• We're currently experiencing a minor issue with our email system preventing emails for new registrations and verifications going out. We're currently working to fix this
  • Be sure to join the discussion on our discord at: Discord.gg/serebii
  • If you're still waiting for the e-mail, be sure to check your junk/spam e-mail folders

The Legendarian Chronicles [Revision 11]

unrepentantAuthor

A cat who writes stories
So I went right ahead and read ch25 because of course I did.

First off, I adore the chapter art. I keep looking at it. Starr's face, with flowing tears but a grit-teeth wide-eyed stare of horror. Her hands, are they reaching out, or coming up to defend herself? Her executive outfit, and how it has elements of both strength and vulnerability, light and dark. The hulking feraligatr behind her, concerned but ultimately no asset to her strength in the situation they're in. The stark grey wall behind, reminding us that the Team Rocket environment is a bleak one. The shadows. The handgun. The emblem. Wow.

Reactions first!

Ajia is very competent and Starr is on the back foot... or is she? I'm not exactly expecting at this point that she might use the rest of her impressive team together with her sidearm to take control of the situation, because I know she's been increasingly a mess for some time now. More that I'm expecting Ajia to **** up or have poorly predicted the outcomes.
Wow Starr really isn't handling this psychologically, huh? She's very much in the 'denial' phase. Intensely so.
What a win! Love to see stuff like pichu-beats-raichu, not a fan of evolution being a ticket to strictly superior battle competency.
Giovanni sure makes an entrance. What an intimidating fellow. This is a serious version of the character, and I love to see it.
I ****ing knew they wouldn't free Mewtwo lmfao. There was no way they'd pull the plan off that easily, or that Gio would leave himself so vulnerable.

Oh god this is ****ing terrifying and I fully expect Gio to demand that Starr executes the gals. What an awful situation. Definitely not feeling a "get sent to the cells for Stracion to bust out" vibe this time...
"Ruined" is such an gut-wrenching word to use about Astrid. It's clear how Gio only sees her as an asset and perhaps an extension of his pride, and not as family. It's also a button of mine when antagonists go off on how worthless someone is specifically for their redeeming traits, or becuase they're on a redemption path.
He was already suspicious, of course. We don't see much of the consequences for Starr letting Jade get away repeatedly, except in her mounting stress levels and that delicious extra, which I loved, but it must have been awful for so long. How much scrutiny has she been under her whole life? That line about her being 'singled out' later on really hammers this home.
Ajia is a "criminal" lol. The ****. I guess Gio thinks that Team Rocket are already sovereign, or something.
Oh **** oh **** this is gonna be so awful...
Ajia sure seems like she really overplayed her hand here, and Jade was hopelessly naive, to the point that even though I know Starr gets out I still somehow don't believe it'll happen??
"This decides your fate" is a metal line. It has the same energy as "Angry at her? Dusk, I'm angry at you." It also really makes it even more intense that Starr can't go through with it, considering she knows it's futile and she has almost nothing to lose by killing them herself.
Starr's begging and pleading hurts my heart. I assume this is not a habit she's made during her TR career.
Oh wow, Jade's emotions when Starr refuses! I feel that, Jade. What a mood. I believe in Starr!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Umbreon! Espeon! This ****ing battle is so sick, omg. Such intensity! I love it.
"It was my choice" no it ****ing wasn't, you WALNUT. YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND AGENCY. YOU WERE A MINOR BEING COERCED BY AN ARMED CABAL LED BY YOUR FATHER. YOU ****ING MORON. Anyway my heart is breaking for Starr. She really does believe that her life is her own.
Lmfao that Ajia keeps assuming stuff of Jade. Why would Jade, a certified idiot, have uncovered or guessed Starr's relationship to Giovanni? Haha.
HOLY **** THEY PULLED IT OFF WOW. I was stunned, and confused, and couldn't think what Umbreon did.
Lmfao at half the Rockets ****ing off tbh. I bet they're totally going to get resources to help out and not just fleeing for their lives~
What the **** did Umbreon DO, though? What's Ajia's ****ing deal?

Yeah, Jade you hardly know either of these girls. Five years is a long time, and a year isn't. Honestly, it's sometimes pretty rough to realise that in five years, some of the most important people in Jade's life are people she hasn't seen in that long, knows ****-all about, and in Starr's case, has been tortured by extensively. She doesn't go with Ajia for Starr because she thinks it's her moral duty, but because Starr is still her friend. She doesn't seem to have people in her life, exactly. The Rebellion, sure, but that's done and she didn't go with her teammates. She hasn't thought about her family hardly at all since the call to her mother forever ago. The most important people in her life besides these two are her own pokémon, I think. It's kindof rough to think about.

Further on that note, Jade's goals and cares don't often seem firm in her own mind. I think she wants to be significant to the people who left her behind. I think she wants to matter to the people who went off and lived lives without her. It really makes my heart ache. By contrast, Starr's goals and cares have been obliterated by the weight of 'survive being a Team Rocket executive' and 'don't murder your childhood friend and lose what humanity you have left'. That's even worse heartbreak. Ajia seems to just love dunking on Team Rocket. Power to her. I'm sure she's very well-balanced psychologically~ I actually feel like we could stand to know more by now about what the friendship at school was actually like. Jade doesn't elaborate on it much, and I feel like if she thought back to it sometimes it would track better that she'd take such risks as this one. She mentions that Starr used to love water pokémon—that stood out to me a lot because such details are pretty rare in her narration. Don't get me wrong, I love these three, but it's just something I've been musing over a little.

Love how Starr processes the situation as Ajia ruining her life, when her life was already **** and she could totally have just killed them. Except of course, she couldn't, and Jade and Ajia were right to gamble on that fact. Damn.
Jade's internal narration is laying it on a bit thick here but I like that she's still bothered that Starr is okay with different murders. She isn't getting out of moral scrutiny just because she's done this one thing.
"Have you forgotten what I did to you" oh man this is some delicious guilt. It's not the same as remorse, but that's surely to come.

Kinda surprised that Ajia ****s off and that Jade was about to. I thought both of them would be more insistent on staying together. Hell, Ajia just leaves without even showing concern that, say, Starr might verbally rip into Jade out of shock and anger. Or that Starr might literally not be able to process what to do next. Or that she has a firearm and a lot of fear that she'll be hunted down and tortured. Oof. Really surprised that Starr is the one reaching out given the state of shock she's in! I think the actual lines used could use a little tweaking to sell it as natural, but I get it. Starr does care, and everything stopping her shwing it but habit are very suddenly gone. It tracks. And of course, Jade just watched Starr yell at Ajia, and Ajia walk away, and she doesn't know what to do. It's rough.

Starr volunteering that description of her social life is pretty rough... Even though she admits she couldn't trust anyone, she still talks about having plentiful social interaction and the opportunity to 'fool around' as being a desirable thing. But I know that as a very young executive, all her relationships, if they even qualify as that, were probably sketchy as ****. Even if they'd been with miraculously decent Rockets, who weren't sickeningly exploitative of her, they still represented a threat to her strength and a risk of attachment, of weakness, of slipping up. I don't believe for a second that Starr had a single healthy intimate moment with another Rocket during her time there and I am miserable about the implications of what sshe's saying. I'm desperate for her to have a real friendship with someone who actually cares about her. Oh gods.

Jade is a good kid and I love her. Well done for offering your hand, Jade. I'm proud of you. HOORAY FOR BIG HUG! I love big hug. I know we probably aren't gonna get platonic spooning bc of inevitable reader perceptions but I choose to imagine it will happen bc it makes me happy. I hope we at least have plenty more hugs to come! I love the friendship, hhhhhhhh.

So, this was one of my favourite chapters so far too, along with ch23. I love this stuff so much. I'm gripped. And so relieved there's so much more to go. I did think to myself that by now there's still a lot of stuff that feels either like it's been dropped or was a deus ex machina of some kind, or just a strange narrative choice, but I trust that we'll get answers to everything in due time. I'm having way too much fun to get hung up on stuff like that right now! Very hype for the next chapter, Chibi!
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat who writes stories
ch26, I'm on a roll~

Love how unimpressed and uncomfortable Feraligatr is in the header art.
The pokémon don't like this! For the most part, anyway. I like that, it's a good way to layer on the difficulty of the new arrangement without having Jade and Starr lay into each other. Bless Raichu for wanting to make friends even though he's a walking trigger. Kinda ****ed up, though.
Many fire types, huh? I have this image in my head that she's used them as a unit to burn out targets many times, and this is the reason for having several.
'Loop of nope' is a slightly irreverant way to describe Jade being triggered, but I chuckled. It's really delicious trauma brain all round, this chapter, actually.
"Flagged for something I've actually done" is a great way to remind us how ****ed up Starr's history is. We already know she attended a massacre of teenagers, and saw her torture a 14yo, but I'm waiting for her to reveal something even more awful that she's done.
Starr being legit impressed at illegal trainership is a nice moment. It's good banter! I like that she's so good at slipping into comfortable jesting and jockeying despite awful, awful, awful things on her mind. It's a good character trait. Also, Duskcore.
Jade, you are truly a dumbass! Get a diploma in dumbassery, you have all the qualifications. Starr is literally holding a pile of money.
Sleepy train rides are good. Really felt the vibe. This chapter was less 'essay on Osaka' than you'd led me to believe, I actually found it all really natural and grounding. Love to see bacon pancakes pop up in the fic.
That was a rough moment with Chibi. He's becoming the weapon he was created to be, I guess. I know that surely he'll recover some eventually but it's tasty to see him so angry and shut down right now. I love Jade for trying so hard with him, and feeling so bad.
New outfit and no flinching! This is a very good scene, I love a few things about it but particularly how it plays on Jade's compartmentalisation of Astrid and Starr.
Starr's guilt! Jade's trauma! It's absolutely delicious to read. I think I'd have preferred a more consistent nightmare, it feels a little spread thin over many characters taunting Jade, but it was still good and I really loved how out of it Jade was afterwards and how she manages to open up about what's on her mind despite Starr's resistance. I loved how Starr is so affected by it and desperate to shut it out but talks about her feelings anyway and Jade both sympathises and begrudges because this **** is complicated. It was an exceptionally good scene, imo. Big fan of Starr's willingness to start making up for things in small ways, that "five years?" comment especially. Oh, Starr. I know you care.
"Forced out of us" is a great line. I'm a huge fan of this kind of indirectly brutal communication, the way Jade can say something with no explicit link to the awful experience they're trying to move away from and still be saying "the reason you couldn't get useful information out of me by electrocuting me repeatedly was because I was a child and nobody trusted me with useful information." She's saying "you tortured me for nothing." It really hurts my heart, like everything in this fic lately!
Stalker scene was good, I'm fascinated by what must be going on inside his head and to what extent he's basically just grooming Jade to be an asset in his war. Very excited to finally learn a little more about his name and whole deal! Also delighted to hear more about Mewtwo's escape, which I've been anticipating for a while and which I'm crediting as the main reason Jade and Starr aren't already dead or imprisoned.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat who writes stories
Here we go, with ch27!

I had a feeling Stalker was still an active Rocket member and this explains why there's such a rift between the forces, I guess! I fiure I was supposed to believe he was a defector, but I always assumed he was still very much integrated and that his goal was specifically to prevent the use of Legendaries rather than to take down the team. Wish I'd called it!
He calls her Astrid, he calls her loyal. He knows how to get a rise out of her, it seems.
I too am impressed with Jade! Demanding answers and getting them, you go, kid!
Ajia is so central to the events of the revolt! What a story! She's very impressive, but I still don't like her emotional wellbeing credentials.
Who is the Kanto commander? I am fascinated by this 'strongest trainer ever' reputation. It also occurs to me, how does Team Rocket recruit so many extraordinary individuals? It sure seems like a tremendously powerful organisation.
"Treason" is an interesting word to use. Yet again with the implication that Team Rocket is sovereign and not an insurgent group itself. What does Giovanni believe in?
Executions, huh. Rough to think of Starr murdering people, rough to think of her gunning down prisoners in cold blood. Or worse.
Starr knew about this guy all along and couldn't do anything, huh? She's been under some intense and sustained stress for one hell of a long time. Her only reasonable play was to keep out of trouble, but she's under pressure as the boss' daughter to perform. A no-win scenario, to be sure.
Kinda love how mad both Ajia and Starr are at Sebastian, but for different reasons (save for the shared distate at his chessmastery).
Starr cares about doing **** yourself and taking the heat yourself because she had to, and Sebastian is a puppeteer. I can't imagine her ever expecting someone to do something distasteful for her, and she seems to have fully internalised that if you mess up, you must be punished. I wonder how many times she's been punished, and in what ways. I guess we'll find out.
Sebastian has his own agenda, naturally! I mean, was there really ever any doubt?
Also, why haven't the pantheon obliterated TR by now?
Oh wait, they're doing exactly that. Really enjoy how Ajia gets the same memo via telepathy.
Also, Ajia is a chosen! Many thoughts on this, but I was too tired to type them up.
Starr cares about atrocities, and dead innocents. Love to see some moral backbone in a recovering villain, even if the bar is incredibly low on this one.
Stalker's departing words are very interesting. What a manipulator! Bet he thinks he can still get his claws in Jade by appealing to her need to be considered significant. Which I don't know if Starr and Ajia are going to give her considering how much she's still in their shadow. I mean, Stalker even credits the Mewtwo mission to Jade, here, even though it was very nearly 100% on Ajia, and I think he hopes it will make Jade feel loyalty.
Ajia is pretty based! Best of luck to you, you mad trainer.
Starr will join! Wonderful. Very excited for that.
Love how Mew just pops up and starts chatting to them. No biggie. She's seen some crazy ****, probably.
Looking forward to the next!
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat who writes stories
What a long ****ing read ch28 was! Really enjoyed it. Here goes.

Lugia time! Problems on purpose! The chapter art is especially gorgeous, and I'm very excited for the famed large horrible superpowered goose creature and all the terrible decisions they're gonna make!
Holy **** this is one hell of a conflict. It reminds me of the destruction of Midnight Stadium and the first kid deaths. The destruction of city blocks and the presumed death or injury of many, many civilians is a rough thing to take even sympathising with the Legendaries as one might do at this point. I'm anticipating that some of them may be not just assholes, but close to or outright malevolent, given that this is how the so-far-sympathetic Mewtwo and the soon-to-be-Team-Jade Lugia are behaving.

Mew is sad! Instantly likable little kitty, worrying about the wellbeing of petty mortals. I wonder whether she's actually a moral paragon, since I suspect the prominent legendaries will be more complicated than that.
Jade is so good and she's out of her depth like never before. Really enjoying that she's heading into this with really nasty odds, and I'm proud of her for how far she's come. This is so intense.
"People are dying, Twenty-four" is such a line and I love it. Just putting it down flat. Really enjoy Aros' little reboot of confusion as everything tells him to go save the day instead of taking revenge.
"List of conversations owed" is a great concept and I'm looking forward to seeing some of those overdue discussions. Will one of them be about Firestorm's strength fixation?

Don't get killed, Jade! Starr needs you to stay alive or she'll have ****-all to live for. I suspect Starr is gonna be pretty damn dedicated to Jade's survival, considering it's her lifeline to not being totally irretrievable as a person.
Cool combat and orders! Really like that Starr is able to command a specific focus-fire with a handful of syllables. That's fantastic stuff.
Interlopers sure aren't wanted by every Legendary, huh? Since there are seven Legendaries choosing human partners, that leaves an awful lot of Legendaries who aren't doing that. Even if only the first four or five generations of Legendary are relevant to the conflict, that's a huge number of them who aren't throwing their lot in with that gambit.

Master ball cannons are not allowed! Jade Arens says so! D:<
Mewtwo captured himself, huh? Kinda genius. I really enjoy this sort of thing, I know I loved this kind of idea when I was writing fanfic in the mid 2000s and all that. It feels weirdly nostalgic.
Healing Moltres and Articuno repeatedly sounds pretty terrifying. Lugia is clearly on a different level, but the power levels on display combined with restorative aid makes for an unassailable foe if not disrupted.
Love the inventive use of sandstorm. Always a big fan of moves being used to do useful things and not just fill out a battle scene.

The evolution of both Swift and Firestorm was ****ing sick. That fight was intense, and I was delighted to see Jade in a serious duel at last, against a tough opponent no less!
I AM YELLING. OH MY GOD, FIRESTORM. That was so brutal. That was so sickeningly cathartic. This is incredibly FI-core oh my god?
Hey, nice, Jade is horrified but relieved. Good reactions. Looks like Firestorm is more messed up than anticipated, but the freakout tracks perfectly well with his strength fetishism and general obsessiveness. Excited to learn more, see him recover (or get worse...)
Swift is once again the MVP! He is so excellent. What a lovely bird dude. Wholesome. why would you ship jadestorm when you could instead ship swiftjade
Also, we're finally past the banner art! With Swift and Firestorm at their final evolutionary stages besides megas (), that gorgeous art of Jade in Rocket uniform runnin with her team is now fully in the past! I'm guessing Lugia is gonna be the sixth team member, of course, leaving her with three fliers for those essential Chibi-brand aerial combats and fraught flights.

Jade you idiot! You have no plan at all! Did she not even think about the consequences of this or consider running the plan by anyone at all? Oh my god, she just wants to be significant, doesn't she? She wants to make a difference. Oh no.
I love Chibi for being so protective of her. He does care! He ****ing slapped a god in the face to save her life. Bless you, you little edgy pikachu.
Lugia is... probably probing Jade's mind, right? Otherwise they'd just beam her again and get it right this time. That, or they're sparing her by means of torture, I guess, but I think probing is more likely considering the likely imminent addition of Jade to chosen one ranks.
Oops, though~
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat who writes stories
It's TIME to review Ch29!
Fantastic art, as always. Really like this one.
"Someone's charizard" is pretty rough. She's not thinking of him as Firestorm right now, huh.
She got whumped HARD. Damn. Really enjoying the consequent pain and hardship.
Chibi was LYING, he DID care!! I am tearing up at this.
Psychic torture, huh? I wonder if that was really the goal. I'm not really expecting the attack to have been meant as a punitive measure. Big frowns at Lugia if so.
Get your ****ing license, Jade. Go do it. ****'s sake!
HANDHOLDING! Love a bit of platonic handholding.
Starr: Please don't make me fight TR, but I will follow you anywhere-
Jade: Nah, I'm good, lmao.
I love them.
Ajia's not really part of a big resistance, huh. It never felt like she was recieving orders or coordinating efforts the way Stalker was, but it's a pretty decent surprise that the Johto resistance straight-up doesn't exist. And Jade thinks she's 'supposed' to be a big brave bold invincible hero, who doesn't feel fear. Oh man. Ajia's still just a kid with talent and boldness, though.
Starr saying "we" about TR, Jade calling her on it. I have a soft spot for that trope. Wonder how long it'll take for Starr to drop such things.
Lmfao six other people to help Ajia. Has she met any of them? ...mayb.
"Thanks or whatever" lmfao can you be sincere and vulnerable for three seconds
Love the banter between these three. The dynamic feels complete. It's like the story's been waiting to reunite them this whole time. I love each of them anyway, but bouncing off each other is a total delight. Aaaaaa!
I like that Jade fusses about the state Firestorm will be in and immediately wants to recall him. She's so bothered by this, of course. Reasonable.
His shame at failing to protect his trainers and at losing control and her shame at not helping him through his issues or appreciating him before he'd killed someone. It hurts, but it's delicious, and I hope they're both okay. x
He's taller! Maybe she'll think of him differently now that she has to look up to him a bit.
Learn to fly, Firestorm! Oh, how wonderful. What a lovely ending to this chapter. My heart.
 

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
Hot damn uA I'm still in awe of how quickly you chewed through Book 1 and your comments have been an absolute delight. I know I've already said as much in DMs, but I just wanted to say it again. x3

Got some specific replies for Sike too:
Well that was certainly fascinating! I enjoyed getting a look at Sebastian's thought processes; I feel like I understand him more, but not too much more at once, if that makes sense?
That's about what I was aiming for! :D A sense that we understand him better, but that there's still a whole heck of a lot that we're missing.
I have pretty much no doubt that he could've climbed the ladder just fine without a magic dragonplane on his side; there just wasn't time to dawdle around like that, and he knew it.
Magic dragonplane just accelerated the process. :V
Nice nightmare scenes, especially the latter one. Heck yeah, body horror. :D
Yessss, the body horror was 100% spontaneous, but once I got the idea, I couldn't let it go. >:3
Also I liked the little moment of semi-lucidity he had in that dream (thinking about Latias despite not having her yet in the time period where most of the dream took place and subsequently wondering why he would think he had her). What a cool, realistic detail. I'm not exactly a stickler for fictional dreams actually working the way real ones might, but when they do, it's extra neat. :D
I'm a huge fan of moments where someone's dream self suddenly questions the dream logic because that always stands out to me in my own dreams, so I knew I had to have fun with the fact that this extended flashback began and ended with a dream sequence.
Coincidence? Red herring? Maybe. Maybe not. Time may tell...
Haha, that's pretty great that the text generator put that there. xD
Also, it was great to get a little better acquainted with his team! Silvan's kind of adorkable, and Vesta and Kaida are precious together (especially the cute autumn snuggles!).
Dragon snuggles was clearly the most important part of this chapter. *nods*

Thanks tons for the read n' reply! Got a small extra that I'm aiming to publish tomorrow!

~Chibi~
 

Chibi Pika

Stay positive
~Chapter 47 Extra: Masks~

Lexx tapped his foot against the park bench that he was leaning against, humming a tune while idly scrolling through posts on his phone. Nothing too engaging, and he was only half paying attention to any of it. Maybe the news would be more interesting. The destruction of Sootopolis was still the hot-button topic of the day, and he was somewhat curious to see what the mainstream news had to say about it. Did they have any clue what it was really about?

“*I’m bored. When’s she getting here?*” a voice spoke from his shoulder.

Lexx gave the Pichu an amused glance. “Shouldn’t be too long.” It wasn’t like Ajia to be late for things, and she did have access to perfect long-range teleportation, after all.

Still, she was late. Five minutes, to be exact. Pichu gestured suddenly, and Lexx glanced up to see Ajia walking toward them, illuminated by the street lamps. He waved, and her expression flickered slightly. Only a second betrayed the fact that she wasn’t happy to see him.

Her Pichu’s eyes lit up, and she leaped from Ajia’s shoulder to race down the path toward them. His own Pichu jumped down to greet her. The two siblings exchanged a few sparks from their cheeks, then immediately took off chasing each other through the tall grass.

“How is everyone?” Lexx asked, and he sounded genuine. His mask was already up.

Ajia had been expecting him to ask something like that, but that still didn’t make it any easier to give him an answer. “Starr’s livid, and Jade’s worried sick because one of her Pokémon was badly hurt during the Aqua battle.”

Lexx frowned. “Ah geez. I was trying to not hit you guys,” he said, rubbing the back of his head. “I mean, you know it wasn’t anything personal, right?”

Ajia sighed exasperatedly. “That doesn’t make it better.”

Lexx turned away. There was a part of him that knew that. He had to come up with something that would help. “It’s not like my life wasn’t on the line,” he offered. “Pretty sure Raven was out for my throat. Probably still is.”

Ajia gave him a sideways glance. Either she was failing to keep her frustration behind the mask, or this was the amount she was allowing him to see.

That’s how their game always went. Pretend everything was fine. Chat the way they always used to, leaving their allegiances aside. Then, when it was done, they’d go back to serving their sides like nothing had changed. That was just how things were. He hadn’t had any reason to assume that would ever change.

And yet, it had.

He needed to fill the silence. Maybe Ajia would find this interesting: “Jade stopped by yesterday.”

Ajia paused, looking wary. “She did?”

“Yeah. Think she mostly just wanted to chew out Seb,” he added.

Ajia smirked. “Good for her.”

Lexx crossed his arms behind his head. “Seb might’ve told her some things that you don’t know yet. You might wanna ask later.”

Ajia gave him a look that was hard to read. “More like he was trying to manipulate her into believing more of his garbage.”

Lexx waved a hand dismissively. “Nah, she wasn’t having any of it, from what I could tell.”

Ajia smiled, looking rather too pleased. “Good.”

He tiled his head. “Would it really be so bad if she agreed with him, though?”

Ajia was ready for that one. “You know, there’s times where I feel like Starr’s right about you,” she said, and the words cut deeper than he wanted to admit.

“Really? That’s no fun,” Lexx said, playing it off with an overly-defeated face. “I don’t even mind that she hates me, it just sucks being ignored.”

“You know, if you’d just apologize…”

Lexx was quiet for a bit. “Doesn’t feel right to apologize for something I’d do again,” he said simply.

Ajia gave him a hard stare. “You know what she went through because of it, right?” Her words were firm, but still gentle, in that way that she’d perfected. Precision-engineered to reach through his chest and dig into his heart.

Lexx broke eye contact first, and he had the distinct feeling he’d lost that round. “It’s complicated,” he just said.

Ajia shook her head with a faint smile. “I know those sympathy ploys better than anyone.”

Lexx gave a crooked smile. “Not a ploy this time,” he said. But then his gaze hardened. “Seb’s my friend, Ajia.”

“I thought I was your friend.” The mask slipped. Some of the hurt leaked into her voice.

“You are,” he replied quickly, rubbing the back of his head. “I don’t want you to get hurt either. It’s just… well, like I said… complicated.”

Ajia lifted her eyes to meet his. “Does he really see you as a friend, or just another pawn?”

Lexx chuckled slightly, shaking his head. “Ajia. Your tricks aren’t going to work on me like they did with Starr.”

Neither of them spoke for some time after that. Ajia stared out at the half-moon hanging low in the sky ahead of them. Several times, she almost found the right words, but then decided against them.

“Look at us,” she said finally. “Neither of us believe a word the other one says. How did this happen?”

Lexx leaned back against the park bench, following Ajia’s example and staring up at the sky. “You guys could work together with us. Offer’s still on the table.”

Ajia sighed deeply. It had been a long, long time since she’d found that tempting. “I can’t. Not after knowing what he’s planning.”

“Do you really—” Lexx stopped, thinking better of it. Ajia must have considered pressing further, but in the end, she didn’t.

“There’s probably gonna come a time when you’ll have to,” he finally answered.

Ajia fought back a shiver. “I don’t like thinking about that.”

“Seb’s got good reason for not explaining everything,” Lexx said, suddenly fixing her with a serious look. “I’m sure you can relate.”

Ajia grimaced. “I’ve been trying to break that habit. Lying to people to keep them safe. That’s not who I want to be. And besides, he’s not lying to us for our sake. His lies only ever make things worse for everyone. It’s not the same at all.”

Lexx gave her a playful smirk. “Ah come on, that’s not fair. You know we’re not like, trying to make people miserable or anything.”

“That’s what’s happening, though.”

Lexx flinched. He’d crossed a line, and he knew it. But had he really had a choice? They needed to beat the Kanto force no matter what. Nothing else mattered. Right?

Maybe...

Lexx struggled to think of the right words. All the usual confidence had slipped through his fingers behind the mask. “Look. I don’t like things being like this either. So… how about this: I’ll tell you something Sebastian doesn’t want anyone to know yet.”

Ajia shook her head softly. “You know I can’t believe that.”

“You don’t have to,” he said earnestly, holding both palms out. “You can just sort of… think it over and decide if you want to use it or not.”

The wind rustled through the trees, punctuated by the occasional jolt from the two Pichu racing around through the tall grass. They’d been at their game ever since Ajia showed up. For them, everything was simple. It didn’t have to be so complicated. No layers of secrets and lies. No masks.

“Alright. Let’s hear it.”
 
Last edited:

Sike Saner

Peace to the Mountain
So I initially parsed the title as "Extra Masks" and my brain went to a Hollow Knight place for a few seconds. :V

Anyway! "What he's planning", Ajia says. "He" being Seb? The dialogue that followed seemed to suggest that might be the case. I guess the next question is, what's the "what". Sebastian is a talented son of a gun. Can't guess what he could be up to as such, not precisely. Not even vaguely, come to think of it.

Also:

Ajia lifted her eyes to meet his. “Does he really see you as a friend, or just another pawn?”

Lexx chuckled slightly, shaking his head. “Ajia. Your tricks aren’t going to work on me like they did with Starr.”
Answer the question, Lexx. Or does he even know the answer?
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat who writes stories
Ch30
Gorgeous art!! Always gorgeous art, but damn.
So, this is the end of Book 1!! I really did demolish it, as you say. If anything, I'm gonna get faster now.
Jade is a real trainer! What a journey, from failing her exam to having a big team of evolved and powerful pokémon and travelling far from home with her friends. I'm so proud and happy for her I'm getting teary.
Telling the experiments goodbye is a touching scene in its way. They're still oppositional assholes, but they have obviously become fond of her, even if they won't show it.
Swift and Firestorm are proud of her! Okay, now I'm really emotional.
Negotiations! The experiments are all tsunderes and I love them. You little shits, just admit you care about the human already.
Get hype for a great journey! I know it'll go wrong, but for now I'm hype!
That moment with Chibi is genuinely so touching. What a great character. I know he's like, got that edgy dA OC vibe and you missed your chance to give him a reasonable name, but I don't care. I love the birdchu.
This is the best I felt I've understood Rudy and Darren so far. Really enjoyed their scenes with Jade this chapter.
Love the growlithe fight, and the way it just feels like this is how pokémon journies are meant to be, with Ebony having fun and fights being to bond and test strength. It's so much sweeter after all the pain to date.
Buizel seems fun! Looking forward to having her around.
Lmfao Jade is still a dumbass with no ability to plan. Has she never thrown a pokéball before? Nice catch, idiot. I love her.
Can't believe I'm finally this far through. It was a wonderful experience, and definitely a complete 'book' in its own right.
I'm proud and hopeful and and and I love this ****ing fic holy ****.

Ch31
Hooray! Excitement to begin Book 2, excitement for some serious competitive battling.
Jet already having evolved makes for a good timeskip demonstration. Good choice, there.
Lol I already know T Fang is coming from the cover art. Jet is possibly ****ed here.
"Our opponent was still huge metal snake" missing the indefinite article 'a' here, bud
Four moves does matter, I see. Interesting. I'm only learning this now, and only in the next chapter am I learning it's four moves per battle rather than four moves possible to remember at any one time. That's really interesting.
Jet only knows water moves but they each matter!! I actually love that. It's way too specialised to be worthwhile in the games, but in this fic it provides a lot of tactical options. I really love that, the way I love how smokescreen and scary face and so on actually have utility.
80LBS OF SOGGY AFFECTION. I love Jet.
The various pokémon and human banter makes me really happy, I feel wonderful and kinda like everything is about to go wrong, but maybe not just yet. It's comforting for them to be getting on each other's case in such a friendly, low stakes way.
"Weren't hoping to be in the battle weren't you" reduplicated 'weren't's there, bud
Lol Book 1 is just Jade telling Jet things over the course of their journey I guess.
It has been SO LONG with nothing coming of Jade's weird rock. what. When are we gonna get Legendary Bullshit. I'm frankly amazed she hasn't so much as done a little idle research into it.

Ch32
Hooray for sick stadiums and battles! Definitely an exciting change of pace, and good to see what high level battling is like in a regulated environment. The note about high powered moves being forbidden in certain areas is a fun piece of worldbuilding.
Stygian vs Pupitar! I really loved the way Pupitar is so indifferent even before reachin her final stage, and her interesting method of propulsion. Definitely a surprising match.
Aros vs Nidoking! Pretty rough for Jade to **** up an entire move choice like that. Poor Aros will be humiliated.
Firestorm vs Tauros! I liked that Jade fell to more or less the same trap as last time, because she's a slow learner. I feel like I don't tend to see that in fiction, with protagonists usually adapting fast. Also I snorted hard at Firestorm hurting himself in his confusion. Excellent moment.
All in all, those were really fun battles to read. I felt like a real spectator. Great stuff, Battles Georg.
Rudy is better at pokéspeech because Jade made it cool! I love that! How wonderful, bless, oh my god. I'm delighted.
Starr bickering is the best part of this chapter lmfao she's so grumpy all the damn time. Friendship is so based.
Hype for next chapter!
 
Top