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Skybound [PMD]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by TikTok13, Oct 20, 2017.

  1. TikTok13

    TikTok13 Oh, I have a title?

    @Ambyssin
    Eh, I wanted to show a bit of uncomfortableness for Black, but I do suppose an example would have been good. I apologise for that, bad judgement on my part :/

    That's kind of what I was going for. I thought a villain with a not-so-fantastic name would be alright, and I was watching Guardians of the Galaxy 2 at the time, so Taserface is a perfect example.

    Well, I'm happy that the gun shook you all up! I hope you look forward to seeing them a bit more, though. Regarding OHKO moves, I don't think I'll use them all that much, to be fair.

    Great! More on the way for you to see!

    ~~~~~

    Welp, another update here! Now, this one's a little late, so forgive me, but I hope you like it. Another important character joins here, and we see a bit more of the others in this one. So, get ready, and enjoy!

    Chapter 5


    Utter silence. Not what I expected, to be honest. The crowd remains motionless as Steele conceals his revolver and turns, leaving the pavilion the same way he came. The Bisharp disappears with a final sweep of his cloak, the sun reflecting on his steel head. The two Magmortar guards collect the limp figure of Jacob, and I feel my stomach turn as the glistening hole in his head becomes visible. Only when everyone has left the pavilion does the crowd break into uproar. Most people talk happily about the execution, glad to see another violent criminal off the streets, but I'm just confused.

    Does that happen to every criminal? Or is it exclusive to those that conspire against Steele? I have yet to learn the way of the world, it seems. In the slow movement, I can't help but compare Cormeum to Covedrift. Deaths don't happen often at home, and when they do, it's a solemn moment. Being such a small island, the inhabitants of Covedrift know each other very well. But here in Cormeum, you don't know someone because you pass them on your way to work or invite them round for a cup of tea - you know them because their faces are plastered on notice boards, criminals and idols alike. Unlike home, this place revels in the murder of someone. Just another miniscule event in the life of the big city. Nothing like home.

    No, not home. Covedrift. I have to remind myself that that small island isn't where my home is anymore. The Liquid Lugia is the one place I can call home now. I have to come to terms with that.

    Rose grumbles beside me, casting shifty glances at the few stragglers that hang by the town square. She seems tense, or tired. Her face is like a wall, and I can't tell why.

    "What did you think to that?" I ask, hoping to get some enlightenment.

    "Nothing much. Pretty commonplace; if you commit treason, you're as good as dead, unless there are special circumstances." She doesn't elaborate, and by the way she stands, arms folded and eyes closed pensively, I can tell she doesn't plan to.

    As night starts to consume the city, we start to make our way back to the docks, sure that Crux will be almost ready, if not waiting for us. The idea that they could leave without us spurs us on, but there's also something slightly unsettling about Coremeum at night. The streetlamps, which I expected to glow with a fiery amber, instead shine in eerie violet flames that so closely resemble those of a Lampent. The shadows that the rising moon casts are freakishly hellish, and send shivers down my spine. I get the sneaking suspicion that we're being watched, but Rose puts it down to a mix of paranoia and fatigue.

    Still quite apprehensive nonetheless, I rush Rose on, and within minutes we've passed the grumpy attendant and are outside the city walls, the dull thumping sound of the propellers keeping this city afloat the only sound that accompanies us. Even out here, where raucous sailors are supposed to rest, the silence that has dogged us since the execution continues to persist. The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, and I am wrong, or does Rose seem incredibly jumpy? She's walking very close beside me, her arm occasionally brushing mine, and her head never ceases to turn.

    "Hey," I whisper, but in the perpetual silence of twilight, it sounds like a shout. "We're almost back at the ship. Don't worry, okay?" I try to throw a sense of sympathy into my voice, but Rose just brushes my concerns off and smiles nervously, a white flash in an equally pale face. Her eyes are wide, but with what emotion, I can't tell.

    "I'm not scared." I'd believe her if it weren't for the tremor in her voice. Despite her apparent fears that the night may hold, she leads the way down the wide wooden platform that leads to our ship.

    ~~~~~

    We clamber aboard the Liquid Lugia, which is enveloped in fiery light that creates a warm, somewhat cosy atmosphere, and I instantly feel much better. The eerie feeling of the city already feels mines away, even though I can see the city walls from here. Most, if not all of the crew, are gathered on the deck, and it's obvious that they're waiting for something. With slight confusion as to what it is we're actually waiting for, I make my way across the deck to stand by Cyrus. The Luxio looks somewhat impatient, a frown creasing between his eyes.

    "Crux shoulda been here b'now," he murmurs, his eyes darting about. "Something's up." I mentally slap myself. How did I not notice that our hulking Rhydon Captain was absent. It's funny, how short-sighted fear makes you. The crew seems to think this too, as many are becoming restless, and start to wander around the deck. We obviously can't leave without our Captain, right? I decide to busy myself around, even going below deck for a while to work on a new clock, but soon return back to Cyrus' side. My apprehension is growing; I still feel as though we're being watched, but it feels as though more than one set of eyes is paying attention.

    But even Cyrus is getting impatient. After another ten minutes of aimless procrastination, he states: "If the Captain ain't back in the next quarter of an hour, then I'm gonna go look for him." Nobody dissents against him, and my respect for the young Luxio increases. Even Rose, who I assumed was without a care in the world, seems highly worried for the Captain's wellbeing.

    "He's not normally this late," she says bluntly when I ask her what's up. I get a feeling that there's something the others aren't telling me; they seem to want to leave Cormeum as soon as possible, and Crux's disappearance is doing nothing to comfort them. Boredom sets in, and with a long, drawn out sigh, I realise that this is the part of pirating that you don't hear in the tales and sea shanties. The mood has considerably lowered - it doesn't take an empath to notice, but all this depression is really putting me down, like a weight has entered my chest. So, laying on the wooden floorboards of the deck, I start to tap my gem. A smooth rhythm. With my free hand, and bang against the deck, a deeper, hollower sound than that of my chest. And then I start to sing.

    "What shall we do with a drunken sailor?
    What shall we do with a drunken sailor?
    What shall we do with a drunken sailor,
    Early in the morning?
    "

    My voice is quiet at first, but on the third line, it picks up, and raises to a shout. Other crew members join in; Cyrus and Rose are among the first, but others, like the Ariados and the Machamp, are reluctant to accompany us. But when we begin a second round, we have the entirety of the crew bellowing at the top of their lungs, an odd mixture of different pitches, accents, and levels of enthusiasm.

    When the song comes to an end, a crowd of people whose names I don't know come over to me and start cheering, lifting me above them with wide smiles and bright eyes. All of this is so out of place. I've just witnessed an execution, Crux is still missing, yet here I am, singing along with the rest of the crew without a care in the world. Maybe I'm not as methodical as I thought after all. I definitely did not plan to do that.

    Unfortunately, we all fall back into our dormant state, waiting for Crux to arrive, fear growing with every second that ticks by. However, true to his word, Cyrus gets up before long, and fastens a jacket around him. Slinging a bag over his shoulder, he gives us all a nod, and then strides off of the ship and into the shadows of the docks. A desire to follow him suddenly possesses me, but Rose appears beside me, as if having predicted my thoughts.

    "He'll be fine," she whispers reassuringly. "You don't know Cyrus like I do. He'll come back with Crux or he won't come back at all."

    Great. That doesn't exactly instil me with confidence, either.

    ~~~~~

    Sure enough, my Mawile friend does not lie. Cyrus returns not a hour later, the Captain behind him. The two step aboard, but then I notice something. There's no cargo. Surely Crux was gone all that time collecting our next job, right? Instead of supplies or goods being hauled aboard, Crux is followed by another figure. Lean and formal-looking, with a trench coat fastened tightly at the neck and a leather satchel hanging by its side. The face is obscured by shadows, cast by Crux's enormous figure.

    "Righ' everyone, can I have your attention please?" Grunts Crux in a formal tone, so different to what his usual speech is like. Cyrus, who is stood to the side, looks quite angry, but I don't have time to wonder why. "Sorry for the delay, bu' I needed to get our cargo." He pauses for what I presume is effect, before introducing the mysterious figure behind him. "This is Benit Grey, a gemologist, and our latest client."

    The figure, a young Servine, steps forward with a nervous smile.

    "Hello everyone. Firstly, I would like to say that I look forward to working with you all, and I hope that we shall all benefit from this." As he speaks, he shuffles* quite a lot, wringing his hands together, but there's a fire burning in his eyes. "Now, down to business. As Captain Crux said, I am what is called a gemologist, meaning that I exclusively study gemstones." The crew look at him with blank stares, and he nervously continues. "What I've hired you for is this - I have reason to travel across the Broken Kingdom to Naga City, home to the largest mines in the Kingdom."

    "Two questions." Someone interrupts bluntly, making Benit look even more nervous. "Why us, and what do you need to get there for?" There were murmurs of approval across the crew, and I furrowed my brow in a frown. What is his point?

    "Well, the Liquid Lugia has a good reputation, no failed deliveries, I believe, and as I'm sure you know, the road to Naga is not all that easy for an inexperienced fighter such as myself." He gestures at his own body, and gives a wry smile. "As such, I require a tough crew, a fast ship, and a friendly environment to get to Naga."

    "But what for?" Growls Cyrus, beside me. I'm not sure why, but he's frowning, and looks somewhat irritated. "The road t' Naga's a bloody dangerous place, so we better know what the hell we're riskin' our necks for!" Benit shuffled uncomfortably.

    "W-well… a-at Naga, they believe that they have unearthed something. Something very important." He pauses, apparently for effect. "It appears to be a Lustrous Orb."

    Some of the crew look bewildered, but I'm confused, and to a large degree. A what? Nonetheless, it appears to have the effect that Benit wants.

    "For those of you who do not know, a Lustrous Orb is of a stone-like substance, said to resemble a pearl. In the days of old, it was said that this orb belonged to the legendary Palkia."

    "But the legendaries don't exist!" Yells Rose. She too looks annoyed by Benit, and I can't tell why. For once, I don't seem to know everything, and it's quite frustrating, to put it simply.

    "Yes, well, that's, uh, open to discussion. I, for one, am still a believer in the old tales, and real or not, this Orb is highly valuable and one of a kind. As such, I can pay you handsomely upon delivery, if you choose to accept my offer." One look from Crux tells everyone that we will be accepting the offer, but I'm still trying to process all of this.

    Everyone has heard the tales of the legendary Pokémon. There were many, and they were said to have individually contributed to the creation of the world. But nowadays they're just seen as stories told to children. Everyone knows their names, Palkia, Groudon, Kyurem, to name a few, but now they hold no reverence, no respect. It's somewhat sad, but I guess that's what comes with evolution of society. But why Cyrus and Rose appear to be annoyed with Benit is a mystery. Just like the legendaries.

    ~~~~~

    Just like that, Benit Grey joins the crew, our only cargo, and we prepare for the journey to Naga, which will take three weeks if we travel non-stop. Of course, we will have to stop at points, for food, fuel, and other things of that nature.

    It's not until I'm laid in my bed, surrounded by the snores of my crew members, that my mind really wakes up. Why were Crux and Benit taking so long to get back? And why was Cyrus so flustered? Questions I want answers to, but know that I'll probably never ask. After all, this is just a small pirating job, and I'm a newbie. It's not like anything out of the ordinary will happen any time soon.
     
  2. Ambyssin

    Ambyssin Winter can't come soon enough

    If I had to summarize this chapter, it'd quite simply be: "Hooray! Mood whiplash!"

    It's nice to see that the public execution has a clear (and lingering) effect on Black. And that it extends beyond simply dwelling on the event. Rather, that sense of unease ends up percolating throughout the rest of the chapter, and causes what might normally just be mundane little issues (the captain being late for example) into very paranoia-inducing tidbits. I think the narration helps with this sensation. At least, the description of Cormeum definitely felt that way. Especially since the first scene went out of the way to make it feel all big city-like with its hustle and bustle. It does make the pirate tune bit feel a little out-of-place, in my opinion. Like, I get the point of whistling or humming a tune during a tense situation. But usually, that's meant to actually raise the tension (Luigi's Mansion does it very well). Here, it kind of sucks me out of the moment for a bit.

    But then Benit shows up and everything dips right back into paranoia territory. His own shifty behavior (slippery as a snake, how appropriate that he's a Servine) certainly doesn't help and gives me, as the reader, little reason to trust the guy. Especially when he casually drops in the mention of a Lustrous Orb, which is not a small-fry item by any means.

    Black might as well get on top of a building and shout, "What could possibly go wrong?" at the top of his lungs. ^^;
     
  3. TikTok13

    TikTok13 Oh, I have a title?

    @Ambyssin
    Hey, cheers for the review!
    The best kind of whiplash.

    Thanks! It's one of the major character traits that Black has, I think; he is heavily influenced by what's happening around him, probably due to the fact that he's lived alone without much excitement for so long.

    To be totally honest with you, I don't even remember why the scene was there XD. Maybe I was doing something pirate-themed in school? Meh. But I see what you mean. I was trying to go with Black being bored but then trying to cheer everyone up, but it obviously didn't achieve that as such, so, yeah :p

    I'm happy you like all this paranoia atmosphere. XD

    Hmm. Nice opinion you seem to have formed over Benit. I guess we'll see whether or not he should be trusted soon enough, because we're going to get to some piratey action relatively soon.

    Your reviews genuinely make me laugh. That's all I'm saying XD
     
  4. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    PMD adventures in a steamunk kind of setting sounds like a lot of fun! Steampunk PMD with sky-pirates and floating islands sounds like even more fun! (And if you haven't read it already, you really ought to check out DeliriousAbsol's System:Reboot. It's cyberpunk rather than steampunk, but it has your PMD pirates and floating islands all right!)

    I gotta admit, though, that the premise isn't quite living up to its promise for me as of these first few chapters.

    Black keeps going on about how he's going to become a pirate, and ooh, here he is on this big ship full of pirates, but... are you sure they're actually pirates? Like, we have an entire chapter about showering, but I don't generally think of pirates being big on bathing except under extreme duress. Nor do pyjamas really strike me as being their aesthetic. And then in the next chapter, Rose is actually talking about needing to fill out some forms. PIRATES doing PAPERWORK? It doesn't really swash my buckle, you know?

    Maybe this is supposed to be kind of a stealth parody thing and "pirates" in this world is really just what they call sky-merchants or whatever, but if you're wanting to create that kind of swashbuckling, piratical feeling, I'm afraid you're missing the mark by a lot. If you hadn't explicitly stated otherwise, I would have thought Black had simply shipped off aboard a normal merchant vessel--I mean, they're going to port to drop off cargo, for goodness' sake. If you do want this to be a story about sky-pirates, I think you're going to need a bit more edge to really sell it. Pirates really aren't so nice as all the characters we've met so far in this story have been. If I were Black, I, too, would be surprised to find out that they're supposed to be criminals, although it seems like he should already know that, given that back in the prologue he mentions that outside of Covedrift pirates are arrested on sight. (But then he just takes the "you're a criminal now, son" thing completely in stride and doesn't seem the slightest bit worried about it? Even after a guy gets his brains blown out for piracy right in front of him? Not even a tiny second thought there?)

    I didn't mind your lack of description of various characters in the prologue, but I don't think it's a great thing that readers generally weren't able to guess whether the people being talked about (or the protagonist) are humans or pokémon. Yes, this is the PMD world, where pokémon are less like pokémon than humans with mystical powers, but if they could literally all be human anyway and no one would notice, what's the point of making them pokémon? Part of the fun of playing in an alien world, with alien species, is seeing how different their world is, how such diverse creatures with wildly different biology and lifestyles manage to coexist (or not). At the very least you can have your You do a pretty good job of remembering that different pokémon body plans exist, what with Cyrus having to rear up to put a paw on Black's shoulder and so on. But to me it's disappointing when you have something like a bisharp, whose gag is literally "I'm made of sharp things," and when he goes to execute somebody, he... pulls out a gun and shoots them? Again, if you're not going to take advantage of the pokémon-y aspects of the pokémon, why aren't they just humans?

    I'm also not entirely sure why the shower chapter was there; the only thing of significance there appears to be Cyrus' introduction, and you could have brought him into the story in any number of ways that wouldn't have required so much filler.

    That's quite a lot of criticism, sorry! But it isn't like this is terrible or anything. You do have a good sense of character, which comes through both in Black's narration and in how the pokémon generally relate to each other. I think Cyrus and Black's relationship in particular is fun, a kind of friendly heckling sort of thing where they're both constantly pushing each other, but not in a malicious way. And the setting is undeniably cool! I look forward to seeing more of the floating islands in the future, especially if we're going to be getting off the more populated ones and into the more mysterious side of the world.

    In that respect, the most recent chapter is exciting--it sounds like we're going to really be kicking off the plot, or at least the adventuring, quite soon! Not sure whether there'll be anything actually mystery-dungeon-like in this setting--those mines Benit mentioned are a good candiate, but it could go either way--but I imagine the journey's going to end up fraught, one way or another. Dangerous stuff is bound to happen whenever you go haring off after a legendary thingamajig!

    So, right now, I think this story shows progress, but I think you maybe haven't got the tone down just yet, or at least the story it looks like the story you want to be writing isn't entirely matching up with the one on my screen. I'd encourage you to think about what you want to do with the pirates, if you really want them to be pirates or not, and how you want to work with the fact that your characters are pokémon rather than humans. But you definitely have a solid concept and some interesting characters to work with, and I expect things to pick up a bit once we move out of the introduction. Best of luck with future chapters!
     
  5. DeliriousAbsol

    DeliriousAbsol Call me Del

    Sorry for the delay in reading this. I've been itching to get back into it, but not really found the time over the past couple of weeks.

    Fantastic opening line! Especially since it's a little while since I read Chapter Four, and this jolts my memory to the cliffhanger it left us on.

    It's little details like this that make me really love this 'fic.

    Oh dear. After that execution, I have a bad feeling about this.

    Wasn't expecting that XD


    Me neither D=

    Gah, nothing good every follows a sentence like that in a book. So... something out of the ordinary is going to happen soon?


    Just listing a few errors I spotted:

    Is this meant to read 'am I wrong'?

    Should this be 'miles' away?

    Little nitpicky thing here I think. I feel there should be a paragraph break before Black mentally slaps himself. Also, I might be wrong, but I think his mental rhetorical question should end in a question mark.

    So many questions have arisen during this one chapter. I also would love to know why Crux took so long coming back. Also, who was watching them? Did they actually run into them and that's why Cyrus was so flustered? So many unanswered questions! You certainly know how to hook your reader.
     
  6. DreamSayer

    DreamSayer Name's Adam.

    Review for Chapter 3

    Hey, it's been a long time since I last read this fic. Anyway, I just checked out the third chapter and I must say, despite it being a bit short, it was still enjoyable in every way. There were some decent jokes like the grime doing laundry, the new Luxio character and that one time our mc, Black, went into the women's room. I legit burst into laughter when I read that.

    I'll definitely read on to see the next chapters.
     
  7. TikTok13

    TikTok13 Oh, I have a title?

    @Negrek
    Sorry for the wait, getting back to you now.
    Ah. Well, I guess the first few chapters were just establishing the characters, and these pirates aren’t exactly the best of pirates, if you catch my drift. When they first joined, they would have been eager wannabes like Black, happy to fulfil their dreams, but aren’t exactly trained in the department of being a cutthroat. I apologise, but if showering and pyjamas isn’t your style, I think you’ll enjoy the next chapter, and those in future.

    We haven’t yet learnt all that there is to Black yet, and perhaps the idea of him not finding this as worrying might be understood more when his character becomes more developed.

    Personally, I rather liked that enigmatic aspect, and I’m sorry you didn’t like it.

    Well, having him stab someone should have been somewhat obvious, and I intended the gun as a shock factor, and an indtroduction to the fact that Pokemon, in this world, use weapons, and use them lawfully. Again, if you didn’t like it or get it, I apologise.

    Yay, positive stuff!

    You needn’t worry there. I will be using the dungeon aspect, but less “if you faint you magically teleport out” and more “oh crap where’s the exit”.

    Thanks! The beginnings of my story are always what I find hard to flesh out - I get chapter one down, know everything about the ending, but basically at a loss for the rest. I’ll try my utmost best to improve, and I hope you enjoy the future of this story as much as I enjoy writing it. P.S. I love your reviews; they challenge me and cause me to think outside the box, letting me address and add different things in later chapters.

    @Delirious Absol
    Sorry for the delay in replying, I’ve been otherwise engaged.
    Thanks! I love how you pick up on all the lines I’m proud of, and make me feel so much better about others.

    Depends on how you define ordinary.

    As per usual, your rectification of my errors is right, and the last one just seems fantastic.

    Ooh, questions. They’ll all be answered... eventually. And I sincerely hope you enjoy each one unfolding.

    @DreamSayer
    Absolutely fantastic! Glad to know that I made you laugh.


    Now, I’ve been gone a very very long time. In other words, I’ve been busy. Horribly ill. Mock GCSE exams. REAL GCSE exams in summer. Christmas. I’ve just not had much time on my hands, and this is a considerably larger chapter, nonetheless, thank you to all my readers and dedicated reviewers for sticking by Skybound, and I really hope you enjoy Chapter 6. It probably isn’t what you were expecting.

    Chapter 6



    Cyrus returns to our little gathering with a platter of cakes and buns resting precariously upon his back.
    “Leo sure wasn’t happy with me for raidin’ his kitchen, so you be better be bloody appreciative.” Leo is the Liquid Lugia’s resident chef, and he’s a short-tempered, systematic Camerupt. Rose shrugs as though she doesn’t care. With a satisfied smile, the Luxio tiptoes cautiously to me in my hammock, allowing me to take an iced bun, a slice of chocolate cake, and a chunk of bread. He then moves on to Rose.

    “Who cares what Leo wants,” mumbles Rose through a mouthful of flapjack, crumbs falling down her front. “I’m starving. If he’d rather deal with a hungry me, let me know.” Cyrus just shook his head and laid the platter on the floor, clambering into his own hammock, a piece of cake clutched between his fangs. We enjoy our little feast in silence. Until, as I’ve come to expect by now, we’re interrupted by something. An argument, voices carrying from the other end of the ship, apparently about the colour of the bedsheets.

    “They should all be identical!” The nasally voice carries, a sharp, piercing yell that pains my ears.

    “Ah, screw you,” sighs another voice. I turn around to get a view of the argument, but I can already predict at least one of the instigators. A Scizor is arguing somewhat nonchalantly with our newest companion, Benit, and the Servine seems to have slipped into another sticky situation. I roll my eyes and shake my head, turning back to my friends.

    “You’d think you’d warm up to him after a few days, but he’s still a pain in the arse,” grunts Cyrus with a furrowed brow. In the brief time that we’ve know gemologist Benit Grey, he has undoubtedly made a reputation for himself. Incredibly fond of himself, he wastes no time at all in telling us exactly what it is we’re doing wrong, with a condescending glare and an arrogant nature to boot. So far he’s managed to get on everyone’s bad side, and Cyrus seems to nestle a particular dislike for the Grass-Type.

    “Perhaps we can throw him overboard?” I ask, only half-joking. Cyrus lets out something like a snort, followed by his all-too familiar laugh. It’s so infectious, so likeable, that I find a grin on my own face. The three of us - Rose, Cyrus, and I - are gathered together around a small paraffin lamp, resting in our hammocks. We’ve been cooped up below deck all day, the relentless rain hammering above, drowning out all but our voices. I wouldn’t mind, if it wasn’t for the gale force winds that turn the falling drops into piercing bullets. Only our few Water-Types have volunteered to brave the downpour, promising to keep watch for any dangers.

    “I wouldn’t mind that,” says Rose, twiddling her hair as the extra mouth brushes the ground. The truth is, if it wasn’t for the cash sum we’ve been promised, I don’t think anyone on this ship would think twice about getting rid of the stuck-up Servine. I don’t personally have a problem with him, but it’s how he treats the others that ticks me off. But it’s hard to deny that he does have an air about him, one of authority and, in some respects, mystery. He refuses to reveal anything about how he found out about the discovery of the Lustrous Orb. He seems like a professional, well-respected expert, but that begs a bigger question.

    “Why did he choose a pirate crew?” The tone in my voice implies that the answer is obvious, but the others seem confused. Rose, who’s swinging upside-down on her hammock, frowns at me. Cyrus, however, shuffles onto his elbows, a look of focused contemplation chiselled into his features. “I mean, if it’s an important journey and all, surely it would have been easier to hire a more specialised crew, right?”

    “He wanted the journey to be off record.” The Luxio’s eyes sparkle with intelligence; I can almost hear the whirring cogs of his mind. I get the idea that he’s already considered this question himself. “He didn’t want anyone to know where he was going, what he was doing. He didn’t want to be held to any contracts, or rules, or regulations. Benit wants to go completely incognito.” The look that Cyrus then gives us speaks for itself. “Maybe Mr. Grey isn’t what he seems.”

    It feels as though a weight has fallen upon our little trio; we all remain still, bodies tense. We might have just uncovered something. Something important. Despite our amazing analytical skills, Rose throws a spanner in the works.

    “Even if he is up to something, there’s nothing we can do about it now. He’s too chummy with Crux.” That rang true. Only the Captain seems to be civil with the serpent; they’re usually cooped up in Crux’s quarters, discussing all manner of things, away from the prying eyes of the crew.

    “But why’s the Captain so nice to him? And why is Benit acting like he’s in charge? Are you sure there’s nothing we can do? Aren’t we pirates - perhaps we throw a mutiny?” I press on, hoping to extract some aid from my friends. Rose just rolls her eyes, a small smile on her upside-down face, but Cyrus chuckles to himself.

    “Done asked four questions, haven’t ya?” With a wide smirk, he looks around quickly. “Ain’t got no good answers for you there.” He pauses a few moments, before continuing. “Let’s talk about something else, I can’t stand that bloody snake.” Rose continues to play with her hair absently, but she keeps her eyes trained on the two of us. I glance around, looking for some inspiration, and notice multiple doors that I’ve still never explored.

    “What else is in this place?” I ask, curiosity taking over my suspicion. Cyrus nods, as if this was a perfectly valid question.

    “Well, there’s the kitchens, the bathroom, the showers,” he gives me a furtive look and a wry smirk. “And ya got the Cap’n’s quarters, and this lovely little room that we all sleep in.” He gestured to the side with a tilt of his head. “Down there’s the storage room, the below-deck cannons, and, of course, the Drifters.”

    “Drifters?” I ask with a frown. I’ve never heard of those.

    “Oh, yeah,” says Cyrus with a wave of his paw. “I forget that you’re a newbie. They’re what we call the escape boats; they have a sail that converts solar energy into fuel for the engines. Got three, can hold about three to a boat, normally. They’re fully charged up for a quick getaway.” Seeing the look on my face at the word escape, he adds casually. “Never had to use ‘em, though.”

    That’s not what bugs me. The fact that the others fail to grasp is that there’s not enough Drifters. If anything were to happen, not all of us would make it. That idea is frightening to me. We can’t all survive, but I’d hate to see people fighting for a precious spot of escape. Shrugging his shoulders, Cyrus rolls over in his hammock, a dull grunt telling us that the conversation was over. Yet again, the rain takes over, leaving us to mull over in our thoughts.

    I’m still awake an hour later, the sound of irregular breathing surrounding me. Staring at the roof of our quarters, the machine of my mind is working overtime, processing all the information from earlier. Yet again, I get the feeling that I’m being watched, the haunting, ominous presence that makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up like nails.

    Then I hear a creak. The kind of creak that spawns pure fear in anyone that hears it. The kind of creak you’d expect before something bad happens. The kind of creak that I just have to investigate. With as much stealth as I can muster, I roll out of my hammock and fall to the floor, any noise muffled by the pile of clothes heaped beneath me. I pull on a brown jacket and belt, before making my way towards the stairs, the only place I can guess the creak came from. There’s no other activity in the room, at least.

    The stairs are old, many of the steps chipped in places, dark and rough. I bear that in mind as I tiptoe up the wooden planks, wincing with every long squeal emanated by the steps. I fumble with the hatch door as soon I can reach it; a square of wood on hinges is built into the roof, protecting us from the elements. However, I find that the latch that keeps the door closed is undone. In fact, the square itself is slightly ajar. That puzzles me. The latch can be opened from either side; it’s built in such a way that it can be used for those in and out. Either somebody’s snuck in, or somebody’s snuck out.

    A frown creasing my brow, I push it completely open, and feel a drizzle of rain fall upon my head. The downpour has calmed somewhat since earlier, but the rain is still falling like knives. I clamber onto the deck, the floorboards slippery with water, and close the hatch door, sliding the latch back into place. A few stragglers still wander the deck, but I see a familiar shape climbing towards the wheel of our ship. A curved, serpentine shape.

    “Benit!” Surprisingly, my voice echoes in the night, and, even more surprisingly, Benit turns around. I jog up to him, the puddles splashing beneath my feet. The Servine stands, his arms folded, as I approach him. “What’re you doing?” Despite his haughty appearance, his eyes seem fearful.

    “Nothing at all,” he mutters smoothly, but his eyes continue to dart about. “Can I not take a stroll in the night? Besides, I could very well be asking you the same question.” I pause for a moment. He got me there.

    “I heard a noise.”

    “A noise?”

    “Yep.” I hold his gaze with a blank face and as much seriousness as I can muster, until he looks away nervously. Without another word, Benit turns and makes his way back towards the wheel, with more haste than before. There’s definite worry to his movements now. He’s jumping at slight noises, and he seems jittery, maybe even afraid. That’s when I hear it. The roar of a flame, the dull thumping of propellers. Maybe this is the reason behind Benit’s behaviour. The reason why he’s now arguing with our pilot, crying for us to speed up.

    Another ship approaches.

    I see it before the Wingull sentry hails its appearance. Twice the size of the Liquid Lugia, with tongues of flame licking the steel underbelly as it slices through the night sky. Silver propellers jut out of its sides, and two emblem-bearing flags fly from the pitch black balloon that keeps it afloat. As the ship nears and the shrill caw of “SHIP!” cracks through the air, I catch sight of the emblem. A Duskull and Crossbones, with a flickering flame embroidered above the skull. Before I know it, Cyrus is beside me - ready to help, as per usual - and swears loudly.

    “You know that ship?” I have to shout; the other ship’s thrusters are so loud that I can hardly hear myself think. Face grim, Cyrus replies just as loudly.

    “Not personally.” Glancing at me seriously, he continues. “It’s the ship of the Silver Shadow.” Without elaborating, he rushes into a sudden frenzy, barking orders and calling out, trying to wake everyone else up as the ship draws closer. An icy stab of fear penetrating my heart, I run straight back downstairs - this time leaving the hatch wide open - and fly back to my hammock. Rose is already awake, throwing on a jacket and fastening her gun to her belt. Gritting my teeth, I realise that I neglected to get myself a gun. Bah. With a steely glare and a brisk nod, Rose jogs upstairs, leaving me to gather my things. For some reason, I pack everything. Hammock, bedsheets, clothes, everything goes into my satchel, a now bulging leather orb hanging by my side. Always over-prepared, and it’s never done me any wrong.

    I join the others above deck, and the scene is carnage. The Shadow’s ship is now so close that I can feel the heat of the engines, and I have to wipe sweat from my forehead. People are running backwards and forwards, loading cannons, tightening ropes, fortifying the zeppelin. Even Crux has made his way down, in a dark red trench coat and two large guns - guns that I wouldn’t even be able to carry - in his hands.

    “Get ready yeh scurvy dogs! We figh’ to the death tonight! Man the cannons!” The words barely escape his lips before our ship pitches to the side, and I have to dig my claws into the floorboards to stop myself from falling into the abyss. The acrid smell of gunpowder fills the air, and another shake racks the ship. We’re being fired at. With a fearful sense of awe, I watch as our own men retaliate, cannonballs thudding against the massive hull of the opposing ship. We hardly leave a dent.
    More cannons are fired in our direction; chips of wood fly everywhere, and the puddles of water now run red. Bodies are slumped over smoking remains of our own cannons, and my stomach churns. All of these bodies, I knew. I just hope beyond hope that Cyrus and Rose aren’t hurt. I change a quick glance up, nd see that we’re now cast in shadow by the Silver Shadow’s vessel. The ship just draws closer, closer, until it’s close enough for us to be boarded.

    “Draw your pistols an’ shoot ter kill!” Crux roars, his gravelly voice echoing. I’m surrounded by crew, each one of them with firm looks plastered on their faces and guns in hand. A ragtag clan of warriors, thieves, merchants. Pirates. Ready to live or die. With shaking hands and a nervous sigh, I clench my fists, coating them electrical aura. A punch of thunder for a storm of a battle.

    The storm breaks.

    Agile shadows leap from above, sliding down our balloon until they land with a splash on our deck, bursts of light coming from their hands with every shot they fire. Two, three, four people fall near me. Without hesitation, I plunge my fist into the back of a Toxicroak. It utters a groan as lightning cracks over its pale skin before collapsing to the floor, and I feel a sudden drain on my strength. I’ve never fought properly before, with my abilities, especially not with that. I’ve only ever used electricity to power clocks, not to...

    My vision fades for a moment, and I cut off the flow of energy keeping my fists enveloped in light. I have to pause, feeling the rain and sweat flow across my body. The weight of my bag is suddenly unbearable, and I itch all over. With a deep breath, I compose myself as best I can, before the sight of it all throws me off again.

    Blood rushes in my ears, and the ship I hardly know, yet know so well falls before me, enveloped in an apocalyptic swirl of smoke, fire, and blood. I’m possessed by an overwhelming urge to survive. I’ve never felt fear like this before. An uncontrollable instinct to survive against all odds, to run, and never look back again, even if doing so could save one other life. Because in this flurried rush of emotions, only one person matters. I consider it for a moment, running, taking one of the Drifters and tailing out of here. But I’m knocked out of my stupor by a raging Druddigon.

    I’m thrown to the side and feel an instant surge of pain. Wood cuts into my back, and I feel the warm tingle of blood seeping over my crystals. The dragon continues to charge at me, beating its wings amidst the chaos. As it draws near, I try to re-ignite my electricity, but I can’t muster enough strength. The Druddigon grabs me by the neck, raising me up so that I’m level with its face, slowly strangling me as the rough skin of its palms tears my throat open. This is it. My vision starts to fade - twice in one day, funny - and I wonder if this is how I’m going to die. The grip loosens, and I slip free, dropping to the floor and desperately gasping for air. Looking up, I see the sleek body of our Scizor wrestling with the Druddigon, and my face brightens with a determined smile. I make to stand up, when the sound of a gunshot echoes, and Scizor drops over the edge of the Liquid Lugia.

    “Goodnight little guy,” the Druddigon rumbles, his speech hardly intelligible, before training the gun on me. As a final act of bravery - also my first, but what the heck - I look him right in the eye. I won’t blink. I won’t flinch. Acid courses through my veins, and a twisting sensation wrenches my gut. A bang sounds, and I await the pain.

    But it doesn’t come. The dragon never fired. Instead, a crimson hole stains its pink skull. The rough corpse slumps down, and Cyrus is stood there, his familiar frown showing through beneath blood and soot.

    “I leave you alone for ten bloody minutes,” he sighs. “C’mon, we gotta help Captain.”

    Crux is barricaded by all manner of rubble, boxes and bodies, and even a door, all acting as a makeshift shield for him and a few other fighters. They peer over the barrier and fire with dead accuracy at the onrush of enemies. A long gash tears open his rough skin, and dark crimson stains his forehead. As we approach, he clutches his side, sweating and breathing heavily.

    “Took yer time,” he breathes, his usual booming voice now hardly a whisper. A racking cough starts up, and blood flies from his lips. With a flash of red tipped-teeth, he turns and launches a round over the barricade, and is joined by another figure. Benit. The Servine is armed with a rifle, and is firing slow, precise shots with a loud bang. Turning to reload, he flashes us a grimace, which Cyrus returns with a look of incredulity.

    “Don’t give me that look,” the serpent sneers. “What, you didn’t think I’d help? That’s just... asinine.” Benit fires another shot over the barricade, and another infiltrator falls. Shaking off the shock, Cyrus wipes the dirt from his brow and grabs his own gun, joining Benit. I notice that Rose is further down the barricade, wielding two pistols and a cold determination in her eyes. A surge of disappointment fills me as I realise that I can’t help without a gun. I try to find one nearby, when the wood three metres from me explodes in a flurry of flames.

    Panicking, I quickly backtrack, scurrying with a fervent desire to escape. The ship is slowly being torn apart; there’s no way we can save it. I’m about to say this to the others, when a thud sounds behind me. I turn to see Cyrus, bleeding from the shoulder. Rose rushes over to him, and Crux turns his head swiftly.

    “Are you okay?” I call, but my voice is lost in the wind. Shuffling closer, I ask again. Cyrus just grunts.

    “I’ll live,” he manages. The Luxio makes to get up, despite protests from Rose, and grasps his gun again, blood matting his fur. Crux seems to have other ideas.

    “Cyrus, take Grey and yer friends an’ get outta here.” It isn’t a question, but Cyrus growls defiantly.

    “No! I’m gonna stay, and I’m gonna fight!” Although he’s frowning, there’s an odd look in his eyes, and skin, which is usually a vibrant blue, now appears more grey. With a smile, Crux rests his hand on Cyrus’ uninjured shoulder, gunfire still raining down on the barricade.

    “That’s an order, Cyrus. Just go, y’know what yer have to do. Don’t let ‘em find ‘im. Not get!” With a fierce roar, the Captain turns away and charges over the barrier, guns blazing. We watch helplessly, shocked, as round after round pierces his hide, spraying red mist into the air. Then the gunfire pauses momentarily, and the Captain’s hole-riddled body falls to the floor.

    I try to swallow past the lump in my throat, and find tears streaming down my cheeks. The Captain. Dead. Cyrus wastes no time in executing his last wish.

    “Let’s go people, get a bloody move on.” His voice is bitter and detached, and he doesn’t look back to see if we’re following. He just runs, a slight limp in his front left, and heads below deck. Benit follows without much hesitation, a slightly smug look showing through the grime on his face. Seemingly as shaken as I am, Rose jogs beside me as we pursue Cyrus, a grim look of defeat on her pale features.

    After following the Electric-Type down corridors and turns, we emerge in a large room, with three canoe-shaped structures, a small engine towards the back, with what appeared to be a sail folded atop. The Drifters, I assume. Cyrus plods past them, yanking a handle on the wall. A series of whirs and clicks start up, and we wait as the bottom of our ship opens up. I realise that the Drifters must drop into the abyss, before starting up. A terrifying thought, but it must be better than this. While waiting, we’re attacked by another set of pirates. Cyrus shoots them without a word. And then another set of figures come into the room; the chef, Leo; Aaron, a Lairon; Katie, a Flareon; and Pelison, a Geodude. They all give us nervous, ashamed looks, but I don’t judge. Staying on the ship now would be suicide.

    When the hatch is fully open, Cyrus jumps into a Drifter, ordering us to do the same. I clamber into the nearest one with some difficulty, accompanied by Rose and Leo, but Pelison and Aaron are fighting over the remaining empty escape vessel. Tumbling over each other, Pelison drives a fist towards Aaron and misses, hitting the chain that keeps the Drifters from falling into nothingness. The chain snaps, and, not being fastened in properly, the two fall through the air with terrified screams. Cyrus waits while Katie and Benit join him, and I realise with a lurch that we’re the only survivors of the Liquid Lugia. Nobody who stays will survive. Cyrus seems to notice this too, as he speaks up, and I turn to see tears in his eyes.

    “There was nothing we could do,” he sniffs, and I nod, not trusting myself to speak. In silence, we unchain our Drifters, and drop into the sky. Completely at a loss from here on in, Rose takes over, booting up the engine and pressing a button that pops a parachute into place. I see the same happen on Cyrus’ boat. We’re airborne for about three minutes when we can see the destruction that has been wrought. The Liquid Lugia is naught but a smouldering wreckage.

    “My home...” Rose whispers beside me, and I put a reassuring arm around her. Releasing a sob, she buries her head in my chest, her shoulders shaking as tears fall from her eyes. I close my own, in a blissful state of sadness and nonchalance, ready to accept the future. Then it hits me. Where are we headed? From what I gather, these small boats cannot take us as far as any nearby island. I’m about to ask when the cannonball cuts through our parachute, and we start to dip into the void.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2018
  8. Ok so it sounds been a while and I’m tired right now so I’m not sure if I’m gonna be using words properly, but I gotta say that sometimes I just read your writing and go damn, I wish I had thought of those kinds of decriptive sentences. You crest metaphors and ways of describing certain feelings and events in ways that I could never think of, and they create vivid scene in my head. Basically I love your writing style.

    And oh boy in the last chapter things have been getting desperate! I see a lot of floating island stories in fiction, and it’s really a 50/50 as to whether we actually get to see what’s on the planet floor in main canon, but I guess you’re gonna show us? Also damn, having your entire crew be wiped out like that must be pretty heart-wrenching to go through and I like the way you wrote everyone’s feelings, although I could see it coming from quite far off when you mentioned the escape boats at the start of the chapter.

    I guess I gotta say that despite there only really being one connection in personality, Benit gives me vibes of Tohri from Hatoful Boyfriend - self-centred, flamboyant, all that wonderful stuff. I tend to find those kinds of characters quite fun to watch as their self-love leads them into rather awkward situations, so even if that’s not your plan for him, I’m probably gonna rewwally enjoy him!

    As for our main three, I think they work quite well together so far! You have Black, who is kinda timid but knows where his heart lies; Rose, who is just a ball of fun and hype; and Cyrus (what’s with the naming characters like in—game humans? This is leading me to speculate), who is gruff but welcoming. They make this really neat little triangle, and I’m lookking forward to seeing more of them.

    So yeah, sorry I didnt give a review earlier, but I’m loving this fic!
     
  9. Ambyssin

    Ambyssin Winter can't come soon enough

    The good part about writing in first person like this is that the perspective is skewed. So, Black's recapping of Benit is more like color commentary than it is exposition. While it's certainly entertaining, it does feel like the initial part there is a bit of a cop out. Like, I'd have appreciated seeing Benit getting under everyone's skin rather than just being told by Black that no one really liked him. It goes to the whole "show, don't tell," aspect of writing, I guess. In light of where the chapter ends up going, it also seems really... hard to believe. Because, given the predicament everyone ends up, I don't really feel like this aspect of his personality will get the opportunity to really shine.

    On the other hand, the bit with the rescue boats was rather interesting. I feel like this is foreshadowing for something going wrong at some point, and those boats having to get put to use. Otherwise, why would it get brought up now? *reads a bit further* Oh, well, yeah, I guess that would do it. Ship combat! And it quickly spirals out of control into what amounts to just a giant kick in the groin for our main trio. Pretty much throwin the status quo completely off before it can really become, well, the status quo. Definitely not like your run-of-the-mill Pokémon battle. It gives me some brief vibes of Assassin's Creed: Black Flag. Though, how Cyrus is wielding a gun I feel needs a bit of an explanation, since he's a quadruped and really shouldn't be able to do stuff like that. The battle itself was very on the short side. It was a hopeless situation, but I'd have liked a little more time for, well, the hopelessness of it all to sink in for them. Especially because there were some good parts. Like Black freaking out over attacking someone for the first time. That needs to get explored more, as well as, of course, his reactions to all these deaths that just happened.

    Overall, a pretty shocking swerve compared to the first few chapters. I wasn't expecting things to crash and burn like this. A few things I spotted...

    Missing an extra line break here.

    You slipped into the past tense here, and it does stick out.

    This is not a dialogue attribution, so you should end the dialogue with a period and capitalize the "he."

    Another missing line break.
     
  10. DeliriousAbsol

    DeliriousAbsol Call me Del

    Chapter 6

    Sorry it's been so long catching up with this!

    Cyrus, among many others, clearly aren't happy with Mr Benit. Makes me wonder what he's up to.



    As a Pokemon fanfiction writer with a love for the more unconventional, I look forward to seeing pokemon use these canons.



    You're pretty brave, Black. I'd have opted for hiding under the duvet, tbh...

    After Black's worry over the escape ship, the sight of this ominous air ship means they might have to actually use them? D= Yikes!



    Looks like Del is getting her wish.

    Nice description of the chaos, and Black's use of thunderpunch taking a toll on his reserves. I also quite liked the way you described the druddigon's rough skin ability. Way to go, Cyrus, getting Black out of that little predicament!



    What the...? O__O

    Wow that battle was brutal! I wasn't expecting the total destruction of the Liquid Lugia! Such a small number of the crew left... I wonder where they'll go from here? I really hope they survive that fall, too...
     
  11. TikTok13

    TikTok13 Oh, I have a title?

    So, it’s pretty much established that I’m a very erratic writer, and poster, but with that being said, my exams are finally over, with results coming in August. As such, I have so much more time to write. Hopefully, I can get back into reviewing as well, as some people really deserve reviews on the forums. Anyways, I’m back with Chapter 7, is it? Anyways, I’ll reply to all of these reviews, and the chapter will be below. I hope you like it, it is a little frenzied, but what’s not to love about a frenzy?


    @Nerdy McNerdface

    Aww, thanks buddy. This is just what I need to get back into my writing vibe!

    Yep, here comes the planet floor, which might be around awhile for the foreseeable future!

    Damnit. Knew I should have saved the attack for the next chapter.

    That wasn’t really the plan, but I can see the idea. Who knows, things like that might happen, but we’ll have to see. But you will rewwally enjoy him!

    Great! The trio goes on! There isn’t any real connection to most characters (Cyrus was going to be Jay originally), so there’s no reason to speculate. No problemo, hope you continue to love it!


    @Ambyssin

    Hey Ambyssin! Yeah, I like to write in first person because it lets me give biased opinions on the characters from one point of view. If it were third, it would be easier to explore numerous traits, but it would be harder to include all the internal dialogue throughout that I love.

    Sorry about that. I just felt like that would have dragged it out a little bit, but don’t worry, we will see this part of Benit later on!

    Yep. Hit the nail on the head there.

    I wanted to pretty much destroy the entire concept of Pokémon battles, to put it simply. I haven’t actually played Assassin’s Creed, so I wouldn’t know, but hey, if it has the vibes then it’s all good. Right. Well... Use your imagination, I guess. Cyrus is just skilled enough to do it with his mind. I never really thought about that, but I will in future.

    I wanted the fight to seem really fast paced and over before it had really started. As for those reactions, they are planned to crop up, but not for a while. There’s still some action packed in for a chapter or two, but I have written some things regarding that.

    Who doesn’t love a shocking swerve though? This was actually one of the first things I knew was going to happen before I even started Chapter 1.


    @DeliriousAbsol

    (It’s easier to reply to it like this so...)

    No problem! Sorry it’s been so long writing back!


    Well, you’ll have to wonder for a lot longer. Or perhaps there isn’t anything to even wonder about.


    Who doesn’t love Pokémon and cannons?


    Your wish is my command XD


    Thanks, the moves and abilities are something that I’m looking forward to switching up in this!


    Well, as I said earlier, these deaths were planned before I started, and I guess you’ll have to wait and see what happens next!



    Chapter 7




    “What the...” I wheeze, releasing a pained cough. Blood splatters onto the sand from my mouth, and soaks in slowly. Smoke fills the air, assailing my nostrils and filling my lungs. Releasing another cough, I push myself up to my feet, admiring the chaos around me. Our Drifter was a shambled wreck in the sand; not a single part was left intact. Flames still spout from some of the wreckage, and the thick smog was billowing above me like a swarm of Zubat. As I began to brush the sand from blood-stained fur, a horrible thought occurred. Where was Rose? Where was Leo? And the others? Cyrus’ Drifter wasn’t hit, was it? Surely he would be nearby, tending to the wounded, a cheesy smile on his face and a spark in his eyes. He couldn’t be dead. None of them could be dead.


    Could I be dead? I’d heard tales of the world beneath our cities, a barbaric wasteland, filled with savage Pokémon from a bygone age. Pokémon that were extinct. As if they could have survived after all these years. After the Great War, after the introduction of the Sky Cities. It just didn’t make sense. Yet here I am, sitting in a desert. One moment, I was falling through the void, the next, darkness. But I was definitely not dead. If I were dead, I wouldn’t feel pain, would feel the ache in my chest or the gash on my arm. I try to use Recover, but to no avail. I’m simply too tired.


    So many people have been killed. That’s only just started to make any sense. Why? Why would they attack a simple ship, minuscule in comparison to the Misfortune? Was it something to do with Benit and his Orb? Who cares? He’s probably dead. I shake my head. These grim thoughts are doing me no good. Once again, I feel the oppressive weight of fear, as though something is watching me. It’s the same feeling I had on Cormeum, yet it also feels... different... somehow. As if there are more, or as if it is an entirely different entity altogether. I need to get out of here, that much is certain. Whatever is about to happen isn’t worth waiting for.


    “Rose?” I call out, some strength behind my voice now. Only the crackling laughter of the fire answers me with a resolute nothingness. “Rose!?” I have to search for her. I start to stumble uncertainly around the wreckage, lifting whatever I can manage, but there is no sign of the roguish Mawile. The amber sun, nearing its end, burns down on me, and I sweat as I lift yet another sheet of metal in the desperate hope that my friend will be buried underneath. Instead, I find another sorry sight. Leo, bloodied and beaten, but alive. The chef smiles weakly as I heave the metal from above him.


    “Hey kid,” he groans, pain erupting in his eyes at the very effort of speaking. “Glad you finally showed up.” That’s when I notice the pale pallor to his skin, and the bags under his eyes. It’s also when I notice that he only has three legs. A stump of redness sits where his right foreleg would have, still dripping slightly with crimson. Adamantly, he tells me it doesn’t hurt, that he doesn’t even remember it happening, but when I feel his head, he is abnormally cold for a Camerupt. But I cannot give up on him. Not when he’s the only one...


    I shake my head and deliver my best smile, through gritted teeth and a cough of blood.


    “Come on,” I grin. “Let’s get you up. We need to find Rose.” Helping him to his feet, I call out once more for Rose, but my name does not return. I’m close to resigning myself to the terrible fate when I hear a muffled noise. Desperately, I want to chase the noise, but I can’t forget about the Liquid Lugia’s chef. No. Just “the chef”. The Liquid Lugia no longer exists. Supporting Leo with my own arms, he trundles along with me as we limp towards the source of the noise.


    “Rose?” Leo grunts, and I join his call.


    “.....” A noise. Definitely a noise.


    “Rose!” Yelling now, I tear at my frail vocal chords. This time, I get a response.


    “Black?”


    An elated beam sprouts onto my face, and a glimmer returns to my crystalline eyes. I half help, half drag Leo along with me, so as the get to the noise as quickly as possible. The closer we get, the louder I hear her voice.


    “Black? Is that you?”


    “I’m coming!” Together, Leo and I search around 2 square miles of area for our Mawile friend, and the sun is beginning to set, the purple embers of twilight creeping onto the sandy horizon. A breeze has picked up, and is it just me, or does a groan seem to travel on the wind? A low, eerie groan?


    “Black,” mutters Leo, his voice trembling. “It’s getting real cold. M-maybe we should just-”


    “No!” I yell. We’ll find her. We will. We keep searching, ten minutes, twenty, forty, sixty. Always calling out Rose’s name. When we come to the last piece of rubble as far as I can see, I hold my breath and hope for the best. The metal flies away in my hands, and there’s nothing to see. No Rose. Gone. Holding back tears, I begin to turn, the clockwork of my body forcing me to move on, endure the next hardship, when the sand shifts where the metal was. At first, I think I’m seeing things, but then Leo points it out to me. Falling to my knees, I scrape away at the sand. Most of my strength has returned now, and there is a renewed vigour to each of my movements. Sand. Sand. More sand. A tooth. Another tooth. An iron jaw. The iron jaw of a Mawile. Carefully, we pull her out of the sand, and see a metal bar had been pulling her below the ground, to be swallowed up by the demons of the earth. Her eyes are closed, and she’s obviously injured.


    “We need to rest.” Determined, I turn to Leo. “Can you start a fire?”


    “I’m a Camerupt.” He scoffs. When I don’t reply, he rolls his eyes at me. “Yes.”


    “Good.”


    *****


    It takes another hour, but Rose comes to, and night has completely fallen.


    “Black, you’re alive!” She squeals, and jumps up instantly, wrapping her arms around my chest. Caught by surprise, I raise my arms into the air awkwardly as she hugs me, before slowly lowering them to rest on her back. The strength of her grip surprises me; she seems stronger than ever. A near-death experience can do that to a person.


    “Yes, I’m alive. And so are you, funnily enough.” A warm smile creeps onto my lips, and I feel a fiery sensation billowing in my chest, as if my ruby was igniting a million emotions all at once. My heart had become a supernova of indescribable feelings, but something was nagging at the back of my mind. Something that wasn’t there before. But despite all this, there it is again: the feeling of impending doom, of being watched ceaselessly by some external force. My feelings are cut short by Leo’s nervous voice.


    “Guys...” That’s when I hear it. The low groan from earlier, carried on the wind like an omen of death. A shiver runs down my spine, a gentle brush from death itself, whispering a lullaby of fear and pain in my ear. I’m paralysed by the immediate sensation that there really is something watching us, and that with every passing second, it’s drawing closer. Rose, who seemed so upbeat just moments ago, has a distinct look upon her, one of unyielding fear, and her hands are bundled into small fists by her chest. We are at the mercy of whatever creature lurk in the night. Weaponless, tired, and injured. We could very well meet our end tonight.


    “Caaaaaaaaaaaaacccc...” The groan boomed within my chest, a dull, deep reverberation. Again, and again, and again, getting louder each time.


    “I think we need to leave.” Rose says bluntly, taking control of the situation. She’s the most qualified here, and the bravest person I know. No matter what, she won’t give up. The noise sounds again, closer than ever this time, and I look towards the flaming humps of Leo. My heart skips a beat.


    Stood at the edge of the firelight is a tall, wispy figure, with a hazy, erratic outline, as if it was being seen through a sheet of rain. Long arms hang to the knees of this being, with skeletal clawed hands, and from beneath the brimmed crest on its head, a soft yellow glow burns into my soul. As it steps into full view, it releases another groan.


    “Caaaccccc...” Spines layer its body, and a lopsided grin is carved into the sunken green face. The smile spreads wider, and through the holes of its mouth, I see blood-stained teeth as sharp as the spikes on its body.


    “Run.”


    We take off straight away, with Rose in the lead. Leo follows close behind her, his light acting as a beacon for us. I trail behind, cold fear clutching me. Another figure jumps into our path, a crooked arm grasping for me with delirious craving. The same yellow eyes. The same bloodthirsty smile.


    “What the hell was that!?” Leo screams wildly, limping at a rapid pace. Neither of us reply. We just continue to run, as more and more of them leap out at us. My heart is beating faster; I have no idea what’s coming after us, and I suddenly feel as though this is where I’ve been my whole life, running from some unknown entity. I left my home to seek adventure, but I found death and despair instead. More of these monsters slash out of the dark, their screams of laughter dying out as we zoom past them. One scratches my ear, and I pick up the pace, overtaking Leo and matching Rose. We keep running, coming to a small canyon, filled with hundreds of turns. A labyrinth of stone, either a blessing or a curse. We try to lose them, but more keep on coming, often materialising out of the darkness, their topaz eyes constantly flitting in and out of my vision. Fatigue is starting to set in, but we keep running. My blood keeps me warm in the cold desert night, and the moonlight shimmers against our swear drenched bodies. There’s no choice now, other than to try and survive.


    A thud sounds behind me, and I turn to see Leo on the sandy floor, sweat glistening on his face. He must have tripped. I grasp Rose’s arm, begging her to stop and help, but before we even get a chance to step towards him, five of the creatures are upon our companion, tearing at his bruised body with long claws and chuckling gleefully. Hunks of flesh fly through the air, and before I even know what’s happening, Rose is pulling me away, away from the death. I’m vaguely aware of Leo’s cries, and I utter my own curse when his light flickers out, a scream is cut short, and the tearing of flesh continues, leaving us blind to the night.


    We turn and run wildly, leaping over gaps and scrambling up dunes, until Rose cries out.


    “Muk!”


    “What!?” I panic, my chest raising and falling rapidly as I try to take in as much air as possible. But the cold temperatures freeze my lungs, and send sharp pains into my very being.


    “It’s a dead end. It’s an Arceus damned dead end.”


    I’ve never heard her this scared. My eyes widen, and I grit my teeth. I thought I knew fear when I was against the invading pirates, but that was a real fear, a preventable fear. I knew it would happen eventually. This - this was unstoppable, raw fear, with no explanation. There was no way to escape, no miraculous method of survival. No Cyrus here to save me. You see who someone really is when they have no way out. And I want to be me when I die. No matter what, I will die with honour, and dignity, protecting until I meet my end. I took a step forward, and so did Rose. She doesn’t need protecting. We’re in this together.


    Concentrating my energy, I summon wisps of ethereal flame in my palms, illuminating the small stone corridor. In the distance, yellow pinpricks start to sway, slowly, slowly, slowly, before they enter my light and reveal themselves. I launch wisps at them, igniting their skeletal frames and making them easier targets. Rose swings and punches them, her extra mouth shrouded by an air of ice as it chomps on flailing enemies. But they continue to come, in droves of ten, fifteen at a time. I start to feel dizzy, my vision going dark at the edges as my energy falls quickly. Rose is in a similar state. As the monsters draw closer, I reach for her hand, which she takes without hesitation. The creatures close in, their eyes already feasting on me.


    The last thing I remember before I entered the darkness was a gust of wind and the clink of steel plates.
     
  12. Yay, you’re not dead! (I feel like I say this whenever something that hasn’t been updated in a while revives, even my own stuff.) Firstly, hey, stop making fun of my typos. I rewwally don’t like it.

    As for this chapter, this is getting faster paced by the minute! Wanna take a few thing blow by blow:

    So deserts. Funny, the one other thing I have played with floating islands/steampunk vibes also had a desert floor. Although I’m pretty sure there weren’t stone canyon labyrinth things in that... either way, you did well to set the scene at the start with the whole “am I dead, are the others dead” talk. Gotta love despairing monologues, they’re edgy, but when they’re done right it really does feel like how someone would be reacting in that situation.

    Next, poor old Leo. Poor poor old Leo. Dude didn’t deserve that. Of course, as I’m a more cynical person when it comes to fiction (thanks, Trails and Final Fantasy...) I’m pondering if he’s actually dead or whether he’s only been captured/will somehow manage to keep going/is somehow one of the villains and needed a good exit, but that’s just me. I’m not quite in tears at it, but I do sympathise with the guy.

    *reads the Black/Rose scenes* Hmm, I wonder if this might just be a romance angle?/sarcasm

    Seriously though, I feel like something’s gonna be up with this later on, or there will be friendship/relationship issues, as Black seems to be going into this a bit quickly (huh, reminds me of that other floating island game again), but for now it’s cute. I’m getting faint cliche vibes, but considering the kind of person you are with your writing, I feel like there’s gonna be something other than simple romance here, so it’s not bothering me yet.

    Ok, creepy creatures ahoy! I can’t quite identify them yet myself (probably would if I looked throughout the entire Pokédex but I don’t want to do that right now), but they seem pretty cool! Of course, I’m egging for an explanation, but I guess that’s what I’m meant to be doing. As for the metal thing, I’m assuming it’s either a rescue by Steel-type or someone’s unsheathed a freakin sword. Either way, hype. My bet’s on Bisharp.

    So, this is a pretty solid chapter! Short, but does its job well.
     
  13. TikTok13

    TikTok13 Oh, I have a title?

    @Nerdy McNerdface
    Hey bud! I’m not going to quote anything because of time and effort so...

    Yay, I’m not dead! Sorry, but I just couldn’t resist. It was a punchline waiting to happen.

    What is this steampunk thing then? Deserts were planned from the beginning, so I didn’t take it from anywhere else. Still, that’s kinda coincidental. Stone canyon labyrinths are the new thing. Super awesome. I love writing edgy stuff, but I do have to be careful not to overdo it. I assume I did it well then?

    Does anyone deserve death? Sorry to burst your cynical bubble, but he really is dead. I didn’t expect tears, I only just introduced him a chapter ago. Still, I felt he was important, so if you’re finding his death impactful, that’s one massive thumbs up.

    You know, I don’t want to spoil anything, but I really want to just reveal so much of the plot. So, to remain mostly ambiguous, think; Black has spent pretty much all his life alone, without many friends, so this feeling could be the closeness of friendship. Also, we know hardly anything about Rose, actually, so you’re just gonna have to wait.

    Creepy creatures ahoy indeed! Really? I did take creative liberties with the claws and teeth behind the holes, but I thought it was relatively obvious. Oh well, I’ll tell you later, or put it in my next chapter notes. As for the metal thing, you’ll have to wait and see...

    Brilliant :)
     
  14. DeliriousAbsol

    DeliriousAbsol Call me Del

    Chapter 7

    Wow, this is an intense chapter. The frantic search for Rose, followed by an onslaught of what I assume are cacturne. Described very much like an onslaught of undead. It's done very well, and is rather quite frightening. As if poor Leo didn't have it bad enough losing his leg! I was a little surprised he wasn't still bleeding to death from it.

    The description of the world they've landed in – aggressive pokemon, a labyrinth with a dead end. It very much sounds like a mystery dungeon. If so, it's done very well!

    I can't help but wonder what's happened to Cyrus. That poor luxio has to be out there somewhere! By the end, it sounds like someone might be coming to their aid. Steel plates... I'm left in mystery here!

    Some little typos I stumbled across:



    'Wouldn't'



    'Creatures' or 'lurks'? One of the words is missing an 's'.



    'Sweat'

    I look forward to the next update! =D
     
  15. TikTok13

    TikTok13 Oh, I have a title?

    @DeliriousAbsol
    INTENSITY
    Ding ding ding, we have a winner. The onslaught is by Cacturne, and their actual movements and the scene itself was inspired by the Scorch Trials, where there are Cranks/Zombies, so there is the resemblance. Thanks! I tried my best to create a smidgen of fear. Well, Leo was pretty much a dead mon when I created him. As for the wound, he’s a Camerupt, so I’m gonna say he cauterised it.

    The world below is not a Mystery Dungeon in itself, but they are approaching, and soon.

    Well, that’s what I wanted to do. Cyrus is probably Black’s closest friend, in reality, so I’m trying to keep him as far as possible. Mystery is good!

    As for the typos...
    Yes, wouldn’t.
    It was creatures.
    Sweat.

    I’ve almost brought it to an end, so it needs beta-ing and brushing up, but it’ll be here soon.
     
  16. Ambyssin

    Ambyssin Winter can't come soon enough

    So, you're probably gonna have to up the rating in your original post, in my honest opinion. Leo's situation this chapter, losing a limb and then getting torn apart, is not what you would call PG-13. Even if it's described kind of vaguely, you're still mentioning flesh getting torn and a bloody stump of a severed leg. That's kiiiinda pushing M territory. I suppose if it's just this one chapter where this happens then it's not a big deal. Still thought I'd point it out. Related to that, I don't think Leo should've been able to run from the danger at all given his condition. Magical wound cauterizing or not, you don't adapt to missing a limb that quickly, even in a land of magical critters. Gonna have to ding your for that one. :p

    As far as the chapter goes, I guess the old story banner led me to think the below world was gonna be some sort of savage badlands. And that turned out to be pretty accurate! Zombie Cacturne is not exactly the first danger I would've imagined but, y'know what, good on you for making Cacturnes so unapologetically creepy. They're described in a sinister way and the prose gets suitably frenetic when they show up. Even the initial scene has enough panic and dread in Black's thoughts to convince me the crash left him quite shaken up.

    Couple of technical bits I spotted. The first several paragraphs have you switching between the past and present tense in your narration. It stuck out like a sore thumb for me. Also, your dialogue attributions are hit or miss. Some of them are correct, but then there are ones like this:
    Remember, dialogue should only end with a period if you're not planning to follow it with an attribution, but instead some sort of action. In this instance, you're supposed to end off with a comma, and then have the attribution be in lower case. So, like this:
    That's all I got. :V
     

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