I know I gave you a lot of flak for the whole human deal, but I you're not half bad.”

    Takumi's face lit up with joy. “T-Thanks, that means a lot to me.”

    “Alright, let's get back to looking for Ricky!” Alissa shouted, her usual enthusiasm returning. “But how about you take the lead, Takumi?” she added, pointing a foreflipper at him.

    The Litten was taken aback by the suggestion. “W-What? M-Me?” He looked away nervously. “I-I mean, I'm not really much of a leader type.”

    “Considering what you just did, I'd say you'd be a fairly decent leader. Or you have the potential, at least,” Robin responded.

    Looking back at them, Takumi seemed a bit more comfortable about the idea. “W-Well, if you both say so...” Gathering his bearings, he nodded. “Okay, I'll do my best.”

    “Alright! Let's go, Takumi!” Alissa shouted with excitement, taking off running before anyone could react.

    Who's supposed to be leading, again?... the Litten mentally snarked as he and Robin began to follow the Popplio.

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

    The group made their way the only way for them to go; a path that ran alongside the river. Takumi looked over to his left, seeing the river was raging as hard as ever, and didn't seem to let up no matter how far they went. Similarly, to the right side was a massive rock wall that seemed as if it would stretch on forever. The path continued on for a while, until Alissa came to a stop.

    “Hey, look! There's an entrance!” she stated, getting the attention of the other two. Takumi turned to the right, and noticed that indeed, the rock wall gave way to a cave entrance. The rock around the entrance had more moss around it than they had seen on the pathway.

    “That's a cave, alright. Do you think Ricky might have went in there?” Takumi asked, turning his head to look at the Popplio.

    “Well, there's only one way to find out, right?” she said in reply. Takumi nodded, and the two began to go into the cave, with Robin following behind. However, Takumi stopped suddenly.

    His ears twitched. “Wait, I hear something.” Focusing his hearing, he heard a strange noise, one that sounded windy and almost magical in nature.

    “What's up?” Alissa said, curious.

    “Did anyone else hear a weird noise right about now?” Takumi asked.

    “I don't think so.” Alissa shook her head.

    “Maybe it was just the wind,” Robin suggested.

    “I-I guess that's true, it did sound kinda windy,” the Litten replied. “Sorry, guys,” he added, although he couldn't get the sound out of his head. ...I can't seem to shake this feeling that something was off about that noise, though.

    “Anyway, let's get going,” said the Rowlet.

    ...Oh well, maybe it was just my imagination, Takumi finished his thought as the three made their way into the darkness.

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

    ~Mossy Cave~

    Progress in the cave was slow, as there was barely any light to work with. The three trod slowly, trying not to bump into anything.

    “Takumi, you're a fire type, right?” Robin asked.

    “Umm, yeah. Why do you ask?” the Litten replied.

    “Well, maybe you can use your fire to give us some light,” the Rowlet proposed.

    “Umm, about that...”

    Robin dreaded the answer he was likely going to get. “...Oh, please don't tell me you don't know how.

    “I turned into a Pokémon just yesterday, so I kinda don't know how to use any moves, ha ha...” Takumi gave a nervous chuckle, embarrassed. Robin sighed, and Takumi could have sworn he heard the Rowlet press his wing against his face despite not being able to see it.

    “...You have got to be kidding.”

    “I'm not...” as Takumi finished his sentence, he felt something bump into him, causing the cat to fall onto his side. “Oof!”

    He heard Alissa giggle. “Whoops, sorry!” she apologized rather cheerfully.

    “Ah, geez,” Takumi said in a deadpan tone.

    As he got up, he heard Robin's voice again. “Looks like it gets brighter up ahead.” Looking forward, Takumi noticed that there was indeed more light in the area ahead, which also appeared rather open. Upon reaching the center room, he looked around and noticed the walls were practically covered in moss.

    “Wow, I've never seen this much moss before,” Takumi remarked, running his paw through the moss on the wall.

    “That must mean this place is pretty old!” Alissa replied, before realizing something. “Ooh, I wonder if that means there's gonna be treasure here?” the Popplio's eyes sparkled at the thought.

    Robin slipped into thought at Alissa's words. Old ruins, huh? Something then registered in his mind however, and his eyes widened. Wait, that book! It mentioned old ruins in the forest. Then, could it be?... Before he could finish that thought however, he heard a strange noise from underneath.

    “What?...” he whispered, looking ahead. He gasped in surprise upon seeing a pair of rocky brown oblongs sticking out from under the ground and seemingly moving towards Takumi and Alissa quickly..

    “Hey, behind you!” he called out, managing to get their attention.

    “Huh?” was all Takumi said before seeing the oblong heading towards him. “Whoa!” He barely managed to jump out of the way as the oblong popped out of the ground, revealing it to be a blue rock Pokémon with an orange center. The Litten heard Alissa give a panicked yip as she also managed to dodge the other oblong, which likewise popped out and revealed itself as a Pokémon.

    “I-Is this a wild Pokémon? It sure doesn't look friendly!” Takumi said, backing up as the rock Pokémon kept moving towards him. The other was following Alissa as well, who seemed unusually quiet.

    “I think they're Roggenrola, and they're looking for a fight!” Robin stated, before taking off towards the one of the right. The Pokémon appeared ready to jump, and Alissa yelped in fear as it pushed off into a Headbutt. Alissa ducked and covered her eyes with her foreflippers, which resulted in the Roggenrola just sailing over her head and landing behind her. She uncovered her eyes upon hearing more footsteps, finding Robin charging in her direction.

    “I'll handle this!” the Rowlet said as he jumped over her and up into the air. “Leafage!” he shouted as he spread his wings, firing off sharp leaves from them. The leaves pelted the Roggenrola, and it staggered around, only just withstanding the hit. Robin noticed it was still standing upon landing on the ground.

    “It has sturdy, figures,” he quipped as he proceeded to charge forward towards the Pokémon. It didn't have any time to react before it's core met with the Rowlet's talons. It stumbled backwards from the impact, and fell onto it's back.

    Seeing that it wasn't moving anymore, Robin gave a proud “Hmph.” Turning around, he went to help Alissa up. “You okay?”

    The Popplio seemed oddly shaken from the encounter. “Y-Yeah.” Meanwhile, Takumi was still fighting the other Roggenrola, although avoiding may be more accurate. He continued dodging the Pokémon as it kept attempting to hit him with a Headbutt. It tried again, this time coming uncomfortably close to Takumi's face, the Litten giving a surprised grunt as it went by.

    I can't keep doing this... I need to fight back sooner or later! he thought to himself, ducking to avoid another attack. Come on Takumi, think... he pressed a paw up against his head. Moments later, he looked at his paw. Wait. Litten have retractable claws, right? Upon realizing, he tensed up in an attempt to get the claws out, and sure enough, a pair of claws extended from the paw. Well, it's not ideal, but it'll have to do, he mentally added, making note of the Roggenrola's rock typing.

    The Litten raised his right paw, readying to attack. He then swung at the Roggenrola, making a loud grunt in the process. He managed to hit the rock Pokémon, slashing it with his claws. It staggered back, claw marks now on it's body.

    “Yes!” he clenched his paw, excited about using an attack for the first time. Upon reopening his eyes however, he saw the Pokémon was ready to attack again. His eyes widened and he tensed, prepared to react, when a stream of leaves flew in from over his head, hitting the Roggenrola and making it fall over, fainted. Upon hearing the sound of flapping, he turned his head to the right, finding Robin touching down on the ground.

    “Getting a little excited over Scratch, are we?” the Rowlet teased.

    “I-I've never pulled off a move before, so...” Takumi replied, rubbing his left ear with a paw and grinning sheepishly.

    “Ehh, at least you seem like a good dodger,” Robin commented.

    “Anyway, what was it with those Pokémon?” the cat asked. Meanwhile, Alissa walked up and joined the other two.

    “I'm not sure, Roggenrola aren't usually that hostile,” the owl replied. He paused for a few moments, like he was thinking. “...Unless...”

    “Unless... what?” said Takumi.

    Please don't make Alissa panic when I say this... the Rowlet thought to himself before speaking. “...Unless this is a Mystery Dungeon.” At those words, both Takumi and Alissa staggered back from the suggestion.

    “Wh-What?!” Alissa's face went pale from shock.

    Robin sighed. ...Crap.

    The Popplio's voice sounded unsteady. “U-Uhh, I dunno if I want to stay here anymore...”

    “Alissa... if Ricky's here, we need to go help him, right?” Takumi stated.

    “And I'd say that chances of that are pretty solid,” Robin added.

    “Besides, we've got your back,” the Litten finished with a supportive smile.

    Alissa paused for a moment, then took a deep breath and nodded. “...Okay.”

    “Now anyway, I think this is a Mystery Dungeon because of what you heard, Takumi.” Robin directed his attention toward the Litten, who tilted his head to the side.

    “Wait, really? I thought you said that was just wind.”

    Robin nodded. “That's what I thought at first, but... Seeing how hostile those Roggenrola were, I began to piece it together,” he began to explain. “I mentioned how a Mystery Dungeon changes every time someone enters, right?” Takumi nodded in reply. “Well, when we passed through the entrance, that 'wind' you heard was probably the dungeon detecting someone had entered. That probably initiated the shifting of the dungeon layout.”

    I knew that wind sounded off! Takumi thought, before raising an eyebrow. “But... what would that have to do with the Roggenrola?”

    “It's believed that whatever forces that run a Mystery Dungeon cause any Pokémon that's exposed for long enough to go berserk.”

    Takumi frowned. “T-That sounds awful...”

    “All the more reason to find Ricky fast if he's in here,” he turned his head over to Alissa. “Am I right?” Alissa nodded in reply.

    Takumi nodded as well. “Alright, then let's get going.” With that, the group began to make their way into the next corridor.

    Several minutes passed as they explored the network of rooms and corridors, eventually reaching a series of larger rooms. Meanwhile, Takumi was not finished asking questions.

    “Hey, I didn't get a chance to ask earlier, but why exactly do you think Ricky's in here? You seemed pretty sure of it.”

    “You're just full of questions today, aren't you?” Robin snarked, to which Takumi chuckled ruefully and sweatdropped. “It's fine. Anyway... you mentioned how much moss there was in here, right?”

    “Y-Yeah.”

    “Well, that tends to grow more in places that have more moisture, and or have had lots of time to grow. So I can assume this cave is fairly old. As for what that has to do with Ricky... Remember that book I mentioned last night?”

    “'The Ruins of Taiga Island,' was it?” Takumi tried to answer, before putting two and two together and realizing what Robin meant. “...Oh! Are you suggesting that these could be some of those ruins mentioned in that book?” Robin nodded in reply. “Then that means Ricky might've saw all the moss and thought the same thing!”

    “You two sure like to nerd out a lot, huh?” Alissa joked.

    Takumi's face reddened with embarrassment. “O-Oh, uhh...”

    “That's a big room,” Robin said seemingly randomly. Looking back ahead, Takumi noticed that they had entered a massive room.

    “It's so big! I don't think I've seen a room so huge,” Alissa remarked. “Do you think Ricky could be hiding somewhere?” she asked.

    “Don't know, let's go find out,” Robin replied. As the three went in further, Takumi's ears twitched. He stopped, trying to listen for sounds. He heard what sounded like a voice whimpering.

    “G-Guys, I think Ricky is here somewhere!” the Litten exclaimed.

    “Wait, really?!” Alissa gasped. “Let's hurry up and find him!” she added before taking off in search.

    “You won't have to look far,” Robin interjected, pointing a wing towards a small tunnel in the wall. In it, was a Rockruff covering his eyes and crying.

    “Ricky!” Alissa shouted, running towards the tunnel. “Ricky, are you okay?!”

    “A-Alissa? Is that you?” The Rockruff uncovered his eyes and looked up.

    “Yeah, it's me! Robin and Takumi are with me, too!” the Popplio replied, with Takumi and Robin walking up to join her.

    “You doing alright down there? We're here to rescue you.” Robin stated.

    “Y-Yeah, I'm okay,” Ricky responded, voice unsteady.

    “Then let's get you out of there.”

    “N-No!” Ricky shouted, shrinking further back into the passage.

    “Wh-What? Why?” Alissa gasped.

    “I-I'm not going out until it's safe!” Ricky squeaked.

    “Huh? What are you talking about? It looks perfectly fine to me!” said the Popplio. However, as she finished her sentence, she jumped upon hearing the sound of something crashing to the ground.

    “You might want to rethink that!” Robin shouted. Alissa turned around to look behind her, finding that a massive rock Pokémon was staring the group down. It looked somewhat similar to the earlier Roggenrolas, however it was bigger, had red crystals sticking out of it's body, and it had two cores. “It's a Boldore!”

    “W-Wait, I-Isn't that the evolved form of Roggenrola?” Takumi stammered.

    “Yeah, and he's not here for tea!” Robin replied as the new threat slowly stomped it's way toward the group.

    ------------------------------
    Oh boy, the bridge scene... I've never actually written drama of that kind before, and it probably shows. I tried as hard as a could to not have a Conflict Ball situation, anyway...

    You may have noticed that Alissa's personality practically flips a switch at the words "Mystery Dungeon." trust me, there's a good reason for that. As for Robin, I really wanted him to be the kind of guy that's typically calm and straight-faced, but can verbally destroy you if you piss him off.

    I'm aware the situation got resolved rather quickly, but I can assure you that Alissa won't forget about Robin's comments so easily, and it will definitely come up again in the future.

    Next time: A rocky fight and a crash course in teamwork.
     
  8. Ambyssin

    Ambyssin Definitely a winter

    So, as far as stakes go for venturing into a first dungeong, this is middle of the road. It's certainly more engaging than, say, Red/Blue Rescue Team having you running off to find some Caterpie you couldn't really care less about. And you convey the high stakes surrounding Alissa well. I'd have just liked to have seen more of Ricky and Alissa actually, y'know, being best friends. That'd have made the stakes feel higher for me. As it is, I like it, though. Especially since it puts these siblings at odds. Alissa gives her justification for running off and it doesn't feel forced. It genuinely seems like something a more impulsive, less rational Pokémon would do.

    I couldn't help but chuckle at the part with the falling bridge, because it happened in the Gen VII games. I was waiting for Tapu Koko to pop out, but Robin stole his part for this. Is this going to be a running thing? Taking events from the actual games and creating analogues in the PMD world? I think that could be really cool. But you know what could make it better? Having Takumi react to that stuff. He's clearly well-versed in the Gen VII games. I'm surprised he didn't, at the very least, muse that this all felt strangely familiar. As far as the argument goes... it certainly got heated. And then Takumi stepped in and told them both they were being unreasonable and the situation resolved itself. A prelude to something worse in the future, perhaps?

    Let's get into the Mystery Dungeon itself. I don't think I have the full picture of how things work around here, yet, but it seems like you're opting for an interpretation that's very close to the games. It's working so far, from what I can tell. The "mysterious force" creating some hostile wind that upsets some Roggenrolas sounds reasonable enough as far as game logic is concerned. And there's enough descriptors there to give me a sense of what things look like. If I had to fault anything, there a few moments were the narration points out the fact that Roggenrolas are rock-types. It's more just a personal gripe, here, but I'm never a fan of fics going the anime route of explaining why certain moves are more/less effective. I know my Pokémon (and you can assume the rest of the audience does, too). So, unless it's narratively relevant to explain typing, you're best off avoiding it.

    As far as technical nitpicks go, I've got a few. First off – and this is something I've done, too – is that you have a lot of instances of narration repeating things that I could already tell were happening from the dialogue. For example:
    By interjecting, he's inserting himself into the conversation, so it's redundant to say it caught their attentions. Likewise, his follow-up sentence is clearly him scolding Alissa, so there's no need to say that after the fact. You do this quite a bit in the dialogue-heavy parts. ^^;

    Okay, I'm-a give you +1 Amby Points for this beautiful title right here. Because puns are life. :V

    ... aaaaaand taking that point back. Even I think this one's cringey. XP

    The second sentence isn't a dialogue attribution, so it needs to be capitalized. Instead of attributing the speech to Alissa, you're having Takumi do an action (hear her). Understand the difference? Likewise, in cases like this, where the subject of the sentence (Takumi) isn't directly matching the speaker (Alissa), you're better off making a new paragraph entirely.

    This, however, is a dialogue attribution that you missed. Likewise, I'm not sure foreflipper is necessary here. Popplios have two flippers... and two tailfins.

    Found another one to make lower case.

    Glowering is not a form of speech. It's pretty much analogous to glaring, actually.

    I get what you're going for. But, anatomically speaking, irises can't shrink. :p

    I'm with Alissa here, though not for the same reason. If Robin knew, why would he deliberately withhold that information from his sister?

    Anyway, that's all I got this week. Nice job. I'm looking forward to our boss skirmish here. It looks like it's really gonna rock. :V
     
  9. RocketKnight66

    RocketKnight66 404: Consistent Schedule not Found

    It's time for the conclusion to last week's cliffhanger! It's also the last chapter before the adventure really starts to kick off, so hopefully this will be a fun one!

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

    Chapter 4: Boldore and Brash

    Takumi watched in terror as the Boldore made loud steps, moving ever closer to him and the others. Th-This is bad... how are we supposed to fight this thing? It's bigger than all of us! he thought, beginning to panic. Moments later, the Pokémon stopped. Takumi then saw four gem-like shapes appear beside it which began to flash.

    Robin's face blanched. “Everyone, move! Now!” he barked. Four energy blasts fired off from the gems. Everyone tensed up and jumped off to separate sides as the beams hit the wall behind them, causing an explosion that sent the three tumbling.

    After coming to a rest on his stomach, Takumi picked his head up and shook off his daze. “W-What was that?” he said, trying to recover from shock.

    “...I think that was Power Gem!” Robin exclaimed. “This thing is as tough as he looks!...”

    Meanwhile, Alissa scampered over to the tunnel that Ricky was in. “D-Do you have room for one more?” she whimpered.

    “U-Uhh, I dunno... it seems kinda tight in he- W-Whoa, hey!” The Rockruff was interrupted by the Popplio barging her way into the tunnel regardless.

    Robin tensed up as he watched the Popplio run off. “...It looks like we've got no choice but to handle this ourselves.” He proceeded to run forward, jump into the air, and spread out his wings. “Take this! Leafage!” he thrust his wings forward, firing off a series of sharp leaves that pelted the Boldore. The rock Pokémon flinched, but recovered quickly before conjuring up several rocks around it. The Rowlet bugged out upon seeing the collection of rocks flying toward him. He twisted his body to the side and flapped hard, thrusting him to the left just in time to avoid the Rock Blast attack.

    Takumi eyed the Boldore, and gulped. W-Well... h-here goes n-nothing... He took a deep breath and tensed up his paw, extending his claws. He charged towards the rock Pokémon and with a loud grunt, swiped his paw at the Boldore. The air screeched as his claws struck the ore body.

    However, the Boldore hardly reacted to the attack. Takumi's face went pale as he saw the Pokémon turn to face him. W-What the?... it didn't even flinch! He froze up as the Boldore lifted a leg and tried to swing at him. Snapping out of it, Takumi jumped backwards, barely dodging.

    He backed up as the Pokémon began to creep towards him. The Boldore was then pelted by another Leafage attack from behind. In reaction it turned around and created more gems, preparing for another Power Gem attack. The Litten took advantage of the distraction to mull over his plan.

    O-Okay... Well if Scratch doesn't work, I just need to try another move, right? But what?... He paused for a few moments before an idea popped in his head. ...Oh, wait! I'm a fire type, so I should be able to use fire moves! After realizing, he bumped his head with a paw. Why didn't I think of that sooner, huh? he mentally deadpanned. He planted his feet firmly on the ground, readying to attack. Then it's time to give him a taste of Ember!

    However, his face went blank only a few moments later. Umm... how exactly do I use Ember? As he tried to think, the Boldore fired off it's Power Gem attack and slowly started to go after Robin. Agh, I'll be here all day if I just keep thinking about it! I just need to try! With his mind made up, he tensed himself up and opened his mouth with a shout. “Ember!”

    ...But, nothing came out aside from his words. The Boldore turned to look at him, and so did Robin off in the distance. N-Nothing happened... he thought nervously. Upon seeing the rock Pokémon staring at him, his body stiffened. ...I'm just gonna have to try again!

    “Ember!” the Litten shouted again, but once more, the air was filled with nothing but his voice. This time, the Boldore pushed off with it's legs, bursting towards him with a Headbutt attack.

    “Uh-oh,” Takumi squeaked, his face pale with horror. The Boldore's ore body crashed into the Litten, sending him flying a few feet before hitting the ground and tumbling onto his stomach.

    “Ow, ow... that hurt a lot,” the Litten groaned as he slowly got back up to his feet. Looking around, he noticed a rough rock wall was directly behind him. His attention was directed back to his front upon hearing the loud steps of the Boldore walking toward him. Takumi's eyes widened as the rock Pokémon thrust an arm towards him. The cat ducked and jumped to the right, avoiding the arm that managed to punch into the wall with a loud crash.

    Realizing he was outmatched, Takumi ran to topside of the room where Robin was. He skidded to a halt once he was there, looking at the Rowlet anxiously. “I-I can't do this on my own... we need to work together...” he said between breaths. Unsure of how to react, Robin stood in silence. “...I know what you're thinking... you're still not sure if you can trust me, right?”

    “Something like that,” Robin replied in a somber tone.

    Takumi looked back, seeing the Boldore was beginning to creep towards the both of them. “I know you're a much better fighter than I am, and you're a lot calmer under pressure. I really need your help right now, Robin. So, please...” he pleaded. Robin stared at the Litten as he tried to think, when his memories began to flash before him.

    ...You know, I think that Litten might be a good thing for you.”

    He's another Pokémon to be around, right? Having another friend would probably make you happier. You wouldn't be as lonely, after all. Don't you think that's a good reason to try and trust him?”

    I know that, but... the Rowlet mused as more played in his head.

    I know you two are better than this... You're both good Pokémon, I'm sure it's not too late to fix this. So please, quit fighting and work it out...”

    But in all seriousness, you handled yourself well. I know I gave you a lot of flak for the whole human deal, but I guess you're not half bad.”

    T-Thanks, that means a lot to me.”

    But how about you take the lead, Takumi?”

    W-What? M-me?... I-I mean, I'm not really much of a leader type.”

    Considering what you just did, I'd say you'd be a fairly decent leader. Or you have the potential, at least.”

    W-Well, if you both say so... okay, I'll do my best.”

    A reason... to trust... Robin remained deep in thought until a loud noise snapped him out of his stupor. Looking ahead, he nearly fell over from seeing a Rock Blast hurtling towards them.

    “Takumi, behind you!” the Rowlet cried, to which the Litten turned around and saw the attack heading towards him. In reaction, Robin jumped in front of the cat before spreading his wings and firing off a Leafage attack. The leaves collided with the rocks, an explosion of dust enveloping the area. Robin and Takumi shielded their eyes in response. As the air cleared, Robin breathed a sigh of relief.

    “So... you'll trust me?” Takumi asked meekly.

    “...Enough to not stab me in the back.” Robin gave a thumbs-up with his wing. “Well, what are we doing standing around? Let's show that oversized boulder what for!”

    Takumi nodded and the two charged at the Boldore that continued to come closer to them. Robin jumped in the air, once more flapping his wings and firing off a Leafage attack. Takumi leaped as well, extending his claws out of both paws and swinging them in a downward motion. His claws met with the Boldore's body, the air screeching like nails on a chalkboard as the claws scratched across the ore surface. As he touched down, the Litten ducked as the leaves from Robin's attack came in and showered the Boldore, causing it to flinch and take a few steps back.

    “Alright, we finally did something to it!” Takumi exclaimed. His ears twitched as he heard a voice from behind.

    “Come on guys, you can do it!” Alissa called out, having left the tunnel. She was clearly still afraid of the Boldore however, as she was keeping her distance from the whole group. Takumi nodded with a smile in response to her extra push of encouragement. The Litten rushed at the Boldore, jumping up once more and slashing at the Boldore, still not getting much of a reaction from the rock Pokémon on contact.

    This time upon touching down, Takumi raised up his paws and continued to swipe at the Boldore. He made swing after swing before finally standing up on his hind legs and slashing with both of his paws. The final slash struck one of the Boldore's cores, causing it to flinch.

    Upon seeing the Boldore react and stumble back a few steps, Takumi's face lit up with excitement. Yes! it's weakening! If we keep going like this, we'll win for sure! however, his happiness quickly faded as he heard an angered growl from the Pokémon. Expecting an attack, he jumped away just in time to see a stone arm swing down, missing by mere feet and making a big crash as it dug into the ground.

    The Litten did not have time to think, as the Boldore pulled it's arm out of the ground and swung at him again. The cat dodged to the right, avoiding another swing that proceeded to embed the Boldore's arm in the wall. Takumi slowly backed away, but the Boldore was not keen on letting him escape. It pulled it's arm out of the wall and started to follow him.

    It stopped however when something hit it in the back. Turning around, the Boldore found Robin was hovering directly behind. It had no time to react to the Rowlet unleashing another Leafage attack, which struck it in it's left core, causing it to flinch and stagger again.

    Seeing an opportunity, Takumi tensed up. Come on, I have to get it right this time. He breathed in, and once more opened his mouth, forcing air out. “Ember!”

    “.....” Once more, nothing happened.

    “Little trouble sparking the flame, I see,” Robin quipped as he walked over. Takumi didn't respond, however. The Litten clenched his teeth, like he was holding something in.

    He growled in frustration and stomped his right foreleg on the ground. “I don't get it!” he shouted, his face sullen. “I keep trying, but nothing's happening! I'm a fire type, I should be able to do this! But I can't!...” As he continued, Robin's eyes widened upon noticing some of the Litten's fur had begun to stand up and turn red with heat. “I feel like I'm making you do all the work... I'm trying to help, but I feel like I'm useless!” Only moments later, the fur on the cat's back set ablaze.

    “I JUST WANT TO HELP!” As he cried out, a blaze of fire shot out his mouth, which surged into the Boldore, blasting it in it's right core, causing it growl in pain. Takumi's jaw dropped upon realizing what happened. “Wh-Wha...”

    “Did... Did that just happen? Was that Ember?...”

    Robin nodded. “...Seems like it.”

    Takumi's face lit up with excitement, and he pumped a paw into the air. “Yes, finally! Alright, let's blow that Boldore away!” he shouted, his spirits on high.

    However, he failed to notice the Boldore began rushing toward the two. “Let's move before he blows us away!” Robin barked, before using his wings to quickly move to the left and away.

    “Huh?” Takumi failed to realize what was happening in time. His face blanched upon seeing the Boldore swing it's arm harder than ever before. Having no time to react, hard rock met with his left flank. The Litten yelped as he was violently sent flying, falling to the ground with a thud.

    Robin ran over to the cat, who didn't get up right away.“You alright?” he asked with tinges of concern in his voice.

    “Ughh...” Takumi groaned in pain. His ears twitched at a sound and opening his eyes, his face filling with horror as he saw the Boldore was readying a Rock Blast. Before the attack could finish him off, a stream of water came in and doused the rock Pokémon's left side.

    “Stay away from him!” Hearing the voice of Alissa, Takumi and Robin turned to the right to see the Popplio standing defiantly against the Boldore. Her demeanor didn't last for long however, as the ore Pokémon turned to direct it's attack at her. The sea lion gave a panicked yelp as she began to sprint away from the Boldore and towards Takumi and Robin. She managed to avoid the attack, as the lasers fired off mere feet behind her and destroying more of the walls.

    Takumi managed to get back up upon Alissa reuniting with the group. “Thanks for the help!” he said. Alissa gave a quick nod in response before scurrying behind Robin at hearing more of the Boldore's steps.

    Robin scowled. “I've had about enough of this thing... Takumi!” He turned his head to look at the Litten.

    “What is it?” Takumi asked.

    “You've noticed that Boldore reacts when we hit it's cores, right?” Robin questioned the cat, who nodded in reply. “Let's hit both of his cores at once, that should do some serious damage.” he suggested.

    “Simple plan, but I'm all for it!” Takumi replied, psyching himself up.

    The owl's head then turned behind to look at Alissa. “Alissa, I'd like you to use a Water Gun to stun him. Can you do that for me?”

    The Popplio paused for a moment, nervously looking at the rock Pokémon that was looming ever closer. Turning her attention back to Robin, she nodded slowly. “O-Okay, I'll try.”

    “Then let's do this!” Robin moved over to the right, giving room in the center for Alissa. As she got into position, the Popplio took a deep breath to calm herself before opening her mouth up to fire her attack.

    “Water Gun!” she shouted as a stream of water came gushing out, hitting the Boldore directly in the center. The water attack was enough to stagger it for a moment.

    “Now's our chance!” Robin announced.

    Takumi closed his eyes and tensed, trying to start up his flame once more. Come on, come on... moments later, he felt blazing fur stand up on his back. He opened his eyes with a firey determination and charged forward, the Rowlet running beside him. When they were close enough, Takumi came to a stop and Robin jumped into the air.

    “Ember!” with a shout, Takumi forced a ball of fire out of his mouth. Robin followed suit with what he hoped would be the last Leafage he needed to use. The Boldore couldn't react quickly enough before the fireball collided with it's left core, and the leaves connected with the other. The Boldore roared in pain as it was upended by the combined attacks. The group watched with bated breath as it tried to get up, moving a shaking leg up, before it fell back down.

    “We... we did it...” Takumi gasped. His face lit up with joy and he pumped his right forepaw into the air. “YES! Allriight!”

    “Finally...” Robin added, sighing in relief. Takumi's celebration was interrupted however when he saw Ricky run over to the group.

    “Alissa!”

    “Ricky!” Alissa ran over and they wrapped each other into a brief embrace. “You okay? Not hurt or anything?” she asked.

    “Nope, not a scratch!” the Rockruff replied cheerfully. “Well, minus that time I tripped.” he quipped.

    “What a relief... I'm so glad you're safe!” With how scared she was for the Rockruff's safety, Alissa nearly cried tears of joy knowing he was here, now safe and sound. She turned back to face Takumi and Robin. “Thanks so much! I know I caused a lot of trouble for you guys, but you still helped! Thank you, really!” Robin nodded, and Takumi gave a warm smile in response.

    Ricky then ran up to the two, his tail wagging. “You guys totally schooled that big Pokémon! That was awesome!” The Rockruff's eyes sparkled.

    “W-Well, I mean, Robin did most of the work...” Takumi stuttered, flustered by the praise. “I didn't even know how to use my Ember attack for most of that.”

    “But you did it eventually. Trust me, you were a big help,” Robin interjected.

    Takumi rubbed his head with a forepaw. “Th-Thanks...”

    “Umm, Takumi...” Alissa said with concern in her voice, to which Takumi turned to look at her.

    “...Are you sure you're okay? You look kinda beat up,” the Popplio asked, noticing that the Litten had some considerably large bruises on his body, the biggest of which being on his left flank.

    Takumi turned his head around to look at his left flank, knowing his was hit hard there. His eyes widened upon finding a sizable bruise where he was hit. “Oh! I, uhh... wow that's big.”

    “I-I guess I was too focused on helping Ricky to notice. But it's probably fine-” As he started to speak, Alissa walked up and pressed a flipper against the bruise. “Yow!” Takumi jolted as pain surged through the injured area.

    “I'm sorry! I was trying to see if it hurt!” Alissa apologized.

    “I-It's fine, I just need to not think about it too much...” Takumi replied, before turning his attention back to where they came from. “...Anyway, don't you think it's time we got out of here?” he suggested.

    Robin nodded. “Good idea. Let's-”

    “Wait, hold on!” Ricky interrupted. The other three turned to look at him. “There's something I wanna show you guys!”

    “Ooh ooh, what did you find?” Alissa asked before her eyes widened. “Oh, don't tell me- Did you find treasure?” she asked excitedly.

    “Not really, but it's super cool!” Ricky replied, before turning back to the tunnel.

    Alissa looked back at Takumi, looking cheerful as ever. “Well, what are we waiting for? Come on!” She motioned the cat to follow her, as she and Ricky started off towards the tunnel the Rockruff was in earlier. Takumi and Robin looked at each other for a moment. The Rowlet sighed, before they took off after the two. Catching up, the cat noticed Ricky wanted them to follow him into the tunnel.

    “Come on, it's this way!” the Rockruff said as he scurried his way into the tunnel. Alissa entered next, followed by Takumi and Robin, the Rowlet having some trouble getting in due to not being as limber as the others.

    “This better be worth it...” Robin said with a sigh as he crawled awkwardly.

    “It will, trust me!” Ricky replied, “Aaand... here we are!” he added, pausing in between words as he pushed out of the tunnel. The others soon followed and they found themselves in a small room. Immediately, Takumi and the others' attention were drawn to a large stone statue at the back.

    “Whoa...” Alissa said in awe.

    It was a massive statue of a creature that appeared as if it resembled a totem pole. The statue's head had a chiseled plume, and it looked like it had a beak. There were objects on what made up it's arms that bared similarities to a shell or shield.

    “W-What... is that?” Takumi stammered before walking closer to the statue.

    “Cool, huh?” Ricky chirped. “I found it earlier. I was gonna go back and tell you guys about it, but then that Boldore guy showed up.”

    “It looks like a Pokémon, but...” Robin chimed in. “...I can't figure what species this is supposed to be, there's no Pokémon like this around here. Not one that I've seen, anyway,” he added, raising an eyebrow.

    Takumi stared at the statue with his brows furrowed. ...Why does this look so familiar to me? I feel like I've seen it somewhere... he mused. A few moments later, his face lit up in realization. ...Wait, I know who this is! I saw this guy in the games!

    “...This is a Tapu, isn't it?” the Litten stated. At his words, everyone turned to give him surprised looks, unsettling him. “...W-What?”

    Robin gasped. “I knew it! I had that idea at the back of my mind, but I wasn't sure.” He paused for moment, furrowing his brow. “...But, how did you know that? You told you didn't know anything about this world.”

    “O-Oh, uhh... lucky guess?” Takumi replied, smiling sheepishly.

    “This thing is so cool!” Alissa said cheerfully. “It's so tall, too... I wonder if I could balance on it?” she added before looking around the base, appearing serious about the idea.

    Robin ran over, trying to stop her. “No no, that's not such a good idea. It's probably pretty old, and...”

    “Aww, there's nowhere to climb on...” the Popplio said in disappointment, to which Robin sighed in relief.

    “It's probably better that way...” he said, sweatdropping.

    “But still, making an amazing discovery like this... I'd call this adventure a resounding success!” Alissa said excitedly. She stood up on her tailfins and struck a proud pose.

    Y-Yeah, I guess so,” Takumi said, stifling a chuckle.

    “...I'd think rescuing Ricky is the bigger success, but alright then,” Robin deadpanned.

    “I know, I know...” Alissa replied, falling back onto her flippers. “...Okay, let's go home and tell everyone about what happened!” she added before running off towards the tunnel, with the others following suit.

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

    ~Celceta Forest~

    The group hurriedly made their way back through the forest. Due to the bridge collapse, they had to take a different path through the forest. Luckily, Robin had memorized the forest fairly well and he was easily able to lead the group on a quick path home. As they made their way through, they had fun conversing with each other.

    “Wow, sounds pretty crazy,” Ricky said.

    “Yeah, and it was really fun!” Alissa replied cheerfully before straightening her expression. “...Well, mostly, anyway,” she added, remembering the bridge incident.

    Meanwhile, Robin had something of his own to talk about. “Hey, Takumi?”

    “What is it?” Takumi replied, shifting his attention to the owl. In response the owl's head turned completely around, causing the Litten to jump back in shock. “Uwah!” Everyone paused for a moment and Takumi stared at the Rowlet, who was looking at him with a brow raised despite his body facing away. “H-How can you do that?” he stammered.

    “What, have you never seen a Rowlet before? This is normal for us,” Robin deadpanned. Takumi slowly shook his head to which the Rowlet sighed. “Of course not...” Determining that this was making Takumi uncomfortable, he turned his body around and dropped back beside the Litten as the group resumed walking.

    “...A-Anyway, you wanted to ask something?” Takumi asked with a stutter, not having fully gotten over the surprise.

    “I was going to ask how you were able to use Ember so easily,” Robin stated. “The way you figured it out doesn't seem normal to me.”

    Takumi furrowed a brow. “Huh?”

    “Normally, moves aren't learned in the heat of battle like that. You typically have to train to learn them. I had to practice a lot before I was able to use my moves,” the Rowlet explained. “So, how were you able to use the move so easily?”

    “Umm... I'm not sure, actually,” Takumi replied sheepishly, getting a surprised look from Robin.

    “What do you mean, 'I'm not sure'? Surely, you must've felt something when you used it, right?” the Rowlet questioned.

    “I mean, when I used it the first time... I did feel an awful lot of heat building up when I was getting frustrated,” the Litten remarked. “Maybe that has something to do with it?” he added.

    Robin put a wing up to his beak in thought. “Hmm... so it's likely that your emotions acted as a sort of spark for your attack.”

    Takumi's face lit up with an idea. “Oh! It's kinda like one of those moments in a game where a character learns a new skill in a stressful situation!”

    Robin's right eye twitched. “Okay, I have no idea what like half of that meant,” he quipped. “...But I think I got the gist of it,” he added, his face straightening. “Basically, your emotions fueled the fire, so to speak.”

    Takumi nodded. “Yeah, something like that.”

    “And then you took down Boldore in a blaze of glory!” Ricky cut in and laughed, to which the Rowlet pressed a wing against his face and sighed.

    “...Why didn't I see that coming?”

    “Look, there's the exit!” Alissa announced, pointing towards a clearing in the forest. Takumi and Robin exchanged glances and they took off for the exit along with the others.

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

    ~Greenhorne Village~

    As the sky could be seen clearly now, it became apparent that the rescue mission had taken a while as the sun had begun to set. A large crowd of Pokémon had again gathered in the center of the village, conversing about what was going on. Many of them had begun to worry, as neither Takumi's group or Tesla had returned yet. Suddenly, several heard the sound of footsteps coming from the forest entrance, but much more noticeably...

    “Hey everybody, we're back!” Alissa had loudly announced her presence. “And look who we found!” she added, pointing her right flipper at Ricky.

    Brock and Cross immediately fixated on the Rockruff. “Ricky!” Cross exclaimed as he and the Lycanroc ran over to Ricky. The Poochyena grabbed the Rockruff and held him in a hug. “Don't scare me like that again, bro! I thought you were in some serious trouble!”

    “I'm fine, I'm fine!” Ricky assured him.

    “Tessy, you're back!” Brock declared. Ricky, Cross, and the others turned around to find Tesla standing at the forest entrance.

    “I heard a noise while I was searching, so I followed it, and...” the Mightyena started to speak but trailed off as she noticed Ricky had returned. “Ricky?...” she muttered before running over and pushing her son towards her chest, holding him in her embrace.

    “Don't ever do that again, okay? You had me worried sick...” Tesla said, tearing up.

    Ricky frowned. “I know, I'm really sorry...”

    Tesla released the Rockruff from her grasp. “I hope you learned your lesson. I don't ever want you getting yourself into danger like that.”

    “Don't worry, lessons have been learned today. Like, 'don't go into caves looking for treasure, or a big rock Pokémon will chase you.'” Ricky replied cheerfully, trying to lighten the mood.

    Tesla's face was filled with concern at the response. “Wh-What do you mean by that?...”

    Robin stepped forward. “We found him in a cave, hiding from a Boldore,” he explained, eliciting a gasp from the Mightyena. “No need to worry, he wasn't hurt. We took care of it before anything could happen to him.”

    Tesla glanced at Takumi and Alissa. “...The three of you fought a Boldore? That couldn't have been easy.”

    “It wasn't, but we were able to work together and defeat it,” he clarified. “Good teamwork can overcome any challenge, right Tess?” he added, smirking slightly. A smile formed on Tesla's face and she nodded before noticing Takumi.

    “That Litten...” she muttered before walking up to him, surprising the cat. “You're who Robin was talking about, aren't you?”

    “W-What? Robin talked about me?” Takumi stuttered.

    The Mightyena nodded, before noticing the bruises on his body. “Looks like you got hurt. You alright?” she asked with some concern.

    “Don't worry, it'll buff out,” Takumi replied, holding a forepaw forward and smiling sheepishly. “Rescuing Ricky was more important.”

    “When Robin told me about you, I said I was going to reserve my judgement. Now, upon seeing the lengths you went to in order to help us...” Tesla started again. “...I can safely say that you have a good heart,” she finished, smiling.

    Takumi blushed, embarrassed by the praise. “Aww, shucks...”

    Tesla then looked back to Robin and grinned. “By the way, I could tell that Robin wanted to trust you from the beginning,” she added jokingly.

    Robin was taken aback. “Wait, what? I didn't say that-”

    “Aww, he does care!” Cross joked, eliciting laughter from the others.

    “Tess, you're embarrassing me...” Robin said with a sigh, to which Tesla chuckled.

    “Oh! By the way, we found something really cool in that cave!” Ricky cut in.

    “Oh yeah, we found this big statue of a Pokémon we've never seen before!” Alissa added.

    “Really now? What did it look like?” Tesla asked.

    “We think it looked like a Tapu, but since I haven't seen one of them in person, I can't confirm that,” Robin explained.

    Tesla raised a brow. “And you're saying you found this in a random cave?”

    “Well, not exactly,” the Rowlet started. “It seemed fairly old, as there was moss growing everywhere. More notably, we determined that it was a Mystery Dungeon.”

    “A Mystery Dungeon, huh?... That is certainly rather vexing,” Tesla remarked.

    Before the conversation could continue, an old sounding voice cut in. “Did someone say 'Tapu?'”

    Hearing this, Tesla turned around to find an Oranguru sitting there. “Satori, it's you... how are you doing?” she said. He looked like an orangutan. He had white fur and his back carried a purple cape of sorts.

    “I am doing well, in spite of my age,” the Oranguru replied.

    Takumi moved over to Robin and leaned in. “Who is this guy?” he whispered.

    “That's Satori, the village elder. He's well known for his knowledge of Shizen's myths and legends,” the Rowlet replied.

    Takumi then looked back at the Oranguru. That might mean he knows something about the Tapus! I should ask him.

    “Now, I heard these children mention the Tapus,” Satori interjected. He looked over to Takumi. “Young one, you want to know more about them, do you not?”

    Takumi's eyes widened. “H-How did you know that?”

    “Oh, I just have good intuition, is all,” Satori replied calmly.

    “Umm, I-It is true that I want to learn more about them... S-Sir, if you know anything, could you tell me?” Takumi asked nervously.

    Satori nodded slowly. “Of course, I have plenty of knowledge on that topic.” He then took a deep breath, and began to impart what he knew.

    “The Tapus have inhabited Shizen for longer than we know. What we do know is that they are the guardian deities of our region, each one of the four inhabiting one of the islands. Taiga Island has Tapu Koko, Kauwela Island has Tapu Lele, Terra Island has Tapu Bulu, and Kakkara Island has Tapu Fini. They are known to carry a special power known as Z-Power, which they bestow to those they feel are worthy of it.”

    They carry a special power that they give to those worthy? Takumi mentally parroted. ...Wait! His eyes widened as he remembered something.

    You must come to our world, and use your power to reawaken us...”

    Could... could this 'Z-Power' have something to do with the power that spirit mentioned?... I have to find out where these Tapus are! he finished his thought and walked up to Satori.

    “Sir, do you know where the Tapus are?” the Litten asked, more confidence in his voice than usual.

    “As in, where you could find them?” Satori replied with a question of his own to which the cat nodded. “Hmm, that may be a bit difficult, young one,” he answered, rubbing a hand up against his chin. “They have secluded themselves away and do not interact with most Pokémon, only coming out to meet those they consider worthy.”

    Takumi frowned. “I see...”

    “However, I can sense something from within you. I believe they may take an interest in you,” Satori remarked, to which Takumi cocked his head to the side in confusion. “If you wish to seek them out, Tapu Koko is known to reside in the Ruins of Conflict on this very island. I have never left Taiga, so you would need to discover the others for yourself,” the Oranguru continued. “That is all that I wish to say. I hope I have been of use to you, young one.”

    Takumi nodded quickly. “Y-Yes! Thank you so much!” he said before turning back to Alissa and Robin.

    “So that's what the Tapus are! I've heard that name so many times, but it just kinda passes through my head,” Alissa commented.

    “That's because you don't read enough,” Robin quipped.

    “Books are boring, though... I wanna go on adventures, not read about them.”

    The Rowlet rolled his eyes in response. “Suit yourself.”

    The Popplio then turned her attention back to Takumi. “Anyway, those Tapus sound pretty cool! And what was that about that Satori guy saying 'they may take an interest in you'?” she continued, mimicking the Oranguru's voice when quoting him.

    Takumi titled his head to the side upon thinking about it. “Your guess is as good as mine...” he replied.

    “Oh, you're back.” The group turned around to find Shouta looking at them. “Seems you three had quite the day. Come on in, we can talk about it over dinner,” he added, returning to his house. The three exchanged glances and followed him.

    As they left, Satori continued to watch, his mind deep in anxious thought.

    Please seek out the Tapus, young one... the world depends on it.

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

    Upon the group entering the house, Shouta noticed the bruises on Takumi's body and suggested to heal them right away. However, Takumi insisted that it was not urgent and that he didn't want to keep everyone waiting for dinner. So they went ahead and ate, talking about what had happened. Afterwards, Robin said he would take care of the wounds. A few minutes later the three went into their room, with Shouta retiring to his own. The owl went and prepared to work on it, and returned with Oran Berries in the palms of his wings.

    Takumi's head titled to the side. “What are you going to do with those?” he asked.

    “The juices from Orans can be used as medicine. You can probably guess what I'm going to do next,” Robin replied. He then set the pile down next to the Litten. Taking one of the berries, the Rowlet proceeded to mash it up against the cat's left flank, causing it's juices to cover the injured area.

    Takumi winced, the contact causing pain to flare up again in his body. “Owowow...” he whimpered, ears folding back.

    “I know it hurts, but you need to stay still, alright?” Robin encouraged as he continued to hold the smashed berry up against the cat's flank. Takumi did as instructed, taking deep breaths in order to stay calm. A few moments later, Robin removed what remained of the berry from the cat's body. “Aaand done.”.

    The Litten turned his head around to look at his flank. His eyes widened as he noticed the bruise was no longer there. “I-It's healed, just like that?” he observed.

    “Yup, they work really well! They fix up all my bumps and bruises super fast!” Alissa cut in. “Means I can go back to exploring sooner!” she said cheerfully.

    Robin sweatdropped before turning to look at the Popplio. “But, I'd appreciate it if you'd be more careful sometimes. We don't have an infinite supply of these, you know, ” he stated before picking up another berry and preparing to use it to heal the wounds on Takumi's face. “...And I haven't forgotten about that time you tried to slide down the hills like you were some kind of surfer. It took me two hours to heal all the injures you had...” he added with a sigh. “Close your eyes for a moment,” he said, turning his attention back to Takumi before mashing another berry up against the cat's face.

    “Oh yeah... that thing totally snapped like a twig,” Alissa giggled and smiled sheepishly. “Note to self, find a stronger board than some random tree bark,” she quipped.

    “You still want to do that again?...” the Rowlet groaned before shaking his head and looking back to Takumi. “...You can open them now,” he said, removing that berry as well.

    The process of Robin healing Takumi's injuries continued for a few minutes. Alissa sat patiently, as if she was waiting on something. Finally, Robin removed a berry from Takumi's left foreleg.

    “Alright, we're finished,” he stated.

    Takumi breathed a sigh of relief and grinned. “Thanks, Robin.”

    “No prob,” the owl replied. “Well anyway, I want to go speak with Tesla, so I'll be heading out for a bit. Don't cause any trouble while I'm gone,” he added, to which the Litten and Popplio nodded. The Rowlet proceeded to leave the room. The two sat in silence for a few moments before hearing the front door open and close.

    Alissa sighed. “Man, what a day...” she said before turning to the Litten beside her. “Hey, Takumi?”

    The cat turned to look at her. “What is it?”

    “I just wanted to say thanks again for helping me,” the Popplio responded. “I showed a side of me today that I never wanted to show to anyone, and you still did everything you could to help me and Ricky... that means a lot to me,” she continued before giving a warm smile. “So thank you, seriously!”

    Takumi smiled back. “It's not a problem, I was just glad to see everyone happy in the end.”

    “By the way, I was thinking about the conversation you had with that Satori guy,” the sea lion resumed. “You seemed really serious about finding them. Why's that?” she asked with an inquisitive look.

    “Oh, that? Well...” the Litten started to speak but trailed off. I can't tell her about the whole 'saving the world' business, so... he mused before continuing, having come up with what to say. “Umm... I guess they just sound pretty cool, and I want to meet them.”

    Alissa smiled cheerfully. “Me too! I'd like to go out and see what those guys are like!” the Popplio paused for a moment, before her face lit up. “Say, why don't we go look for them together?”

    Takumi recoiled in shock. “W-What? You want to leave the village?” he responded. “Wouldn't everyone here miss you?” the Litten added, frowning.

    “I guess, but...” Alissa continued. “...I'm tired of being confined to such a small village. There's so much the world offers out there! I want to go out and see all of it!” she said enthusiastically, her eyes sparkling. “So many wonders and mysteries... the possibilities for amazing adventures are endless!”

    “Everyone always discourages me from going off on my own, but...” The sea lion walked over to Takumi. “...But you want to go out there and explore, too! We both have our reasons why we want to leave, so why not go together as friends?”

    Takumi's eyes widened. “F-Friends?...” he stammered.

    Alissa smiled and dragged the Litten towards her with her right flipper.. “Yeah! We can be adventure buddies! Exploring the world together and having lots of fun... doesn't that sound great?”

    “It does...”

    Alissa released Takumi from her grasp. “Then come on, let's do it! Let's be friends!” She smiled cheerfully and held out a flipper.

    Takumi nodded and smiled back. "Yeah... friends!” he responded, holding out his right forepaw and resting it against the Popplio's flipper.

    The Popplio suddenly stood up on her tailfins and held her flippers into the air in excitement. “Yess!” she then plopped back down and shook Takumi's forepaws with her flippers. “Thank you! Thank you so much, Takumi!”

    Takumi smiled warmly. “Thank you, too.”

    Alissa's face then seemed to light up in in realization. “Oh, right! Since we're friends now, how about I give you a nickname?” she offered.

    “W-What? A nickname?” Takumi stuttered.

    Alissa nodded. “Yup!” she then pressed a flipper up against her right cheek. “Hmm... how about...” she whispered in thought, before giving her answer. “...Taki!”

    “T... Taki?” Takumi's cheeks reddened in embarrassment.

    The Popplio cocked her head to the side. “Do you not like it?” she asked.

    Takumi smiled sheepishly. “No, it's just... no one's ever given me a nickname before... I guess hearing it kinda caught me off guard, ha ha...” the Litten gave an awkward chuckle and rubbed his ear with a forepaw. “Just so you know, I love it,” he replied, getting a smile and a nod from Alissa in response.

    The Popplio then let out a yawn. “...I think it's about time I hit the hay,” she remarked. “We'll go early tomorrow morning, okay? I'll wake you up when I'm done getting ready.”

    “Alright, sounds good,” Takumi said with a nod.

    “Okay, let's do our best tomorrow,” Alissa replied before curling up on her bed and facing Takumi, with the Litten getting into his bed as well.

    “Oh, one last thing...” Takumi added to which the Popplio lifted her head.

    The Litten smiled warmly. “Thanks for everything.”

    Alissa smiled happily and nodded before laying her head back down. “Night, Taki.”

    “Goodnight, Alissa,” Takumi replied. The sea lion proceeded to close her eyes, leaving the Litten alone with his thoughts.

    Well, today was certainly hectic. Honestly though, I couldn't have asked for a better result. I can't believe Alissa wanted to be friends! I'm so happy to have met someone like her in this world... and to top it off, she wants to meet the Tapus, too!... I just hope they'll actually be willing to help. His thoughts were interrupted by a yawn. ...I'd better get some sleep, tomorrow's going to be a big day. Finally... things are starting to look up.

    His thoughts concluded, he drifted away into a deep sleep.

    ------------------------------
    I can't help but feel that touch I had with fight scenes in PDC is missing now... But I guess it's been a long time since I've written any major fights, so that'll get better with time.

    And finally, the character that'll take the role of Takumi's partner has been revealed. It's probably not too surprising, though. For those that like Robin, trust me, you haven't seen the last of him by a longshot. ;)

    Next time: Takumi's adventure begins for real.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
  10. Ambyssin

    Ambyssin Definitely a winter

    Battle time! I'm never a good person to critique this kind of stuff, but from what I could tell, the action seemed pretty snappy. Boldore fit well into the mold of this large, slow, hulking beheamoth that could really do some damage if you didn't take care of it fast enough. I liked some of the ways that you made use of Boldore's attributes to liven things up. For example, having its cores serve as weak points gave him vibes of being a Zelda boss and it's good that the protags used that to turn the tides of the battle. I also liked that his punching tied into the unstable structural environment. At the same time, it was nice to see each of the trio having to overcome a little mental hurdle in addition to the big rock trying to squish them: Alissa's cowardice and Takumi's lack of knowledge of how to fight like a Pokémon were better handled than Robin's paranoia, namely because Takumi really hasn't given him any reasons to be so incredibly suspicious of him (or, at least, say he's suspicious).

    My primary criticism is a willful suspension of disbelief issue. You parked yourself in a corner by pitting Takumi against something with type advantage over it right out of the gate. Sure, he had Robin and Alissa to help, but he took enough knocks that, realistically speaking, a newbie 'mon like him should've gotten KO'd. But I'm not really sure how you could change that. Likewise, Satori's explanation has some contradictory stuff in it. Like, if the Tapus are so secluded, then how does he know that Tapu Koko is in the Ruins of Conflict? Also, I think you use 'power' twice in one sentence when talking about Z-Power and it's kind of redundant.

    On a more general note, I do have to say that you're overusing epithets right now. I was sort of guilty of this too... I'm afraid it's something rampant in the fic community. You refer to your characters as "the X" quite a lot (even calling Boldore "The Pokémon"). I know your gut's telling you to do that because otherwise you'll get really redundant, but it's actually more obnoxious for me, as a reader, to see the epithets constantly popping up. You can use their names and gender pronouns and not worry about sounding to redundant. I would advise only ever using them occassionally, just to remind us what species your characters are. Otherwise, I'd steer clear.

    So, Alissa is the partner, huh? kinda saw that one comingWhat a tweeeeeest! Nah, but seriously, it's nice to see the partner being the more gung-ho of the two. Hopefully that leads to an interesting dynamic.

    And to end off:
    omg this fic is so punderful

    "T'is but a scratch, I assure you!"
     
  11. RocketKnight66

    RocketKnight66 404: Consistent Schedule not Found

    As a note, my backlog ran out this week, so my update schedule might not be 100% consistent. I'm still working on chapters as always, though! Just felt it was important to give a heads up.
     
  12. RocketKnight66

    RocketKnight66 404: Consistent Schedule not Found

    It's finally time for Takumi to set out on his adventure! There's a lot of questions and issues that I made sure to address in this one, so I hope it'll be enjoyable.

    Now, on with the show!

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


    Takumi was stirred from his sleep by the sound of water dripping. He lifted his head and opened his eyes, only for them to be hit with light, causing him to flinch and shield them with a foreleg. After a few moments, he lowered his foreleg and blinked a few times, his eyes adjusting to the change of brightness. Looking around, he found he was in the white void he had seen before.​

    Huh? It's this place again...

    We meet again, Takumi. His attention shifted to the front where the voice emanated from. He walked for a few steps, his paws seemingly making ripples in the ground as if he were walking on water.

    “Umm, nice to see you too, mister disembodied voice,” Takumi replied.

    I see you have made some new allies.

    “Yeah. I made friends with Alissa, and we're going to look for the Ruins of Conflict together,” he elaborated.

    So, you intend to meet with Tapu Koko?

    “Umm, I do,” he answered before freezing up in a momentary panic. “Err, if that's what you want me to do, anyway... I-I mean, I thought he might know something that could help, or...”

    Yes, you should seek out the Tapus. They may know how to awaken the power that resides within you.

    Takumi nodded. “Right.” There was a few moments of silence before he began to speak up again. “Hey, umm... I've been thinking about something.” The voice did not respond, allowing him to continue. “All the talk about Alissa's family got me thinking about my own. I kept thinking about how much her family will miss her when she leaves, but...” He frowned. “...I never thought at all about how my mom feels back home. I mean, she doesn't really care much about whatever I do, but... I thought she might be worried if I'm gone. So, I wanted to address something...”

    Then get on with it, the voice thundered, making him wince.

    Regathering his bearings, he continued. “...W-What happened to me in the human world?”

    …..

    “Hey, a-are you still there?” Takumi stammered.

    To his surprise, the voice suddenly sounded a bit higher pitched. Umm...

    Huh? W-What's up with that reaction?

    ...I do not know, the voice said, it's pitch returning to normal.

    Takumi recoiled in shock. “Wh... What? Y-You don't know?”

    I am afraid not.

    “I-I see...” Takumi stuttered, sweatdropping.

    At any rate, I must say farewell for now.

    “Alright then.” Takumi nodded. His eyes widened moments later upon realizing he forgot something. Wait, I didn't try asking about my power again!...

    Until we meet again, Takumi.

    “W-Wait, I forgot to ask something-” he tried to speak, but everything soon faded away, and his consciousness with it.

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

    Chapter 5: Hitting the Road

    “Taki...” Takumi heard the whispering voice of Alissa as he felt something press against his backside. His eyes fluttered open, and he got up to face her.

    “Oh, good morning,” Takumi replied, sounding tired. Looking around, he noticed the room was still dark, the sun hardly having begun to rise. “It sure is early... but I guess it has to be if we're sneaking out like this,” he observed.

    “Yup!” Alissa responded. “Anyway, you ready?” she asked.

    Takumi nodded. “Ready as I'll ever be.”

    “Alright, let's go!” Alissa replied, trying to contain her excitement. With that, the two slowly walked out of the room, careful not to wake anyone. They made their way to the door, opening it and slipping through. Stepping outside, Takumi saw clearly that the sun had only just starting to rise over the horizon, that little bit of light making it easy for them to head towards the entrance to the forest. Just as they reached the stop however, Takumi's ears twitched as he thought he heard a door closing. Stopping, he turned to look behind him. His face paled with shock, and he nudged Alissa with a forepaw.

    “A-Alissa, you might want to turn around...”

    “Huh? What is it?" Alissa replied, confused.

    “Going somewhere?” Her eyes widened at a familiar male voice, and she turned around as well.

    Alissa's jaw slackened upon seeing what was behind her. It was Shouta, who was joined by most of the village's residents.

    “H-Hi Pops, what are you, uh, doing up so early?...” she stammered awkwardly. “I was just gonna, uhh... go out for a walk! Yeah, that's it!” she lied.

    The Toucannon walked up to the two with a stern look. “Don't play dumb with me, I know exactly what you are trying to do.”

    Takumi looked away nervously, while Alissa attempted to hold her ground. “Oh yeah? What do you think I'm doing, then? It's not like you can read minds.”

    Robin peeked out from behind Tesla. “Professional mind reader here,” he deadpanned as he waved with his right wing before walking up to the two as well.

    “R-Robin?” Alissa stammered.

    “I saw the way you were acting after we got back. You were all sorts of interested in the Tapus when Satori talked about them... but what was more telling was when I was healing up Takumi. Your body language made it very clear you didn't want me there... as if you wanted to talk to Takumi in private?” A smirk appeared on his beak as he finished.

    Alissa's eyes widened. “Nope nope nope! No private conversations were had! I-Isn't that right, Taki?” she panicked, waving her flippers around before looking at Takumi.

    “Well that's exhibit B, but I'll just gloss over that for now,” Robin said before continuing his explanation. “Anyway, I stayed put and listened before I left.”

    “You were eavesdropping?” Alissa said in disbelief.

    “But I thought you left already? I heard the door shut,” Takumi inquired.

    “Nope, just opened and closed it. You two were probably too busy talking to hear it when I left for real,” Robin answered before continuing. “I told Shouta first, telling him to get up early.” Shouta nodded in reply. “As for me leaving to talk with Tesla... that wasn't a lie. I told you two so that you thought I was just planning on having a normal conversation with her...”

    “...When in actuality, he was filling me in on what you were planning.” Tesla cut in as she walked up beside the Rowlet. “So, with that knowledge, we convinced everyone to come out at your time of departure,” she added before turning to Robin and grinning. “I'd say our plan was executed to perfection, wouldn't you say?”

    “Ohh...” Alissa whimpered and slumped over in defeat, realizing she was caught. Takumi on the other hand, turned his attention to the Rowlet.

    “But... why would you go through all that trouble? If you knew already, wouldn't you just go and catch us by yourself?” he asked, furrowing a brow.

    “Well that's the thing, Takumi. I have an ulterior motive,” Robin stated before motioning to Shouta. “Take it away!”

    Takumi and Alissa looked at Shouta. “This wasn't to stop you from leaving... it was to see you off.”

    “See us off?... Wait, you're okay with this, Pops?” Alissa asked, surprised.

    He nodded. “I know you want to go out there and go adventuring. I shouldn't stop you from following your dreams. As long as you have your friends by your side, I can rest easy. So, make your dream a reality, Alissa.”

    “P-Pops...” Tears welled up in Alissa's eyes.

    Takumi walked up to Robin. “Wait, that was plural. Robin, you don't mean?...”

    Robin motioned the cat to wait, and walked off. He picked something up off the ground and returned. Takumi's eyes widened as he saw him carrying a brown shoulder bag.

    “I'm joining in. After all, you two would be helpless without me,” Robin said sarcastically, although he did give another smirk.

    “I will be coming with as well,” Tesla added. “I have to head back to the guild soon, anyway. Why not do it with some company?”

    “Thanks a bunch.” Takumi smiled briefly before his face straightened. “But... why didn't you just tell us up front if you wanted to come along?”

    “Because getting the village to see you off was my idea. I thought it would be a nice thing to do,” Robin elaborated. “And besides, it was fun to mess with you guys... the look on your faces was priceless!” he added, laughing. Takumi sweatdropped.

    “I'll say,” Tesla added with a chuckle. “But anyhow, don't you think it's about time we headed off?” she said, walking towards Alissa and the forest entrance, with Robin and Takumi following suit.

    “You guys...” Alissa smiled, wiping away her tears with a flipper.

    Ricky and Cross then appeared from the crowd. “Hey, Alissa! Go have lots of fun! Have the best time ever!” the Rockruff shouted cheerfully.

    “Go out there and be an adventurer! And when you find something cool, come and tell us!” said Cross.

    “I'll see you guys later... go and make Greenhorne proud,” Viletta added in.

    “You kids go do your best, you hear me? And I'll see you soon, Tessy! Love you!” Brock chirped.

    “I hope you find the Tapus, Takumi,” Satori added, walking up to Takumi.

    Takumi gave a grateful smile and nodded. “Thanks.”

    Some of the other villagers added as well. “Go show them what you're made of!”

    “Yeah, you can do it!”

    “Everyone...” Alissa teared up a little more, but wiped it away as best she could. “Thank you all so much... I'll go out there and make you all proud... I promise!” she shouted, standing up on her hind flippers and holding a flipper into the air.

    She then got back down, and with that, the group turned around and went into the forest, leaving Greenhorne.

    “Bye bye!” Ricky yelled while waving with a forepaw.

    “See you later!” Cross said, doing the same.

    As Shouta watched them disappear from his sight, a smile appeared on his beak once more.

    I'm looking forward to hearing what you three accomplish together. And Robin... make Alina proud.

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

    The group made their way through Celceta Forest, this time taking a path through to the north side of it. Along the way, they saw mossy rocks on the left side, often complementing many of the forest's elevation changes. At one point, Takumi noticed a stream of water coming from a pile of rocks on the right side. Thanks to Tesla and Robin, the group made it through the forest without getting lost.

    Upon exiting, the sky was glowing orange, the sun still rising higher into the air. The path on the other hand, curved to the right and slowly went downhill, descending from the high elevation point that was Greenhorne and Celceta. Off in the distance, the ground on the left side gave way to a cliff, while the right side's ground had a steep decline that led off to a grassy field. Soon enough, everyone made their way downhill until the ground eventually flattened out, and the cliffside on the left no longer appeared as the ground on that side began to extend out.

    “Hey, umm... Tesla?” Takumi said, catching the Mightyena's attention.

    “Hmm?”

    “Umm, I-I heard you mention a 'guild' of sorts, and well... I was wondering what kind of job you have,” Takumi asked, sounding nervous.

    “Well, I work at Rescue HQ, a guild on Kauwela Island. I'm a part of a rescue team there,” Tesla clarified.

    “But not just any team, though. She's part of Team Phoenix, the most famous rescue team in all of Shizen!” Robin cut in.

    “Alina and Miu are the real stars, though. I'm more of a support.” Tesla bashfully shrugged off the praise.

    Robin gave her an unamused look. “Oh, come on. You're an important part of the team too, and you know it.”

    Tesla chuckled. “You flatter me too much. But, thanks.”

    “Hey, umm...” Takumi cocked his head to the side. “...What's a rescue team?” Robin faceplanted from the question, while Tesla stopped and stared at him.

    Getting back up, Robin stared at Takumi in disbelief. “Are you serious?...” Takumi smiled sheepishly, getting an exasperated sigh out of the Rowlet. “...You know how we went and rescued Ricky when he was in danger? That's what rescue teams do in a nutshell, although they take on other kinds of jobs as well,” he explained, trying not to sound annoyed.

    “Oh... I guess that was a stupid question, then.”

    “Can't say I'm surprised, though. After all, I wouldn't expect a human to know a whole lot about our world,” Tesla remarked. Takumi froze up in shock at the comment and turned to look at her.

    “H-How did you-?”

    “I told her,” Robin deadpanned, eliciting a surprised yelp from Takumi.

    “Y-You what?!”

    “Relax, you can trust me to keep a secret,” Tesla replied. “A couple years back, Miu tried dressing up like a Gothitelle and came out more like a scarecrow...” She stifled a chuckle before continuing. “...And I've never told anyone,” she said proudly. Before anyone could interject, her face blanked upon realizing what she said. “Er, don't tell her I said that.”

    “Hey, look over there!” The group's attention shifted to the front upon hearing Alissa's voice. “Is that Tasnica?” she asked, pointing ahead to a wooden archway. Beyond it, they saw a few buildings appear to peek out of the background, although they were too far away to get a fair look at them.

    Tesla nodded. “Mm-hmm, this is the place.”

    “Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go!” Alissa said excitedly before taking off and leaving the others behind.

    Robin rolled his eyes. “Typical Alissa,” he said before proceeding to follow her, with Takumi and Tesla following suit.

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

    ~Tasnica City~
    The dirt road gave way to one of cobblestone. Alissa stopped at an intersection and looked around her, finding buildings of wood and stone lining up the sides of the paths to the left and right, most of which were bigger and looked more solid than any of the huts back home.

    “Whoaa... this place is huge!” Alissa said, awestruck.

    Takumi looked around as he and the others caught up. It's a lot bigger than Greenhorne, that's for sure. Realizing Robin had yet to speak, he turned his head to look at him. “Aren't you seeing this, Robin? It's pretty impressive.”

    Robin shrugged. “I've been down here with Tesla a few times before, so it's nothing new to me.”

    The four proceeded to travel down the northern pathway with Tesla leading. It was between two of the rows of buildings on the sides, but the road was just long enough to avoid feeling cramped. It stretched on for a bit before the buildings on the sides ended, once again leaving them in open space. Looking around once more, Takumi noticed a stone fountain in front of him that had two bowls above the one on the ground. The top one overflowed, allowing water to work it's way down to the bottom. Behind it was three buildings that were larger than what they had seen on the sides. The structure in the center was the largest, and it had more stone than the buildings around it, making it stand out with a light gray color.

    Tesla walked a few steps to the northwest before turning around. Takumi noticed the path at that end of the town appeared to stretch out into the ocean. “Well anyway, I plan to head off to the docks. You three coming with?” Tesla inquired. Looking westward, Takumi saw a dirt path that went up in elevation and seemed to head back into forestland.

    Reminded that he needed to search for the Ruins of Conflict, he shook his head. “No, there's something here I have to find.”

    Tesla nodded. “Very well. In that case, I'll go set up a reservation at the inn if you'd like,” she offered.

    “Yeah, that would be helpful,” Robin replied.

    “Alright, then follow m-” Tesla cut herself off upon seeing a Bewear walk up behind Takumi.

    Takumi cocked his head to the side. “...W-What? Do I have something on my face?”

    “Umm, behind you,” Alissa said, prompting Takumi to pivot around, his legs freezing upon finding the bear behind him. His face blanched and he slowly looked up to find the bear looking at him.

    “Helloo!” the Bewear said in a soft and friendly tone. Nonetheless, this caused Takumi to give a fearful yelp and scramble away behind a confused Tesla.

    I-It's him again! W-What's he doing here?! Takumi mentally panicked while everyone, the Bewear included, looked at him with bewildered expressions.

    “What... are you doing?” Robin said in an exasperated tone.

    “T-That's the guy that chased me in the forest!” Takumi shouted, pointing a foreleg at the bear.

    The Bewear tilted his head in confusion and placed a paw up against his snout. “Hmm? I don't remember anything like that...” he said, trailing off at the last few words. His posture then straightened, a thought popping into his mind. “Ohh wait, yes I do! You're that kitty cat from when I was taking a stroll in the forest! I tried giving you my hugs, but you ran away!” he said, his tone remaining unchanged.

    Takumi refused to budge from his cover. “Y-You would've crushed me!”

    “I see, I see... Yes, I get that a lot,” the Bewear remarked. “I've heard that from everyone, actually!”

    “T-Then why did you go after me?!” Takumi shouted.

    “Well, I couldn't resist! You looked so cuddly that I just plumb forgot!” the bear said cheerfully.

    H-How do you even forget something like that? Takumi thought, sweatdropping.

    “Hey, Takumi?” Robin cut in, walking forward. “I don't know what happened between you guys, but if you could quit acting like a loony around the mayor, that would be great,” he said in a deadpan tone.

    “What?!” Takumi toppled over from behind Tesla. Getting back up, he pointed a foreleg at the Bewear. “H-Him? He's a mayor?”

    The Bewear grinned. “Yes sirree! I'm Teddie, the mayor here!” Takumi staggered back as Teddie proceeded to walk towards him, wincing as the bear got close enough to touch him. When nothing happened, he opened his eyes and nervously looked up to find the Bewear was holding out a paw. “I'd never want to make someone uncomfortable, so I'm sorry if you feel that way. I'd like to make it up to you by making your stay in Tasnica a fantastic one!” Takumi hesitantly extended a foreleg and the two shook paws.

    “Thank you, friend!” Teddie chirped. “Now, what brings you all here today?” he asked, looking around to see the others.

    “I was planning to take a ferry back to Kauwela. But first, I'll be making a reservation at the inn for these three,” Tesla elaborated, glancing at the trio.

    “Oh? You're all staying behind?” Teddie asked, looking at the group again.

    “W-Well, I was, uhh...” Takumi faltered, feeling put on the spot.

    “We're gonna meet that Tapu guy!” Alissa said, cheerful as usual.

    “He has a name, you know. It's Tapu Koko,” Robin quipped.

    Teddie perked at Robin's words. “Ohh, yes yes, I've heard that name.” He placed a paw up against his jaw. “That's quite the challenge you three are taking on.”

    Takumi titled his head to the side. “Umm, and why's that? I'm almost afraid to ask...”

    “Tapus don't let Pokémon in their homes all willy-nilly,” Tesla cut in. “Usually, they put together a test of sorts to determine if they're worthy of meeting them. A trial, if you will.”

    Takumi's eyes widened. “T-Trial? That doesn't sound pleasant...”

    “Well, there's a variety of challenges they might make you do. It could be a dungeon, they could make you fight strong Pokémon, or they could make you solve puzzles... the list goes on. Who knows what Tapu Koko would make you do.”

    So Tapu Koko will make us go through a 'trial'?... Takumi mused. ...It sounds kind of scary, but I really need to meet him... if I'm supposed to be some kind of hero, then I need to act like one and take this challenge head on.

    Making up his mind, he nodded. “...Even still, I have to try. I have to prove myself worthy of meeting him, right?”

    “Yeah! We won't let anything stand in our way!” Alissa pumped a flipper into the air.

    Tesla looked at Robin, who shrugged. “I brought this thing for a reason,” he said, referring to the supply bag over his shoulder.

    Teddie smiled. “Well, good luck on your adventure, kiddos. Just remember to be careful, that Tapu Koko is quite feisty!”

    “We will, thanks,” Takumi replied.

    “Let's set up that reservation first, shall we?” Tesla suggested, the group nodding in agreement. With that, she started towards the leftmost building on the coast, with the others following suit. Teddie waved with his paw, stopping upon hearing a voice from behind. Turning around, he peeked around the corner of a wall to find a Krokorok talking with a Larvitar.

    As the Krokorok spoke, Teddie made sure to go back into hiding to avoid detection. “...There's some sort of treasure at Treacherous Trail, and I want a piece of it. I already found it, but it's hidden behind some stupid cavern I can't fit into, and that's where you come in. You crawl into that hole, grab the treasure, and don't tell a single guy I snatched you for this. You do all that, you get away scot-free.”

    “B-But... what if someone gets all suspicious and stuff?” the Larvitar asked meekly.

    The Krokorok smirked. “Then I'll make something up, and you just follow my lead. Trust me, no one will ever know.”

    Teddie's eyes narrowed at the Krokorok's words.

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

    Meanwhile, Tesla and the others had entered the Tasnica inn. It had an almost entirely wooden interior, with a few seats shaped like tree stumps going together with rows of tables on both sides of the room. At the top right corner was a set of stairs leading up to the next floor. In the back of the room was a wood counter, where Tesla was speaking with a Blissey that was standing behind it.

    “A room for three, then?” the Blissey asked.

    “Yes. Service for a day would suffice, I'm not sure what they'll be doing, but if they want to stay the night, I'll add that in,” Tesla said.

    “Okay, that'll be 500 poké,” the Blissey replied. Tesla reached into the bag she had over her shoulder, and pulled out what appeared to gold coins of some sort, slowly putting them on the counter. Moments later, she turned around to look at the others, having thought of an idea.

    “Hey, do you three want any berry juice before you head out?” she suggested.

    Alissa furrowed a brow. “Wait, isn't that stuff fermented?”

    Robin's face lit up at Alissa's words. “Oh, right! I still remember the last time we spent a night here. Tess drank a bunch of that stuff, and it made her all loopy.” A smile appeared on his beak. “I'd never seen her act so hyper in all my life!” he said, trying to hold back laughter and not doing a good job of it.

    Tesla rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Really? You're still going on about that?” she said in a deadpan tone. “...Anyway, no. The fermented juice is completely different from the typical variety.”

    “Oh okay,” Alissa replied.

    “Umm, sure then. That could help perk us up,” Takumi said. The three walked up to the seats at the counter, which were a bit tall for them to get on without any difficulty. However, with a flap of his wings Robin got up onto one of the seats effortlessly.

    Alissa sighed in frustration. “Of course you can get up there super easy...”

    “How about you grow some wings, then?” Robin said jokingly.

    “Relax, you can all sit at one of the tables,” Tesla pointed out.

    “Not gonna lie, I kinda want to drink that fermented stuff when I'm old enough. I'm a little curious as to what it's like,” Robin commented.

    “Do yourself a favor and don't.” Tesla groaned. “You'll just wake up with no idea what happened and a big headache that will Not. Go. Away.”

    Robin sweatdropped. “Alright alright, point taken.”

    Some time later, the four all got their berry juice and sat down at the table. Tesla and Robin sat facing each other, and Takumi and Alissa did the same with each other.

    “Tess, why. Nomel juice is so painfully sour,” Robin quipped before taking a sip of his Spelon juice.

    “What can I say? I'm just in the mood for sour stuff today,” Tesla responded. She then furrowed a brow at the cup Robin had just put back down. “And you're one to talk, mister 'I love Spelons.' Seriously, how can you drink that red-hot monster without running screaming to the nearest water Pokémon?”

    Robin gave a disinterested shrug. “I dunno, mom I guess?”

    Tesla chuckled. “Good point... I swear, she could eat all the Spelons in the world and come out no worse for wear.”

    “I feel like I made a boring choice compared to you guys.” Takumi gave a sheepish smile before looking down at his Oran juice.

    “Who cares? If you like it, go for it,” Tesla replied.

    “Hey, I wanted to ask something,” Alissa interjected, putting down her Pecha juice. “I know we're going to the Ruins of Conflict, but... where exactly is it?”

    Takumi's face blanked, realizing he didn't think about that detail. “Oh. Umm...”

    “West end of town,” Tesla said, her voice muffled as she was drinking from the cup. Putting it down, she continued. “That exit will take you to the Treacherous Trail. The Ruins of Conflict should be past that.”

    Takumi raised a brow. “Wait, have you gone there or something?

    “Nah, it's common knowledge. Everyone knows where the Ruins of Conflict are,” Tesla stated.

    “But... didn't Satori say they secluded themselves away?”

    “Oh, that? Yeah, don't worry about it. He tries to make everything he talks about all cool and mysterious, even if it means his statement is full of holes.” She gave a snicker.

    “I see...” Takumi sweatdropped.

    “Finding Tapu Koko isn't the problem, anyway. The issue is getting him to accept you. But you know how to do that, right?” Tesla said with Takumi nodding in response. Noting that everyone had finished their drinks, Tesla got up out of her seat. “Well I'd say it's time to head out, don't you think?” The three looked at each other, nodding in agreement before following her out of the building.

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

    The group made their way out to the western end of town. Beyond another archway, the stone road gave way to dirt and the terrain rose in elevation, whatever else awaited being obscured by trees.

    “Well, here it is. Treacherous Trail is this way,” Tesla said.

    Takumi looked back at the Mightyena and gave an appreciative smile. “Thanks again, Tesla.”

    “It's my pleasure. Helping out other Pokémon is my job, after all.”

    “So... I'm guessing this is goodbye, then?” Robin asked, sounding like he would miss Tesla's presence.

    “For now,” Tesla answered. “But I'll be back soon. And when you're done here, why not come to Kauwela? I bet you'd love to see the guild me and Alina are oh so proud of.”

    A smile appeared on Robin's beak. “Sounds like a plan. I'll see you around, Tess.”

    Tesla nodded and smiled back. “Likewise.” She then turned her attention to Takumi and Alissa. “I hope you two find what you're looking for.”

    “We'll do our best,” Takumi replied.

    “Yeah! We'll pass this trial with flying colors, and meet that Tapu Koko guy! You can bet on it!” Alissa said, brimming with confidence.

    Tesla couldn't help but crack a smile at the Popplio. “Well anyway, I'll be off. I hope to see you all again soon,” she said before turning to head for the docks.

    “See ya!” Alissa chirped, waving a flipper. As Tesla moved further away from view, the group focused their attention back to each other.

    “Are we all set, then?” Takumi asked.

    “I've never been more ready!” Alissa clenched both of her flipper while standing on her tailfins.

    Meanwhile, Robin simply gave a thumbs up with his wing. “I'm ready if you are.”

    “Alright then, let's-”

    “Yeah! Time to move out, team!” Alissa shouted and started off towards the trail.

    Takumi sweatdropped, caught off guard. “Uhh... what she said.”

    “Let's just catch up while we can still see her,” Robin quipped as the two then proceeded to go after the Popplio.

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

    ~Treacherous Trail~

    As the trail rose upwards, it once again returned to forest, the left surrounded by trees. On the right was a clifface leading off into the ocean, which was blocked off by a wooden fence. The elevation eventually straightened out, but the road was far from smooth being obstructed by rocks that the group had to make their way around. Eventually, a rockface blocked the path. Looking up, the group noticed it was possible for them to climb up, as it was not too tall.

    “I'll handle it,” Robin said. With a jump and flap of his wings, he took into the air, rising to the top of the rockface easily. Touching down, he turned around and extended his wings down below. “Come on, I'll pick you up.”

    “Don't need it.” Alissa stood up on her tailfins and pushed off, propelling herself into the air. She flipped forward to orient herself and landed perfectly on the ground above. She looked at Robin and gave a cheeky grin. “Heh.”

    Robin rolled his eyes and turned his attention back down below, where Takumi readied to jump up. With a grunt, he jumped up into the air, and Robin caught him by the forelegs. With some effort, he managed to pull Takumi up to the higher ground. The two breathed a sigh of relief and relaxed.

    “Say, I was wondering... what do you think this 'trial' is gonna be about, anyway?” Alissa inquired.

    Robin turned to look at her. “...Well, I've heard Tapu Koko loves battles and is quite aggressive, so it's safe to assume he'll want to make us fight.”

    “But fight what, though?”

    “I bet it's something big,” Takumi cut in. “I mean, there's gotta be a good reason why this place has a name as on the nose as 'Treacherous Trail.'”

    “That's for sure,” Robin agreed. “My best guess would have to be a Totem Pokémon.”

    Alissa titled her head in confusion. “Huh? What's a Totem Pokémon?”

    Takumi perked up as he remembered something. “Oh, a Totem Pokémon is a Pokémon that's trained up to be bigger and tougher than any other member of it's species. They usually have a lot of unique abilities because of that, too.”

    “Yeah, that sounds about right- Waait a second. How do you know that?” Robin turned his head behind to look at Takumi upon realizing what he said.

    “Oh! uh... I'm just a good guesser.” Takumi rubbed a cheek and chuckled nervously, getting a skeptical look from the Rowlet.

    “Well big or not, we can take whatever this Tapu guy throws at us! Right, guys?” Alissa said cheerfully.

    Takumi nodded. “Right!” Prepared to resume, the group headed off into the forestland.

    Meanwhile, the pair of Krokorok and Larvitar were deep in the forest, searching for the treasure that supposedly resided somewhere in the area. Krokorok lead the way with a map in his hands that he glanced down at on a regular basis.

    “Okay, we go downhill for a bit, and there should be a clearing...” Krokorok mumbled while reading the map.

    Larvitar nervously furrowed his brows upon finding a rock pile to the left. “Uh, T-That's the same rocks from earlier... S-Sir, I think we might be lost...”

    “Nonsense! I know exactly where I'm going!” Krokorok waved off the comment before noticing that the elevation begin to drop. “Look, it's goin' downhill. Told ya I'm a master navigator-” He looked back at Larvitar, smirking. Not looking ahead, he failed to notice a rock sticking out of the ground. As he started going down the slope, his foot caught on the rock, causing him to grunt in surprise before tumbling down the hill. Larvitar ran forward and looked down with concern, wincing upon hearing a thud.

    “Whoa!” Larvitar jumped in surprise at the voice of another Pokémon and ran down the slope to find Krokorok on his stomach with a trio of Pokémon to the right staring at him with bewildered expressions. Upon closer examination, the Pokémon turned out to be Takumi, Alissa, and Robin.

    “A-Are you alright?” Takumi stuttered. Krokorok lifted his head and turned to find the three looking at him. He quickly quickly got up, putting his hands against his side and smiling as if nothing was wrong.

    “Oh yeah, never better! That kinda thing happens all the time,” Krokorok said. Larvitar then appeared out of the shadow of the trees, running to Krokorok's side.

    “What's up? Are you guys gonna meet that Tapu guy, too?” Alissa asked.

    “Oh, that?” Krokorok shook his head. “Oh no no, nothing like that. I'm just out for a stroll with my kid here,” he said, directing the group's attention to Larvitar.

    Takumi cocked his head, even more confused. But they're not even in the same egg group... Then again, neither is Alissa and Robin, he mused.

    “Really. You and your kid are out for a casual stroll. At the Treacherous Trail,” Robin deadpanned, clearly skeptical.

    “Yes! My boy here sure loves the taste of adventure! Isn't that right?” Krokorok chirped before glancing over to Larvitar.

    “U-Uh, yeah!”

    Robin chose not to press the issue. “Suit yourself.” He shrugged before starting to walk again with Takumi and Alissa in tow.

    As the trio disappeared from view, Krokorok wiped some sweat off his head. “...No sweat, I know exactly what I'm doing,” he said proudly.

    “B-But you just wiped some sweat-”

    “I said no sweat!”

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

    The trio continued to make their way through the trail, while path twisted to the left and began to descend. They got the chance to see just how high up they were, as the right side gave way to a rocky clifface. Beyond the edge appeared to be a clearing, although there was no noticeable way to get there from where they stood.

    “Hey... what do you think that Krokorok and Larvitar are up to?” Takumi asked.

    Alissa looked at him with a confused expression. “What do you mean? They said they were out for a stroll.”

    Takumi frowned. “Alissa, I think that was a cover... Call it a hunch, but something about those two just doesn't feel right to me.”

    “Same here,” Robin interjected. “The way that Krokorok was acting tells me he's hiding something, and I think it has to do with that kid.”

    “The kid?...” Takumi trailed off, his face paling moments later. “W-Wait, don't tell me...”

    “Don't freak out about it yet, Takumi. It's just this feeling I've got, I don't have any evidence to support it.”

    “Soo... you want us to catch them?” Alissa said.

    Robin shook his head. “No, I'm just asking we keep our eyes peeled for those two. Based on what Krokorok said, they're definitely still here. I think we might run into them again.”

    Takumi and Alissa nodded. “Got it,” they said in unison, looking at each other afterwards.

    Continuing on, the path slowly declined, the ground beyond the righthand cliff growing closer bit by bit. Eventually, the right side began to extend out until it was hanging over the air. Noticing the space beyond it was clearly visible, Takumi decided to walk over to it and survey the area. The clearing beyond the cliffside was a fair bit closer now, but it was still too high up to jump down to. Off in the distance, he could see a pack of Yungoos roaming the area. There still appeared to be no clear way to get there, however.

    “What's up, Taki? Do you see anything?” Alissa walked up beside him. Her eyes widened as she turned to look at the scenery below. “Whoa, we're so high up!”

    “The elevation was even higher earlier,” Robin interjected. “Any way to get down yet?” he asked to which Takumi shook his head. “No worries, I guess we'll just need to keep going down this path until we can find a way there.”

    However, Takumi's ears then twitched from a faint noise. ...Huh? What was that? A few moments later the noise started to become clearer. ...Footsteps? That's weird... is there something coming? Eventually, the footsteps became the much louder sound of stomping, and Takumi staggered back as a tremendously big Gumshoos appeared from the shadows, knocking over a pair of trees and causing the pack of Yungoos to scatter in the process.

    “Wh-What is that thing?!” Alissa gasped.

    Takumi's mouth went agape. “I... I think that's a Totem Pokémon.”

    “Wait, that's a Totem Pokémon? It's massive!” Robin shouted.

    Takumi gave Robin a look of surprise. “H-Huh? I thought you knew about these!”

    “Only from stories and what others had told me. Frankly, none of that compares to seeing the real thing...” Robin replied before turning his attention back to the Gumshoos, which was looking around. “But... if a Totem Pokémon is roaming about here, then that only means one thing...”

    Takumi nodded and his eyes blazed with determination. “...This is the trial. We can't back down now... If Tapu Koko wants us to fight, then we have to face this challenge head on!”

    Alissa quivered. “Nuh-uh. No way. I-I don't want anything to do with that thing...”

    Takumi looked at her with concern. “Alissa... I know it's scary. Honestly, I'm a bit nervous myself. But, this is what Tapu Koko wants us to do. If we're going to meet him... then we have no other choice.”

    There was silence for a few moments until Takumi's attention was interrupted by a loud growl. Turning to look ahead again, his face blanched and his ears folded upon seeing Totem Gumshoos charging toward the wall with loud stomps.

    “O-Okay, I was wrong. We do have another choice. RUN!” Takumi scurried away in a panic, with Alissa and Robin not hesitating to do the same. The three ran down the path as quickly as they could, trying to escape the Gumshoos which slammed into the wall with a big crash. Quickly pulling itself out, it started to run along the wall that was growing shorter the further along they went. Despite it's size, the Gumshoos was catching up rapidly.

    “You guys keep running, I'm gonna try to distract him!” Robin pushed off into the air, directing the Gumshoos' attention toward him. Before it could try anything, Robin thrusted his wings forward, unleashing a Leafage attack . Totem Gumshoos was pelted with sharpened leaves, not even flinching as it turned around and pulled a tree right out of it's stump. Robin yelped in surprise as Gumshoos swung the tree at him, Robin barely managing to fly underneath the swing's arc.

    Robin flapped his wings frantically, touching down and beginning to run again as he caught back up to the group. “Alright, so he doesn't like leaves,” he quipped.

    Looking behind, Takumi's eyes bugged out as he saw Gumshoos charging for them quicker than before. “I think that's an understatement!”

    Suddenly, Totem Gumshoos weaved out to the right. In a flash he came back, charging into the wall and slamming into it, filling the air with a startling crash. The wall failed to hold together as the ground burst into a cloud of dust and stone, the blast flinging the trio into the air.

    ------------------------------
    I'm really trying to get better with painting a scene with the descriptiveness. It's probably still not quite there yet, but I hope it's an improvement. I actually described the void in the dream again because I felt the description in the first chapter was unsatisfactory.

    I'm pretty happy with how most of the character interactions turned out here, specifically the ones between Robin and Tesla. Tesla's basically his one close friend, so I definitely wanted to have some fun banter between them.

    And then there's finally Takumi asking something about what happened to him in the human world. I've been getting comments about this a lot, so I wanted to address it. His actual backstory will still have to wait for a while, though.

    Next time: Gaining a Tapu's recognition is a downhill battle.
     
  13. Ambyssin

    Ambyssin Definitely a winter

    Oh, well, hello there, Solgaleo. I see you're... uh... not really doing all that good of a job as a spiritual guardian there. It's not even that he's being cryptic. Just legitimately doesn't know stuff that these ominous advisor types are supposed to know. 10/10, best help ever. Nah, but seriously, it's an interesting little twist. Likewise, I shouldn't be surprised Robin's coming along. You don't put a starter in a PMD fic and have them sitting on the sidelines... *cough*

    For a proper city, I think you could've done a little bit more to show Tusnica having some hustle and bustle compared to the little village our heroes came from. Like showing Pokémon out and about, for example. I got a clearer picture of the inn and Treacherous Trail than I did the city itself. Not a huge deal; more of a nitpick. On the other hand, I was not expecting Bewear to return in such a way. And with the name of Teddie, no less. Is he voiced by Sam Riegel, per chance? *persona 4 intensifies* With Teddie comes the revelation, I guess, that it is possible for mere mortals to visit the Tapus. They just need to do... trials? Huh... as in the challenges from the Gen VII games? I suppose that's one way to put a mechanic like that into a PMD story. Also seems to fit okay with Tapus' more mischievous natures that they'd 'play around' with a potential guest. Looks like this trial takes the form of Totem Gumshoos. No idea what you have planned for the battle, but this would be a good opportunity to put some of Takumi's knowledge to work. He already surprised his friends by knowing what trials and Totems are, so I'd like to see that followed up on.

    I think you need a scene break when you suddenly jump to the outlaws in Treacherous Trail. The "Meanwhile" along doesn't cut it in this instance. Another couple of mechanistic things on my end is that you're using deadpan a bit too liberally, including in some situations where it doesn't belong. I get that Robin's supposed to be snarky, but you keep using the same things to show that off. You might want to tone down on its use a bit. Likewise, "sweatdropping," while a common anime trope, isn't really a word, I think. It just doesn't sound write to see it getting used in prose like that. ^^;

    Lastly, odds and ends:
    In these situations where the subject of the sentence following the dialogue doesn't match the speaker, it's best to make a new paragraph to avoid confusing readers.

    Oh, hi, not-Team ACT. I see we have some Ho-Oh fans, as well. :p

    *shakes head disapprovingly* You had one job, Tesla!

    Okay, this is a nitpick but I have to do this. Ahem... *puts on nerd glasses* alcohol is a depressant, it would not cause someone to act hyper if they drank a lot of it. It would impair their judgement, make them very tipsy, give them slurred speech, and may change their personality (e.g. make them standoffish when they're normally reasonable). Sorry, but I work in medicine, I'm-a call anyone out when they make stuff like that up. *takes off nerd glasses*

    Also, spices (including berries) are oils. Water would actually make it worse. :V

    This feels like a cop out to the point I raised in another review. But, y'know, the mental image of a village elder intentionally trying to be cool and mysterious is too funny. I'll give you a pass. XP
     
  14. DeliriousAbsol

    DeliriousAbsol Call me Del

    Chapter 1

    This is an interesting start. Robin and Alissa remind me a bit of Cheren and Bianca, except Alissa is a lot more excitable. Also... Robin. That name. I totally called my Rowlet Robin Hoot and I don't think I was alone with that reference XD I approve.

    Given it's already been said by Ambyssin, and I noticed you'd referenced it in the second chapter, I won't bring up descriptions in depth. But if you get chance, I would go back and edit them as they were very jarring with the narrative. If you need any help with descriptions, you're definitely in the right place!

    I did enjoy the Bewear chase. Reminiscent of the anime, I could just imagine the character shouting that as it gave chase after Ash. And Takumi re-lived it.

    The thought-speech for Takumi is also excellent, as it echoes the player character in the PMD games. You've melded it in very well with the dialogue, which flowed naturally, and all the characters thus far have their own unique personalities. For a new writer, this is no easy feat. Well done =)

    Chapter 2



    I like this a lot.



    Your descriptions are improving. More 'show don't tell', which is a vast improvement from the first chapter. Given readers will likely already know what the pokemon are, you don't need to describe them in detail unless the main character is actually examining them (ie, someone who has never seen an Alolan form.)

    You seem to be telling a lot of emotions rather than showing, however. I can suggest, if you can get hold of a copy, The Emotion Thesaurus. It's an invaluable tool that has helped me a lot.

    Example: Takumi looked somewhat surprised and confused, wondering just what was going through the Popplio's mind.

    Could be re-written as: Takumi's eyes widened and he stuttered a little as he wondered just what on earth was going through the Popplio's mind.

    You don't have to use my example – I'm by no means perfect – but it gets across the surprise and confusion without telling the reader that those are the exact emotions.



    You don't need the part about her struggling to find the page. Her words explain it just fine :)

    This was a sweet introduction to the town and its inhabitants. Again, the characters all have their own personalities, and it's nice that Robin seems to be warming to Takumi towards the end. I'm wondering if that temple in the forest might be making Robin wonder if Takumi is telling the truth? Maybe it has something to do with him being there? I guess we'll find out soon enough!

    Some typos :



    Need to remove 'the'



    Missing 'be'



    Should this be 'on'?

    This is an interesting little story that's already raising some questions from the first two chapters alone. The characters are also pretty adorable, especially Alissa. Between the first two chapters, you've already improved a lot. I look forward to seeing how things develop. Keep up the good work!
     
  15. Cutlerine

    Cutlerine a lonesome harp guitar

    Hi! You know, for someone new to writing, this isn't bad. There are definitely some improvements you could make to your writing style – as has previously been pointed out, you have a tendency towards overdescribing some things that we're already familiar with, like pokémon species, and underdescribing some things that we're not, like the settings specific to your world (Tunisca in particular is very vague and empty-feeling for a city). But as I said, that's been pointed out to you, and I can see from the way you've altered your writing as the story's gone on that you're trying to address this issue and some of the others that have been pointed out, like your habit of substituting unnecessary epithets for names and pronouns, so I won't repeat all of that again and instead move on to some of my own thoughts and reactions.

    Firstly, I kinda like Takumi as a character. Like, his reaction to being told the world is ending is basically “wow, pokémon are real!”, and that really sums up everything. He's very much a child; he's distraught at his change of shape, but then he's like “wow, I'm a litten!” I guess I do share Ambyssin's concern about how casually he brushes aside his past life, but you do have him start to think more about that when the novelty of his new form wears off, and in many ways I think that childlike enthusiasm accounts for his initial lack of concern. Interestingly, he doesn't seem to have ever played PMD before, or even heard of it, which is kind of cool; I don't know whether that's a common thing in PMD fic, but it puts him in an interesting position where he knows a bunch about pokémon, but not everything. (On a related note – why is he being so secretive about how he knows stuff about the pokémon world? Since he's already said he's a human, there's no reason to hold back, and all it's doing is making Robin more suspicious of him than otherwise.)

    I also find your take on mystery dungeons really interesting – since these are so transparently just game mechanics, they're always a place where PMD fic writers get to exercise some real creativity, and this fic is no exception. Your explanation for why they're full of aggressive pokémon throws up some intriguing questions, like whether the threat of going berserk applies to rescue teams. Is there a hard limit to how long your career as an explorer can be before you run the risk of going wild yourself? PMD is often quite boss-centric, and I can see a hardened explorer who went spent too long in the field being an excellent boss somewhere down the line, maybe as a semi-legendary figure whose renowned prowess has now been turned against their former comrades.

    You do a great job of evoking the PMD style, too: you've got a cast of characters with larger-than-life, slightly stylised personalities, all bouncing off one another. Takumi himself is very much a PMD protagonist, as well – a bit understated, a bit excitable, but ultimately with latent leadership qualities. I like the structure you set up in that later chapter, where one mistake sets Robin and Alissa at one another's throats until Takumi himself displays some of the qualities for which he was (presumably) chosen and reunifies them into the rescue team they can't quite become without him. Takumi's powers awaken, Robin puts aside his mistrust, Alissa gets over her fear – it's all very nicely done.

    That said, there are some issues beyond the ones that have been pointed out already – here are some things I noticed as I read through:

    These are two separate sentences, since there's no “he thought” or whatever connecting them; “attempting” needs to be capitalised.

    First up, there needs to be a comma after “head”. Secondly – and this is something that recurs throughout the whole fic – you've confused “it's” and “its” here. A quick and easy way of remembering the difference is to ask yourself if you could substitute “it is” for whichever variant of “its” you're thinking of using – if you can, then you need “it's”; if not, you need “its”.

    “Both” should be capitalised here.

    Again, these are two separate sentences, so you need a full stop rather than a comma at the end of that dialogue. Also, this is a weird way of talking about Takumi – either it shocked him or it didn't, you know? We've been following his POV pretty consistently; there's no real reason to get coy about it now.

    One, you can't really follow an ellipsis with an attribution (“he said”, etc.), but the real issue here is “sweatdropping”. That … isn't a word? And while I get what you mean – it's like that one PMD portrait sprite with the big sweat drop, right? – it feels like a curiously slangy way to handle your narration, and the video-gameiness of it doesn't quite mesh with the fictional context, in my opinion. This recurs a bunch more times, so maybe it's something to think about in future.

    I'm also not 100% sold on the way we dip into Robin's perspective here (side note: how many rowlet have some variant on the name “Robin Hood”? I want to look at those statistics); we stick to Takumi's POV so religiously otherwise that this seems a bit of an odd diversion. There doesn't seem to be a point to it either, since Robin's been very clear about how little he trusts him already. The perspective shift works a bit better later on, when we stick with the other POV for a while, but I'm still a bit unclear about what exactly it adds that we can't get any other way.

    The question mark should go after the ellipsis here.

    Missing the word “be” here.

    That should be a long dash, not a hyphen. Also, for more effect, have this immediately followed by the interrupting voice, rather than narration just telling you he's been interrupted.

    It seems odd that Tesla would let these three kids go off on a dangerous expedition – and that they would ask her for permission rather than Shouta, who you'd think would be the one responsible for their safety, as their primary caregiver. Also, why didn't any other adults volunteer to search? I don't know about you, but if three children volunteered to do something dangerous, I'd be straight-up embarrassed into volunteering to go in their place.

    Given that you've consistently capitalised species and move names, is there a reason you haven't capitalised abilities? Also, it seems very strange that everyone just yells the name of the move they're using as they use it. I can understand why Takumi would do it, coming from a videogame perspective, but Robin? It seems (a) a waste of breath and (b) tactically inadvisable to let your enemy know what move you're about to blast into their face.

    This doesn't quite work. “With a shout of 'ember!'” might, but you can't just stick dialogue and narration together like you've done here – there are only so many ways they can grammatically join onto one another.

    Wrong kind of “bear” – the past tense of this kind of “bear” is “bore”, not “bared”.

    That should be “are”, rather than “is”.

    And there we have it! Looks like we've got another battle to come in the next chapter; given how the boldore fight turned out, it should be a pretty fun one. I'll be looking forward to it!
     
  16. RocketKnight66

    RocketKnight66 404: Consistent Schedule not Found

    Sorry for the delays. I've been struggling with some insomnia and energy issues as of late, so it's been a bit difficult to get work done on the chapter. I'll assure you my desire to work on this hasn't diminished at all, and I was looking to get back to it this week. I should have the next chapter out next week or the one after that, and then hopefully things will move a bit quicker from there.

    In the meantime, here's some review replies!

    I'd like to focus on making progress on chapters before going back to revise old ones, but that's definitely something I'm planning to do down the line.
    I actually haven't seen the SuMo anime, but I have seen that bit. Yeah, there was some inspiration from that scene. xD
    Thanks, I appreciate that a lot! Writing characters and dialogue is definitely the thing I'm most enthusiastic about, so a lot of my focus goes there.
    I'll have to give that a look, it certainly sounds like it would be helpful.
    Thanks a bunch! I hope you'll enjoy what lies in the future! :)
    Yeah, I wanted him to be fairly upbeat about the whole deal. There's certainly a few reasons as to why he fixated his attention on it over his human life, but that's stuff for the future. ;)
    Don't worry, I'm already planning to address that in the near future.
    Those are some really good ideas, and I'll definitely be exploring stuff like that in the future!
    Thanks, glad to know you liked the characters so much! It's certainly the thing I've put the most time and care into.
    Yeah, that's already been taken care of in the next chapter.
    I guess I didn't really think about that much... ^_^;
    I thought the sentence looked weird with that capitalized, but yeah, that probably wasn't good for the sake of consistency. I'll probably fix that soon.
    I have a reason for that, although I'll admit it's a pretty silly one. Generally speaking, I just really enjoy the "calling out the names of your attacks" trope. I think my love for the noisy battle dialogue in the Xenoblade games is to blame. xD
    Thanks! It'll certainly be a wild ride, I've got a lot planned for the next chapter, and it'll be a big one!

    Thank you for the reviews! All the positivity and feedback has been amazing! I'm really surprised by the amount of attention this has been getting, and I'm not really used to it at all. ^_^;

    I hope y'all will stick around for the next chapter, it'll be a wild ride for sure!
     
  17. RocketKnight66

    RocketKnight66 404: Consistent Schedule not Found

    I deeply apologize for the hiatus. In a nutshell, I was struggling with Insomnia and personal issues that made it hard to find time to concentrate on writing. But things started improving recently, and I was finally able to put this thing together. It took much longer than I'd have liked, but I would say I'm pleased with how the final product turned out. I just hope the wait will have been worth it, and I'll make sure the next chapter doesn't take two months to come out. ^_^;

    Now, on with the show!

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

    Chapter 6: Trails and Tribulations

    “Ugh!” Takumi fell to the group with a thud. With a groan he got up onto his feet, spinning around to look behind him as he heard a loud growl. His chest tightened upon seeing Totem Gumshoos not far away. Now that they were on equal ground, Gumshoos towered over Takumi. Quickly backing away, he looked around frantically for the others, luckily seeing them running to him in order to regroup.

    “Taki! What happened? Are you okay?” Alissa said, worry on her face.

    “Y-Yeah, I'm fine,” Takumi replied. “What about you? You're not hurt or anything, right?”

    Alissa nodded. “I'm okay.”

    “Your concern is touching, but we've got more pressing issues.” Robin pointed a wing to the Gumshoos. Takumi winced as he heard another growl, turning behind him to see the enemy once more.

    “Well, uh... what's the plan?” Alissa asked with nervousness in her voice.

    I gotta think... there has to be some way to take this guy down, Takumi mused. His eyes then widened in realization. Wait, if this is a Totem Pokémon, then does that mean?...

    He didn't get to finish his thought before Gumshoos' body went rigid, seemingly bracing itself for something. A strange yellow aura began to form around its body, intensifying to a blaze as it let out a furious roar.

    Takumi sighed. ...Yup.

    Alissa and Robin staggered back in shock. “W-What is he doing?” Alissa stammered.

    “Totem Pokémon have a special aura that makes them a lot stronger, and I think he just activated his,” Takumi explained.

    Alissa squeaked as she slid behind Robin, who grimaced at Takumi's words. “Well, that's just lovely... Wait, how do you know that?” He gave Takumi a look of confusion.

    “Can we address that later? We've kinda got a Totem to worry about.” Takumi responded.

    “Good point. Let's deal with this oversized mongoose first, then we can talk.” Robin readied into a fighting stance.

    Takumi did the same, staring down Gumshoos with fierce determination. “Time to show Tapu Koko what we're made of! Let's go!” He sprinted towards Gumshoos, with Robin not far behind. As he got closer, he slowed down and concentrated, trying to spark his flames. His fur stuck up, red with heat.

    He looked up to aim at Gumshoos' head and opened his mouth. “Ember!” A ball of flame shot out, bursting as it hit its target in the head. The attack briefly got the Gumshoos' attention before another voice diverted it away.

    “I'm right up here, you know!” Looking back up, Gumshoos saw Robin hovering directly in front of it. He pulled his wings away momentarily. “Leafage!” Thrusting them back forward, he fired a stream of sharpened leaves, making Gumshoos flinch as the attack hit him in the face. It gave a death glare at Robin and tried to swipe at him with its claws, missing as Robin dodged backward with a flap of his wings.

    “Oh, so close! You're gonna have to be quicker than that,” he taunted. Gumshoos' left eye twitched and it crouched down and dragged its claws through the dirt, trying to knock him out of the sky with a Sand Attack. Robin was prepared however, twisting his body to the right and flapping his wings, causing him to spin backwards and out of the attack's range. As he straightened up again, he forced a wing forward and used another Leafage attack, hitting Totem Gumshoos once more, followed by another Ember from Takumi striking it in the chin.

    Looking back and forth between the two, Gumshoos gave a frustrated growl and dropped to a four-legged stance, nearly landing on Takumi in the process. Craning its neck upward, it let out a series of roars. Robin looked at it with confusion, while Takumi's eyes widened from what it was doing.

    “Robin, we have to fall back! He's calling for help!” he shouted.

    Robin furrowed a brow. “And how do you know that?”

    “Just trust me!” Takumi barked. Hearing the sound of rustling bushes behind him, he winced and darted toward Alissa. Robin then heard the noise and took off as well. As the two rejoined with Alissa, a pack of Yungoos appeared from the bushes and started to approach them.

    “Well, you were right again,” Robin remarked.

    Alissa looked back and forth with a panicked expression. “T-There's so many... W-What are we supposed to do?!”

    “We can do this if we work together, Alissa. We just have to stay calm,” Takumi tried to reassure her.

    Alissa took a deep breath. “...O-Okay...” she replied, voice still unsteady.

    Despite not showing it on the outside however, Takumi was losing his composure. Wait, stay calm? What am I talking about?! They're all coming out from the woodworks! And look at Gumshoos! He knows we're in trouble, he's just laughing it up! he thought as he looked to Totem Gumshoos, who had crossed its arms with a smug grin and was chuckling.

    Takumi paused for a moment and shook his head, trying to snap himself out of his panic. No... I can't think like that. I came here to prove myself to Tapu Koko, I can't back down now. I'm sure we can do this! He tensed himself up and readied for the coming herd. As one of the Yungoos charged toward Takumi, he opened up his mouth and fired off an Ember. Upon connecting with its target, the fireball exploded and knocked the Yungoos away.

    Takumi and Robin scattered in order to deal with pairs of enemies from both sides. One Yungoos jumped at Takumi, who pushed off to the left and avoided the lunge. He moved backwards to distance himself, and as the attacking Yungoos tried to charge at him, he let loose another Ember and knocked it back.

    Meanwhile, Robin darted backwards with a flap of his wings to avoid a Tackle from one of the Yungoos. As it stopped upon missing, Robin pushed off with his feet and countered with Peck, hitting the Yungoos head on. He bounced off and took it as an advantage to raise himself into the air with a quick flap. Once he was in the air, he fired off a Leafage attack at both the Yungoos that were grouped together, knocking both of them out. As he touched down, he turned to the left and stepped back in surprise upon seeing a Yungoos approach Alissa.

    Alissa backed up as the Yungoos approached her, snarling. H-He's getting closer... what do I do? She thought anxiously before perking with an idea. ...Wait, I've got it! She quit moving back, and instead put on her usual cheery face. “Hiya!” The Yungoos froze in surprise. “its nice to meet you! What's your name?” she chirped. Yungoos pointed a paw at itself, trying to figure out if she meant it. “Oh, we should play together! Wouldn't that be fun? Come on, pleeease?” She stood up on her tailfins and touched her flippers together, staring at Yungoos with her Baby-Doll Eyes.

    Dumbstruck and clearly uncomfortable, the Yungoos began to back away. “Uh... I'ma leave now.” As it was inching away, Robin came flying in, blindsiding the Yungoos with a strike from his talons, sending it flying. Upon landing, he walked up to Alissa.

    “What... was all of that about?” He had a look of bewilderment on his face.

    “Just me being a distraction. I had an idea and it all went according to plan.” Alissa grinned proudly.

    Robin chuckled. “...You sly little mon. Not bad, sis.” He smirked and gave a thumbs up, to which Alissa giggled in response. Their moment would be interrupted however when Robin heard a sound. He turned around to see another Yungoos approaching from behind.

    “Agh!” Alissa jumped upon hearing the voice of Takumi. Pivoting around, she gasped as she saw a separate Yungoos had forced Takumi to the ground back-first.

    “T-Taki!” She started running towards the two.

    “Don't... worry...” Takumi said with a grunt as he tried to push the Yungoos away. “I've... got... this... hrah!” He managed to get his hind legs beneath the Yungoos' body and pushed with them, sending the enemy airborne. In reaction, he quickly rolled back onto all fours and moved to the right, facing where his target would fall.

    The Yungoos hit the ground with a thud but got up quickly. Takumi extended his claws and swung, but Yungoos jumped backward and avoided the attack. Without warning, it spun around to face Alissa and charged toward her. She let out a startled yelp and fired off a Water Gun in a panic, propelling Yungoos into the air once again. Takumi looked up into the air to aim and used an Ember. The ensuing blast from the hit sent the Yungoos flying far away.

    Alissa stared where the Yungoos fell, dumbstruck. “Whoa... did we do that?”

    Takumi walked toward her. “We sure did!” he chirped. He looked around, trying to see if there were more Yungoos, however he found none. “I think that's the last of them, too-” he started to speak, cut off by the sound of something being pulled out. As he and Alissa turned their attention to the source of the noise, they saw Totem Gumshoos was carrying a large tree in its hands

    Takumi's face went rigid. “N-No way...”

    “H-He pulled it right out of the stump!” Alissa squeaked.

    There would be no time to think, however. With the tree in hand, Gumshoos sprinted towards the two with fury in its eyes.

    “Not good!...” Robin mumbled. In an attempt to help, he quickly took off towards Gumshoos. “Look out!” he shouted. Gumshoos was moving too fast for him to catch up, so he fired off a Leafage attack from where he was, hoping it would connect. Gumshoos approached close enough for the attack to hit it in the side of the head, but it failed to slow down the aggressor.

    With a loud roar, Gumshoos swung the tree down towards the ground like a massive club. Takumi and Alissa tensed up and pushed off as fast as they could, darting in separate directions just in time to avoid the tree slamming into the ground with an almost deafeningly loud thud.

    Takumi struggled to get up, still recovering from the shock. Slowly, he managed to stand and reorient himself. His ears were soon greeted by Robin's roaring as he barreled towards Gumshoos, striking it in the snout with a Peck and rebounding off. The Totem Pokémon flinched from the blow before its face twisted with rage. It rushed forward with its head tucked in, much quicker than Robin could have expected.

    Gumshoos slammed into him, forcing a grunt out of him and knocking him out of the air. He managed to regain his focus and right himself mere feet away from the ground. He backed away with a flap of his wings, trying to put some distance between himself and his assailant. Once he had made a big enough gap, he thrust his wings forward and let loose another Leafage attack.

    As he watched the fight, Takumi slowly backed away. This... this isn't like the games at all... He's not just some challenge we can topple with a few moves... H-He's a real wild monster!... One that's trying to batter us into the ground any way he wishes!... He drew a shuddering breath. N-No... T-This is too real... I-If that thing hit me... I'd...

    “Taki, LOOK OUT!” Alissa yelled, prompting Takumi to look up. He froze in terror as Gumshoos had turned its attention to him, deeming him an easy target. It took the tree once more, and began to wind up a swing. In reaction, Alissa pushed into the air with her tailfins, hopping forward faster than she could run. As Gumshoos began to swing it in their direction, Alissa got close enough to grab his body with her flippers. The instant her grip felt solid, she pushed off with her tailfins as hard as she could, not caring where she would land. The two shot into the air, avoiding the tree by mere inches before falling back down. Alissa's trajectory made her fall onto her back, making her yelp in surprise as she and Takumi crashed down and tumbled onto their backs.

    “Hah... botched the landing this time...” Alissa said between breaths. Remembering they couldn't sit still, she rolled back onto her flippers and moved over to Takumi. “Taki! Are you okay?!”

    “Y-Yeah...” Takumi replied in an unsteady voice.

    Alissa proceeded to help Takumi up to his feet, when they noticed Robin touch down next to them. “Hey, we need to get moving, and fast. There's no way we can fight that thing out in the open like this,” Robin urged.

    Takumi nodded slowly. “G-Good idea...”

    Noticing he appeared very distressed, Alissa quickly walked up to Takumi. “...Taki?” She gave him a concerned look. Takumi looked at her and opened his mouth like he was about to speak, but no words would come out as his was interrupted by an angry growl from Totem Gumshoos that made everyone jump.

    “Eep! Nope, nevermind, it can wait! Let's hurry and get out of here!” Alissa squeaked before motioning Takumi to run and then taking off in a sprint herself. Takumi and Robin quickly followed suit as Gumshoos picked up the tree once more and began to take chase.

    The three went down a path that returned to the shadows from the trees. The path went downhill and the sides were flat, creating a bit of a drop. As they were running, a noise emitted from behind that was unlike the Gumshoos' footsteps. Looking behind, Robin jumped at seeing the massive tree rapidly rolling down the slope towards them. Knowing there was no time to waste, he jumped to the right, shoving his body into Takumi and Alissa who both yelped in surprise. The three all tumbled off the right side as the rolling lumber whisked by, with Gumshoos following it.

    Getting up, Alissa and Robin breathed a sigh of relief. “T-That was too close...” Alissa whimpered.

    “I'll say,” Robin replied. “You alright?”

    Alissa and Takumi nodded, the latter rather absentmindedly. “Good. I'll go look ahead, you two stay here for now,” Robin said before carefully walking through the foliage and out of sight.

    Alissa took their alone time as an opportunity to talk to Takumi, who was still laying down. “...Taki, what's wrong? You look kinda spooked. And I should know...” she asked, nervously chuckling at the last bit.

    Takumi looked up at her. “I'm sorry, Alissa... We... shouldn't have come here,” he whispered.

    Alissa furrowed her brows in confusion. “W-Wha?... What do you mean? I thought you wanted to see the Tapu.”

    Takumi looked away guiltily. “I was only focused on beating the challenge, but... What happened back there made me realize exactly what I had gotten everyone into.”

    “You mean when the Totem guy pulled that tree out?” Alissa asked.

    Takumi nodded. “That... That made me realize just how dangerous this whole thing is. This isn't something we're supposed to tackle by ourselves... and yet...” His voice choked. “I just ran in like some kind of video game protagonist!... And I dragged you here with me, not even thinking about what would happen if either of you got hurt!...”

    “But I'm fine, see? Not hurt at all!” Alissa extended a flipper, trying to ease Takumi's worries by showing it was clean.

    “But that monster is still roaming about! Who knows what could happen?!” Takumi snapped, looking away again upon realizing what he said. “...Look, Alissa... I just don't want anything to happen to you or Robin... I'm such an idiot for forcing you guys to come with me on something like this...” he added, his voice softening from his shattered resolve.

    “Taki...” Alissa whispered as she walked up to Takumi. She placed a flipper on one of his forelegs, getting his attention. “You didn't force us to come at all.... We agreed we wanted to do this, even though it sounded dangerous.”

    “But that was before I realized just how bad it was first-hand,” Takumi said glumly.

    “And we're still pushing on! If we didn't want to do this, we would've turned tail and run by now!” Alissa retorted. “Taki, we're in this together. No matter how scary it may be, we can always find some way to succeed as long as we have each others' backs. You don't need to be scared.” She presented her flipper for Takumi to grab on to. “Come on, let's get fired up! We can do this!”

    Takumi opened his mouth, but words failed him. He was not sure of what to say, so he instead extended his foreleg, and latched on to Alissa's flipper.

    Alissa's face lit up and she pulled Takumi up to his feet. “That's the spirit, Taki!”

    Suddenly, they heard Totem Gumshoos roaring in the distance, along with a large amount of stomping. “Hey, are you two done chatting yet? I need some help over here!” Robin called out. Takumi and Alissa looked at each other, and Takumi took a nervous breath.

    “Taki, I'm really scared, too... But we're supposed to be partners, right? We can face our fears together!” Alissa said, giving a reassuring smile.

    Takumi nodded, his expression lightening. “Yeah... Let's beat this trial, together.” The two rushed out of the trees, entering another clearing. The sides were all blocked off by rock walls, however it seemed there was a split path at the other end. It was hard to tell however, as most of the area was taken up by the battle between Robin and Totem Gumshoos. Robin noticed their presence quickly and flew over to them, prompting Gumshoos to turn its attention to the group.

    Robin touched down and immediately wilted from exhaustion. “its about time!... I've been out here trying to fight this guy on my own... He just won't slow down!...” he said, breathing heavily. He then proceeded to pull an Oran Berry out of his shoulder bag.

    “Yeah, sorry about that... we had something we really needed to take care of,” Alissa explained. She then turned to look at Takumi, getting his attention. “But we're not going to back down now! Right, Taki?”

    Takumi nodded, his determination finally returning. “Right, let's do this!” Takumi and Alissa charged toward Gumshoos. Takumi slowed down and tensed up, readying an attack. “Ember!” Another fireball blazed out of his mouth, aimed at Gumshoos.

    “Water Gun!” Alissa joined in, firing a stream of water from her mouth. Soaring through the air, the pair of attacks found their mark square in the Gumshoos' chest. Through the burst of steam formed from the combination, Takumi saw the Totem's glare, it's body looking none the worse for wear. It rushed forward and opened its jaws, trying to bite down on one of them. Both braced themselves and dodged out of the way, proceeding to back away in order to build some distance, when suddenly Takumi stopped.

    “Hey, Alissa! Can you give me a boost?” Takumi pointed up to Totem Gumshoos' head.

    Alissa backed up and turned around, facing Takumi completely. “Got it! I'm ready when you are!” She stood up on her tailfins and held her flippers out toward the ground. Takumi charged forward towards Alissa, who crouched down in preparation for Takumi's approach. When he got over to her, Takumi stood a bit on his hind legs, readying to jump. At that moment, the two pushed off at the same time, propelling Takumi far into the air above.

    He curled up as he rose to the height of Gumshoos' head before exiting the roll and extending his claws. With a shout, he swung down with all the force he could muster, slashing the Gumshoos between the eyes. As Takumi began to fall, Robin returned to the fight and followed up with aiming a Leafage attack at the Totem Pokémon's face, further compounding the damage.

    Takumi looked down almost as soon as he began descending, with panic setting in the moment he realized just how high up he was. “Uwahh!” Alissa was prepared for this however and started running to the side. When Takumi fell close enough, Alissa jumped up with her flippers outstretched.

    “Gotcha!” Alissa intercepted the fall, Takumi falling into her grasp. She flipped in order to reorient herself with the ground and she landed cleanly on her tailfins and let Takumi touch back down onto the ground.

    Takumi breathed a sigh of relief. “...Alright, probably should've thought that one through,” he said ruefully.

    Takumi's breathing faltered when he heard the enraged cries of Gumshoos filling the air, the previous attack causing it a fair amount of pain. He noticed it twist its body to the right, appearing to be winding up an attack.

    “Back off! Now!” Robin yelled out, flying towards the two. Takumi and Alissa stiffened as they saw Gumshoos swinging its large tail at them with alarming force. In reaction, they dashed away as the tail swung by. The attack barely missed, but the force from the swing created a gust of wind that sent the pair flying and knocked Robin out of the air. They tumbled as they hit the ground, the three ending up sprawled on their stomachs.

    Takumi quickly rose to his feet, stumbling for a moment as he was still dazed. He shook his head to snap him out of his stupor and he looked around to see Alissa and Robin getting up as well.

    “Is everyone alright?” he asked.

    Alissa nodded. “Yup.”

    “Yeah, we managed to avoid the worst of that,” Robin stated.

    Knowing that the others were fine, Takumi turned his attention back to the Totem Pokémon. “...I don't think he liked us going for style points.”

    Robin rolled his eyes. “You think?

    “What are we gonna do, Taki? We can barely scratch him...” Alissa asked with a worried look.

    “We're not going to win like this, he's much too strong for us to fight head on,” Robin replied calmly as he went over what to do. “Takumi, do you have a plan B?”

    “Umm, I'm thinking...” Takumi replied quietly as he observed the area, trying to find something that could be of use to them. He perked up as he noticed a large tree laying on the ground, the same one Gumshoos had attempted to attack them with earlier. An idea popped into his head, and he looked over to the split path at the north end of the area. “...Wait, I think I've got something. Come on!” he said before running off towards the pathway, with Alissa and Robin glancing at each other before following suit. Takumi reached the area in question first, with the others catching up not much later.

    Alissa walked up to Takumi, looking confused. “Taki, what's up? Do you have an idea?” she asked. Takumi didn't answer, fixated on seeing what was down the paths; he noticed that both of them descended steeply enough to roll something down them. The left path also stopped short due to a solid rock cliff from above blocking it off.

    “Just as I hoped!...” Takumi whispered, grinning.

    “Hey, could you, uh... tell me what you're thinking? I'm kinda lost here,” Alissa asked, a look of confusion on her face.

    Takumi flinched, realizing he had been ignoring Alissa. “S-Sorry...” he apologized. “...Remember how Gumshoos rolled a tree downhill at us?” he asked, to which Alissa nodded. “Well... if we get a big enough tree, maybe we could give him a taste of his own medicine!”

    Robin flashed a mischievous grin. “Heh, I like the sound of that.”

    Glancing behind him, Takumi saw the tree that Gumshoos had knocked down; running over to investigate, he determined it was big enough to cause serious damage to their target. “I think this will do...” He motioned Alissa and Robin to follow him as he hurried over to the other side, standing up on his hind legs and placing his forelegs on the tree bark. The other two proceeded to get into position to push as well. “Alright, push!...” They all grunted as they tried to shove the tree with all their might, but their strength would not be enough to move it.

    “Agh!... it won't budge...” Takumi said, trying to catch his breath. “...I guess we might be a bit small to push this on our own...

    Alissa frowned. “What do we do, then?... I dunno if we can get this thing to move...” She trailed off upon hearing footsteps behind her. Pivoting around, she squeaked in surprise at whatever was there. A confused Takumi also turned around, jumping in shock and backing against the tree at the sight of Teddie suddenly standing before them.

    Teddie waved casually. “Hello!”

    “T-Teddie? What are you doing here?” Takumi stammered.

    “Oh, just looking for something,” Teddie replied. Looking to the right, he spotted the raging Totem Gumshoos off in the distance. “I see you're in a bit of a pickle. Is there something I can do?”

    “Can you lift this tree?” Takumi asked, pointing at the tree.

    Teddie placed a paw up against his snout. “Hmm... that's some mighty big woodwork,” he observed. He then walked up to it and crouched down.

    Hearing the sound of creaking, Takumi turned back to the left, where he was shocked to find Teddie carrying the massive tree all by his lonesome. “Whoa!...”

    “Huh, not as heavy as I expected...” Teddie whispered as he put the tree back down.

    “So, um... will you help us?” Takumi asked.

    “Of course, of course! Just tell me where to drop it,” Teddie replied.

    Takumi gave a relieved smile. “T-Thanks...”

    “Hey, could we speed things up a bit? Our little friend over there's taken an interest in us,” Robin cut in. He was facing away as he was looking at Totem Gumshoos, who was eyeing the group with suspicion.

    Keeping his cool, Takumi focused on Robin. “Robin, could you get him to go down there?” he asked, pointing towards the slope.

    Robin turned back around to face Takumi. “Well sure, it not like I haven't been distracting him a lot already,” he replied, ruffling his feathers.

    Takumi beamed with anticipation. “Then let's put this plan into action!” With that, Robin ran off towards the Totem Pokémon, while the others concentrated on the tree. Gumshoos stopped and looked down at the sight of the Rowlet approaching it.

    Robin waved with his right wing. “Hey, what's the matter? For such a powerful guardian, you're taking awfully long to get us. A bit slow in the head, perhaps?” Robin taunted while reaching into the bag with his left wing. Unsurprisingly, Gumshoos' face twisted with anger and he stomped on the ground.

    This thing better work... Robin thought as he rummaged through the bag, soon enough getting a hold of what he was looking for. “I think I've got just the thing for you...” he continued, pulling a yellow seed out of his bag. “This should give that brain of yours a jumpstart!” Robin chucked the seed at Gumshoos' head. When it made contact it exploded in a firey burst, causing the target to nearly topple over from the blast. Robin clenched his left wing. Perfect... thanks for that, Tess.

    Gumshoos roared furiously and readied to chase after Robin. Expecting this, he took off into the air. “There we go, now that's what I like to see! You want a piece of me? Then come and get it!” He pushed away and started flying toward the slope, with Gumshoos running after him. He jumped up in an attempt to catch him, but Robin avoided the lunge with ease.

    Takumi reacted quickly upon seeing the two make their way to the target area. “Let's hurry after them!” he said, looking back at the other two before continuing to run. Alissa took off as well, and Teddie followed as fast as someone could with a massive tree in their hands. Soon enough, they all reached the top of the slope. Looking down, Takumi saw Robin had managed to get Gumshoos in the perfect spot for the plan to play out.

    “Alright, we've only got one shot at this...” Takumi said, trying to hold back his nervousness. He quickly got out of the way, allowing Teddie to line up the tree with the left downhill path.

    “Now?” Teddie asked calmly.

    “Now!” Takumi replied with a shout. The Bewear set the tree down on the slope and it began to roll, rapidly picking up speed as it went down. Not knowing what was about to happen, Robin quickly ducked into the trees. Totem Gumshoos looked around, frantically trying to find Robin, It's attention shifting when it heard the rolling lumber. Looking behind to see the tree approaching rapidly, it's face filled with surprise for the first time. The tree was moving far too quick for it to react and it took the impact head on. Gumshoos growled in pain and shock as he was sent tumbling down the slope just was fast as the tree.

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

    Meanwhile, Krokorok and Larvitar were in the trees, continuing their search for the treasure's location. “Alright, we should get back on the road here... Our destination should be right out in the open,” Krokorok said while looking at his map. Climbing back out of the trees, he found himself on a slope. “And our destination should be right over... there...” He turned to the left and stuck out his right arm, pointing at the road ahead, trailing off as he saw nothing more than a rock wall. “Oh, COME ON!” he shouted, throwing his arms into the air.

    “D-Did we make another wrong turn?” Larvitar asked.

    “Arghh, this stupid thing is just wrong!” Krokorok fumed as he stuck the map in Larvitar's face. “Look at it! Does that look like the Treacherous Trail?!”

    Larvitar stumbled back in surprise before taking a look at the map. It appeared to be for a much more open region than their current location, and it appeared to be of rather questionable quality, with multiple spots looking as if they were filled in haphazardly with a green marker. “W-Well, umm... no, it doesn't.”

    “See, see? I was ripped off!” Krokorok threw the map to the ground and started stomping on it. “And now I'm out 500 poké because of this stupid thing! That Gengar is gonna regret conning me!”

    But... how did you only just notice that? Larvitar mused. He was pulled out of his thoughts however when he heard something rolling loudly, along with pained growling. “Um, s-sir?”

    “What?!” Krokorok snapped, causing him to flinch.

    “M-Maybe you should move,” Larvitar replied, slowly backing away and off the road.

    “Hey! Where are you going?! I'm sure you're just imagining... things...” Krokorok trailed off as he turned around, seeing a massive barreling down the slope at him. And was that... A Gumshoos on the side of the log, getting smashed into the ground by the motion?

    “...Oh boy.”

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

    KRRRRRRSH!

    As the violent sound of the crash pierced the air, Takumi and Robin flinched, while Alissa let out a startled yelp. When silence returned, Takumi opened his eyes before hesitantly walking over to the tip of the slope and looking down, trying to spot where the tree and Totem Gumshoos had ended up.

    “Is... Is it over?” Alissa asked with uncertainty in her voice. It was then that Takumi found a large cloud of dust obscuring the rock wall, which he could make out a few cracks in.

    Takumi looked back at the others. “Hey, over here! I think I found him!” he announced, with Robin and Alissa running over to him as soon as he finished his sentence. As the dust cleared, Totem Gumshoos was revealed to be slumped against the wall, which had a big crater in it from the impact. The group stared, still in disbelief that they had managed to finally defeat their enemy.

    “It worked!...” Robin muttered.

    Takumi and Alissa gasped as the realization set in. Joy quickly spread across their faces and they turned to face each other.

    “We actually beat him!” Takumi said excitedly.

    Takumi proceeded to extend a foreleg out and Alissa a foreflipper, and the two gave a high-five. “We did it!” they shouted in unison.

    “I must say, using the scenery to our advantage was a pretty good idea,” Robin said, getting Takumi's attention. “We probably wouldn't have been able to win if it weren't for your plan. So... thanks.” Robin awkwardly gave a thumbs up with his wing, Takumi stifling a chuckle in response before giving a reassuring smile.

    “I should be the one saying thanks. You were all there to help out and put it into motion.” Takumi looked at Teddie and Alissa, who both looked quite happy. “And, well...” Nervousness suddenly spread across Takumi's face. “I kinda thought of that on a whim. I'm sure glad it worked, because I didn't really have a backup plan...” he added, smiling sheepishly.

    “Well you don't have to worry about that now, right? It worked, and that's all that matters to me,” Alissa reassured.

    “Same here,” Robin added. “And besides, I was quite confident it would work.”

    “Thanks, but...” Takumi replied softly, his expression dampening moments later. “...I need to apologize for something.”

    “Hm? What for?” Robin asked.

    “When we came here, the only thing on my mind was beating the challenge. But when we almost got squashed by that Totem, I realized I had been selfish...” His face filled with guilt. “...I was only worrying about myself when I should've thought about the danger I was putting you two in. So... I'm sorry.”

    Alissa and Robin looked at each other for a moment, before walking over to Takumi. “Taki, didn't we talk about this earlier?” Alissa asked.

    “Yeah, but... I felt I needed to apologize to both of you,” Takumi replied.

    “It's eating at you that bad, huh?” Robin furrowed a brow. “Well, don't let it.” Takumi looked at Robin in confusion, noticing his face had softened. “You have nothing to worry about. I could tell you were scared, but I still trusted you would bring us all together when it counted. And, you did. I was and still am on board with you a hundred percent. Considering what you've done for us already, why wouldn't I be?”

    “It's like what I said before, Taki. We're all in this together!” Alissa chimed in, sounding cheerful as ever. Suddenly, she wrapped a foreflipper around a surprised Takumi. She directed Robin to do the same, and he reluctantly joined the hug by wrapping his wings around the two.

    Takumi couldn't help but tear up. “Th-Thanks so much, everyone...”

    The three embraced each other for a few moments, when Teddie spoke up. “Ohh, let me hug too!”

    Takumi bugged out, but it was too late to react before Teddie ran over and picked up the trio and held them in his arms, making them grunt with discomfort.

    “Now I'm crying for a completely different reason...” Takumi whimpered as Teddie rubbed against him with his cheeks.

    “Okay, I'm finished,” Teddie said calmly as he placed the three back on solid ground. “So, now that you've completed the trial, I assume you'll be heading to the ruins?” he asked, making the trio perk up.

    “Oh yeah! Since we beat the trial, that must mean we'll get to meet Tapu Koko!” Takumi said, eyes sparkling.

    “That excitement is nice and all, but we need to actually find the ruins first,” Robin quipped.

    “Oh, right...” Takumi said with an awkward chuckle.

    “If my memory serves me well, the ruins are just beyond the right path,” Teddie stated.

    “Well, what are we waiting for? Let's go!” Alissa said as she readied to start running again.

    “Ohh, just a minute, friends,” Teddie added, making Alissa stop. “I'm positive that fight must've tuckered you all out. Would you like to ride on my back?” he offered.

    Takumi and Robin glanced at each other before looking back and nodding.

    “Then hop on!” Teddie crouched down for the others to get on. Takumi and Robin rounded to the back as Alissa pushed off with her tailfins, landing on top of Teddie's head while Takumi and Robin climbed up onto Teddie's left and right shoulders respectively. Once everyone was comfortably in their spots, Teddie stood back up and turned around to change paths, quickly starting on the righthand path.

    “Onward, my noble steed!” Alissa gave a goofy grin and pointed forward with a foreflipper. However, she couldn't help but look to her right upon hearing Robin trying not to laugh. “Hey, what's so funny?”

    “The word 'noble' just sounds so wrong coming out of your mouth...” Robin replied, doing a poor job of holding back his laughter.

    “Oh, shut up! I can totally be classy!” Alissa said with a huff. “I'll show you like this...” she trailed off before taking a deep breath. “...Ah, I've been having a wonderful day, my dear Robin.” Alissa attempted to speak in a formal manner, but combined with the overly forced accent she was trying to put off, the results were less than convincing. To say the least Robin burst out laughing would be an understatement.

    Robin could barely muster up the self-control to blurt out “N-Nope, not buying it!” before descending back into frenzied cackling.

    Takumi, who was watching the two, couldn't help but chuckle at the exchange, but his face soon straightened, a thought popping in his mind. ...Oh, wait. Didn't Robin want to ask something about my Pokémon knowledge? We said we were going to talk about that after the Totem fight, but... he mused, looking over to see Teddie's face. ...I didn't think Teddie was going to be here.

    Robin settled from his laughing fit upon noticing the look of entrancement on Takumi's face. “Oh hey, Takumi?”

    Takumi's eyes widened. Uh oh. What do I do now?! he thought in a panic, before realizing it would be better not to show it. “Uhh, y-yeah?”

    “You said we could talk about the Totem Pokémon thing after the fight, right?”

    “I-I did, but...” He glanced over to Teddie again. “...Shouldn't we talk about that in private?”

    “Hmm? Not to pry, but what would be that important?” Teddie asked innocently.

    “Err, w-well...” Takumi stammered. He wouldn't need to answer, however.

    “G-Guys, is that?...” The nervousness in Alissa's voice caught the others' attention, and they looked ahead. The group suddenly remembered that the left path was blocked off by the cliff crossing over it. More worryingly however, the group were level with Totem's Gumshoos' resting head.

    The group froze up, their breathing tensed. “No. Sudden. Movements,” Robin whispered. Their anxiety would change to confusion however when they heard a muffled sounding voice from somewhere.

    “Mmmrrggh!”

    “...Did anyone hear that?” Takumi asked. Alissa and Robin had expressions of bewilderment while Teddie placed a paw up to his jaw. As they hesitantly walked over to look, they saw Krokorok pull himself out from underneath Gumshoos and gasp for air.

    “Ey... Get off of me, you big buffoon!” Krokorok remained stuck under the weight of the Totem Pokémon's body. It didn't take long however for all of his grunting and squirming to cause a reaction from Gumshoos.

    “Grrrr...” Everyone froze up upon hearing Gumshoos' growling. Realizing that it was about to come to, Takumi, Alissa, and Robin all descended into a panic, while Teddie managed to maintain his blank expression.

    “On second thought, GO, GO, GO!” Robin shouted, wildly waving his wings around in an attempt to get Teddie to start moving. Remaining calm as ever, Teddie proceeded to take off in a flash, bringing the others with him.

    Krokorok slipped out from underneath Gumshoos and patted the dirt off of him. “Pfft, what a buncha pansies,” he said snidely. Moments later however, Totem Gumshoos' eyes shot open. It rose to it's feet and gave Krokorok a rage-filled glare, making him freeze in fear.

    Krokorok gave a nervous grin as he held his arms out and slowly backed away. “Uh... What's up? The w-weather sure is nice today, huh? I-I'll have you know I was jokin'! Didn't mean any of that! S-So it's all good... right?”

    Gumshoos would have none of it however, roaring furiously. Krokorok shrieked in terror before Larvitar appeared, sneaking in through the bushes. He grabbed Krokorok by the arm and dragged him back into the shrubbery, with Krokorok quickly scurrying to his feet as Gumshoos stomped on the ground and began to take off after them, wasting no time in knocking down several trees in it's pursuit.

    “Why does this always happen to meeee?!”

    ------------------------------
    Well, can't say I liked how long this took to make (I guess I'm truly a part of the "doesn't like writing boss fights" club now lol), but I'm mostly pleased with what ultimately came out.

    I realized that Takumi had not fully acknowledged just how real the danger in the Pokémon world is... He's not some video game character that can take a battering and come back effortlessly. It's all real, and he would be putting himself and his allies right in the middle of that danger by fighting the Totem. I felt a good opportunity to make this point stand out considering the kind of enemy they were dealing with.

    It also let me try and show a lot more of Alissa in a positive light. That cheerful, optimistic personality of hers really stands out when she has to go and help Takumi when his fear takes over.

    Next time: Takumi finally meets the island guardian.
     
  18. Ambyssin

    Ambyssin Definitely a winter

    >When the chapter title is the subtitle of an Ace Attorney game
    [​IMG]

    Battle time. Out of the gate, here, I think the pacing is good. You have some gender confusion going on with Gumshoos, though. Takumi uses "he" in thoughts, but the narration uses "it." I'd advise going with one or the other. It's a bit tough to follow, otherwise. My other piece of advice is actually something diamondpearl876 suggested to me about battles: try to avoid just referring to attacks by their names and describe them. Not everyone is going to have a solid idea of what Leafage looks like, for example, so constantly referring to it as Leafage doesn't make for good visualization. However, since most of the other attacks you use are really basic (Peck, Ember, etc.) it's not a glaring issue. Just something to keep in mind as our heroes get stronger. ^^

    I do like how you take the "summoning help" aspect of Totem battles and basically turn it into a glorified monster house situation. It makes for a nice opportunity to show off some teamwork, like the Baby-Doll Eyes distraction so Robin could give a Yungoos the boot. I was also a fan of Alissa channeling her inner Scrooge McDuck and pogo-ing around everywhere. It's a nifty way to give a 'mon like Popplio extra maneuverability on land. And I could see it being used for some interesting combinations in the future, if you really want to get creative.

    The tree rolling part (and TeddieSam Riegel outta nowhere) was a very quirky way to end things. I'd call Deus ex Machina but, realistically speaking, there's no way these three could move a big tree. They could've tried jettisoning it into Gumshoos with Robin's blast seed, but you'd probably get objections from the physics majors out there. Good thing I'm not one of them.

    Robin's little freakout episode there was a nice little dose of reality hurts, I suppose. And it offered Alissa the chance to return the favor after her earlier issues that Takumi had to help her out with. The team dynamic is growing and they don't even have a name yet!

    I don't really have any feedback other than that. Maybe not helpful, but it's there. Now, to end off...

    Not to be that guy, but how would Robin know what a mongoose is if he's spent his whole life in a world of only Pokémon, not animals?

    Robin would make a great stand-in for that one State Farm commercial. :V

    Whoa... deja vu.

    "Takumi would be excellent at Fic Sins." *ding!*

    When did this become a Skylanders fanfic? :V

    Okay, now I really have deja vu.
     
  19. DeliriousAbsol

    DeliriousAbsol Call me Del

    It's taken me a few days, but I'm caught up. Here are my reviews for chapters 3-6!

    Chapter 3

    An interesting and unexpected change to Alissa's personality at the thought of her missing friend. She goes from cheerful to panicked in a split second. The argument between her and Robin was very believable sibling bickering. Couldn't help but be amused to Takumi the fire type putting out fires there!

    The mystery dungeon was well constructed. I love the idea that the forces that control them cause pokemon to go berserk. I wonder if that will come into play later? Taking their toll on those lost inside for too long? Hmm...

    I initially thought they'd found Ricky too easily until that boldore showed up! 'Not here for tea' XD that was a fantastic ending statement!

    Few suggestions and typos I pulled out:



    'He deadpanned' would sound better than mentioning it as a tone.



    This part in bold could be deleted since he already chuckled in his speech, and the head rub expresses awkwardness.



    Missing the occasional paragraph break where the character focus changes. This is one example.



    Missing 'be'

    Chapter 4

    That fight scene was very well written and intense! It was a real struggle. No easy first-boss blow-over at all. I'm interested to know why Alissa was so terrified and unwilling to help at first. Nice to see she leapt to the rescue towards the end of the battle there!

    Your descriptions are generally getting much better too, although there was a slip-up in this chapter:



    You don't really need this. It's quite jarring and slows the narrative. You could refer to him as 'the white orangutan' in context later. (Given you're working off a backlog, this may be a simple oversight as this is the first time it's occurred since Chapter One.)

    As it stands, your writing has improved vastly since the first chapter. This is really nice to see, as four chapters in I can already see improvements in action!

    Small typo:



    'he'

    Chapter 5

    Hmm. Already wanting to know what Takumi's hidden power is. And who the disembodied voice belongs to.

    It's nice to see Robin is also travelling with Takumi and Alissa. I was concerned he wouldn't be going with them at first.

    The bewear returns! It's fun to see a dangerous bewear portray a lovable, friendly mayor. I also really like how the Tapus make pokemon take on trials to see if they are worthy of meeting them. A main game mechanic for trainers tied into a PMD setting is a really fun touch, and it works. It makes me wonder if trials would be included in future PMD games, to be honest!

    And we have the introduction of potential bad guys, and the start of the first trial. Unless it's a red herring? Hmm...

    Regards to your comments on description, it's definitely improving. I did like the opening paragraph, especially describing the ripples under Takumi's feet.

    Typos:



    'Tilted'

    Chapter 6

    The boss fight was well written, and I liked the use of the tree rolling downhill to thwart Totem Gumshoos. Teddie making a re-appearance was good, too (and he finally got his hug!) I'm wondering how much of a part he'll play in this story.

    The enemy pokemon movements were also very realistic. (I've probably been playing too much Monster Hunter, but it had that kind of vibe to me, where they could turn on anyone at any point and – in the Totem's case – use size to its advantage. Eg – the tail swing.) I really liked these little touches. It brought the battle to life, which is important when putting a game where attacks are thrown in turn into a realistic, life-threatening setting.

    Takumi's realisation of the threat was also very believable. I mean... it isn't a video game at all anymore. Anyone could get hurt or worse, and it's good he's aware of that.

    The characters bounce off each other well. You're quite good at writing dialogue, and it's believable and doesn't sound forced.

    Little typo:



    Missing a word here, I think. It should also be 'barrelling' (didn't notice it was incorrect myself until I pasted it into my notes document, so thought I'd point it out.)
     

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