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Pokemon Generations: Satsumi's Journey

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Hakajin, Jun 21, 2014.

  1. Hakajin

    Hakajin Obsessive Shipper

    Summary: When Satsumi's dad goes missing on a trip to investigate an ancient temple ruin, she decides to do everything she can to find him. She knows it won't be easy. Sickly for most of her childhood, Satsumi grew up sheltered and isolated, and even though her health has improved, she's still a timid, awkward girl prone to worry. Dealing with her new friends is almost as much of a challenge as dealing with her new enemy. But most troubling of all is the strange mystery which threatens to pull her under. What happened in that ruined temple so long ago? What does it have to do with her dad's disappearance? And what it Satsumi's connection to it? She'll soon find out, whether she wants to or not.

    Update (04/17/17)-- Finished revising! Honestly, Interlude III presented the difficulties I expected, that is, there's still a lot of looking and turning and smiling. I'm really not sure how to avoid it since there is so much focus here on subtle gestures and facial expressions. But I do think it's better over all.

    Table of Contents:

    Prologue
    Interlude I
    Chapter 1
    Chapter 2
    Chapter 3
    Interlude II
    Chapter 4
    Interlude III


    Prologue

    I knew something was wrong when he didn't come home for my birthday. My mom told me not to worry-- “Maybe he just forgot what day it is; you know how your dad is,” she said, giving me a big smile. But I could tell she was only trying to make me feel better. She pretended everything was fine, that it didn't feel wrong sitting at a table for two at my favorite restaurant, or putting a third of my cake back in the refrigerator, or actually hearing the funny parts of my favorite movie because no one was laughing too loud. But her smile was too wide, and her voice was too high-pitched and bubbly. She kept turning her face away so I wouldn't see when her smile faltered. I kept glancing at her while we watched the movie-- no, not watched-- my mom's eyes were focused on the TV screen, but she was staring straight through it.

    But I pretended, too. My mom was trying so hard to make me happy; I didn't want to make her worry about me. So I told her she was probably right, maybe something came up, maybe he was so busy he lost track of time. I could almost believe it-- my dad really was absent-minded, just like my mom had said. He'd forgotten her birthday once, a few years before (she'd really let him have it for that one).

    It wasn't the first time he'd been away from home, either. My dad was a three-time Pokemon League Champion, and he traveled sometimes, giving speeches and exhibitions. But this time wasn't like the others. It started when Professor Ookido had come to our house one day the week before. There was nothing unusual about that; he and my dad had been friends since they were kids, and he lived nearby. But this time, it seemed like something was bothering him. His smile was too thin. When I answered the door, he mussed my hair and said, “Hey, Short Stuff,” like always, but instead of stopping to talk to me, he just asked where my dad was. I led him into the kitchen, where my dad was crouched down setting out food bowls for Pikachu and his other Pokemon. He looked up, stood, and said “Hi,” to Professor Ookido when we entered. Then he said, “Satsumi, why don't you go upstairs and clean your room?”

    “My room's already clean,” I said.

    Usually Professor Ookido would say something like, “Yeah, Loser, Satsumi's not a total slob like you,” but this time he didn't say anything. My dad leaned back and crossed his arms, looked me in the eye with a half-smile and one raised eyebrow.

    “Ok, I'm going,” I said reluctantly.

    I started to leave, but I was too curious about what Professor Ookido wanted. What did he seem so worried about? And what did it have to do with my dad? So even though I knew I shouldn't, I hung back and tried to listen. Then I heard footsteps coming toward the kitchen door.

    As I ran to my room (quietly, I hoped), I heard Professor Ookido say, “She's about as sneaky as you are,” to my dad, which made me turn red.

    That night at dinner, my dad told my mom and me that he had to leave on business for a few days. My mom asked what kind of business, and he shrugged and said, “Some archaeologists just finished digging up some ruins in the Nirakar region. Shigeru wants me to go check it out.”

    “Ruins?” my mom said, her fork half-way to her mouth.

    “Yeah, some temple in some mythological city or something,” my dad said. He shrugged again. “I don't know much about it, but Shigeru seemed excited.”

    “Then why can't he go?”

    My dad looked at me with raised eyebrows, and I turned my face toward my plate, embarrassed by my outburst.

    “Shigeru has too much to do at the lab,” said my dad. “He has to get the starters ready for this years new trainers, remember?”

    “Oh. Right,” I replied.

    That made sense... but it didn't make me feel any better. I pushed my food around my plate with my fork so I wouldn't have to look at my dad.

    “Don't worry, Satsumi,” he said, and I could tell from his voice he was smiling. “I'll be home in plenty of time for your birthday. Have I ever broken my promise to you?”

    “No,” I admitted, feeling a little bad for doubting him.

    I really was proud of him, and I'd kind of gotten used to him being away sometimes. I'd even stopped crying when he left. But I still missed him when he was gone, and he knew it. So he promised me he'd always be home for my birthday, no matter what. My dad had always told me that the day I was born was the most important day of his life, even more important than the day he set out on his Pokemon journey, or the day he won his first League Championship.

    That's how I knew, deep down, that he couldn't have forgotten. Even if he'd gotten held up this time, he would've at least called. I knew my mom was thinking the same thing. She kept trying to call him, kept glancing at her phone. Her eyes lit up every time it rang, only to dim again when she checked the caller ID. I hoped I was hiding my disappointment from her better than she was hiding hers from me.

    It was starting to get late when my mom looked at the clock and tried calling my dad one more time. When he didn't answer again, she sighed and headed upstairs. A minute later she came back down carrying something small in her right hand. She sat down beside me and handed me a box, a little bigger than my hands, wrapped in blue paper and pink ribbons.

    “Happy birthday, Satsumi!” she said to me. “This is from both me and your dad. I was hoping he could be on the phone with us when you opened it, but... I guess he'll just have to miss out, huh?”

    I nodded and smiled back the best I could (I hoped my smile didn't look as forced as hers).

    “Go ahead, open it!” my mom said.

    I tried to seem excited as I tore into the paper, but a chill ran through me when I saw what was inside. For a second, I just stared down at my own stunned expression in the blank screen of the new model Pokedex. Then I remembered that I was supposed to be excited and stammered, “Mom-- Wow! This is...”

    “You like it?” she asked sweetly. “Your dad and I picked it out weeks ago; we think you're finally ready to begin your Pokemon journey!”

    “R—really?” I stuttered.

    My mom smiled (for real this time) and nodded.

    “You've been a lot healthier these past couple of years,” she said. “I almost can't remember the last time you were sick. And your doctor says it's ok now.” She paused, then added, “Actually, you probably could've gone last year, but we wanted to wait and make sure.”

    I didn't know what to say, so I just nodded. I'd been waiting for this day since I was a little kid. Growing up, my parents had told me countless stories about their adventures-- about all the places they'd traveled to, the people and Pokemon they'd met along the way (including each other), about the gym matches and tournaments they'd competed in, about their encounters with the “evil” Team Rocket... I'd make them repeat my favorites over and over, and dream about all the adventures I'd have someday on my own journey. What region would I travel through? What kind of Pokemon would I train? What kind of people would I meet? I spent hours imagining it all and couldn't wait for the day I could finally set out.

    But my dreams got put on hold. I was born two months too early, and was sickly for most of my childhood. Fevers, ear infections, and (worst of all) respiratory illnesses-- it seemed like there was always something wrong with me. My parents and I hoped I'd be better by the time I turned ten, the age when most kids leave home to start their Pokemon journeys. And I was. I wasn't getting sick as often, at least, and when I did, it wasn't as serious (though I was still small for my age). But my doctor said I still wasn't healthy enough to travel on my own. My tenth birthday was miserable, and not just because I had a fever. I loved Pokemon at least as much as the other kids, but just because I got sick sometimes, I was stuck at home, while they got to start their journeys. It wasn't fair! Nothing my parents did to try to cheer me up worked.

    “Maybe you'll be well enough next year,” my mom said.

    “No I won't!” I sobbed. “I'll always be sick, and I'll never get to be a Pokemon trainer!”

    I was frustrated and upset, but really, I hoped my mom was right. When she wasn't, I started to lose hope. Maybe I was just doomed, Pokemon-wise.

    But now, after after all that time, after all that worrying and crying, my chance had finally come. I should've been excited-- I should've been thrilled. So why... why did I just feel so anxious?

    “It's ok if you don't want to leave just yet,” my mom said.

    I looked at her and shook my head, scolding myself for letting her see me worry.

    “No, this is really great, thank you so much!” I rushed out. “I was just surprised, is all.” I paused, then added, “In a good way!”

    She smiled warmly at me and tucked my hair behind my ear.

    “Ok,” she said. “But you know there's no need to rush things. Take as long as you need to feel ready. One more year won't--”

    “Mo-m, I'm really fine!” I said, pretending to be slightly annoyed.

    She laughed and said, “Ok, ok! But I wanted to say that, anyway. Especially since...” Her smile faded and she stared at her lap.

    That's what was bothering me: I was worried about my dad and didn't want to leave home without knowing he was safe.

    “It'll be ok, Mom,” I said, trying to sound cheerful. “Dad'll definitely be home before then!”

    My mom put her smile back on and said, “I'm sure you're right.”

    For the next few days, we both tried to believe that I was.

    My mom contacted the authorities in Eternia City the day after my birthday, but they couldn't find my dad. The police started an investigation, interviewed my mom, Professor Ookido, the archaeologists he'd talked to at the dig site. He'd been there, at least. The archaeologists said he'd come to the dig site the week before to explore the ruins. They hadn't let him in, though, and he'd gone back to his hotel in the city after a short argument. And then he just... disappeared. No one had seen him since that night, no one knew where he'd gone. All his stuff was still at the hotel.

    The police wanted to investigate the ruins, see if he'd been back there, but first they'd need a permit. And that would take days.

    With every day that passed, I lost a little more hope. Every night, I cried alone in my bed, trying not to imagine what might've happened to my dad. What if he was sick somewhere? What if he'd been kidnapped? That didn't seem likely, not when he had Pikachu and his other Pokemon. But they'd disappeared with him. I wished Pikachu were sleeping curled up next to me, like he always did when I was sick or sad. I hugged my Clefairy doll tight instead, but it wasn't the same. I wanted to crawl into bed with my mom the way I had when I was little and had a nightmare. But I couldn't let her know that I could hear her crying. I'd never felt so alone in my life.

    Waiting to hear something about my dad was driving me crazy. The day for new trainers to leave on their Pokemon journeys was getting closer and closer, but I couldn't leave without him there, could I? That was just an excuse, though-- I was really just afraid. After all, what could I do about something even my dad couldn't handle? But just sitting around waiting for the phone to ring wasn't helping anything... And I knew deep down that I should be doing everything I could to find him. My dad had always been there whenever I really needed him. Like the time when I was little and got really, really sick, sicker than I'd ever been. He'd been away at the time, about to compete in the finals of what probably would've been his third Pokemon League Championship. But when I woke up in the hospital, he was right there beside me, holding my hand and stroking my hair. He'd even stayed home for a couple of years after that, just to make sure I was ok. My dad would do anything for me, and now that it was my turn to help him, I couldn't let him down. So I decided-- I'd leave on my Pokemon journey, and I'd find my dad, no matter what.

    Every time I thought about leaving at home, I felt anxious and sick, which almost made me want to just get it over with. To distract myself, I read up on the Nirakar region in a book on my dad's shelf. That didn't help much, because it kept reminding me of him, but at least I felt like I was doing something. Maybe that temple or whatever had something to do with his disappearance; maybe I'd find some kind of clue in what I was reading.

    I learned that Nirakar was an arid region Northwest of Kanto, across the sea. Much of it was desert, but the river that flowed from the mountain in the North made civilization possible; there were both big cities and small villages.

    Historians from thousands of years ago wrote down legends of a great city they called “Paradisio” in the middle of the Nirakar Desert. Paradisio had tall buildings made of glittering stone, a man-made lake and canals, beautiful gardens and fountains. But none of them knew exactly where the city was, what people had lived there, or where they had gone.

    For a long time, modern historians thought Paradisio was just a story. Apparently, historians from a long time ago exaggerated a lot and wrote down rumors as fact. There were no ruins in the Nirakar Desert. The story was impossible, anyway-- how could anyone build a city in such a dry place? How could they build such huge structures? How could they have used this “glittering stone” when there was nothing like that for miles and miles around? But lots of people still believed in it. They kept looking for it.

    And then, fifty years ago, someone found something. It was just a stone poking out of the ground, but it was long, cubed, and pointy, obviously carved by someone. The stone turned out to be just the tip of a spire from a grand palace. Archaeologists dug up the city, which had been buried under the sand for all those thousands of years, just waiting for the winds to change and blow away the sand covering it up. At the time my dad's book was published, two years before, they'd finished with everything except the temple (which was called a “ziggurat”). Most of the buildings had crumbled and the lake and canals were dry, but it had once been just like the ancient historians had said.

    No one in the present had been able to figure out who built the city, or how. There were lots of theories-- maybe the lake was fed from an underground water source, maybe they used Pokemon to build, maybe it was aliens-- but none of them worked to explain the city (well, except for the one about the aliens, maybe, but no one really took that one seriously). There was no evidence in the soil that there was ever a natural water source. And no tools for capturing Pokemon had been found. None of it made any sense. There was writing in the ruins that might have had the answers, but so far no one had been able to translate it. But linguists kept trying. Some were convinced the city was hiding a great power.

    It sounded like exactly the kind of thing my dad would get involved in. Like the time he'd helped the legendary Pokemon Lugia save the world from destruction by the three legendary birds! I was five and sick with another ear infection the first time my parents told me that story. I remembered lying on the sofa with my head in my mom's lap and my feet in my dad's as they told me about how they'd arrived on the island just when the people who lived there were holding an ancient festival that celebrated a legend. My dad had started off just playing the role of the hero from the prophecy, but he'd ended up becoming that hero for real when a foolish Pokemon collector unleashed Moltres, Articuno, and Zapdos. They caused a terrible storm with their elemental powers, but Lugia guided my dad through it so he could collect the three Orbs of Power and restore balance to the world. Yeah, if I wanted to find my dad, the Paradisio ruins were definitely the place to start.

    It was two days before I left on my journey. I lay on my stomach on my bed, my head propped up in one hand, and my book in the other.

    Suddenly, I heard, “What are you reading, Satsumi?”

    I snapped the book closed and laid my arm across the cover, but I could tell by the look on my mom's face that she hadn't really needed to ask. If I'd known she could read the cover from my doorway, I would've closed the door.

    “Nothing,” I said. “I mean, nothing special.”

    My mom walked into my room to get a closer look, and I handed the book to her reluctantly.

    “Nirakar Then and Now,” she read aloud, sitting down beside me. Her smile faltered, but her voice was still steady when she asked, “Are you reading this because of your dad?”

    I nodded; there was no point in lying. I stared at my feet, which still didn't quite touch the floor, and said, “I'm... actually thinking of traveling there on my Pokemon journey.”

    My face felt hot. I could feel my mom's eyes on me, and I wished she'd just say something. I hadn't meant to hide it from her exactly, but... I'd been waiting for the right time. Only, it never seemed to come. So maybe it was better this way.

    Finally, my mom set the book on my bed and said, “I hope you're not planning to go looking for him.”

    “I'm not!” I said, facing her. “Nirakar just seems like an interesting region, I want to see it for myself!”

    She studied me carefully, and I had to look away; I knew she was too smart to be fooled by that. But I hadn't had time to think of a better answer. I took a deep breath, forced myself to look back at her, and started over.

    “Actually... I do want to know more about the ruins. I need to try to find out what happened. And... I think I'd feel closer to him there.”

    That was the truth, even if it wasn't the whole truth. My mom hugged me tight, and I laid my head on her shoulder.

    “You're such a good girl, Satsumi,” she said. “You've grown up so much.”

    After a moment, she released me, but kept one arm wrapped around my shoulders. She looked into my face and tucked my hair behind my ear as she said, “But you're still a kid. I don't want you getting involved in anything dangerous.”

    You and dad did all kinds of dangerous stuff when you were kids, I thought.

    “I know, your dad and me did all kinds of dangerous stuff when we were kids,” my mom said with a smile. “That's why I worry! I know a lot can happen on a Pokemon journey, even when you're not looking for trouble, and...” she trailed off and turned her face to the floor. “Just thinking of you in that kind of situation terrifies me.”

    I leaned into her and wrapped my arms around her waist, and she pulled me close to her again.

    “Don't worry, Mom,” I said. “I'll be ok. I'm not going to look for dad, and I'm not going to do anything dangerous. I promise.”

    My mom pulled back but kept her hands on my arms, studied my face carefully. I couldn't look away, no matter much I wanted to, because then she'd know I was lying for sure. For a second, I was afraid she'd seen through me, anyway. But then she nodded and said, “Ok.”

    My chest felt tight, and I had to fight back tears. I hated lying to her. But there was no point in making her worry, and I had to do this. Maybe I wouldn't even have to break my promise-- maybe my dad wasn't involved in anything dangerous at all, maybe it was just a misunderstanding, and he'd show up before I even left on my journey. When my mom left the room, I closed my eyes tight and willed it to happen.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2017
  2. OfCorsola

    OfCorsola Brock and Misty!

    This is a great read. I wonder what is going to be head of Satsumi's new journey :D
     
  3. Hakajin

    Hakajin Obsessive Shipper

    Thanks! I have big plans for this fic ^^!
     
  4. Lanced

    Lanced Well-Known Member

    I like what you've got so far but at a glance there's a few things I'd change, on Serebii it's pretty universal to include a break between each line of dialogue between another character, it makes it a lot easier to read, (consider people are on there phones, or what theme they're using, etc.) so you would change;

    to

    This section especially was a little confusing, I had to go back and re-read it because I lost track of who was talking when, the break allows you to instantly spot that in a second.

    I'd wrap this in spoiler tags as people might not want to know what she looks like straight away, you mentioned you had trouble doing it in first person so maybe have her look in the mirror or describe herself. You could have her do the same with her mum, something like. "Blue eyes, identical to my own stared back at me." Or have her mum say something like: "Are you ok honey, you look even paler than usual." Don't worry about fully describing her to the last detail in the first chapter, it's not totally vital and can even add some mystery.

    FIX:

    I've gone through another section here, and changed up a few things. First I've swapped out some "said's", originally in this extract there was seven and I've got it down to two, I feel it adds something more, especially if you use words like "whispered", "muttered", "shouted," etc, this gives us more of a clue to the characters mood. There are also opportunities to not use said at all and just keep the dialogue flowing back and forth, it helps it feel more natural. As well as the words I mentioned earlier, think about words like "remarked", "observed, "replied", and try and be aware of how much you're using one word, it's an easy crime to commit when writing, I oftentimes slip up and find I've used one word three times in the last paragraph or something, if this is the case just jump on a thesaurus and swap it, it really does add something to a story as well as improving your vocabulary.

    Anyway I've really enjoyed the story thus far, I hope you take into account what I've said and I'll be looking forwards for what you've got planned in the future.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2014
  5. Hakajin

    Hakajin Obsessive Shipper

    Thanks for the advice there; I'll go back and fix that.

    Can definitely do the spoiler-tag thing. I did the mirror thing last time I attempted writing about this character, but later I read that that's a pretty amateurish thing to do (read it in a great book about writing fantasy/sci-fi called "Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imagintive Fiction" by sci-fi writer Jeff Vandermeer). That makes sense to me, because people don't typically notice things that they see every day. The second thing would work, but she's not abnormally pale... I'm pretty sure what I'm going to end up doing is have Satsumi describe herself in comparison to new people she meets, because she's insecure and is totally the type to compare herself to other people. That'll come up in the first chapter... I included the description in the first part because how she looks is important to me, and I know that when I'm reading something and the description comes up later in the story, I tend to just ignore it and go with what I'd already pictured.

    Can definitely remove some "said"s, but something I read/learned in creative writing classes is not to use lots of different dialogue tags. Generally, the only time you should use another is if it's not clear from the context how something's being said. Readers generally skip over "said;" what's really important is signifying who's speaking, and using different tags unnecessarily slows down the reading process. I usually only use ones that supply tone and loudness, and certain things like "ask." It's a good idea to use variety in your language when writing, this is just an exception. Also, I'm facing the challenge of writing in the voice of someone who's less than half my age.

    Um... I hope I don't sound stuck-up or anything. I just wanted to show that I am taking your advice to heart and give my reasons for not using some of it. The characters I'm writing about are really precious to me, so it means a lot that you're taking the time to get to know them and review my writing. So, thank you! I'm so glad you're enjoying it so far!
     
  6. The Great Butler

    The Great Butler Hush, keep it down

    Here for the Review Game. Let's get it going.

    Sounds like an interesting plot so far. Nothing especially surprising, but enough to draw me in.

    You really should work this into the story proper. I'm not terribly bothered by it, but that's just a recommendation of mine.

    I like this, it's a very strong start. The first-person perspective (which I assume is Satsumi's) serves what you've written well, and the actual content is actually emotionally difficult to read. This is very well depicted. I get the crystal clear image of a young girl who knows something is wrong with her world and is very aware of her mother's attempts to hide that.

    It's interesting to show Satsumi struggling and acting that nothing is wrong, too. It makes the story a little less straightforward and predictable.

    I assume the father is Ash/Satoshi and the mother is Misty/Kasumi, based on Satsumi's name and the description of the father's personality.

    I have to admit I feel a little awkward about reading very Japanese names. Again, it's not a complaint, but just something I thought.

    I like how perceptive Satsumi is. The emotions of those around her are clearly very strong, and her thoughts as she processes them are fascinating.

    The storyline of ancient ruins is something I love. I'm definitely into that.


    Brings memories of Pokelantis to mind, which means it raises some real possibilities for where the plot can go.

    Typical Gary, making others do his dirty work. I bet he'll come back later to do something, though.

    Yeah, Ash, you have actually. Pidgeot says hi.

    I know I keep saying it, but the emotions are excellent. I really feel for Satsumi here. The emotions are strong and yet believable.

    That one really broke my heart, it really did. You can truly feel how hurt Satsumi is even though she's trying to hide it.

    I find it interesting that you are refraining from explicitly naming Ash and Misty.

    Wow, once again, this is something. You couldn't have picked a more apt gift, and it really truly is tough to see Satsumi and Misty deal with Ash not being there for such an important event.

    Ah, right, I almost forgot about her illness. I do suspect it will come up when she goes on her journey for real, though.

    This is a good reason why she didn't necessarily start as early as she could have, that she was ill. I like it.

    An extra quote mark after Rocket.

    Satsumi's thoughts are so well expressed here that I feel right in her shoes right now. I'm very impressed; getting the reader into the character's emotions this well is not easy.

    I certainly sympathize with her. Her illness sounds very serious.

    She really is her mother's daughter.

    Interesting. It's one of two ways this could have gone, the other being her wanting to go look for him.

    Oh dear, that is quite sad.

    Knowing Ash, he went in the ruins anyway. That's my guess.

    That is such a great set of paragraphs to go out on. They really encapsulate everything that was enjoyable about this chapter - the strong characterization, the raw, intense emotion, all of it. I am truly compelled by Satsumi's story.

    And now to the review criteria!

    Opening: Very strong. It tells exactly what we need to know about Satsumi and her situation. I do feel that her illness could have been better established in the actual story instead of in an outside paragraph. That is the only fault I can give the opening.

    Ending: Absolutely excellent. I actually found myself near tears, no kidding. I can truly sympathize with Satsumi; it is obvious her father's disappearance affected her greatly, and the ending is the strongest example. The attention to detail in the ending is truly perfect for what it must accomplish.

    Grammar: Solid. I have only seen two issues: the extra quotation mark, and the use of "dad'd" near the end, which is very awkward. Otherwise the writing style is very, very strong.

    Enjoyment: I can't say enough how much I liked this. I'll admit, I was unsure how I thought I would feel when I began. I was totally surprised by how good this was.

    Plot: A little on the standard side, admittedly. However, you execute the "lost father, devastated family" story well, so it works. I actually find them much more interesting than I thought I would get for what seemed like an Ash/Misty fic at first.

    Pace: Pacing is perfect. No further comments necessary.

    Characters: The best part in a strong fic. Satsumi is truly compelling, which caught me entirely by surprise for the OC child of two canon characters. Her story is very brutally emotional even only one chapter in, and I was able to put myself in her shoes completely, which made it even more intense. Misty is portrayed well, too; I admire that you didn't go for the standard weepy widow story with her.
     
  7. Hakajin

    Hakajin Obsessive Shipper

    Heh, yeah, I'm working on it. It'll probably come in bit by bit, finishing in chapter 2.

    That makes me so happy to hear! Getting across Satsumi's characterization is what's most important to me here.

    Thanks! You are correct.

    Yeah, to be honest, I feel like a bit of a Weeaboo using Japanese names... actually, I AM kind of a Weeaboo, but I don't want that to come through in my writing. I thought about changing them, because honestly, "Satsumi" is the most obvious and cutesy name you could use for Ash and Misty's daughter. I wasn't serious when I came up with the character... but then I was, and it was too late to change the name. I thought about making an English version name... one of the kanji combinations for that name, which is the one I chose, is so perfect for her personality and personal struggles: 咲摘 ("sa," [blossom] and "tsumi" [pluck]). Finding something with a meaning that has the same symbolism would be hard... but there's also an ambiguity there that'd probably be lost, and... Yeah, I decided to just stick with what I had.

    Glad you're interested in the plot, though; it took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do with it.

    Oh, yeah, that... But in this case, he meant specifically his promise to her.

    Once again, I'm so glad the emotions are getting through. Oh, I haven't named them because it doesn't occur to Satsumi to name them. God, that sounds so pretentious... I just mean that to her, they're mom and dad. Ash and Misty are famous in certain circles in this world, but they're not like movie-star level celebrity. I felt, too, like mentioning their names would seem like name-dropping for readers. Who her parents are will come up later; I just didn't want to force it in.

    Thanks! It was kind of a happy accident that that worked for the plot, as it's mostly a characterization point for me.

    I'm glad you see that! Satsumi is different from her parents in a lot of ways, so I thought it might not be obvious... but she's still got a lot in common with them.

    That is such a great set of paragraphs to go out on. They really encapsulate everything that was enjoyable about this chapter - the strong characterization, the raw, intense emotion, all of it. I am truly compelled by Satsumi's story.

    Opening: Thanks! As for working in her illness... Yeah, I wanted to work that in better. I was having trouble doing it in voice, because to Satsumi, it's not that important. I mean, it's important, but with everything going on, it's not the first thing she'd mention.

    Ending: Aah, still really happy you feel that way about it!

    Grammar: Thanks for pointing those things out, I'll edit them.

    Enjoyment: Thanks! I'm so glad!

    Plot: I don't mind it being kind of standard; the focus here is all about characterization and relationships, so as long as it's not boring. I've got the plot about 75% worked out... working on the other 25%. But I'm happy with where it's going.

    Pace: Good, I was a little worried about that.

    Characters: Thanks again! Honestly, I was surprised by that, too. I came up with Satsumi just for fun, as a Pokeshipper, and then... I ended up getting more involved with her and the person I pair her up with than with Pokeshipping *Head-desk* But yeah, the characters I'm writing about here are really important to me, especially Satsumi, so... seriously, you don't know how happy it makes me that you're on board with them. Oh, and I'm glad Misty came through well, too; I haven't been so focused on her lately, but she's still an important character to me... and for once I didn't feel entirely sure about how I was writing her. So, good to hear.
     
  8. Hakajin

    Hakajin Obsessive Shipper

    Interlude I
    I have never been so completely and utterly alone. Mira has abandoned me. And I thought she'd always be by my side. Even at that time, she still slipped me small smiles when no one was looking. And when my father announced my engagement to the prince of Shul, when I hid myself away in my quarters, she came to me, clasped my hands in hers, and said, “Don't cry, Inanna; I'll come with you to Shul. We'll always be together, I promise.” And I believed her. Why shouldn't I have? Mira was my milk-sister, we'd been together since we were babies, played together as children... And when we were old enough, I chose her as my hand-maiden. I simply couldn't imagine a life without her. As long as I had her, I could bear anything, even life in the remote, barren wasteland of Shul.

    And then yesterday... I wasn't expecting it at all. Mira was brushing my hair, which always made me feel so relaxed and at peace-- -- the feeling of the brush's fingers against my scalp, the gentle tug at my hair as she carefully untangled it. Off-handedly, I said, “You know, Mira, you're the only one who knows how to make me feel at ease. I'm so relieved you're coming with me to Shul; I don't know what I'd do without you.”

    But Mira didn't reply. I felt her tense behind me, and I knew her silence wasn't simply because she had nothing to add.

    “What's the matter?” I asked, without turning to face her.

    She stopped brushing.

    “Well...” she began.

    “I asked you a question, Mira,” I said when she didn't continue, “you'd do well to answer it.”

    She sighed, and after a moment's hesitation, replied, “Yes, Inanna. The truth is, my parents have arranged a marriage for me here.”

    My body tensed, and I tried to push down the rising panic in my chest. Arcanine, who had been napping on his cushion in the corner, lifted his head to see what was the matter. I twisted around on my own cushion to face Mira and said, “Don't worry, there has to be some way out of it.”

    Yes, there had to be some way to break this engagement. My father was the Pokemon Emperor, after all; his word was law. He didn't like meddling in personal affairs, and wouldn't be easily swayed, but if we poured all our thoughts into it, surely, we'd find an argument good enough to convince him to interfere. The thought of facing him made my throat tighten and my stomach flip, but I could bear it, for Mira.

    But she didn't reassure me, or even smile. Instead, she turned her head and averted her eyes.

    “What's wrong?” I asked. “It's not so hopeless.”

    It wasn't like her to give up so easily; Mira was always stubborn about the things she really wanted.

    “It's not that,” she replied, still refusing to look at me.

    “What is it, then? Tell me, Mira!” I insisted.

    She sighed and finally looked me in the eye.

    “I don't want to get out of it,” she said simply.

    For a moment, I sat in stunned silence, not believing what I was hearing. I thought perhaps I was misunderstanding something; she couldn't possibly be saying what I thought she was saying. Arcanine tensed and watched closely.

    “What?” I finally managed to say. “But then how will you...?”

    “I won't be coming to Shul with you, Inanna,” Mira said firmly. “I'm sorry.”

    I was on my feet in an instant, though my legs felt weak from the shock.

    “Yes, you are!” I cried. “You have to, you promised!”

    She rose slowly and faced me straight on.

    “We were children then,” she said in a slow, measured tone, “you can't possibly--”

    “Don't you dare presume to tell me what I can't do,” I yelled, stamping my foot, which made even Arcanine jump.

    Mira grimaced and replied, “I apologize, Inanna, I forgot my place. I only meant that I was too young to understand what I was promising.”

    “But you promised all the same!” I said.

    My fists were clenched and my body taut with rage.

    “Yes, I did, and I was foolish to do so,” Mira continued. “I am my parent's only child; my duty lies with them. If I don't marry here, who will give them grand-children? Who will look after them in their old age?”

    “They can come with us,” I offered, my anger momentarily diffused.

    But Mira shook her head and pursed her lips.

    “They are too old to make such a journey,” she said. “Besides, all our family--”

    “I don't care!” I yelled.

    Mira's eyes turned cold then, and her face took on a hard expression I'd never seen on her before. Arcanine wanted to come and support me, but I bade him stay where he was. Whatever Mira was about to say, I would face it on my own strength.

    “No, you don't, do you?” she said. “You don't care about anyone but yourself. My mother raised you, yet you... You really are a traitor.”

    And then I couldn't control myself any longer-- I pulled back and slapped her cheek as hard as I could. Mira screamed and stumbled back, bending over and holding her cheek, but I felt no pity.

    “Insolence!” I screamed. “Get out! Don't ever show your face in front of me again!”

    Letting go of her cheek, she stood and looked at me with tear-filled eyes. For a moment, I thought she was going to say something. Then, without another word, she turned and exited the room. I collapsed onto my cushion and doubled over, crying quietly to myself.

    Soon, I heard the click-click-click of claws on the floor tiles as Arcanine padded over to me. I wrapped my arms around his neck and clung to him, buried my face in his soft, warm fur as I sobbed. He was confused-- Mira was a friend, why were we fighting? But he set his own feelings aside and nuzzled his head against mine.

    “Oh, Arcanine,” I said to him. “You really are my only true friend.”

    I felt some guilt for making him worry. I'd lost control of myself, completely unfitting for a princess of Urutu, as my mother would say. But how else was I to react, after losing the one person I thought I could always rely on? And what she'd called me! It was the most hurtful thing she possibly could've said, and she knew it. Was that what she really thought of me? But then, who was she to judge? She had abandoned me, who had been like her own sister, just when I needed her most. Without Mira, I'd be alone when I traveled to Shul. At least her parents had each other, their own family and friends. She understood that, yet she still...

    I haven't spoken to Mira since then. Why should I? It's obvious now that she doesn't care a thing for me. She never did, so I've lost nothing. I should just stop thinking about her.

    But somehow, I'm unable to stop myself from picturing the scene from yesterday over and over in my mind. I thought the greenery and earthy smells of the garden would calm me the way they always do, but alas, it does not seem to be working. Today, it only serves to remind me that my time in this paradise is coming to an end. Soon, this will all be nothing more than a memory, a mirage of sweet water in a dry desert, to be yearned after but never reached.

    Arcanine nuzzles my face with his huge head, and I smile and stroke the rough fur on his nose in return.

    “At least I'll still have you,” I say.

    And at least I still have six more months at home. That's right-- I should try to forget about everything else and enjoy what little time I have left here. I lie back in Arcanine's soft, warm fur as if he were a pillow. With my head turned toward the sky like this, the ziggurat fills my vision. The white stone glitters so blindingly in the afternoon sun that I have to close my eyes. I know it's only a trick of the light, but sometimes when I look at it towering above me, it seems as if it's about to topple and crush the whole palace. Ever since I was a child, I've felt a strange force from the ziggurat, tugging at me, as if it were constantly watching me. It frightens me. That sounds silly, even to me, but somehow reason does nothing against this fear. At least in Shul, I'll be able to escape that thing.

    I close my eyes and try to stop thinking, to just enjoy the shade and cool breeze. But it's impossible; even when I'm able to empty my mind, my heart feels heavy and cold. Even if I forget for a moment, I can't forget-- there's something I'm supposed to be worrying about. It's harder not to think than to think, so finally, I just give into the urge and contemplate how miserable I will be in Shul. I'll be alone, with no family or friends. And I certainly won't find any new ones among that harsh, mean people... Arcanine will be there, of course, but as he can't talk... There will be nothing but rocks and dirt for miles around... no color... I'm sure the food will be... Mira will get to live happily here... She'll have a family, and... I always thought our children would play together, but now... I wonder what they'll... But I suppose I'll never... And then...

    It's only when Arcanine turns his head, rousing me, that I realize I've been dozing. How much time has passed? The shadows have grown longer, so at least an hour or so. I suppose the heat managed to melt away my worries, after all. Arcanine shifts again, trying to get a better look, and I sit up to see what's caught his attention.

    There's Sena, wandering toward me on the garden path, head bent, hands clasped behind his back, completely ignoring all the beauty around him. Sena's not much older than me, but in the years I've known him, I don't think I've ever heard him laugh (it's a shame, if he weren't so dour all the time, he wouldn't be bad to look at, with his pale skin and dark hair and eyes). What's he got to be so unhappy about? My father brought him to Urutu, the most beautiful city in the world, to be his chief scribe, and to record the stories of his people on stone. Just being chosen to record my father's words was a great honor, but he also gave Sena spacious quarters, the finest cotton robes to wear. And yet... my father can't seem to see it, but it's obvious to me that Sena hates us, the ingrate.

    When he's about ten paces away, Arcanine begins a deep growl, and Sena finally looks up and sees me. It pleases me to see his eyes go wide as he realizes he's failed to show me the proper reverence. He goes down on one knee, bowing before me, and says, “Please pardon me for disturbing you, Your Highness.”

    “You're pardoned,” I reply, enjoying his nervousness.

    I pat Arcanine on the head, silencing him. He lays his head on his paws, but keeps his eyes trained on Sena.

    “You may rise,” I say to Sena.

    He does so. I can tell he's trying not to look at Arcanine, but his eyes keep darting back to him.

    “Don't worry,” I say, “Arcanine won't attack without my permission.”

    “Well, then, I suppose I have nothing to fear,” Sena replies.

    He smiles, but it's strained and obviously false. I smile back easily.

    “It's a beautiful day, isn't it, Sena?” I say.

    “Every day is a beautiful day in Urutu,” he says, which is true, but I can tell he doesn't mean it.

    “Well spoken,” I reply. “Tell me, what do you think of our garden?”

    Sena looks around him, and, to my surprise, actually does seem to be taking in the scene.

    “It's wonderful,” he says slowly, “we have nothing like it in Shul.”

    “Oh, don't you?” I ask.

    Of course they don't. Sena knows I know this.

    “I'm afraid not, Your Highness,” he says politely, but with a hard look in his eye.

    I smile and say, “Well, perhaps my father will fix that when I journey there.”

    “Perhaps,” says Sena, though we both know it will never happen.

    My father and the Pokemon Emperors before him have always wanted to bring water and greenery to the parched land of Shul, but the people there would rather suffer than accept help from what they deem “foreign rule.” Stubborn fools. No wonder Sena is the way he is; it's in his blood.

    “By the way, Your Highness,” Sena says after a brief silence, “I spoke to your father on your behalf, about the tutoring you requested.”

    Arcanine's ears prick up.

    “Did you?” I reply, pretending to be uninterested.

    I did tell my father that I wanted to be tutored; I thought it would please him. He wants to much for his children to be educated, to know our history, as well as the cultures of the people in his empire. At least, that's what I thought. But he refused my request, saying I'd had enough schooling. It's really only my brother's education he cares about, isn't it? I was a fool to expect more. After all, one day my brother will rule this empire, while I'm just a girl; what does it matter whether I'm educated? I'm an afterthought, when I'm thought of at all.

    That's as it should be, of course. I shouldn't be so selfish; I should want what's best for my homeland. My duty is to reflect well on my father and my home.

    Sena nods and says, “I did. He agreed with me that it might benefit you to learn about the culture and history of the land that is to be your new home.”

    “And how do you suppose I'll benefit from that?” I ask.

    “Well, Your Highness,” Sena says, cocking his head and glancing sideways, “I thought that it might help you adjust to life in Shul if you knew what to expect.”

    His words are polite, but his terse tone belies barely restrained anger.

    Arcanine wants to bare his teeth at him, but I stop him as I try to stop my face from showing my own anger at Sena's disrespect. Sena has no desire to help me, no reason to intercede on my behalf. Or rather, no honest reason; he's planning something. I don't want to get caught up in his treachery. But perhaps I can catch him in his own web. Then I'll be able to show him for the traitor he is, and we'll be rid of this pest. Yes, I must, for the sake of my father and my country.

    “It's all right if you've changed your mind, Your Highness,” Sena says.

    I cross my arms and smile, and reply, “No, I haven't changed my mind. When do we begin?”
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017
  9. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.

    You might want to make it clear who "he" is. Anyone who reads the description knows, but if not... the reader might be lost.

    Weird punctuation going on here. Remove the colon, put a period. You can start a sentence with "but," so do that, just don't do it often.

    Good description of the father's absence. I like it.

    Cute, but it needs a comma after "said".

    You're missing a word in there.

    Comma after said again.

    Don't capitalize "she". From now on I'm not going to point out dialogue tag issues. I would suggest proofreading before posting or getting a beta if you're not sure about grammar.

    What's "an intended"?

    Ugh, Arcanine is always a cute pokemon to use. I like the imagery here.

    From your description I can already tell what kind of character this is. Good on your part.

    Overall the characterization is solid, though I don't see Sena's disdain in his dialogue. He sounds like a servant under royalty normally would, which is probably your intention, so good job on that. The dialogue between them was well written for the two characters at hand. Seems like small talk, though it does have a point to it and establishes character roles. My only complaint is that with the first person, Your Highness and Satsumi sound pretty similar. I'm assuming they're not the same person at all, but they sound similar: both want to please parents, has lost someone close to her, similar dialogue patterns (aside from making small royalty talk, which falters a bit in places like this: “Don’t worry,” I say, “Arcanine won’t attack unless I say so"). Perhaps try: "Do not worry. Arcanine will not attack unless I tell him to." A person of royalty would probably speak pretty formally, and it should show in the first person narrative as well.

    As for the prologue, I like Satsumi. Her worry shows clearly, and I like the reason for her starting her pokemon journey late. I don't particularly enjoy reading about younger 10 year olds; I like when trainers start later. I have a feeling, however, that her constant worry will tear at her immune system and make her sick again. Keep that in mind. Worry and stress like this does have physical effects, as well as worse mental ones, if exposed to during a long period of time.

    It's a gripping beginning and I'm intrigued by the interlude as well, even though the plot is something I've heard before. That's because your writing style (particularly your emotional description) is spot on and compelling. My only complaint is grammar, which I pointed out already.

    Since we are doing a review exchange and my fic is much longer, feel free to ask me to beta before you release a chapter. I don't mind doing this for you to make up for the short-ish review. Also, if you want me to comment on anything else, let me know.
     
  10. Hakajin

    Hakajin Obsessive Shipper

    Oh, it's intentionally ambiguous; the point is to make the reader curious about who "he" is. It's sort of a genre technique, which I tend to shy away from... but I thought it was appropriate for the character I'm writing.

    Oh, that's a semi-colon; it's used to connect two independent clauses that are related in topic. Like... well, like the previous sentence. As for "but," I think it's fine as long as it doesn't sound awkward. Sorry, I feel like I'm correcting you... it's just that I'm trying to write this in common usage. Like I said in my review description on the review exchange page, I'm a firm believer in the idea that rules describe common usage, and aren't a mold that language should fit into. So, as long as it doesn't sound awkward, I'm fine with it.

    Thanks! I wasn't sure whether that part sounded awkward or not.

    Hm... I'm kind of conflicted over whether to add a comma there. A comma reflects a pause, and there really isn't one here. At least, not when I hear it in my head. But maybe most people would read it with a pause? Well, I suppose part of whether they do has to do with whether there's a comma there, which is why I left it out, but... I wonder if that sounds weird. I think what most people do when quoting someone is change their pitch or tone a bit, but there's not a good way to indicate in writing... Now that I think about it, I guess most people do indicate that with a comma. So I guess I'll change it!

    Oh, thanks for pointing that out.

    That I will change.

    An intended is a fiancee.

    Thanks!

    Thank you!

    Well, he's not really a servant, but he is of a much lower social status. Yeah, my intention here is that he really can't say what he thinks because of that. Innanna (the first person character) is toying with him; she knows he doesn't like her and is amused by forcing him to have a pleasant conversation. Maybe it wasn't clear from the context?

    Really? They're not, and they do have some similarities-- that's intentional. But Innanna has a different attitude and way of treating other people. Her relationship with her father is also a lot different, though she would like to please him. I wonder... if the problem here is that there are certain aspects of Satsumi's character that haven't come across yet, because so far I haven't shown her interacting much with other people. I've shown her with her mom, but that's someone she's very close to and familiar with. As for similar dialogue patterns... I wonder how I can change the sentence structure? Like, sentence length, use of dependent clauses, that kind of thing. I use a larger vocabulary with Innanna, so I feel like sentence structure is where a lot of that similarity is coming from. As for formality... Well, Innanna is royalty, but there are different levels of formality; she wouldn't be as formal with a commoner like Sena as she would be with, say, her father. Actually, now that I think about it, Sena is being more formal than she is, because he's obligated to be polite to her. Anyway, relative lack of formality also applies to Innanna's narration, since she wouldn't filter her own inner voice. Um... I don't want to eliminate contractions, because they're a natural part of speech that would only be edited out in... almost ceremonial situations, I'd say. ...Now that I think about it, though, I did drop some contractions with Sena's speech for that very reason. Huh. That's interesting; I wasn't really thinking about it when I wrote it. Anyway, I could definitely write that sentence more formally... It's just that I don't want to overdo it, because that would come off as false, like I was trying too hard to write formally. Basically, I want Innanna to sound like she's well-educated and of high status, but also like she's having a casual conversation without trying to sound formal. Yeah, that's it.

    ...Ugh, sorry, I feel like I sound like a snob or like I can't take criticism or something. It's just that... I don't want to not change things without explaining why I'm not changing them, you know? I mean, I just wanted to offer my opinion on it; feel free to say so if you disagree.

    Thank you! I'm sooo glad you like Satsumi and are interested in her problems. Yeah, don't I know it (personal experience)! That's something I'm definitely considering bringing into play.

    Thanks! I was worried the pacing might be too slow at first. And thanks again! Voice is something that's really important in this fic, so I'm glad you feel like I got that right.

    I'd love that, thanks for offering! I didn't think it was a short review, though. Ok, I will. Really appreciate it!
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2014
  11. The Great Butler

    The Great Butler Hush, keep it down

    Good to see her being proactive and trying to learn about where her father went.

    This sounds like quite a beautiful visual, and I'm always up for myths like this. Well done so far on this regard.

    Not to blow my own horn, but I wrote a story a while ago about a lost treasure and city with elements similar to this. Exploration and treasure hunting and mythology are all things I'm really into, so it goes without saying that I'm very much into learning more about the civilization here.

    One question I have immediately is, if the city was buried underground and had a visible element (the stone) above ground, why did it take so long to find?

    That said, still very much liking this.

    A lot of potential here. I bet there might be more to the aliens theory than meets the eye at first, and I am certain there is a great power. It is probably connected to Ash's disappearance.

    Oh wow, nice integration of the second movie. I like it.

    The dynamic between Satsumi and Misty is truly interesting. You can see Misty trying to hold it together for the sake of herself and her family, while Satsumi bristles under her mother's watch in her desperation to find her father.

    Misty's pain here is really palpable. You're good at conveying emotions with minimal words.

    It's very understandable that Misty would have hesitated before reacting to that. She doesn't need to lose another family member to Nirakar.

    Satsumi's not such a great liar.

    Also, you had an extra period after the exclamation point at the end.

    An apt response from Satsumi.

    Misty, that's your big mistake...

    Oh dear, another emotionally rough ending. Satsumi's wishes aren't going to come true, she's going to get into danger... all of that is very clear, and it hurts to know it.

    A great chapter that certainly holds up the pace of the first one, I'd say. If I had to raise one issue, it's that Misty believed Satsumi's "promise" not to look for Ash, but that's not too much of a fault.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2014
  12. Hakajin

    Hakajin Obsessive Shipper

    Ah, it wasn't always visible; the sand in the desert had receded due to shifting wind patterns. I should probably explain that at some point... I've definitely got somewhere I can work it in.

    Thanks! I really wanted to work that scene in somewhere, because I wanted to show their family dynamic, how secure Satsumi feels with her parents, and how much they treasure her.

    Thanks! I'm glad you think I was able to convey that well.

    Thank you! I try to insinuate rather than state.

    No, she's not. Oh, thanks for catching that, I'll fix it.

    Aw, I'm glad it reached you... but, though it'll be hard for her, not everything will be bad.

    You're right, she did believe it too easily. I'm going to change it so it's more ambiguous what she's thinking.
     
  13. DMerle

    DMerle Guess who's back

    I'm really enjoying this story so far, you've created an incredibly intriguing beginning and I'm very impressed. The interactions between characters is well-crafted and believable, and you seem to be able to convey emotions and feelings in speech really well, where other writers would just outright explain it. If there is one thing I would change, and this is entirely up to you.

    I would change scenes like this so the only break is between another person speaking, it just seems a little choppy as it was before, but once again it's a personal preference.

    Anyway, I'm eagerly awaiting the next chapter.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2014
  14. Hakajin

    Hakajin Obsessive Shipper

    Thank you! The characters and interactions are what's most important to me here; they're the reason I'm writing this. Oh, showing and not telling is... well, some of it I picked up from creative writing classes, and some of it came from reading books (it's something I came to admire)... and some of it comes from reading manga. A lot is implied through facial expression and body language in manga, and at some point I noticed a focus on that in my own writing. I think it changed how I visualize things.

    Ok, I might change that... I want to do whatever's most readable to most people.
     
  15. The Great Butler

    The Great Butler Hush, keep it down



    Hm, this looks interesting, but I have to admit I feel a little alienated jumping into something so different from what was going on before. Obviously this interlude will dovetail with Satsumi's story, so it's just something I need to get used to.

    That said, I think this plot has some interesting potential. The impression I get is that this is somehow related to the ancient society of Nirakar that was brought up prior.

    Yeah, I think this confirms the link to the ancient society. I'm definitely invested now.

    I notice a really distinctive descriptive technique here that I'm quite enjoying. I can easily visualize what this setting looks like, which gives me the imagery of a classic ancient civilization. Perhaps it has a flavor of ancient Egypt, I think? I can see her standing in a sort of desert-like area outside the ziggurat.

    Again, this is really interesting. I'm feeling more and more comfortable with the setting jump as we go.

    I'm starting to more strongly believe this is indeed an Egypt-based society? I'm already into it as it is, but if it is indeed based on Egypt, you've got me swallowing the hook completely.

    What's going on with Sena, this girl and her father, I wonder? Even moreso, how will it tie into Satsumi's story? I'm already pondering potential answers.

    A priestess, huh? That's the impression I get. Either that or a more simple princess, given the mentions of her father.

    I sense sarcasm from Sena.

    I wonder about that.

    Yeah, I was right about the sarcasm. Wonder what that's about...

    Although I do wonder if there is some truth to the "every day is a beautiful day" comment, or if it's actually total sarcasm because the kingdom is awful.

    Now I'm picturing Urutu as being like an oasis, sort of like Phenac City from the Orre games. Is that true?

    Interested in the history of these nations...

    Now this caught me off guard. I had expected that there were just different kingdoms with their own kings, but there's a single king above them all?



    I'm not sure I believe him.

    "Arcanine wants to bare his teeth at him"

    I find this to be a strong closer, even if I'm slightly lost just because Mira's identity hasn't really been made very clear yet. I'm definitely intrigued by all of this, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it connects to Satsumi and probably Ash as well. And of course, like I've mentioned, ancient civilizations like this are always to my interest. Seems like there's a lot of intrigue going on here, which is always a good thing.
     
  16. Hakajin

    Hakajin Obsessive Shipper

    Yeah, I figured it would be jarring, but there wasn't really a way to prevent that at first. It is definitely related.

    Thanks! I had a hard time figuring out how to describe the ziggurat, since the narrator here is familiar with it.

    Good! I was kind of worried it wouldn't be as interesting... No, it's based on ancient Mesopotamian society which is... I want to say it's older than Egyptian society, but it might have been concurrent. Here's a fun video on the subject: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sohXPx_XZ6Y. Anyway, there's going to be a lot on those relationships later.

    She's a princess. Well, it's not so much sarcasm as insincerity... she's basically forcing him to say nice things about the place, which he resents.

    Well, Urutu and the kingdoms/provinces surrounding it. Good, thanks! I'm going to do more history on them later.

    He's an emperor, so he controls more localized rulers in the different territories.

    Ok, thanks, I'll hange that. Oh, Mira is the narrator's best friend and lady's maid; she doesn't have that significant a role. At least, not in what I have planned so far. Thanks again!
     
  17. Hakajin

    Hakajin Obsessive Shipper

    Chapter 1
    Like my dad, I barely slept the night before I set out on my Pokemon journey. Unlike my dad, who'd overslept the next morning and almost missed getting any Pokemon at all, I woke up at 6:30am. That had worked out for him-- he only got Pikachu because all the regular starters were already gone-- but I wanted to make sure I got first pick. It was hard to get out of bed-- usually, I was awake in time to turn the alarm off before it even went off, but this time, its annoying screech startled me out of the strange dream I'd been having. What had the dream been about? I tried to remember as I made my bed, but it was gone. It felt like it was right there at the edge of my mind, but the more I thought about it, the further away it seemed. Funny, because the one thing I did remember about the dream was how vivid and real it had felt. I still had a feeling like I'd been somewhere far away.

    But it was just a dream; I had more important things to think about. Like, how long would it be before I slept in my bed again? The thought just made my stomach feel queasy, but I tried to ignore it. After all, my dad hadn't been nervous or worried when he'd started his journey; he'd just been excited about the adventure ahead of him. I should try to be more like that.

    I dressed in the outfit I'd planned days ago-- my blue jumper over a white T-shirt and black leggings-- then brushed my hair and clipped my bangs to the left with two silver clips. When I was finished getting ready, I headed downstairs and into the kitchen, where my mom was making me a special breakfast.

    “Good morning, Satsumi!” she said when she saw me. “Are you ready for your big day?”

    “Yeah!” I replied, trying to match her too-cheerful tone.

    Soon, we were sitting down with plates of pancakes, eggs, and bacon. I still felt a little sick at my stomach, but I forced myself to clean my plate. My mom would only worry if she knew I had no appetite, so I couldn't let her see-- especially not when she was trying so hard to make me happy.

    Later, riding to Pallet Town in the backseat of my Aunt Sakura's red convertible, I regretted eating so much. Watching the passing scenery only made me feel sicker, so I leaned back in my seat, closed my eyes, and swallowed hard to fight the nausea. There was nothing to see, anyway, except grass, grass, and more grass.

    “You're pretty quiet back there, Satsumi,” Aunt Sakura called over the wind, “you ok?”

    I opened my eyes and saw her adjusting her rearview mirror to look at me.

    “Yeah!” I called back. “I was just, um, thinking about what starter Pokemon I want!”

    “Huh?” My mom said. “I thought you'd already decided?”

    Oops. I'd forgotten that I'd told her.

    “Oh yeah, I did!” I said. “But I want to be sure it's the right choice!”

    My mom smiled warmly.

    “Ok!” she said. “But don't over-think it! At times like this, it's best to go with your gut!”

    That sounded exactly like something my dad would say.

    “Ok!” I said.

    Then we were quiet again. Ahead of us, I saw a girl with a green ponytail and a boy with brunette hair walking along the side of the road. I turned around to look at them as we passed. The girl waved excitedly, and I hurried to wave back, but I wasn't sure if she saw me.

    An hour later, we were in Pallet Town. Another ten minutes, and we were driving through Professor Ookido's gate and up the driveway to the Pokemon lab and ranch. The last time I'd been here was with my dad, to help Professor Ookido and his assistant, Kenji, replace a section of fence that had rotted. (Well, ok, my dad had helped, I mostly just held boards in place and handed everyone nails.) I remembered my dad talking about how this was the second time he'd helped replace this fence, and then Professor Ookido reminding him that it was his fault it'd been broken in the first place, since it was his Tauros that had stampeded through it. Had that really only been a month ago? It felt like longer, but that part of the fence still looked brand new, its spotless white paint standing out against the older, dirtier parts? It seemed strange that my life had changed so much in such a short time.

    As we got out of the car, the lab door opened, and Professor Ookido, his grandfather, and Kenji came out waving and calling “hello”s. My grandmother followed, but she rushed ahead of them down the walkway and scooped me up in her arms.

    “Oh, Satsumi, I'm so happy for you, Sweetie!” she gushed.

    I hugged her back. After a few seconds, she released me, but kept her hands on my shoulders and held me at arm's length.

    “Look how grown up you are!” she exclaimed. “Time goes by so fast...”

    “You saw me just last month, Grandma,” I said, smiling up at her.

    She laughed and said, “Oh, I know. I just can't believe this day is already here; it makes me feel so old!”

    She was smiling, but there were tears in her eyes, and I wondered if she was thinking about the day my dad left on his journey. Grandpa Ookido put a hand on her shoulder and said, “You'll never be old, Hanako, as long as you stay young at heart!”

    “Yeah, he's the real old-timer around here,” said Professor Ookido, pointing at his grandfather.

    Grandpa Ookido crossed his arms and nodded and said, “That's right, so you'd better show me some respect!”

    Kenji slapped Professor Ookido on the back and added, “Yeah, Shigeru, show some respect!”

    I tried to laugh along with them, but all I could do was smile. No one mentioned my dad's absence-- they didn't have to-- I could feel it, like the hum in my ears in perfect silence. So could everyone else, I thought. Their joking felt fake, like they were trying too hard to pretend everything was normal. My eyes kept drifting to the spot beside my mom where my dad should've been standing. My mom wasn't laughing, either, but we both smiled bigger when our eyes met.

    All right, all right,” Professor Ookido finally said. “Satsumi's here to get a Pokemon, not stand around listening to us old-timers talk.” Then he looked at me and asked, “You ready, Short Stuff?”

    I nodded, and we started up the path to the lab. Professor Ookido put his hand on my back and slowed down; I matched his steps so I wouldn't get ahead of him. But we started lagging behind. The others turned and waited for us when they reached the door, and then he stopped completely. I looked up at him, waiting for him to explain, but all he did was rub the back of his head and say, “Um.”

    Everyone stared at us for a second, and then Kenji smacked his forehead and said, “Oh, no, I was supposed to clean the lab before the new trainers got here! I totally forgot!”

    “Kenji!” Professor Ookido exclaimed in an annoyed tone. “You were supposed to do that yesterday!”

    “I know, I'm sorry,” Kenji said. “Man, now I'll never finish in time!”

    “Don't worry, I can help,” Grandpa Ookido offered.

    “Me, too!” said my aunt Sakura.

    “We'll all help,” my mom said.

    Kenji opened the door and led everyone inside. I started to follow, but Professor Ookido held me back.

    “Can I talk to you for a minute, Short Stuff?” he asked.

    I nodded, but his serious tone was making me nervous. Was there bad news about my dad? But my mom would've been the one to tell me something like that. Keeping his hand on my back, he got down on one knee so we were eye-to-eye.

    “I just wanted to tell you I'm so sorry for what happened,” Professor Ookido said. “It's ok if you're mad at me, I understand.”

    I shook my head hard.

    “No! I'm not!” I said. “It's not your fault, you didn't know what would happen!”

    That was true; it wouldn't be fair for me to be angry at him.

    Professor Ookido smiled and said, “Ok, I'm relieved to hear that. But I just wanted you to know that.” He paused, then said, “You know, Satsumi, you're a really brave kid for starting your journey at a time like this. Your dad would be-- your dad will be so proud of you when he finds out.”

    There were so many questions I wanted to ask. Why had he sent my dad to the ziggurat in the first place? What was going on there? But my throat was so tight that I couldn't get any words out. That was ok, though; Professor Ookido probably wouldn't give me any answers, anyway. Worse, he might figure out what I was planning and try to stop me, or tell my mom. So I turned around and hurried up the path before he could see me cry. The path looked blurry and far away through the tears in my eyes. Professor Ookido was wrong-- I wasn't brave, I was terrified. Already, I could feel anxiety buzzing through my body. What would he say if he knew how much I wanted to forget the whole thing and just go home? But I couldn't do that, I couldn't give up on my dad so easily. So I kept putting one foot in front of the other until I reached the door.

    Professor Ookido held it open for me, then led me through the lobby and down the hall to a room I'd never been in before. It was really plain, with white walls and a gray tile floor, but the right wall was lined with floor-to-ceiling shelves containing Pokeballs. In the center of the room, there was a metal table with four more, and I guessed that these were the starters. All the surfaces looked clean and shiny. The room wasn't exactly small, but it was crowded with everyone inside. No one was doing any cleaning.

    “Finished up in here?” Professor Ookido asked as we entered the room.

    “Yeah,” my mom said, “but we didn't really do much. It was clean to begin with.”

    Kenji smiled and shrugged and said, “Shigeru's just kind of a neat-freak.”

    “Hey, good research begins with a clean lab!” Professor Ookido said, smiling back at him. “You should really know that by now.”

    He and I moved to the middle of the room, and everyone stepped back to make room for us.

    “Now, Satsumi,” he said, “You're the first trainer here, so you get first pick. Which Pokemon do you choose?”

    My heart pounded with excitement-- this was it. I took a deep breath and said, “Eevee. I want Eevee.”

    “Good choice!” Professor Ookido replied.

    Everyone clapped as he picked up the left-most Pokeball and handed it to me. I curled my fingers around it, the metal cool against my skin, and stared at its shiny red and white surface. I'd handled plenty of Pokeballs before, but this one was different, this one was mine. My first Pokemon. How many times had I imagined this moment? Now that it was finally here, it almost didn't feel real.

    “You know,” Professor Ookido said, “it was my idea to make Eevee a starter Pokemon.”

    Everyone laughed at that, but I felt a squeeze at my heart; this was usually where my dad said, “What are you talking about, Shigeru? You know it was my idea!” They'd been arguing about it for years, and it had become kind of a joke between them. Actually, the idea probably belonged to all the trainers who kept requesting Eevee, but it was a good one no matter who thought of it. Eevee was a normal type, so it specialized in basic physical attacks, which every beginning trainer needed to learn. It didn't have any advantages in battle, but it didn't have many disadvantages, either. Plus, Eevee had lots of different evolutionary paths, each with a different type, so new trainers could take their time figuring out which type they worked best with. I'd decided on Eevee a long time ago.

    “Why don't we head outside so Satsumi can release her new Pokemon?” Grandpa Ookido suggested. “It's really too crowded in here.”

    So we headed outside, down the walkway, and through the gate to the road. Everyone stood behind me and watched as I threw the Pokeball and called, “Eevee, come out!” (Actually, I was so nervous that I just kind of mumbled it.) The ball hit the ground and split open, releasing a flash of white light that began to take the shape of a small, four-legged Pokemon with long ears. The light faded, and there sat Eevee, exactly as I'd imagined-- brown fur, fluffy tan collar, black eyes. I wondered, would I be able to tell it apart from all the other Eevees in the world once I got to know it better?

    “Eevee!” Eevee chirped, jumping to its feet.

    I crouched to the ground and held out my hand to it.

    “H-hi, Eevee,” I said, “My name is Satsumi; I'm your new trainer!”

    Eevee trotted over to me and sniffed my outstretched fingers. Slowly, I reached out and patted its head, and it happily said its name in response. Eevee's fur was so soft and warm. I smiled, really smiled, for the first time in days-- meeting Eevee was almost enough to make me forget how upset and worried I'd been feeling.

    “Aw, so cute!” my aunt Sakura squealed. “Is it a boy or a girl?”

    “This one's a boy,” Professor Ookido replied.

    “It looks like you two are going to get along just fine,” my mom said.

    That made me think of my dad, how Pikachu hadn't wanted anything to do with him when they'd first met. Eevee watched me curiously as I picked up the Pokeball and stood.

    “Return for now, Eevee,” I said.

    A white beam of light shot out of the ball and hit Eevee, turning him back into light and pulling him inside. I'd let him back out later, but now it was time to say good-bye to my family, and I didn't want him to see me looking sad so soon after we'd met.

    I inhaled deeply, tried to swallow the lump in my throat, and turned around.

    “Well, Satsumi, this is it!” Professor Ookido said. “Good luck out there!”

    “She won't need it!” Grandpa Ookido added, then looked and me and said, “But you know who to call if you ever need advice.”

    “And be sure to tell us about all the new Pokemon you meet!” Kenji said.

    “I will,” I replied. “Thank you all!”

    My aunt Sakura hugged me and said, “I love you, Sweetie.” She released me, tucked her hair behind her ear, and added, “You sure you don't, like, want a ride back to Viridian? I'd be happy to take you.”

    I shook my head and said, “Thank you, Aunt Sakura, but I just got my first Pokemon; I want to start my journey now.”

    That was true, but there was another reason-- I wasn't ready to leave for Nirakar. I wanted to start looking for my dad as soon as possible, but I still couldn't believe I was going to a foreign country all by myself. How was that even possible? I'd never been away from home on my own, except to visit my grandmother or aunts. I needed to take this slow, get used to journeying on my own, before I took the train to Saffron City and boarded my plane.

    “Ok, I understand,” Aunt Sakura said. She winked at me and added, “You're, like, going to do great, I know it!”

    “Of course she will,” my grandmother agreed, “it runs in the family.”

    She pulled me into her arms and held me tight.

    “I love you so much, Satsumi,” she said to me, “and I'm so proud of you. I know your dad would be, too, if he were here.” She stood back, wiped away a tear, and added, “Do your best out there. But be careful, ok?”

    I nodded and replied, “I will, I promise.”

    And then it was time for the hardest part of all-- saying good-bye to my mom. She knelt down beside me and put her hand on my cheek.

    “Oh, Satsumi...” she began.

    “Mom...” I said, the breath catching in my throat.

    And that was it, I couldn't hold back the tears anymore. My mom wiped them away as they rolled down my cheeks.

    “Don't cry, now!” she said with a sad smile, “or I'll start, too!”

    But even through my blurred vision, I could see there were already tears in her eyes.

    “Mom, I'm really going to--” I started.

    But I choked up and couldn't finish the sentence. I wanted to tell her how much I was going to miss her, and how sorry I was. It seemed like my mom was always getting left behind! When she and my dad were kids, they'd traveled for years together, but then she'd had to go home and take care of the family gym while my dad went off and had more adventures. Now he was gone again, and I was leaving her, too? It wasn't fair! Especially when she'd given up so much for me. My mom had been a member of the Elite Four, the strongest water-type trainer in the whole country, until I was born too early. Both my parents had stayed by my side constantly during the first couple of years, to make sure I was going to be ok, but it was harder for her. Pokemon League Champion wasn't a job; my dad didn't have to make appearances. But when my mom couldn't fulfill her duties as an Elite Four member, she'd had to retire. And this was what she got for it? If I was doing the right thing, why did I feel so terrible?

    “I'm really going to miss you, too, Satsumi,” my mom said. She took my face in her hands and held my gaze. “But I don't want to hold you back. I want you to go on your journey and meet new people and have new experiences.”

    “But you'll be... you'll be...” I started.

    “I'll be fine,” she answered. “I'm going to stay with your grandma, and Kenji and Shigeru and Grandpa Ookido are all right here.”

    “And I'll visit, like, all the time,” my aunt Sakura chimed in.

    “See?” my mom said. “I'll have lots of company! So don't worry about me, ok?”

    I nodded again and said, “Ok,” but I didn't really mean it. Of course I was going to worry about her.

    We hugged each other tight, and I felt her warmth around me one last time.

    “I love you so much, Satsumi,” she said softly in my ear.

    “I love you, too, Mom,” I replied, not even trying to hold back my sobs anymore.

    What was I going to do without her? I'd never been away from her for more than a few days. We let go of each other, and she tucked my hair behind my ear like she always did.

    “You're going to be fine,” my mom said through her tears. “Better than fine! Just be careful, ok? And you know you can come home any time you need to.”

    “I know,” I replied.

    “I'll let you know as soon as we hear something from your dad,” she added.

    I nodded and wiped away tears.

    “Ok, then,” my mom said after a moment. “I guess this is good-bye.”

    “Yeah. Good... Good-bye,” I said.

    The words came out so soft and squeaky that I could barely hear myself, but my mom seemed to understand. She stood, kissed my forehead, and took two steps back from me. And with that, I turned and took the first steps of my Pokemon journey.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
  18. DMerle

    DMerle Guess who's back

    Didn't even realize you had posted this, my bad for missing it! It was a good chapter, I love the detail and heart you pour into your writing.

    This paragraph, despite it's simplicity, really stood out. It adds to the obvious love between Satsumi and Ash, has a nice touch of humor thrown in and that metaphor at the end is great.

    I also love the addition of Eevee as a starter, it's an awesome Pokémon and I'm interested in seeing which direction you take Satsumi with her's. Once again another great chapter, as ever well done for throwing the amount of feeling and emotion into it that you did, and I'm anxious to see what Satsumi's gonna start off doing on her journey.
     
  19. Hakajin

    Hakajin Obsessive Shipper

    No problem; thanks for the review! Thank you!

    I'm glad you liked that one paragraph; I was glad I was able to put something like that in there. It's hard to write in moments between Satsumi and Ash since he's not around, and I worry that their relationship won't come across... so I'm glad you found that effective.

    Oh, and I'm glad you like Eevee as a starter. I have reasons for using that Pokemon, but I'm aware that it's considered kind of cliche... so I'm relieved it didn't seem that way here.

    Thanks again! I'm working on chapter 2 now; it's going to have more action in it than the previous chapters.
     
  20. The Great Butler

    The Great Butler Hush, keep it down

    This is an interesting way to start the "trainer gets a Pokemon" line. I like the parallels you draw between her and Ash, and the fact that you show her being nervous.

    I wonder if the strange dreams will be relevant later...

    I get the sense that Misty is still putting on an act of strength for her.

    Sakura, the one from the anime?

    It felt like Satsumi was lying, so yeah.

    Missed a space between the quote after "gut" and "that."

    I sense at least one person who's going to be important later.

    That bit of fence feels like an important memory item here. Was it intended as such, to be alluding to one of her last memories with her father?

    Wait, is Gary the current Professor Oak with the "grandfather" being the original, or is it the original Professor Oak with his own grandfather? I'm a little confused here.

    Okay, so it was Gary. I know I probably missed something, but I found it rather confusing to follow which Oak was which. You might want to clarify it somehow.

    I dunno, I feel like this is kind of needlessly prolonging things to have the distraction with the cleanliness of the lab. I hope I get proven wrong.

    Hmm... I do notice that he is keeping his habit of giving pet names, but I feel like this could be.... somehow more Gary-ish? Something feels a little off. Like, I can see him being concerned about Satsumi, but he's talking more like his grandfather than anything.

    I really feel Satsumi's emotion here. On top of that, I'm again wondering about that ziggurat and the ancient mystery and all.

    Four more?

    Okay, I can see why Gary would have that idea, but I struggle with swallowing it. There was really no need to tack on a fourth starter Pokemon, which scuttles the usual concept of the three starters being a type-cycle triangle (the typical Grass-Water-Fire, with the additional Fighting-Dark-Psychic secondary typing of the Kalos starters' final evolutions.) Adding a Normal-type breaks that. On top of it, there are a lot of things that could have been selected, but going with Eevee - one of the most overused "non-standard" starter Pokemon in fics - makes me a little uneasy. I think a lot more new things could have been done if it was something else.

    That muttering was an interesting touch. Really conveys her emotion here.

    I like the bond between them, though I think I was hoping for a slightly less... positive start. You know, give her a little bit more of a challenge with Eevee.

    This could have been another boost to the parallels between her and her father, if Eevee was more challenging as I had said.

    That's a very mature decision on her part.

    As was that.

    That tells me Misty really was putting on a brave show for Satsumi after all.

    I think your greatest strength is the emotion, and it's certainly showing here. I can put myself right in Satsumi's shoes and feel the flood she's experiencing. It's got to be difficult for her. Would it be wrong to guess that maybe she wants to bring Ash back to make her family whole again, among her goals for looking for him?

    The way you write Misty's speech is perfect.

    Fitting place to end the chapter.

    Anyway, I hope I didn't come off as too critical. This certainly wasn't a bad chapter, I just feel like maybe you weren't playing to your primary strengths this time. I did like it in the end, I just had some concerns.
     

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