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Survival Project (PG-13)

Discussion in 'Completed Fics' started by diamondpearl876, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.

    This trainer is different. Everyone knows it, but no one can explain it.


    - February fic of the month 2012 (pokecommunity)
    - March fic of the month 2012 (pokecommunity)
    - Best dark fic (bulbagarden)
    - Senori for best protagonist (bulbagarden)
    - Best journey fic (bulbagarden)
    - Best pokémon chaptered fic (serebii)
    - Most original overall (serebii)
    - Most heartbreaking fic (serebii)
    - Best trainer fic (serebii)
    - Kuiora for best non-human main character (serebii)
    - Senori for best non-human main character (serebii)
    - Sai for best human supporting character (serebii)
    - Senori for best supporting character (bulbagarden)
    - Best character development (serebii)
    - Ezrem/Kuiora for best non-romantic relatonship/interaction (serebii)
    - Best human villain (serebii)
    - Best pokémon-centric fic (serebii)
    - Ezrem for best non-human supporting character (serebii)


    - May fic of the month 2012 (pokecommunity)
    - Best writing style (serebii)
    - Best pokémon-centric fic (serebii)
    - Most heartwarming scene x2 (serebii)
    - Best dark fic x2 (bulbagarden)
    - Atis for best pokémon character (bulbagarden)
    - Sai Luart for best protagonist (bulbagarden)
    - Sai Luart for best character (bulbagarden)
    - Best story (bulbagarden)


    1. all or nothing [senori]
    2. suppression [kuiora]
    3. anxiolytic [senori]
    4. frush [atis]
    5. logistics [kuiora]
    6. escalate [atis]
    7. oracle [senori]
    8. belong [kuiora]
    9. suspended [senori]
    10. grounded [ezrem]
    11. stranger [rennio]
    12. influence [atis]
    13. automatic [rennio]
    14. chance [senori]
    15. unfettered [ezrem]
    16. connection [kuiora]
    17. resolute [atis]
    18. crescendo [senori]
    19. ephemeral [rennio]
    20. mentality [ezrem]
    21. cynosure [atis]
    22. epitome [kuiora]
    23. armageddon [senori]
    24. stand my ground [sai] | part one | part two
    25. phoenix [ezrem]
    26. memory [atis]
    27. scald [senori]
    28. unanimous [kuiora]
    29. finality [rennio]
    30. epilogue [ensemble]

    Mind led body
    to the edge of the precipice.
    They stared in desire
    at the naked abyss.
    If you love me, said mind,
    take that step into silence.
    If you love me, said body,
    turn and exist.
    — "Vertigo" by Anne Stevenson

    chapter 1 ; [SENORI]
    all or nothing


    I never saw him coming.

    Perhaps my tail wasn't yet long enough to help me stand higher and watch for danger. Younger sentret are always vulnerable to such restrictions, but my clan didn't have a concrete idea of age—just loyalty and ability. I wish age could be a pronounced concept in the pokémon world, but I don't choose what's important. Who was to say that my tail would grow any more? I only knew that I was old enough to be shunned by my clan due to a catastrophe that was out of my control.

    It could have been sleep deprivation. There was no one to switch shifts with, because no one wanted to defy the clan and end up in my position too. When you're alone for so long, you can doze off without realizing it. But I'd trained for much of my life to do this, to protect. Sleep was never an issue, not even when I failed—once. After standing guard almost all day, every day, nothing as pathetic as that should have interfered.

    Every aspect of my life has been opposed by a larger, impenetrable force. Fate was trying to show me how things fall somewhere between completely right and completely wrong. I never questioned this, not until that time, when I thought that I should have felt his presence or smelled him or seen him. He still would have attacked. He still would have taken and given... everything. The situation would have made some sort of sense if I had anticipated something, anything.

    And yet—

    I never saw him coming.


    It's funny, I guess. Humans are supposed to make some kind of mark when walking through a forest. They're supposed to snap twigs, leave footprints and mess with tree branches out of boredom. Even though he did none of this, I should have seen his shadow with the sun's rays pouring through the tree canopies. Instead, a simple blur appeared as he ran behind me.

    He was fast, so very fast.

    He swung his one leg out, hit my feet as hard as he could. I lost my balance and fell face first into the ground. As I fell, I was expecting to see claws. Paws. Not flesh caked with dried dirt and blood. He wasn't a fellow pokémon coming to get revenge.

    To say that I was surprised would be an understatement. Not only had he gone undetected, but also I had never seen a human attack a pokémon. I didn't know how to react to this new situation, so I remained where I was, silently hoping against hope that he would walk away. And then it hit me. This human was a threat to my clan. If he was willing to hurt me, then he would be willing to hurt other pokémon. The worst part of it all? My clan didn't know he was there.

    Of course this would happen to me. And of course I was choosing to just... lie there. Though my intentions were true, my security was gone. There was no one to cheer me on from the side, no one to notice my efforts, no one to assist me at times like these. Not anymore.

    What could I do? If I screamed, my clan would ignore me, thinking I was looking for attention. I could have run, but I might have accidentally led the attacker straight to them. Unacceptable. But I couldn't attack, that much was clear. I didn't know how to track him, I couldn't see him move properly and I didn't believe that pokémon should fight humans. In that moment, I wanted previous experience with fighting humans, but that seemed to be the same as wanting more attacks on the clan as an excuse to battle. I pushed the thought away.

    I realized that time had passed with me getting lost in my own mind. The human had done nothing else, as he was most likely waiting for me to acknowledge his existence. I lifted my head slowly. Mud clung to my face. Leaves swayed in the wind while the trees watched, as they always did, hushed and calm. Nature was peaceful and easy to deal with, unlike this blatant challenge.

    The stream in front of us was no different. Water moved gently in the only direction it knew. I tend to believe I was imagining this scene, because if it were real, that would mean we were near my clan and I didn't want that. I must have wandered in that general area out of subconscious desperation, but I couldn't be sure. I had to focus on the present moment.

    There were no signs of the human's presence when I looked from the front. Fate had sent trouble my way and didn't want me to see it, apparently.

    I assumed he was still behind me. I stood up, clenched my tiny hands. I turned around, intending to use my tackle attack to get the upper hand, but I swung at the air and missed. Had he left, I would have been relieved, but disappointed that yet another living creature deemed me as a waste of time.

    I stopped pitying myself when, from the corner of my eyes, I saw him kicking at me. I didn't have enough momentum to escape quickly. He pinned me down, and then he tried to pick me up with his hands in a way that wouldn't let me wiggle free. I made an honest effort for once and bit him. I bit him hard and he didn't yell at me. He stopped trying to pick me up, pressed me deeper into the dirt. Sharp pains flowed throughout my body so effortlessly, yet in deformed rhythms. I sank further and further into the mud, an everlasting reminder of what defeat really is. And I cried. I wailed.

    My cry echoed and echoed and the lull that passed between the two of us broke my heart.

    My clan wasn't coming to rescue me. I certainly wasn't going to rescue myself. Finally, finally, he removed his grip, stepped over me, and turned to face me. Blood seeped down his right hand to his elbows and inevitably onto the grassy floor. His face was tense. His dark eyes showed no feeling. He probably thought I was too slow to break away, and he was being kind by giving me this false reassurance.

    I gave in, but not truly. He could have me, as long as my clan was safe.

    He shouldn't have given me a second chance, but he did. I didn't take it. His fist collided with my stomach. My knees buckled and my vision went askew. The forest bed was my friend once more. How could a human have this much power?

    Before fainting, I swore I heard him sigh and look... disappointed. That was the first emotion I ever saw from him, and I will always remember it. I didn't know what he had envisioned, though. Pokémon can't predict human movements. Not that I was trying. Maybe I hadn't spent enough time with him at this point, but there was nothing else out of the ordinary with this boy. He wasn't wearing shoes, but that could be normal, right? He looked like a new trainer with his unkempt black hair, his plain black t-shirt, and frayed shorts.

    Had he not attacked me, I would have thought he was just like everyone else.

    But his mobility was stunning, quiet and able to shake the reality I had come to know. His thoughts were unreadable, but if I could have heard them, I'm confident when I say they would have been stronger than any punch or kick.

    There was nothing left to ask as I slipped into unconsciousness.


    When I woke up, I felt a dull, soft pressure on the side of my head. Dizziness initially accompanied the pain, but I focused on the fact that I could no longer feel mud on my face and that I was propped up against a tree. I opened my eyes when the dizziness faded. I had to blink a few times before I could see clearly. The first thing I noticed was my attacker sitting next to me, staring into the distance, supposedly unaware of my awakening. For some reason, he had cleaned my face and put me into a more comfortable position. I didn't know what he was going to do next.

    I relaxed when I came to understand that the rest of the forest was untouched. My clan wasn't sprinting by, panicking while they prepared to flee or die. If they had found me in my current predicament, however, they might have hated me even more for allowing this menace to run loose.

    I wanted to disappear. Physically, I didn't know if it was possible. I was also mentally drained, lacking in motivation, and I was convinced he could readily catch me. I wanted to fix that look of disappointment I saw. I wanted to tell him it wasn't his fault that I didn't defend myself, and that it wasn't his fault I deserved to be battered the way I was. Not all humans could understand pokémon, anyway. In the end, all would be done in vain.

    Realizing this, I sighed. The slight motion had interesting consequences.

    Overall, he had seemed all right. Serene, even, and the nice actions he performed gave him points. But I sighed and the noise made him snap his head up and grasp his right wrist, the one stained red. When his knuckles started turning whiter than white, he wrapped his arms around his legs, holding his knees close to his face. His expression tensed, and I should have been scared. Anyone else would have been scared, but all I could think about was how he was ruining the circulation in his hands and, somehow, it was my fault.

    “You're awake,” he said after a few more moments.

    I jumped when he spoke, because I'd never had a human communicate with me. His voice sounded both hollow and childish. The combination seemed impossible, but that was the best way to describe it at the time.

    Now I wanted to reply. If I said what I wanted to say, I would go unheard. What would I have taught the children from my clan to do? I would tell them to play along. Get on his good side, act cheerful, and leave whenever the opportunity presented itself.

    “Stating the obvious, are we?” I said. I grinned, ignoring the pain in my jaw. If I was lucky, I could make him smile or chuckle.

    "Yes, I guess I am.”

    “Look, I—” I cut myself off after calculating his words, deciding they were a direct response to what I had said. This human was odd, more so than I initially thought. Nothing made sense again. “Why... Why do you understand me?” I managed to ask, though he was examining me.

    “Am I not supposed to?”

    I paused, then went on to ramble. “You're... not supposed to know what I'm saying, no. New trainers come by here with their starters all the time. They have to read their pokémon's body language and gestures, and the language itself will come in time, I assume, since I've seen older trainers come by too... I don't get it...”

    “If it helps you, I can pretend to not understand.”

    “If it helps me do what?” I asked, shifting uncomfortably against the tree trunk.

    “Become stronger.”

    Well, that explained why he confronted me earlier. He wanted to test my strength. The outcome: I was weak. That was true, at least, but there was something missing.

    “Why would you need me to get stronger?”

    He wouldn't look at me as he answered, “We're going on a journey. We're going to get the badges here in Johto. They told me to capture the first pokémon I saw, and... that wasn't you, I admit, but you'll have to do.”

    “What are you—”

    “You're my first pokémon, Senori.”

    The human sounded so sure of himself, but I wasn't sure of anything. This would mean leaving my clan. They didn't want me, but they still needed me. All of them. They just didn't know it. If I left and came back to find them maimed, eaten, burned with the rest of the forest... I could never forgive myself if that happened. No, no, no.

    And who was Senori? That wasn't my name, but here it was, directed at me as if I had possessed it since birth. Still. His declaration almost made everything seem okay and real. I chose to start here as I told him, “I'm sorry, but that's not my name. I'm usually called—”

    “I don't care what anyone's called you. Your name is Senori,” he said, his gaze focused on me once more.

    “Fine. It doesn't matter. I'm not going anywhere with you.” My quick temper was going to get me into more trouble if I wasn't careful. Usually, if I acted angry with a member of my clan, the other pokémon would feel guilty and apologize. This boy, he smiled, as if what I said meant nothing. I smiled, too, and continued, “You didn't even catch me in a pokéball. Trainers get their starters in New Bark Town, anyway, which is nearby. I don't know who works with all that, but you can ask around.”

    The human's eyes widened. “But that's not what they told me to do. I just listened. I just tried to listen...” He trailed off, then came up with his own version of an appropriate response. “You're coming with me, and I'll get a pokémon in New Bark Town too. That way, I'm doing it right for everyone.”

    Why didn't this boy know how to start his own pokémon journey properly? Every kid who passed by babbled on and on about their tenth birthday and how they would travel through Johto and make new friends. They talked about becoming free, independent and strong. I wondered if his parents kept him sheltered, but that seemed silly. He would have learned about it somewhere. If his parents forbade him to go and he went in spite of that, he could have been feigning innocence...

    That was my problem. I thought too much, and I knew next to nothing, though I believed otherwise. I didn't know whether or not I was going to depart from my home for him. I didn't know why I was the one he picked. There's always someone who wants to hold another person's hand until they're ready to let go. That someone, during our first conversation, wasn't me.

    “Okay,” I said. It was wrong of me to say, as his eyes brightened. “I'll go with you to New Bark Town. I'll see what I can do about getting you a real first pokémon in a pokéball. But then I'm out of here. I have family and friends to stay with.”

    This was wrong of me to say too. His face contorted with fury. “You can't go,” he said firmly, peering down. “You can't do this to me. You can't.”

    “What? There are plenty of sentret on the other side of Cherrygrove, if you really want one. It... can't be me.”

    “It has to be you. There is no one else but you.” He reached into his pocket, causing me to flinch. He pulled out a small object shaped like a cube with smooth, rounded corners. It was mostly white with varying amounts of black dots on each side. I didn't know what the black parts meant, but it seemed harmless. He handed it to me and I took it.

    “What's this for?” I asked, struggling to hold it.

    “It's a standard six-sided die. Roll it.”

    “Excuse me? Roll it?”


    “I don't know what you mean.”

    “Roll it. Throw it. Whatever. I can't do it for you or it won't mean anything.” When I thought of rolling, I thought of taking a bath, moving my body around in the water until I was clean... “It's been with me for years. It's survived every obstacle in its way, only to end up in your hands. So roll it.” He pushed my paws toward my chest. The pressure was similar to when he foot was pushed against my head. My bones ached. “There is no one else but you,” he repeated.

    “What happens when I roll it?” I asked, not quite ready to give in. I couldn't get caught up in lies or bad intentions twice in a row. I believe there is good in everyone, but that didn't make me less wary of him.

    “You'll see that I am right.”

    Despite my stubbornness, I couldn't gather the courage needed to keep up the argument. I thrust my paw forward, my fixation on the object never wavering. It rotated in the grass, then determinedly landed on the side with a single black dot on it. I didn't comprehend the results, but the boy reacted joyfully. “See? You're number one. There is no one else but you. Even if that pokémon from New Bark Town is supposed to be my first, it won't be.” He grabbed the object with delicacy, though it didn't appear breakable. “I'll keep it in my pocket so you'll always know, Senori. And so everyone else will know. Let's go.”

    Reluctantly I sat. Ever since that terrible incident, I wanted to feel useful and loved. Being called number one fit into those desires. But I wanted to be needed by the family I grew up with, the family that considered me a leader. Torn, the verdict came to me. My family wasn't here, and there wasn't any indication that they would be there in the future. This wasn't their shot at redemption. It had to be mine.

    “Yeah. Let's go. By the way, I don't know your name.” Stay optimistic. Stay happy, believe in fate—for them. “Should I decide it for you?” I surprised myself with sarcasm. I was hesitant toward him and figured I didn't want to leave because, deep down, I didn't want him to wrongly view me as worthwhile.

    “My name? My name is Sai.”


    We walked away from our battlefield and away from my clan. I planned to say my goodbyes as we circled back to Cherrygrove, and by then I would be more firm with my decisions. I turned, as if this was my last chance to see the stream from which we drank and the trees we climbed to get closer to the sky. Sai was blocking my way.

    “I'm going to carry you so it will go faster,” he said, and promptly scooped me into his arms. I didn't complain. I was aching all over, but it did annoy me as he held me with his bloodied hand. I already hated seeing him hurt.

    “So. Why can you understand me already?” I said, refusing to protest against him any further.

    “That doesn't matter. Are we there yet?”

    He was an impatient one. I had to distract him. “It sounds to me like you just don't know.”

    Sai halted mid-step, turning me around to face him, obviously not caring about inducing more wounds. He frowned. His eyes seemed darker than before and I thought he was going to explode. Instead he ordered me to keep leading the way.

    If I was being honest, I had never been inside New Bark Town. I could have very well been leading him down the wrong path. It was unfortunate that he came from the north and had no knowledge of the area, and so I had to rely on fate to take us there.

    “This way,” I said. He listened, as if I were the trainer. “What pokémon are you gonna get, anyway?”

    “I don't know.”

    “Well... There's different types, which have different strengths and weaknesses. Some specialize in attack while others specialize in defense. There's a lot of things to account for.”

    Sai didn't say anything. I shrugged him off, thinking he was daydreaming, like most new trainers do. I didn't know then that he had no clue as to what starters were available. I didn't know that his lack of awareness could go this far.

    “And you're going to help me, right?”

    “Help you do... what, exactly?” I asked.

    "You'll tell me about each of them. The pokémon. And then I'm going to watch them and I'll choose from there. The one with the most potential will join us."

    "The most potential for what? Actually, never mind that! You can't just... watch them!" I took a deep breath. "Most trainers go in, knowing who they want, and they take that pokémon along with any other items the person gives them, and that's that. They're so excited about it and they talk about it for hours when they pass this forest. It seems like it's all a part of the journey. Why are you making this so complicated? Why are you the only one who doesn't know what to do?" There went my temper again, and I waited for the aftermath.

    But nothing happened. "As long as I get the pokémon, it shouldn't matter, right?" he said. "It's still starting out the correct way."

    "I suppose that's true," I said unsure of whose rules he was intending to follow until the end.

    "And you're going to help me, right?" he said with that same hollow and childish voice, like he was embarrassed to ask for my support.

    I didn't know why he needed my support. I mean, trainers count on their pokémon, but not like this. I wouldn't know why for most of the journey. Once, I thought I accepted his offer because of my penchant for protecting others, or because he'd attack me more if I said no. Later, I would come to know him better, on an intense level that would teach me how perfectly wrong I was.

    He was special, the kind of treasured person you want to keep around.

    "Don't worry. I'm going to take care of you," I told him.

    I undertook this task dubiously, and this uncertainty grew into sincerity and devotion soon enough.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
    Cometstarlight likes this.
  2. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.


    chapter 2 ; [KUIORA]


    Once upon a time, there was a boy who loved a girl. Then the girl left him and the boy didn't want to love her anymore.

    The two of them had been together for many years, and the girl found perfection in the boy every day. Because of this, she was eternally grateful to have him in her life, and often she wondered what she had done to deserve him. He had done well to earn a life more extravagant and timeless, yet he stayed by her side. The idea of him having regrets haunted her. She dwelled on these thoughts, unable to find a way to ease the chaos in her mind.

    One day, she was luckless, or fortunate, depending on how you view it. She stumbled upon someone who told her about three specific legendary pokémon: the bringers of knowledge, willpower, and emotion. They were born from the same egg, which was created by the god of pokémon. They resided deep in the caves of Sinnoh, safe from harm and disturbance.

    After analyzing the conversation, she knew her destiny, and felt obligated to fulfill her duty.

    “We have them to thank for everything,” she said when she told her husband this. “Every tree, every mountain, every sea, they all conspired for millions and millions of years to get us both here. And I don’t know why they conspired so much, but I want to see them and thank them. I need to let them know their efforts weren't in vain. Won't you come with me?”

    But the boy didn't want to go. He wanted to preserve their privacy, wanted to accept life as it was. There was no point in messing with things that couldn't be changed.

    “You are the most important part of my life. These creatures have given me the ability to love, the desire to live in this terrible world, and the knowledge to know how to survive long enough to make you happy somehow. Do you not think of this? Will you not go with me?” she asked.

    Still he would not go. He tried to stall her, but failed. She defied him with dismay, explaining where she was going and saying that she would be back as soon as possible.

    She took a ferry to Sinnoh. Several people asked her what was wrong. Why did a pretty lady like her look so sad? Even she didn't know, though she carried with her the comfort of finding answers to questions asked long ago.

    She visited Uxie at Lake Verity and told the fantastical creature what was true in her heart. Uxie didn't respond negatively, and so she deemed her feelings legitimate. When she visited Mesprit at Lake Acuity, it was the same, and she now felt reassured about the boy resisting the urge to run from her, if he had felt that way to begin with.

    Lake Valor, Azelf's home, was bare. Even the lake itself was empty when she swam through it, free from her clothes and burdens. She bought a motel room in the nearest town and wanted to return soon, but she heard rumors of a boy upsetting Azelf's resting place and being punished for it. Upon hearing more information, she knew the boy was hers, for he had the same description and temperament. She panicked, asked where to find him, and went to the hospital.

    He was alive, but gone. She screamed. She screamed so loud, and he didn't—couldn't—hold her. The doctors tried to soothe her, but they had no explanations. They dealt with reality, the kind of sick that you can see, not myths and stories. She couldn't decipher the psychic-type's behavior, either, especially after her experiences with its siblings. That, she could deal with. It was vital, this desire to know why the boy came to the lakes despite his protests. What she sought couldn't be found this time around.

    Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved a boy. And when he died by her hands, she couldn't stop loving him.


    Professor Elm told me this tale before I left the lab. He also told me it was a little too heartbreaking and dark for a young totodile like me, but that was the case for every story, it seemed. I insisted that I could take it, and he didn't hold back. The story was sad, yes, but it inspired me to travel the world, as other discoveries awaited me. The professor spoke eagerly of fond memories from his childhood too. I wanted to create my own memories and make them pure enough to tell anyone who would listen. Needless to say, I couldn't stand being at the lab anymore.

    I didn't value people who were vulnerable, frail and lacking in tact. Professor Elm was exactly that kind of man. Somehow I believed I was blessed to be with him. He was patient and flexible as well, which was beneficial for me. These characteristics of his led me straight to my destiny. I can't imagine any other professor giving me up the way he did just to ensure my happiness. While he emphasized training for the other starter pokémon, he catered to my religious fantasies, my thirst for learning. Of course, I trained and became an obedient pokémon too. I only agreed to do this, however, out of fear for meeting a legendary pokémon someday and being weak, clueless and disrespectful. I simply wasn't like the others, who avoided sleep and exhausted themselves more than was necessary. It was all about balance and routine.

    I wasn't satisfied until the day my trainer came for me.

    “We'll be starting the training for today, okay? I hope you're all refreshed and ready to go,” Professor Elm said. It was just another ordinary day. I watched the group of pokémon from my favorite spot against the split-rail fence. I could see the rest of New Bark Town if I looked through the fence, but it kept us trapped inside. I wondered why it was needed, since Professor Elm trusted us not to escape. It was standard protocol, apparently. Even I wouldn't have escaped if given the chance. I was to wait for whatever the gods had in store for me.

    The chikorita, the cyndaquil and the rest of the totodile gathered in the middle of the backyard. I stood, basking for one last moment in the sun. It was brightest where I sat, and this was where Professor Elm spent his time with me. He never asked me to move, even if it was difficult for him to concentrate with the light shining in his eyes. I made my way over to the others. The pokémon squealed excitedly, and then the noise died down as Professor Elm cleared his throat.

    As usual, he started by talking about us being a trainer's starter.

    “What can you do to help the trainer grow and learn? You are not necessarily weak, but are just beginning alongside your trainer… I can't teach you much, because it is not up to me,” the professor said, a hint of sadness in his voice. “But I can make things easier. You will all have to battle, as you know. We’ll warm up by starting out with tackle and scratch attacks, which you’ll often use in battle until you learn new attacks.”

    There were three large oak trees in the backyard. They looked as if they could tumble if we struck them too hard. They had been abused repeatedly over the years, and we were about to add to their beaten demeanor. I went to the tree designated for us water-type starters. I started lightly, and with every tackle, I willed my strength to come to me. We took turns bashing, hitting, slamming.

    “I really like training...” one of the totodile stated, “but tackling makes my head hurt!”

    I could relate, but I adjusted to the constant collisions and rough texture of the bark. Another totodile agreed and complained about how tired he was. During the next few turns, the totodile missed the tree entirely. The professor saw this, and instructed them to stop. They pouted and watched in dismay as everyone else continued practicing.

    I sighed. Once again, the totodile had ruined my training. An ache like that came when you didn't pace yourself, but they couldn't grasp that concept. I would have told them what was on my mind, but they weren't willing to adapt.

    Eventually, we moved on to our specialized, elemental attacks.

    “A cyndaquil's fire can keep things warm, especially in the winter. Or they can cook food on the road. Chikorita can carry things with their vines, and their evolutions can heal teammates. And totodile can provide water and can scare away predators with their size and jaws. You should all do these things for your future trainer, just as you do them for me. Understood?”

    We nodded.

    The cyndaquil got to work first, and the rest of us followed. They blew fire at each other, since the heat energized them rather than burned them. (When they were babies, they made the grass catch fire, but thankfully, they grew out of that.) The chikorita carried rocks and potted plants, careful to not drop them. The totodile based their success on how soaked an object was when they were finished, but I had passed that stage already. I focused on how long I could keep the jet stream going without taking a breath.

    Just as I thought we were improving, trouble was brewing among the chikorita. One of the younger chikorita didn't want to be carried, but her friends were telling her to quit her whining. Her squeals echoed throughout the backyard and maybe beyond. The professor ordered, in a feeble voice, to knock it off.

    He lightened the mood with food. He brought out trays filled with various kinds of berries and let us choose what he wanted. I took a few of my favorite cheri berries. We spread apart after emptying the trays, with me going back to my spot near the fence, and with the others speaking randomly to each other with their mouths full.

    I sat in peace, waiting for Professor Elm to show up, as he always during our breaks. Rays of sunlight poured onto my body, and I had to shield my eyes to see where on the ground I put my cheri berries. I ate them, one by one, savoring the flavor and finding it fascinating how the legendary pokémon made the sun necessary for survival, yet the sun itself never had any reaction toward what happened on the land it provided for. The entire human species, and all pokémon, could be gone tomorrow, and it wouldn't notice or care. It would rise and fall blindly. I vowed that someday I would make the sun care about me.

    When Professor Elm came, he looked strangely comfortable, and he was beaming. He didn't even make a remark about the sun blocking his view.

    “You look awfully happy today,” I pointed out. As soon as I said it, I hoped I didn't sound too rude. I had a tendency to talk without thinking. He often told me I had the biggest ego he had ever seen, but he also told me I was mature for my age. Prone to tantrums and a bit of violence, sure, but certainly not naive. Then again, I hadn't expressed to him all my dreams for the future.

    “Yes,” he replied. “Someone's here for you.”

    I had heard many wild, impossible things, but in that moment, that statement topped them all. “Who would be here for me?”

    “Who else?” He wouldn't stop smiling.

    “A trainer...” I tried to process the situation. There were several totodile a trainer could pick from, and no one wants such a serious child trekking behind them... “How do you know they're here for me?”

    “He said he saw us training through the fence when passing by,” Professor Elm explained. “He was impressed with what he saw from you. The totodile with the improvised, specific routines? That's you.”

    So I was special in someone's eyes. About time, really. My work had finally paid off, though I vaguely wished I had known he was watching me at the time it was happening.

    "I'm leaving today, then? Now?” I felt as if I hadn't spoken in weeks.

    “If you're ready. If you want me to, I can tell him that you're not ready to be handled, though I'm not a fan of lying...” the professor said, rubbing the back of his head.

    “No! I want to go.”

    “Great. You'll be fine. You want something more than basic necessities, and the rest of the pokémon have yet to realize the same. I've tried to help you to the best of my abilities over the last year, since it's my job, but... a trainer is a whole other story.”

    I looked down, not wanting to seem too antsy like the others usually were. “What are we waiting for?” I returned his smile.

    “You don't want to say goodbye?” Despite his questioning tone, it seemed more like a statement to me.

    “We aren't exactly close.”

    “Don't be too hard on them. We can't all be the same.”

    “I know.” But it didn't change my mind. Being stuck in one place hadn't gotten me far, and I wanted freedom for the others too. The backyard we spent our days in... The land was only good for holding the pokémon world together. Without designated starters, new ten-year-old trainers wouldn't know where to begin. We were chosen, though not in the way I wanted to be chosen. Everyone here, their separate purposes amount to so much more. Why wasn't this obvious?


    I had never been inside Professor Elm's lab before. I knew what a building was, at least, because there was a shed in the backyard for when it stormed. I was disappointed that the professor never offered to let me see his research before.

    Tall shelves lined the walls, showing off colorful book spines. There were landscape paintings hung by the lone desk in the room. The wooden frames looked out of place against the metal behind them. The floor beneath me was cold and unlike anything my feet had ever felt. Several researchers I barely recognized were bustling about, holding clipboards and pens while watching machines with intense interest.

    My attention drifted to a boy wearing normal clothes rather than white coats and long pants. He had asked for me, but he didn't seem pleased to see me. He was frowning and seemed oblivious to his surroundings. I could get his approval later. For now I looked him over. His hair was dark and crazy, like he had just woken up. His arms were covered in cuts and bruises, which told me he wasn't a beginner. He had experience. Suddenly I was much more intrigued.

    “This is Sai,” Professor Elm said, motioning to the trainer.

    “Sai?” I said. I repeated the name over and over in my head. Since none of us were directly called anything but our species name, we had to rely on differences in voice and body sizes. I had assumed humans were similar, and that 'Professor Elm' was a professional title. By the looks of things, we could be called something distinguishable! I was learning a lot already.

    Professor Elm explained that I was the totodile he had seen through the fence. I heard bits and pieces about attacks I knew and how I could be useful, but it was hard to focus. I knew all of this, and I wanted to get going.

    “Do you have a trainer's card?”

    “I do not.”

    “You do know you need a trainer's card if you want to travel with pokémon, right?” Professor Elm said, his voice quiet as he fumbled with some papers in his hands.

    What was a trainer's card? Why did it matter? Way to potentially ruin things for me, Professor Elm. If Sai would fix this misunderstanding...

    “I... wasn't expecting to see the totodile. I was passing by.” For whatever reason, his words made me grin.

    “Where are you from?”

    “I'm from Vermilion City,” Sai said, folding his arms.

    “That's a bit far, huh? I can't think of why you're here...” Professor Elm said, more to himself than to Sai as he paced back and forth, writing something down.

    “Just visiting the region. Seeing the sights.”

    The professor ignored him. After a few moments, he looked at me. His expression was sad and told me he shouldn't be giving me to a suspicious trainer. I nodded to him. I didn't care who the trainer was. If he was horrible to me, the legendary pokémon would punish him accordingly. If Professor Elm ruined this for me, then—

    “I assume you have a trainer's card from Kanto?”

    “Misplaced, sir. I'm sorry. Left my pokémon at home, where they felt comfortable.”

    “Hmm.” Professor Elm put a finger to his forehead. “Seems fair. I will give you a trainer's card for the Johto region. Come here, Sai.”

    I wanted to tell him he couldn't command me or my trainer, but it seemed ungrateful. Though he wasn't an ideal man in my eyes, he deserved better than spoiled brats.

    Sai went with Professor Elm, then backtracked to me. “Wait here, okay?”

    I did so. It was the first instruction he gave me, and it was also one of the few. As I would soon find out, his directions were, at the surface, self-centered, but still thoughtful.


    When they returned, Sai was holding a small item. I assumed it was his new trainer’s card. In his other hand was a pokéball. We weren't put in our pokéballs very often, and so I wondered what it was like to be inside one for an extended period of time. I hoped I never had to find out.

    The professor came to me and knelt down so that we could see each other face-to-face. He looked confused, as if he wasn't sure what to feel. Didn't he say goodbye to starters a lot? He should have been used to it. Maybe you never get over some things. This, too, I hoped I never had to find out.

    “Well, this is what you've been waiting for...” He sounded wary, though not as much as he had previously. “Don’t forget anything you’ve learned here, okay? You’re a good pokémon, and I’ll miss you,” he said, petting me on the head. I winced, not knowing what to say. A pang of guilt struck me, but it was too late to turn Sai down. There was nothing to stay for, anyway. The professor would have to go on without me.

    After what seemed like forever, the professor stood up, shook Sai's hand, and wished us the best of luck. Sai thanked him, then turned. I followed Sai as he practically ran out the door. He held the door open for me, but I just had to look at Professor Elm once more. I saw him wave with one arm, the other tucked behind him. I waved back, and left. I was curious to see if I would miss the professor like he would miss me, whatever that meant.

    When I stepped outside, I witnessed brand new scenery. Flowers bloomed everywhere. (There had been flowers in the backyard until the cyndaquil burned them. Professor Elm quit planting them. He had enough to take care of, and it was a waste of time.) There was also a body of water to my left. It stretched on, and I wanted to swim in it. I'd never seen that much water in one place, so I went in that direction. As I did, I observed more buildings, and in those buildings I knew there was more to learn. I'd figure out how to get inside later. I kept going forward, disregarding the sun, the sky, the grass. They were major parts of life, but the rest of the town represented why the legendary pokémon put so much effort into creating them.

    In my haste, I bumped into something. Someone. I staggered backward and saw a pokémon that was taller than me as it stood on its tail. It was a sentret. Sentret sneaked into the professor's backyard to play almost every day. I wasn't hurt—the sentret's brown fur was soft—but I pretended to be.

    “Watch where you're going,” I mumbled.

    “That's a good way to meet each other, I guess,” I heard Sai say as he caught up to me.

    My gaze shifted between the two of them. How did they know each other? This couldn't mean...

    “Sai's been wanting to get you for the last few days, and now you're here,” the sentret said.

    I blinked. “This is your trainer?”

    “He's yours too.”


    “I'm sorry,” the sentret said. “I was his first pokémon, but he insisted on getting a Johto starter. He wanted the strongest he could find. Watched you for a while. I was impressed as well. Anyway, we can get out of here and—”

    “Why would he need me if already had you?” I was being silly, but the whining was warranted. I originally believed Sai was experienced, which would mean he already had pokémon. To find out otherwise gave me a chance, though, and that chance was stripped away from me in a matter of moments.

    “I wish I knew. Ask him,” the sentret said.

    Sai didn't answer. “We can leave soon,” he said instead. He pulled out an object, seemingly out of thin air, and gave it to me.

    “Did you get this from the professor?” I asked, taking it in my clawed hands. It was warm, and didn't appear to be something a pokémon could use. “Is it mine?”

    “No. It's mine,” Sai said, then glanced at the sentret. He gulped. “I mean, I want you to roll it. Or throw it. Please.”

    Immediately I obeyed. When the deed was done, a white surface with two black dots in the center appeared. I peered at Sai expectantly, and was pleased to see him smile.

    “Okay,” he said. “Your name is Kuiora.”

    “My name?” I didn't see the correlation.


    That meant the sentret had a name, too. Mine must have had more significance to make up for the first pokémon misunderstanding.

    “Kuiora, my second pokémon,” Sai said. He was content, at least.

    “Yeah... We established that already.”

    “I just wanted you to know,” he replied, frowning. He put the item in his pocket. “It's official. I made the right choice, so let's go.” He spun around and went in the opposite direction.

    I gazed longingly at the water, but obeyed my trainer. I was born to obey, after all. I didn't know what would happen next, but being his second pokémon didn't mean I was second best. That was what mattered. Impatient as I was, I would earn that position soon enough.

    I followed Sai, not bothering to ask why we weren't exploring the rest of the buildings. I was destined to travel, to become stronger, to attract the eyes of the legendary pokémon. I would do all of this, even if I had to do it on my own. I was nothing if not the sum of the parts I made for myself and for the legends.

    As we left New Bark Town, I thought about the totodile, cyndaquil and chikorita. Had they noticed my absence yet? Something told me they hadn't. They didn't know what they were missing. Until they learned to not only want, but also to yearn, I would fear for them, and for anyone else who blocked my path to victory.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2015
  3. Clare

    Clare The Dainty Delcatty

    This is very nicely written. The grammar is faultless and the idea of using alternating Pokemon narrators is a nice touch. However, I can't help wondering if the Pokemon are meant to be speaking English when they're "talking" to Sai or if you're just translating their Poke-speech. Perhaps you could clarify this.
  4. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.

    I'm glad you like it so far. Also, I'm just translating the poke-speech. Perhaps I should consider using another symbol to represent their poke speech like some authors do?
  5. Shadow Lucario

    Shadow Lucario Lone Vanguard

    Like I said, I would get to it and I did. This is a very interesting fic you have here. I haven't seen one done like this before. I usually don't read this type of fic. It's very interesting to get into the mind of a Pokemon and see what they're thinking. I see you're the type of person to not capitalize Pokemon names, moves, or the word Pokemon. Doesn't bug much and it's not a mistake either. Some would argue it, but I don't see the big deal. Moose is only capitalized at the beginning of a sentence.

    I'm sure you forgot he in between as and ran.

    I'm not sure if you meant this, but the word me is there three times. I don't like using the same word twice in one sentence and you used it three times. Also the last four words seemed kinda awkward.

    The rest was fine as I saw it, but that may be due to it being nearly four in the morning here. I'll come back and give it a proper grammar look over soon. As for general thoughts right now, I like it. It's very well written and you've put a lot of thought into this. One thing I noticed though is the word and appeared a lot in the first chapter. More than necessary it seemed. Also, there was no real description. You never described Sentret or Totodile. So how did Sai know which Totodile he wanted? Was there something different about him? A marking perhaps? On another note, Elm seemed somewhat out of character to me. When I think of Elm I picture a scientist that spends his time cooped up and on his computer compiling his research. That's the type of professor I picture Elm as. I can't see him going out a lot, training the starter Pokemon, and etc. Also, why was Elm favoring that one Totodile? It didn't seem like something a professor would do. I'm going to end this thing because I am going to start making a lot less sense soon. I hope that all got through all right. Keep it up! Keep writing! Don't give up! Shadow Lucario signing off.
  6. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.

    I'm glad you liked it even though it isn't what you usually read. And also thanks for replying so fast!

    I did, oh dear. Thanks for pointing that out.

    It does sound awkward now that I read it again. I'll be sure to watch out for problems like that in the future.

    I tend to use that word a lot, yeah... I'll try to cut down on it in future chapters.

    When writing first person, it seems odd to have the character describe itself physically.

    I could try to add in more description in general, but I don't think that many people would notice AND remember a lot of things regarding their surroundings unless they are particularly observant. I try to portray this in first person. I feel that emotions, certain instances, and peculiar/small details stand out in a person's mind when recalling an event rather than the physical surroundings. An exception is a place like a home, which can usually be remembered pretty easily.

    It was said in the first chapter that he was looking for the smartest/strongest.

    To me, if professor Elm wasn't going to train the pokemon or take care of them when he himself is giving him away, then he should be a normal professor/researcher, rather than the person that trainers go to when starting their journey. Also, again, with the first person perspective, it can be assumed that the Totodile didn't know anything regarding Elm besides what happened when they were together/what he was told by Elm. So he could be cooped up and compiling research at other times, but there was no place for it at this point in the fic.

    I also stated that Professor Elm was giving more attention to the Totodile because he felt that it was necessary to help the Totodile grow. The others were content with training; the Totodile narrator was not, and Professor Elm tended to that.

    I hope I cleared some points up. You showed me that I should try to be more clear in what I'm trying to say. Thanks again for reviewing.
  7. Sidewinder

    Sidewinder Ours is the Fury

    Wow this was a fun read.

    First thing I usually start with is grammar, but I found no mistakes. It does so much more for your rhythm if you don't have to trip over mispelled words.

    The concept you've come up with is really neat. I like that you're going to rotate between the Pokemon. I've always liked different views on the same story. And from the chapters you've posted, I see that both narrators have distinct personas. Which is extremely important when attempting to get readers to latch on to your characters. I'm at a stalemate as to which narrator that I like the most.

    Senori is extremely well developed. I loved the general shock that was felt when Sai stumbled into his home. His thoughts and feelings were perfectly described. And I only say 'his' because I'm not sure if the Sentret is Male or Female. I looked back over the passage and couldn't find a single thing that told me one way or the other. So if you did and I'm mistaken, I'm sorry. All the talk about his mistakes, the clan, the banishment; really turned him into a flawed character that I could really relate to. The one thing that bothered me was how quickly he decided to go with Sai...I know that he had just beat the hell out of him, and at first he did try and talk his way out of going, but it just felt a tad bit rushed. Maybe a deeper part of Senori told him that he was being called, or maybe he was too frightened to argue further. Either way, the last bit of Chapter 1 happened a little fast for me. I still really enjoyed the Chapter though, and look forward to seeing more from Senori.

    Kuiora is also very well written. For the same reasons as Senori, and for completely different one's. Also not sure about Kuiora's gender, but from the name and from my own thoughts, I'm going to assume Female. Kuiora doesn't seem afraid at all. Not of Sai or Senori, or even really anything for that matter. Elm commented that she had grown more mature much faster than other members of its species so I suppose that has a little something to do with it. She seems to have this inate sense of pupose that I really enjoyed. All my favorite characters in my favorite books have that same quality.

    I don't say this very often, but I could really only find one thing didn't sit very well with me. Sai. I'm not sure if its his stony demeanor, the sudden and unpredictable violence, the Javier Bardem style dice rolling, or just his cryptic speech. He seems like he could be good, or bad, or both. Maybe its becasue I don't know that much about him. He just seemed a bit lazily written, like all the work went solely into the Narrators (Which I know is part of the point). Sai just rubbed me wrong and seemed a bit underdeveloped. I want my opnion to change because I'm really connecting with the other characters, so I look forward to seeing more from him.

    All in all, I really enjoyed what you've posted so far! Add me to any VM or PM list you have because I'll be following with great interest from now on. Great job!
  8. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.

    :O I'm glad that each character seemed distinct. Hopefully all the characters will just be just as good. :p

    Description seems to be my weak point in writing, so I'm glad you thought the description was good. Also, Senori is a male, since you were curious. I believe that Senori mentioned just helping Sai get his first real starter and then leaving, though perhaps I forgot to include that, or perhaps it still makes the ending feel rushed. Either way, the next chapter is from Senori's point of view, so that this part will be elaborated on further.

    Kuiora is a female, yep yep. And you really seem to have the characters down really well. I kind of felt like I was reading my character notes when reading your review, lol.

    I completely understand this. :p He's actually the character I've developed the most when thinking of this fic, but it's really hard to portray in first person, when the fic is at a point where it's mostly describing parts where Sai isn't even present/an important part of the characters' lives yet. So as each character gets more and more chapters, it should be easier to see how he really is. So I hope you stick around to see it!

    Will do. Thanks for taking the time to review!
  9. Dragonfree

    Dragonfree Just me

    Oh, wow. This is really intriguing.

    Unlike Sidewinder, I think Sai is the standout thing here so far - everything about him is so profoundly bizarre (in an obviously deliberate way, as opposed to a poor-writer-failing-to-write-believable-characters way) that I want to read more just to be able to figure him out. The choice of telling the story through his Pokémon's eyes was a smart one; the fact we can only observe his actions from the outside and out of context creates a driving mystery out of what could possibly be going on in his head, while the fleshing out of the Pokémon allows us to observe directly how fairly ordinary characters react to him.

    You're doing a pretty good job with the first person, too, and I'm with you on that excessive description would be out of place in it. Senori and Kuiora have nicely distinct voices and you convey their different goals and ideas and outlooks through their narration of what's going on. I did think some parts were a little strangely done, though; the "fight" between Sai and Senori seemed confusing, in particular:

    His view was "skewed" because mud clung to his face? That doesn't make sense on at least two different levels. Mud that's clinging to his face shouldn't affect his vision - if it was actually in his eyes, it wouldn't be clinging to his face, and then I'd expect him to be trying to blink rapidly to get it out, since that's pretty much the automatic reaction to having something in one's eyes. And even then, if there were mud in his eyes, I could see his vision being blurry, but skewed?

    Moreover, then he goes on to the trees seeming to be in pieces and sitting and watching and how easy their life is, and that combined with the skewing sounds like he's on drugs or being affected by some kind of mind-control (more wild speculation regarding that in a bit). At the very least it sounds nothing whatsoever like what happens when you've got something in your eyes. The whole bit about him not being sure whether the stream is there or not and how if it is then the attacker is closer to the clan than he thought also sounds suspiciously like his brain is going bonkers, since he should still in more or less the same place as he was before Sai attacked him.

    Then after that there's the thing with how he says there's no sign of the human, and even stands up and turns around and still thinks the human isn't there anymore, before suddenly he's attacked from the side again. If he stands up and turns around and is specifically looking for the human, it shouldn't just happen to escape him that the human is still standing there at the side - you'd need to be pretty much purposefully not looking in that direction to miss that. And if the idea here really is that he looked everywhere and still didn't see anything, one would expect him to be more surprised when the human does suddenly reappear.

    This is all stuff that could be intentional or could not, but I can't quite tell, and that fact makes it difficult to parse correctly.

    Also, sometimes I feel you get overly flowery with your language, in a way that's especially jarring because this is first person. Right in that bit I quoted, there's "Water moving gently in the only direction it knows, going nowhere at full speed." It's moving "gently" but also "at full speed"? What does it even mean to say the water is going nowhere? Why would Senori think in metaphorical terms personifying the stream if this is just the stream near where he lives, as a wild Pokémon?

    Other examples from the first chapter include "sharp pains flowed through my body so effortlessly, yet in deformed rhythms", "My cry echoed and echoed and time passed and it was still just the two of us at the end of it all", and "His movements: silent, yet loud enough to shake the earth and throw it off balance. His words: non-existent, yet sharp enough to break the skin." None of them sound like something a person would actually think in internal monologue; they sound like something a writer thinks of when trying to be dramatic. First person should try to stick to believable train-of-thought language and do away with the fancy metaphorical stuff.

    I'm assuming Senori's disturbing thing of being convinced everything is his own fault and not Sai's is intentional, what with the utterly strange way that he even thought it was his fault Sai was squeezing his own wrist too hard, and the fact you draw subtle attention to how nonsensical it is with the "Somehow it was [my fault]"). And that's very intriguing - something about Sai appears to be exerting an influence on his mind, which is also presumably the reason he agreed to go with him and trusted him and thought going with him would be a way to be loved. This is what made me think the trippy bit of the fight might be intentional and a part of the mind-control thing - I'm still not sure if it is, but. Currently my best bet is that he is actually a Pokémon-turned-human in some way or another - the fact it even occurred to him to fight a Pokémon in hand-to-hand combat could suggest this, plus that you mentioned he was barefoot, and that while he knows about Pokémon he has only a very vague idea of how trainers work, and that when he was talking about where he was from it sounded suspiciously like he was making it up. So some kind of Psychic Pokémon in human form, possibly legendary, is my best bet at the moment. Of course, I could be really stupidly wrong on this.

    Aaaanyway, basically, this is very interesting and I'll be reading it. Just try to watch that metaphorical language and err on the side of clarity when describing weird things that could be confusing.
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012
  10. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.

    My main concern about writing Sai from this angle was making him look unbelievably odd and naive, so I was glad to hear this. :p He is definitely supposed to be a mystery, but I thought it could be fairly easy to take the mystery to an unwanted level on the readers' part.

    "Skewed" was poor word choice on my part. I did want to say that mud was in his eyes but somehow failed to convey that simple point.

    With Senori thinking of the forest and his home and the river instead of focusing on the mud in his eyes or his attacker, I wanted to show that Senori's home is his top priority in life. He puts himself below all others. The mentions of the "imaginary" stream and the trees was supposed to be odd since everything was happening so fast that Senori probably didn't have the time to make sense of his thoughts or properly observe his surroundings.

    Also, it was vaguely mentioned at the beginning that he may not have been getting a lot of sleep, though he wouldn't want to admit to it. I thought that a lack of sleep could have contributed to his odd reactions and thoughts, though now that I think about it, Senori would rather dwell on the idea that it was his fault for not getting enough sleep, so that was also poor character portrayal on my part.

    I thought it could be assumed here that Sai was moving out of Senori's sight intentionally to prevent Senori from attacking, and that it would be odd to portray this in first person.

    Lol, I'd been writing almost nothing but poetry before this, so the switch to poetry back to prose still has me still writing like this sometimes. :p I'll watch out for it in the future, thanks for pointing it out.

    I of course don't really want to spoil anything, but will just say that it was suggested that Senori thinks things are his fault due to what he did to his clan to get banished. He thought that fate brought Sai to him to punish him and then give him a second chance. What he did wasn't really revealed, but that should be taken into consideration, too.

    Thanks for taking the time to read and review. I appreciate long, in-depth comments like this~
  11. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.


    chapter 3 ; [SENORI]


    I would be lying if I said I wasn't grateful for the time away from home. It was a welcome distraction for an unknowing, faithful sentret like me who had been kicked to the curb. My obsessive thoughts gave way to make room for Sai and his individual needs.

    I led him to New Bark Town. Along the way we talked in circles. I learned very little about him; my curiosity flared. It was strange, too, because he never let his eyes leave me, yet he seemed carefree as his arms dangled loosely at his sides. When his expression remained blank throughout the entire trip, my paranoia became pointless.

    We reached the town at nightfall. No one was roaming the town in the dark. I shivered, but I was also disappointed. I wanted to see how someone else interacted with Sai. We would both have to wait to get what we wanted.

    “Everyone's sleeping, I guess,” I said softly, as if I would wake the whole town if I spoke any louder.

    “Where are the pokémon?” he asked. His blue eyes looked brighter, but I might have been imagining things.

    “They're with a human. He raises the pokémon so he can give them to new trainers.” I pointed to a nearby building with an enclosed fence in the back. Beyond the fence was charred grass and some large, old trees, none as tall as the ones in my forest. “He trains them in there. I've seen them when I've come close to the town, but that's always been during the day. We'll have to wait.”

    Sai stared at me. Had I done too much by pointing out the obvios? There was a fine line between treating him as if he were stupid and trying to help him with new concepts.

    “Time to sleep, then. You won't run off, right?”

    “Right...” I replied. No threats, no anger. It was all I could think about, as if I wanted him to punish me. My chance at redemption seemed too unreal.

    Sai sat by a field-like opening near the entrance to New Bark Town. He laid down his head and back on the grass and folded his arms across his chest. He closed his eyes, and after a few moments his breathing was relaxed and even. I went to him, though I kept some distance between us.

    I thought he had fallen asleep already, but he then said, “In the morning, we'll get a pokémon. We'll go through the forest again, and we'll keep going from there.”

    “That's the simplified version of things, yes,” I said under my breath, unsure if he could hear me.

    “What do you mean?”

    “Picking out your first pokémon is a big deal. There's lots of places to explore, too. There's not just one straight path to follow. And when we pass through the forest, I'd like to say goodbye, if possible.” I curled up, wrapping my tail around my body for warmth. I had forgotten what it felt like to be in this position, and to sleep near someone else.

    “Who do you have to say goodbye to?” Sai asked. He didn't appear exhausted, even after our fight.

    “My clan. Anyone in the clan will do. I just think they should know I'm gone.” I felt bitter, but I tried not to let it show.

    “You don't seem too happy about it.” So much for that.

    “I'm not really happy, no. They don't like me anymore.”

    “Then it should be easier to say goodbye.”

    “I'd rather have no one to say goodbye to. It'd be easier.”

    He didn't reply. After a while he stirred, trying various positions to get comfortable. Nothing seemed to work. He groaned, then said, “I always thought it'd be better to have someone. Maybe I was wrong.”

    “And why do you say that?”

    “It means that, at some point, you had someone and cared about them.”

    “You didn't have anyone too say goodbye to?”

    “They were hardly worth it.”

    We stayed silent. Though I wanted more information, I didn't want to press him in case he was purposely avoiding my questions. I would also be betraying my clan if I tried to get closer to him before I officially secluded myself from them. Tomorrow, I would get permission to leave, and I would give Sai someone to care about.


    As it turned out, we didn’t spend just one day in New Bark Town. Sai couldn't decide in a mere few hours what pokémon he wanted. I explained to him that there was a grass-type, a fire-type, and a water-type to choose from. He frowned when I told him I didn't know their strengths and weaknesses, but he brightened after he realized there was a whole batch to look at. I thought it would be a simple task, finding the strongest among then, but it wasn't.

    “There's so many of them,” he said at the end of the day, when the pokémon had gone to rest. “I only got a close look at the grass-types. We'll have to come back tomorrow.”

    He used similar excuses for the next few days. We slept in the same area every night, and after we awoke, we stood by the fence to watch the pokémon as they trained. Sai tried to climb over the fence at first, and I had to yell at him about how it was meant to keep others out for a reason. Then he tried to look inside the backyard through the rails. I told him he was creepy and to get away from the fence entirely. He watched from afar. I shrugged.

    When I was hungry, I searched for berries. I picked them off of bushes, ate them, and brought some to Sai, too, since I hadn't seen him eat anything yet. He scared them down, but never asked for more. Only then did I notice how thin he was. Under his ragged shirt I was sure I could see his bones sticking out.

    I didn't question his behavior. Instead I thought about going into the forest and saying my goodbyes early to save time. I decided against this, however, when I knew I'd get the urge to do it all over again later. I tried to be patient, but it was hard when I had to move on. It was better than wandering the forest by myself, tortured and confused.

    On the third day, I asked, “Have you picked out a pokémon yet?”

    “No. None of them stand out,” he replied. “A fire pokémon would be nice, but I don't need more chaos. The green ones don't seem like fights. I'm almost done with the water-types.”

    “Okay. Well, I'm going to get more food.”

    When I came back, Sai was gone. I assumed he was inside the building, or at least I was hoping he hadn't jumped the fence. I paced back and forth. It seemed like we had been here forever, yet we had accomplished very little. My loyalty kept me from complaining. I wanted to know whose instructions he was trying to properly listening to, but as long as he seemed content, that was enough for me.

    A door creaked open and I looked to see Sai standing outside, holding it open for someone. An aqua-colored creature with red spikes protruding from its back and tail stepped out and ambled away. It was the water-type starter known as totodile.

    The totodile went around aimlessly, entranced by the view. I saw it coming my way. I stood there, amused, until its snout bumped into me. And this sparked an awkward conversation where I had to tell the totodile I was Sai's first pokémon, and that I had no idea why he deemed New Bark Town a necessary part of the journey. It rolled the dice, just as I had, and it—she—was named Kuiora. Her eyes shined and she sighed in relief. I wondered if she understood him any better than I did in that moment.

    We moved on. Memories came flooding back to me as the tree canopies enveloped us once more.


    Sai was, initially, an unwelcome reminder. He made me think of them.

    They blended in with the dark. They were fast. And they were here, intending to make the best of their trip. When they disappeared, they screamed evilly, announcing their success.

    I was the sentry that night. One of them came up to me, crawling and desperate. I couldn't see if there was any blood, but the pokémon was clearly injured. Sympathetic, I let my guard down. As I scrambled over to the pokémon, I saw its torn, navy blue skin. The red feathers jutting out of its back and ears were ripped. Its eyes looked dull, as did the golden jewels on its forehead and chest. It used its white, sharp claws to dig and propel itself forward.

    “Are you okay?” I said. “What happened?”

    “I was in a battle and got separated from my trainer,” the sneasel explained, taking a deep breath in between words. Its voice was high pitched. “Please help me find him. He couldn't have gone far... He must be looking for me, but...”

    I could have gotten the berries needed to heal her, but I didn't want to leave her by herself. I didn't know how deep the wounds were, either. I would have to abandon my post to find her trainer, but I had never left my post before.

    “Why don't you stay with me? I'll keep you safe. If your trainer comes through here, I'll make sure you get back to him. It's not safe to travel at night.”

    The sneasel's reply was pathetic. “My trainer prefers to travel at night. He could be out by sunrise. He could forget about me.”

    I had no reason not to believe her. I couldn't risk letting her get hurt further, and so I went with her, watching for danger as we moved along. I should have woken up another clan member, should have asked them to take over the post. But my stubbornness told me I could do two jobs at once. This shift would just be a bit different from the others. I thought I could overcome the challenge.

    She used me as a crutch. Her wet fur rubbed against mine, but I didn't mind. I could wash the blood off later and show off to the others, telling them I was a hero rather than an idle shift leader. The battle took place near the forest's edge, and so we went there. We traveled in silence, and when we arrived, the sun was rising.

    I set the sneasel down. “Do you see your trainer anywhere?” I asked.

    “No...” Her voice was barely above a whisper.

    I nodded sadly. I surveyed the scene, too, but I knew I wouldn't find anyone. As I looked I told her we could look when daylight came, but no one answered me.

    The sneasel was missing.

    There was no blood.


    You would think that I'd avoid caring for someone else from then on, but I couldn't give it up. The trait is ingrained in me; it is part of my personality. Besides, not everyone is fake. Not everyone wants to cause suffering. In my mind, Sai couldn't act naive (and, as I learned about Kuiora, I didn't believe she could be explosive).

    I was preoccupied by these thoughts as Kuiora mumbled about the forest's vastness. Sai agreed with her and said he'd never seen pokémon be this calm and quiet. Kuiora frowned, downtrodden about the overall tranquility. The pokémon left trainers alone unless provoked, which brought me back to that night. We were nearing the river. I stopped. My voice cracked as I told them to stop, too.

    “What's wrong?” Kuiora said, her paws on her hips.

    “My... clan is near here. I want to say goodbye. Do you remember, Sai?” The boy averted eye contact with me. “I'll be right back. I'll bring some berries for you guys to eat while you wait.”

    They nodded, but didn't understand. Sai had no friends, and what about Kuiora? She didn't find Sai odd; everything was fascinating to her childish self. I would have to change both of them, as soon this lovely yet degrading place was out of my head.

    I brought them all the berries I could find without crossing the river. They would have to pick at the berries and see what kinds they liked. I couldn't remember what kinds I had given Sai yesterday, but I could fix this soon, too.

    I went to the river's shore without telling Sai and Kuiora why I had to go at all. I went across the branches that extended to the other side, smiling as the bark felt unnatural against my feet. As I came to a clearing, I saw baby sentret playing with fallen leaves while the adults went about their daily chores. The latter froze when they saw me, then made an effort to hide their children. They scowled at me and disappeared, masking themselves with foliage.

    I kept my head lifted, refusing to give in to shame. I asked to see Ari, the leader, in the most confident voice I could manage.

    No one acknowledged my request. I heard a squeal from a little sentret asking why I couldn't be a friend. My actions would be retold. Perhaps the story would be exaggerated, but in the end, their innocence would be taken.

    Minutes passed. Luckily, Ari showed himself without me having to do anything else. The river's current was loud, but it was Ari's footsteps that rang in my ears.

    Ari didn't bother to articulate his words nicely. “Why are you here?” he said without emotion, though his furrowed expression told me he thought I was worthless.

    “I'm leaving,” I stated, trying to mimic his lack of passion. He didn't respond. “It was my fault. I know. I'm sorry. I would take it back if I could, and if I show my face again, I ask that you make me regret it.”

    “What you say doesn't matter. And if you don't regret it already, there is no helping you.”

    Suddenly I struggled to breathe. “I am invisible to you and the others. Words are all I have.”

    “Then you have nothing.”

    “...It was my fault.”


    There was only a liar and a sentret foolish enough to trust the liar.

    The sneasel lured me away so that her friends and family could invade my home. Attacking me wouldn't have been satisfactory; battle cries would have alerted my clan and allowed them to prepare.

    I fell into their trap so easily.

    I rushed back to my clan as fast as I could when I lost sight of the insincere sneasel. In my haste I nearly plummeted into the river. I did notice, however, a mix of red and brown swirling in the water.

    I ran and ran, but the danger was already gone. The damage had been done.

    What I had thought was part of my imagination was, in reality, torn bits of sentret fur and blood. Broken, ripped limbs were splattered on the grass; whole bodies were smashed underneath hefty tree branches. From the small amount of sentret left, I could tell some had been taken. I didn't dare think about why. Those wounded or unharmed wept over their loved ones, braving the sights despite their sorrow.

    This was my family. Things were peaceful—

    The babies, they were just learning to walk—

    I should have heard—

    I murmured to myself, as if explaining what happened could reverse the events that had taken place. The sneasel seemed genuinely hurt, but she was playing a game all along, and she played it well. There was a list of steps I could have taken to dissect the situation, but I was consumed by pride. Would someone else have done the same? Had it been me, would I have put a pokémon's clan at stake?

    I was trying to do a good deed—

    Ari crashed into me. I found some solace, seeing him alive, though he was breaking inside and out. He must have been scared; his stony demeanor couldn't have held up in the midst of mass chaos.

    “You didn't warn us about this! You could have said something! Anything! You left with the enemy...” he added, putting emphasis on each syllable. He pounded into me, but I was numb. “They told us you were on their side. Because of you, my love is hurt, the kids were eaten right here—”

    He could have killed me, but his punches weakened as the world spun around us. He left me with pained and strained bones and a body covered in blood that didn't belong to me.

    He snarled, “Get out of here. Just go.”

    I tortured myself by glancing at the gory scene again. I left and didn't try to come back, though I dreamed of them when I slept and pictured them next to me as I ate. I grieved in my own way, though I didn't know who to mourn for. I yearned for the chance to redeem myself, or for a long winded speech to come to me, one that would revive the dead and apologize to them.

    “It should have been me,” I'd say. I'd say I was so, so very sorry. So, so sorry. So sorry. “I can win against many pokémon in a fight. I can overcome most obstacles thrown at me. Over the years, I've learned that I can beat many things, but... life is not one of them.”


    Instead I said, “They were trying to avoid commotion and resistance. If I had heard any of them approaching, you know I would have called out.” It was a feeble attempt, but an attempt nonetheless. If I was going to get kicked out, then it was only after the facts had been revealed and Ari had made a calm, rational decision.

    “Those monsters were not from around here. It shouldn't happen again, not because of that, but because we will have more reliable sentret on duty from now on,” Ari replied, ignoring me completely.

    “Perhaps you should consider relocating—”

    “Don't tell me what I should do! You are not our leader anymore.” He rushed at me, but halted halfway through. He didn't want to relive the only redeeming part of that night, the part where he got to punish the perpetrator.

    There was a pause. “A trainer came by here and attacked me,” I said. I could feel his glare. “I know that you think he is a threat,” I went on. “He is. But he also wants me to be his pokémon. He wants me to… help him.” The affirmation felt right and wrong at the same time. “With your permission, I would like to take him away from the forest and be his pokémon so that he is no longer a threat.”

    “As I said, you are not our leader. You may do what you wish, as long as it doesn’t involve us.” Ari looked around, presumably watching for a human. I couldn't keep mysterious pokémon from raving my friends and family, but I had control over Sai. I would get him out of there.

    “So I can leave.”


    “...You don't want me.”

    His temper was rising. “We don’t want you. Take the trainer away from here, and don't come back.”

    That was what I needed to hear; a burden was lifted off of my shoulders. I would have done anything to be accepted as a clan member again, but I couldn't make amends. Time couldn't heal these scars. I gave Ari an apologetic stare, as I still carried regret and grief.

    Ari broke my heart when he banished me. I, too, broke his heart, though indirectly. No one is ever safe. But I survived the attack for a reason. Now I could leave with Sai and start over as best I could.

    I turned and ran.


    I ran, but slowed to a stop as I neared New Bark Town. I observed my surroundings as I stood, knowing I wouldn't have privacy with Sai and Kuiora later on. The grass was fuzzy and made me feel warm, even with the breeze. The river was moving, and the water was so blue I could clean myself in it. I marveled at how many years the trees took to grow. Then I remembered I was betraying them, too. Well. Everything was peaceful, on the outside.

    Did moving on mean reminiscing about the good and the bad?

    I reached Sai and Kuiora as a string of questions found their way into my head. I told them I was ready to go. Speaking seemed easier, somehow. When I met them, I watched my tongue, afraid of bursting and uncovering my secrets. There was nothing to hide at this point. The worst was over.

    “Where are we going?” Sai asked.

    “Yeah, where are we going?” Kuiora chimed in.

    Their looks bore into me. Laughing at the irony of it all, I said, “Cherrygrove City. I don't really know anything about the place except that new trainers don't like going there.”

    “Why not?” He joined me and laughed, though I wasn't sure why.

    “They always want these badges, and you can't get one in Cherrygrove.”

    At this, Sai frowned. “I'm supposed to get those badges. I think we're talking about the same thing, anyway. I don't want to waste time there if that's the case. Not allowed.”

    “Badges?” Kuiora said.

    “We train, battle, and get badges. That's what I was told to do. So that's what we're going to do.” Who told him that?

    “I was training at the lab, so let's get going!” Wasn't she going to ask why he could understand pokémon?

    “Senori will lead the way,” Sai said, looking at me expectantly. And wasn't he wondering if we were going the wrong way?

    They believed in me fully, it seemed.

    “I've never been anywhere else, but I'm sure we can figure it out,” I said, trying to sound confident.

    “Unfortunate, but it's all right. Thanks, Senori.”

    As we always do, we went on. Sai didn't care for Cherrygrove City, as anticipated, but he sure did enjoy Violet City, a place new and refreshing for all of us.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2015
  12. Sidewinder

    Sidewinder Ours is the Fury


    Sai is so infuriatingly cryptic! It's almost like he read what he was supposed to do with his life, but the book's ink was faded in some places.

    Like that part. His appeal has grown to me slightly since the last chapter. I'm not saying that he makes sense to me, but at the same time I feel like that is what makes me want to follow him. The fact that he is so elusive makes him so frustrating. I swear, thinking about him is like trying to catch smoke. I feel like maybe he's relaxing a bit around Senori, like letting him say goodbye to his clan and even going as far to say thanks. Maybe he didn't know how to act at first? Maybe for some reason he feels like he should be on guard? What I'm saying probably isn't making any sense at all, but it just goes to show how confusing this character is for me. Maybe I'm not wired correctly to understand him and see how developed he is. But that is also part of the reason why I want to keep reading about him. To find out, to just, know him. You've really done an excellent job creating this character. Very impressive.

    Grammar and sentence structure were great. Although my eyes are not as trained as some of the veteran reviewers on this forum, I really couldn't find any mistakes. If you keep up the stellar job you've been doing, I may never find any at all.

    Moving on, I thought you did an amazing job telling Senori's story. To me, he feels like someone who committed a somewhat major crime, but only got a major speeding ticket. The regret, sadness, and drama of what happened all felt very real. But at the same time, he lives with it everyday, and I feel like he's almost gotten sick of it. I mean, I know he's not heartless, because he obviously cares, but the way I see it there is only so much guilt and sadness you can deal with until you need to get away and fade yourself away, if that makes any sense. When that kind of emotional strain was put on him, I felt like he stopped himself at a red light, and is waiting for it to turn green. Like he is waiting for someone to tell him to move on and forgive him. Maybe that's why he resigned himself to travel with Sai to walk the inner turmoil off, or maybe that constant turmoil is starting to get the better of him. Those are just my thoughts anyway. I may be completely off base, and to everyone else I may be missing an obvious point, but that's what it said to me.

    On a side note, the part with the baby's made me somewhat emotional, something that I haven't experienced so far when reading Pokemon Fanfiction.

    I know my little review isnt up to the ones you usually give people, but I really couldn't find a single thing wrong with this chapter. It really was wonderfully described and obviously thought out. Great work again, and keep it up.
  13. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.

    I like that simile. *thumbs up*

    Thanks for the compliments. He is pretty difficult, and what you're saying makes sense. The more I write him, the more of a mystery he becomes to me as well. Not sure if that's a good thing or not, but I look forward to fleshing him out more.

    You mentioned in your last review that you thought Senori deciding to leave with Sai was abnormally quick, so I hope you think the opposite now. You pretty much got the message, though the idea of Senori actually committing a crime is up in the air (at least, for me, it would be). Even though he agreed to go with Sai in the first chapter, he knew that he would have to come back to the forest. He still had something holding him back, and yes, he needed someone to tell him to move on, because he didn't want to deal with the emotion anymore, and he knows that there was nothing else that could be done but to move on.

    Not sure if this is a good thing or not for you, but yeah. Children seem to have that effect on people. :p

    Thanks for reading and reviewing once again~
  14. Sidewinder

    Sidewinder Ours is the Fury

    I do think the opposite now lol...What I meant by crime was that for him it was a kind of moral, or emotional crime. Like a crime he committed against himself for letting that happen. If that makes sense.

    It was a good thing for me. I was just really gripped by the story. Felt sad about what happened to the clan. What they lost, etc. Really nice touch.
  15. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.

    Makes sense to me. I kind of thought that you meant the clan should have punished him more or something. I've been a bit sleep deprived lately, so who knows.

    Ah, all right. Well, that's what I was going for, so *thumbs up*. Thanks for commenting and reading as always~
  16. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.


    chapter 4 ; [ATIS]


    I saved Mondays and Thursdays for Shannon, the little girl who loved the idea of type differences and overcoming double weaknesses. Joey came to me on Tuesdays. Items fascinated him, man made or otherwise. Fridays—battle days—were for Jason, since he got so discouraged when he lost. Every Wednesday varied. I did chores and paperwork for Earl on the weekend, when he was thoroughly worn out. I took one day of the week for myself, and that was just to make sure I was breathing evenly.

    I tried to be optimistic. I am a hitmontop... I didn't care for pokémon training (and, to some extent, I still don't)... yet I used to be a classroom pet for a pokémon training school. As a walking contradiction, I didn't feel the need to give myself more alone time. Indulging in information I would forget was a waste, and I didn't like attention, anyway. It made more sense to focus on a kid with potential, someone who enjoyed the subject and would make use of their learning in the future.

    It wasn't that I hated pokémon. I hated peoples' obsession with pokémon. It was consuming, overwhelming and encouraged far too much. It seemed to be the only reason to wake up in the morning, the only thing that made life worth living. What about reading, writing, or helping the sick...? There were jobs out there that not enough people were seeing.

    But I was helpless. The students couldn't understand my speech, Earl was a dedicated man, and I wouldn't have known what to do in the world upon leaving the school. Despite all my years spent in this place, I had learned next to nothing.


    “Why don’t you teach them something... else?” I asked Earl one day.

    It was a Friday. The kids had just gone home, and we were cleaning. I picked up the garbage on the ground while Earl sorted papers and straightened out the desks. I thought about how excited the kids were during the battles. The excitement was always present, but they got louder with every passing week as they tried to run out the door all at once. Now, it was quiet, and I wanted to take advantage of it.

    “What you want me to teach them?” Earl asked. He twirled over to the side of the room to close the windows, as if no one could hear what I was about to say.

    “I don’t know…” I said, suddenly embarrassed for asking. I didn’t particularly like attention, and I had just asked for it when I could have stayed invisible. The children's fascination with pokémon automatically turned into a fascination of me, so I couldn't avoid their stares then. I only said what needed to be said, and I never left the corner in the back of the room unless I was ordered to. Time with Earl was like being given a kind of freedom. I was betraying this freedom by speaking my mind. “Maybe teach them how to light fires...” I continued, at least content that Earl wasn't looking at me. I distracted myself by fingering a pencil in my hand.

    “Want to teach is a fire? Teach kids fire-types, yes,” Earl replied. I could practically hear him nodding his head eagerly. I would have been satisfied, had he understood my question's undertones. English wasn't his first language, and years later, it still showed.

    “No... Fires for their journey. To keep warm.” I pondered for a moment, then added, “Teach them how to budget money. How to choose and save food.”

    “No, no, no. Kids learn to do that on own time,” he said. His voice was earnest, and so I knew this was the end of the conversation.

    What could I say to make him understand? Pokémon was his passion. Pokémon concepts were ingrained in his mind, probably permanently, considering he had told me many times, smiling from ear to her, that this had been his dream since he was a boy... He was so glad to be here... But if it were me I'd be bored eventually as I wondered what else held the world together.

    Another thing he told me was that he was glad to have me. I was his pokémon. He took care of me, kept me rested and fed and best of all, he didn't make me battle. He even boasted about his oh-so-special hitmontop every chance he got, even if it was in fragmented English. I was his, no doubt. I just couldn't practice what he preached.


    Monday was normal. Water beats fire, grass beats water, and fire beats grass. Electric beats flying, and flying beats grass. 'Beats' would be a term used loosely, as factors such as experience and strategy had an effect on the outcome.

    Shannon called me over. As usual, she made a statement that was related to what was taught. I nodded or shook my head depending on whether her answer was right or wrong.

    “Ghost is better than psychic, right?” she said, fidgeting in her seat. “And psychic can defeat poison.”

    I nodded.

    “Psychic-types can't do anything to dark-types, though. I always forget...”

    Another nod.

    “But—oh! Fighting-types can beat dark-types! You could beat a dark-type with no problem, right?” I would have nodded, albeit reluctantly, but she didn’t give me enough time as she added, “Dark-types seem evil. You could beat all the evil in the world, huh? So cool!”

    “I wish,” I said quietly, but all she heard—if she heard me at all—was my name.

    She was done after that. She jumped out of her seat and moved on to show off her new found knowledge to her friends, and I went back into my corner. I was already exhausted from the conversation and ready for the day to be over.


    The class got a new student on Tuesday. He was taller, his face more mature. He was clearly older, so he should have started his journey years ago. Earl welcomed him with open arms anyway.

    “This is Sai! Sai is new student,” Earl said, rushing the boy to the front of the classroom. The boy—Sai—looked down as someone else introduced him. I felt connected to him for a moment, my first impression being that he was an outcast too. “He will learn lots, yes? Yes. Take a seat now.”

    I didn't think having Sai around would change anything, but it was nice to be closer to one of the students. I started to wonder about my first impression, however, when he noticed me for the first time. He flinched, either from surprise or from seeing something repulsive. But he didn't look away... His expression was blank, focused on me. He seemed to struggle with paying attention to Earl's lesson when I was involved. I left the front of the room and walked between the desks a few times to get out of his sight, but his eyes followed me. I even stayed with Jason longer than normal to get Sai out of my mind, but I could feel him watching.

    When you don't like attention, you know when someone's looking at you because someone is always looking at you, no matter how illogical the idea is. The idea consumes you and I had tried to ignore it until Sai came around. I wished he would look away. He was here to learn about pokémon, and I was here to pass the time until something... anything... happened.


    On Wednesday, there was nothing to distract myself from Sai. No one needed my help, and my main tasks were done after the day was over. I considered leaving the school, hoping no one would notice, but with Sai's stare, it seemed impossible.

    When all the kids did an activity with one partner, Sai didn't have a partner. Kids were prone to choosing the same partner every time... and Sai hadn't bothered to talk to anyone else yet. Earl, with good intentions, told me to be Sai's partner. The new student spending time with a pokémon in a pokémon school would be beneficial, after all. I didn't have the energy to protest, as I might have caused a scene. So I went over to Sai. Up close, his blue eyes seemed soft and intense at the same time. Still unnerved, I tried to smile my best smile.

    It was awkward after that. I hadn't paid attention to the activity instructions. He might have known the assignment, but all he said was, “You made it possible for me to be here, so thanks.”

    I did a little nervous dance with my feet. I was just a classroom pet, nothing more. I almost wished he'd talk about pokémon, if only because it was a familiar, comfortable subject.

    “I'm not supposed to take the time to be here,” Sai explained, as if that was any better. “But since you're here, it's okay now.”

    “Well, you should start the assignment,” I said, hoping these were words that would make him stop talking. They weren't.

    “I'm not interested in the assignment,” Sai said, now frowning. He looked down at the paper, then at me again. I was about to open my mouth again when I realized he had understood me. If I thought we connected on the wrong level before, then this was a whole other story. I hadn't pointed to the desk, picked up a pencil or made any sign regarding the assignment, right? I may have acted out of nervousness...

    I couldn't look away from him, either, though I wasn't confident anymore. Maybe I never was. Despite Shannon's words, I couldn't beat the evil in the world, especially when I could barely walk down the path laid in front of me. I could think of material goods I wanted, people I want to meet, events I wanted to attend, but I never did anything to make things happen.

    “You're so shy...” Sai observed. “You don't seem to like it here.”

    It was an accurate statement. I nodded.

    “Well, you don't have to worry anymore. I like it here, since I'm learning about pokémon and getting better like I'm supposed to. But I can't stay here forever. When I leave this place, I'm taking you with me.”


    I didn't go to school on Thursday.

    I told Earl I was sick. Did I need a Pokémon Center visit? No—it was just a simple cold. It would go away by tomorrow. I asked him to apologize to Shannon for not being there, but I wasn't really sorry. I needed a day for myself. All I did was sleep.


    Friday was all about battles. I hadn't battled in such a long time, but thanks to Sai, this particular Friday was interesting, badly so. Earl made me battle a lot as a tyrogue, but once I evolved after battling the students' pokémon too much, I was too experienced. Earl may or may not have hinted at my dislike for confrontation as well.

    Sai said he had no pokémon to battle with. I thought Earl was going to have me stand in temporarily, but he didn't. He didn't think I'd listen to a trainer as new as him. I was relieved—until Sai asked if he could borrow me for the weekend to help him catch his first pokémon.

    “Hmm,” Earl started. No one had ever requested such a thing. How was he going to react? “Yes, of course! Hitmontop is strong pokémon. He will help catch for you. A good idea it is.”

    I was scared of everything after that.

    I didn't—couldn't—prepare myself. I spent the day watching other kids battle. They tried to ask me questions, but left me alone when they realized I wasn't going to answer without stammering. Hearing kids yell commands at the top of their lungs in that certain harsh tone made me even more anxious. Having others point out when a pokémon lost or won made me cringe. I didn't need this... but Sai needed me, for some reason... He was, at least, faring much better than I was. He was absorbing information, learning—about pokémon. He would spend his life going on a journey. Then, I was sure he was no better than the rest of them.


    My fears were confirmed shortly. As Sai took me away from Earl, he revealed to me that, in truth, he already had two pokémon. He brought me to the edge of the city to meet up with his sentret and totodile, two popular choices among new trainers. They gazed at me interestedly. They had probably never seen a hitmontop before. It was another curse, being rare in the Johto region. If I were common, however, I would undoubtedly end up with a trainer other than Earl. I couldn't win.

    Sai brought me out of my thoughts as he said, “We're going to the pokémon gym now. You didn't battle today, so you should be fine.”

    I gulped. So I had been taken for a different reason... “I... I thought you needed me to help you catch a pokémon.”

    “Lying gets you want you want. Earl wouldn't have let me take you if he knew I was going to fight a gym leader for my first battle.”

    There were a lot of things wrong with that sentence, but Sai succeeded in keeping me quiet until we reached the gym's entrance. At that point, I couldn't stop talking. “I haven't battled in forever, a-as you said. You don't want to use me... What about these guys? I'm a fighting-type. This gym uses flying-types. E-Everyone knows that. Didn't you learn anything when you were in—” I stopped myself. To actually deem the topics used in class worthwhile was astonishing to me. This was nothing short of a punishment, since I could hardly support my true beliefs.

    The sentret answered for Sai. “We were going to train, but he saw the school and decided to do that instead. We haven't battled once.”

    “Why don't you train and come back when you're stronger?”

    “Don't be difficult,” Sai said sternly. “I can't waste too much time here. We can train on the way to the next city.” The softness in his eyes was gone, or maybe it was the slight vertigo spinning in my head.

    “I won't do well. I wasn't meant for this...”

    “You'll be fine. Let's go,” Sai said. He probably meant to sound reassuring, but it didn't work. His voice was impatient, eager, harsh. Nevertheless, I stepped inside the gym with them.

    The gym's vast size was definitely noteworthy. The walls extended much higher than the school's, presumably so that the bird pokémon could fly without restrictions. The rest of the place was bare for the same reason, save for the small line for those who wanted to battle Falkner, the renowned gym leader. We waited in line. Sai looked over peoples' shoulders, frowning, while the sentret and totodile introduced themselves to me. They seemed kind enough, but Sai was the same way. I was wary and didn't bother telling them my name.

    An hour passed before it was our turn. Falkner approached Sai and shook his hand, patting him gently. Sai's face twisted oddly, as if he wasn't used to the greeting.

    “Since I've had a lot of battles in a row, this will just be one-on-one,” Falkner said, turning to stand on his side of the arena.

    “Right. Should I... make an appointment next time?” Sai asked, his hand still outstretched.

    Falkner waved his arm. “If you want. It's helpful, since it's hard to fight ten trainers with just a few pokémon.”

    “Okay. I apologize.”

    I was dumbfounded as Sai and I assumed our respective places. Just a moment ago, he was mad at me for trying to disobey him, and now he was acting like the friendliest person. I would have to watch his behavior further to come to some sort of conclusion, if there was one to be found.

    Before he let me go too far, Sai bent down to see me face-to-face. “Look,” he said, “I'm not going to tell you what to do. You battle how you want to. I wouldn't know what to say, and you don't seem to like being told what to do..."

    Now he was being kind to me? I couldn't deny appreciating his concern, though, so I nodded and offered a battle pose, sparing the boy from having to announce his choice of partner.

    “A hitmontop, huh? This might not last long. I'll send out Pidgeotto,” Falkner said, grinning while throwing a red and white pokéball toward the arena. A bird whose body consisted of various shades of brown appeared. The feathers on its head were red, as were the ones on its tail. I saw some yellow feathers too, but they were mostly covered with dirt and dried blood. Its head drooped tiredly and I really did feel sorry for it.

    “Challenger usually goes first,” Falkner stated, crossing his arms confusedly.

    “He will be battling on his own. He doesn't wish for me to command him,” Sai said firmly.

    “All right.” Falkner brushed his hair out of his eyes and cried, “Pidgeotto, start off with a wing attack!”

    The flying-type attack came as no surprise to me. The pidgeotto spread its wings and took off into the air, completely and easily annihilating all chances for me to attack. I was only good for short range battles. This was why fighting-types were weak to flying-types.

    The pidgeotto flew high enough to ensure its own safety, and then it swooped toward me. I stood there, waiting for Sai to say something. I wanted to act on my own, but I was used to being commanded. I recalled his assertion too late, as the pidgeotto's wing slammed into the side of my face. I collided with the concrete floor of the gym, near the wall. I was struck by how serious the bird was. I was here against my will and here this bird was trying its hardest.

    “Now use quick attack, Pidgeotto.”

    This time, Sai's absence didn't have to register. I dodged, just barely, as it was much faster than me. This turned out to be an advantage for me, as the bird hit its beak by the wall I had been lying against. Its weariness and speed made it unable to avoid danger quickly. The bird slunk down, then perched itself upright.

    “It's all right, Pidgeotto. We'll avoid speedy attacks from now on. Try to peck at it. Be persistent!”

    The pidgeotto came toward me more carefully. I held up my arms to cover my face, but if the bird was going to repeatedly attack, I couldn't be so defensive. I put on an act, pretending to give in to the pidgeotto once more, until it was close enough to strike. I ignored the harsh expression being directed at me and pinned one of the pidgeotto's wings down. The bird was relentless as it tried to attack me out of anger, but it couldn't reach me.

    “Pidgeotto, try to get out of there!” Falkner's calm, smug demeanor was gone.

    It was useless. My hand was stronger than its lone wing. I tucked my leg back, preparing to kick it toward the wall, but I was slow because the pidgeotto looked lost. Stubborn, but lost. I mumbled about how sorry I was but I had to generate as much power as I could. I wondered if the bird would understand my predicament. I didn't know who had more experience or how the type disadvantage turned out to work in my favor. But the bird's condition was less than fruitful. Falkner was first in the gym circuit, and Sai had kidnapped me for the sole reason of winning. I had to do... what I had to do.

    I made direct contact with the pidgeotto's side. The white spikes on my feet dug deep, and the crash into the wall made it that much worse. The bird was strong overall, but weak for the moment. It didn't stand back up. The pidgeotto had fainted. The silence that followed told me the battle was over.

    “Pidgeotto, return,” Falkner said. I almost wished to be recalled too, but I wasn't with Earl. I was with Sai... I felt a mixture of pride and insincerity.

    Falkner went over to Sai. The boy was smiling and his arm was outstretched again, as if he were expecting a handshake instead of a gym badge. Falkner shook his head and took a small, shiny object out of his pocket. He placed it in Sai's palm.

    “I wish that I could have fought you at full strength, but the hitmontop still would have been tough,” Falkner said. He obviously didn’t like to lose, as told by his voice when he returned his pokémon, but he sounded glad now. “Next time, though, you should use your own pokémon. Earl must have given you the hitmontop to see how you’d do, am I right?” Sai frowned, exposing the truth. “It feels a bit weird, giving you the badge when you didn't do much, then... but the teamwork was there. Allowing the hitmontop to do what it wanted based on its personality was a decent tactic. I can tell you'll be a considerate trainer to your own pokémon.”

    Sai nodded. With a quiet thank you, he turned to leave the gym, clutching the badge as if he might drop it already. It was a sign of courage, and I wanted to feel connected to him as I followed his team outside. There, the sentret tended to my wound and the totodile kept screeching about how awesome I was to have beaten the bird that easily. I felt weird again, as I had directly contributed to a trainer's journey. I hadn't meant to, but I was born and raised a pokémon—loyal and unbending. The battle had told me I had strength and energy, at least. Now I just had to carry it to the right places.

    In my reverie, Sai came up to me and told me something that changed my life.

    “Your name is Atis. And Atis, I think you did a good job,” he said. The encouragement told me he wanted me to stay. The nickname made things final. Earl had never given me one, and Atis sounded more creative compared to the kiddy names the children called their pokémon. There had been many cyndaquil named Blaze, I recalled...

    But I was just distracting myself as Sai dug in his pocket and pulled out an object, just like Falkner had done. Dice. I recognized the object from some activity Earl had done with the kids once, but I wasn't sure what Sai was going to do with it. It seemed pointless to pokémon training, so surely he wouldn't be interested in it. He handed it to me and told me to throw it. I did so since I could see no harm in it. The die landed on the number three, and I was still confused.

    “Now you can see it with your own eyes.” He grinned. “You're my third pokémon. It's official.”

    “But I—” But what? But I belonged to Earl? My life was stagnant with him... Would Sai be any better? I could at least learn more about the world while traveling... And maybe I could convince Sai to go into another profession. Focusing on one child would be simpler than handling a whole classroom. I asked anyway, “What about the school?” Surely I would have some time to think...

    “We're leaving in a week,” Sai said. “You best be ready.”
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2015
  17. Sidewinder

    Sidewinder Ours is the Fury

    That part was extremely well done. It's basically how I fell now training people at work as I slowly lose interest in what I'm doing

    Before I got to that, I had no idea what it was. Then I kept reading, saw the 'twirl'. Kept reading with my theory in mind, just to have you confirm it. Nice!

    I really liked that. As I get older, I find that the more you chase your own desires, the more people you disappoint, and you're forced to give these half-assed apologies you dont mean to keep people happy.

    Physically, or mentally? Haha Jk

    I believe 'Pidgeotto' should be capitalized. At different times in this chapter, it is capitalized, and sometimes its not. Should Probably just stick to one way.

    Atis hmm? Wow, nicely done. He's very well written (Atis is male, correct?) (BTW, him telling Earl that the kids should be taught survival skills and budgeting was a nice touch, very realistic) It was hard for me to connect with him at first because I always want to be noticed. I'm a salesman at work and I have to be noticed by who I'm speaking to, have to command their attention. Besides that, growing up, I've always been somewhat flashy. That's why it was so revealing and involving being able to experience his want to be left alone, his annoyance by the children asking him endless questions, almost trying to will himself into non-existence. I almost felt sorry for him. I mean, his life doesn't seem that hard, besides the things he's halfway forced to do, but even then he makes the choice to do them. I really doubt Earl would force him to do anything he really didn't want to do. But when you were describing his feelings it really made me want to shower him with sympathy. You've met a really good new addition to the group. He's bypassed Senori as my favorite.

    Sai letting him do his own thing in the battle was nice, and as it turns out, it worked. Sai standing there so passively without expression was something I was able to imagine quite easily. And it kinda made me mad. He's just so, well, argh. Still can't get a bead on him. Although, when he flinched when he saw Atis I grinned. I liked that he actually showed he was surprised by Atis. I just want anger, or ecstacy, or depression, or something more. He's just so damn passive all the time. It frustrates me in a really good way haha

    The battle was really well done. I liked that there was an actual line to get to Falkner, and that he and his Pokemon were tired when Sai stepped up. With the amount of Pokemon trainers there probably are, it makes sense that at any given time, he would probably have several challengers. I was really drawn into Atis's battle with Pidgeotto, felt like it even gave him a little confidence that' going to make it easier for him to eventually go with Sai. The battle was well described, realistic, and of appropriate length. I really liked the bit when Pidgeotto came down to Atis with that serious look when he tried to attack him. To have Atis comment on its facial features was nice, because that's a detail that would usually be there that I dont see in almost any other fic.

    Nice job once again. Can't wait for the next one.
  18. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.

    Had no idea what what was? I may be a little slow... but at least you liked it, whatever it was!

    LOL. I forget that Atis is a hitmontop all the time and that he can literally spin... Oops.

    You're right, it should be capitalized here. I probably won't stick to one way just because it's the same idea as writing "my mom/Mom" or something to me. It should be capitalized when directly addressed, but not in any other situation.

    I know, I know. I promise there will be an explanation and/or change... someday. ;o

    Thanks, I'm glad you liked that part. I haven't written a battle in years so I wasn't too confident about it. Thanks for reviewing as always!
  19. Sidewinder

    Sidewinder Ours is the Fury

    Ah, I see where that might be confusing. In the early passage where Earl 'Twirls' over to close the windows, I guess I read that it was not Earl who twirled, it was his Pokemon. I just thought, what Pokemon would move by twirling? Then it hit me, Hitmontop. So I guess I misread that part, but it turns out I was right.
  20. diamondpearl876

    diamondpearl876 → follow your fire.

    That's pretty funny, not gonna lie. But yeah, apparently Earl "twirls" in the games, and I tried to stick to his given personality since I kind of forgot to do that for professor Elm. I also thought that somehow then hitmontop would be a good pokemon for him... lol. Didn't turn out that way in the fic, but oh well.

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