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The Missing One [complete story-wise, polishing the text]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Marika_CZ, Apr 23, 2018.

  1. Marika_CZ

    Marika_CZ Well-Known Member

    THE MISSING ONE
    (A three part short story)

    Synopsis: A young Pokémon trainer wakes up one day realizing that the world has been changed somehow. Furthermore an unknown person has disappeared. The trainer has no idea how this happened or who is the missing person - but he sets out to discover the truth. However his wealthy parents and/or their guests are watching and they might be involved...

    EDIT: All three parts are now slightly revised based on Negrek's and Cutlerine's feedback (to improve the slow pace of the original opening). Also, hopefully most grammar errors are gone now (If any of you happen to invent a time machine, please do me a favor and kill the bastard who invented the articles in the english language!)

    Characters: Original ones, Valerie and Lillie (see below for more details)

    Genre: Mystery / Drama

    Rating: T (mild violence and swearing)

    Author's notes:
    The story follows mainstream Pokémon games continuity, NOT animé and manga ones (especially in regards to non-OC's character development). I have posted this story on my blog and a couple of other sites under my other name, WanderingKalosan.

    Unlike my Strážce Giratiny (EN: Guardian of Giratina) project, this one has been written on a whim, with just proof reading (but little to no beta reading by native speakers). I am doing my best but English is not my native language. There might be some awkward sounding sentences or phrases here and there. I will be grateful if you point those out. I won't be offended as long as your criticism is polite.

    The story is written in Whodunit style. The villain's identity is hidden and the main character investigates in an attempt to unmask them. Clues (both the right and the false ones) are scattered throughout the chapters/parts so that attentive, smart reader has a chance to unmask the villain themselves before the BIG REVEAL! scene occurs. I promise not to change the ending even if somebody figures it out (although if that is the case please don't spoil it for others - thank you!).

    The image of Kaimi & Mew is a commission made by Mosby.


    The Cornelly household, with their guests on the fateful Saturday
    (Laverre City, Kalos):

    Kaimi Cornelly (15)
    Richard Cornelly (52): his father and Regional VP of Sales in Poké Ball Factory
    Dana Cornelly (38): Kaimi's mother and Richard's wife, socialite

    The guests:
    Susan Vaughan (53): Richard's sister and semi-famous novelist
    Simon Vaughan (58): Susan's husband and unsuccessful businessman

    Valerie (age unknown): Lavarre City gym leader from Kalos
    Lillie (age unknown): Lavender Town gym leader from Kanto​
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
  2. Marika_CZ

    Marika_CZ Well-Known Member


    [​IMG]
    PART 1
    That fateful Saturday morning Kaimi opened his eyes. He realized something very strange: The world has changed somehow, as if some spiteful deity cast a spell over the whole region when everyone was asleep. The problem was he couldn't put his finger on it.

    The world was changed drastically and yet he couldn't tell what exactly was different. Then there was another mystery - he was sure a person disappeared from the world, yet he couldn't tell who or how important they were.

    And if all this was true, why on earth does he have these feelings of a change? Did this unknown force make a mistake? Or did it make him vaguely remember something was amiss - on a purpose? Kaimi got up but he didn't move away from his bed, lost in these strange thoughts. He started to recount some basic facts about his life to make sure he wasn't crazy.

    He was still Kaimi Cornelly, a fifteen year old living with his rich parents in Kalos region. They recently moved from Lumiose City to Laverre City because his father wanted to be closer to his job, to which he was married more so than to Kaimi's mother.

    His stern father Richard was the Regional Vice President of Sales in the Poké Ball Factory, aged fifty two. Nothing felt different about him. Maybe it was something about his yesterday party...

    That's right, his yesterday's "party...,"
    Kaimi thought.

    It was the reason why they had guests sleeping over. To promote a new kind of Poké Ball that his company has been working on for the past two years, his father invited two gym leaders to their house to have an exhibition Pokémon battle using those very Poké Balls. The whole event was framed by a snobbish party with lots of fine talk and wine, complete with paparazzi joining in on the "fun." If it wasn't for the two gym leaders - Valerie and Lillie - and their spectacular battle that he cheered on, the whole evening would be just an excruciating exercise in boredom. Most guests left around midnight but Valerie and Lillie stayed overnight for their own reasons.

    Kaimi of course knew all about gym leaders (being a Pokémon trainer himself). Lillie was his heroine and Valerie was a well known public figure around Kalos region - praised for her grace and fondness of fashion.

    But the two famous gym leaders weren't the only party guests who slept over. Much to Kaimi's dismay, his father also invited his elder sister Susan along with her husband Simon. Just the thought of them made Kaimi groan.

    Then again, Kaimi should be grateful - at least to his aunt. The only reason Lillie agreed to the exhibition match such a long way away from home was a chance to meet his aunt, whose books Lillie was apparently fan of. If only Kaimi wasn't so shy, a chance to meet his favorite gym leader would be incredible. He didn't want to appear to Lillie like a crazy fan. He was waiting for a natural looking excuse to talk to her instead. Valerie also accepted his father's invite for more or less personal reasons. She was good friend of his socialite mother Dana, who was her greatest supporter in Fairy Fashion Club that Valerie founded a year ago.

    The more he thought of it the more a calculated move it looked like. His father Richard wanted to have expensive looking social event for minimal cost and with little effort. So he invited gym leaders who he knew wouldn't deny him nor cared about reward: Lillie, a fan of his sister's and Valerie, a good friend of his wife. That was typical cold pragmatism his father Richard was master of.

    None of this felt unnatural on the surface, but Kaimi could tell there was some awkward detail missing. Or more precisely, a person was missing. And he just couldn't remember who it was.

    Also why does the whole world feel natural and yet changed in a dramatic way?
    He looked around his room. There was a belt with a single Poké Ball on his desk, containing his Chatot called Axel. Pile of clothes was lying on the ground between the desk and the bed. Kaimi turned to his TV in the corner, with the console next to it. There was his laptop on top of a closet. His cell phone was lying on the windowsill. Everything felt right and normal.

    Finally he went to bathroom to relieve himself and take a shower, but still couldn't brush off those odd thoughts. When he came back to his room and dressed in casual clothes, he realized it was already 10 AM. That meant he missed the group breakfast his father reminded everyone yesterday about - and which was planned for nine o'clock. He had mixed feelings about it. He was glad he missed the uptight snobbish environment, as well as his father and his aunt. On the other hand he also missed his chance to chat with Lillie and Valerie.

    Feeling hungry, he went downstairs to see if he could snatch any leftovers. There was no one in the dining room, but he could hear his mother's and Valerie's voices over in the kitchen. There was also nervous shaky mumbling coming from his father's study - that must have been his uncle Simon. Kaimi quickly grabbed some toasts and a bowl with scrambled eggs. He started munching on it and with his mouth still full, he ran to the other side of the table to pour himself a cup of Latte.

    Being alone and having nothing better to do, his mind returned to the two mysteries of this day. As he listened to his mother's and Valerie's voices, it suddenly downed on him. Oh yes! The missing one used to live in this house with them too! Why would somebody made a member of their household disappear? Who would even care about their family? Unless it was somebody in this household who had a grudge against somebody else... The discovery made him suddenly stop chewing the eggs and toasts and become worried.

    This was feeling weirder by the minute. Kaimi felt like he was a character in a really cheesy mystery drama, whose author was some desperate amateur. The idea that somebody under this roof was actually some sort of mad, reality shaping deity, that was so petty it let another family member vanish for whatever reason, was funny at first. Then he thought about it some more and it started to feel more creepy than funny.

    He swallowed the toasts and eggs, but he didn't feel hungry anymore. Kaimi shoved the plate with the rest of it away, unsure what to do next. However the longer he thought about it, the more it became evident there really was just a single course of action (unless he wanted to pretend everything was alright). According to his father's wishes he was going to be stuck whole day with his parents and their guests. He might as well take the opportunity and observe them. Does any of them behave in a weird way or suspiciously? Do they feel like a different person? Somebody in this house used some sort of crazy reality altering gizmo. There is no way they were going to be unaffected by the results, whether it was a success or a failure.

    With this in mind he stepped inside kitchen to greet his mother and Valerie, intending to join their conversation. I will be able to watch them and their reactions closely that way, he thought.

    Kaimi's mother Dana was ever so busy thirty eight year old socialite. Busy gossiping with fellow members of various hobby clubs she has been a prominent member of, that is. She was jobless and very much enjoying the privileges of having a rich husband. She started out as his father's secretary in his younger rocky days of his career. Who else would fall in love with such a corporate office suit and a workaholic? The only female who supported his ambitions on daily basis, while also being constantly there for him, helpful and caring: A secretary. To her credit, Kaimi preferred his mother over his father any day. At least she wasn't arrogant and it was possible to have a normal chat with her which wouldn't eventually turn into a lecture.

    Kaimi opened the door and what he saw in the kitchen made him smile. It was like a scene from a sitcom. His mother Dana was talking and then talking more and then she kept talking. She had very excited face expression and barely let Valerie reply. She clasped her hands here and there and jumped a bit every time she mentioned something she considered thrilling (Good! His mother apparently didn't change in the slightest, he thought). Valerie was mostly listening and nodding. When allowed to say a word once in a while, she responded very politely - the elegance incarnated (she probably got used to Dana's schmoozing over the year they got to know each other).

    "But sweetie! Really?" Kaimi's mother exclaimed clasping her hands again. "I NEVER would have guessed! Your Sylveon is such a cutie. Absolutely fabulous! I must say, great work!"

    "Thank you, Dana-" Valerie tried to reply.

    "But how did we get to your Pokémon? So silly of me," Kaimi's mother kept pouring more and more words from her mouth threatening to drown everyone in the room in them. "I wanted to ask you about that model you had worn yesterday - you know, before the battle. Such an AMAZING piece. Simply outstanding, sweetie! Did you design it yourself?"

    "Well," Valerie took a breath to answer but wasn't allowed to elaborate anyway.

    "Oh I thought as much!" Kaimi's mother squeaked like she just stumbled upon some exciting new gossip. "You are a fashion genius! Is there any chance I can get that model for myself? Pretty please? Oh sweetie don't torture me so! You know I have soft spot for your style..."

    It was only then when Dana realized her son was in the room.

    "Oh! Good morning, sleepyhead! Hee hee," she said, not even turning her head. Her eyes just moved from Valerie to him for s split of a second. Kaimi recognized this signal very well. That was his mother's subtle Not now, sweetie. One mustn't ruin a fun conversation with mom's friends.

    "Hello, Kaimi." Valerie turned to him with heart-melting smile followed by a polite bow, Johto style.

    Normally Kaimi would just give up and leave, but it was such a great opportunity to watch them both without being interrupted by the others.

    "Um," he said, unsure how to even begin a coherent conversation (and hoping his mother won't just send him back to his room).

    "Sweetie, was there something you needed? Mom is kinda busy here."

    That was less subtle. Knowing her, Dana actually went offensive and was threatening to verbally check-mate him with the next sentence. Kaimi hesitated but Valerie's glowing, welcoming smile encouraged him to continue.

    "Miss Valerie, sorry - I overheard you talking about your Sylveon..." he continued nervously. But then he said to himself, So what? Let's kill two Pidgeys with one Geodude. He will finally be able to talk to Valerie about her Pokémon, her training and at the same time he will be able to watch.

    And so he did talk, ignoring his mother's annoyed glare. He asked about Sylveon's moveset, its diet, Laverre Gym training methods and more. He kept on asking anything that came to his mind. One opening and his mother would outmaneuver him and drown Valerie in questions about fashion instead. He kept at it as long as he could. He was never this chatty in his entire life and indeed surprised his mother and Valerie both. His mother, being a good sport deep down in her heart, eventually gave up on intimidating him and just smiled nicely, letting him chat with the gym leader in peace.

    Kaimi managed to hold the tempo full uninterrupted six minutes straight. During that time he watched carefully Valerie's (and also his mother's) face expressions, body language and reactions. However he was disappointed in the end. His mother was her typical self and Valerie seemed genuinely nice, polite kind-hearted person with passion for Pokémon. However Kaimi didn't know Valerie very well, so this all could have been an impressive act. But it wasn't like he had an option to consult a psychology specialist. And so he simply summarized neither his mother nor Valerie act suspiciously, for now at least.

    Both his mother and Valerie smiled when he left them in the kitchen (Out of kindness or out of relief he was leaving? he wondered). Well it was not a complete waste of time, he consoled himself. After all I now have less suspects than before. As he was leaving the kitchen he spotted his father coming in from the smoking room after his morning cigarette ritual. Kaimi didn't waste any time and dashed upstairs and back to his room. I'm not in the mood for THIS, he thought. If his father caught him, he would probably deliver an angry rant about being late for breakfast again. However he did notice his father looked a bit confused and lost in his own thoughts - which was probably why Kaimi wasn't called back.

    His stern, moody father Richard was the Regional Vice President of Sales in the Poké Ball Factory, aged fifty two. Did we mention he was the Regional Vice President of Sales in the Poké Ball Factory? If not, not to worry - he will be sure to remind everyone. His job was extremely important, full of grave responsibility (and dull as hell). The only member of the Cornelly household who still genuinely cared for him was Tucker, his Herdier. A couple of years back that would also include Kaimi's mother Dana, but not anymore.

    Back in his room, Kaimi grabbed his belt with Axel the Chatot's Poké Ball and put it on. Maybe I shouldn't have run here, he thought. Coward, he accused himself inwardly. You know you have to talk to him sooner or later.

    As he was sitting there musing about his father, a noise at his room's door interrupted his thoughts quite abruptly. It sounded like a Pokémon cry, followed by a feminine "Oh you! Get back to the bag before somebody sees you!"

    Kaimi rushed to the door and opened it, because he recognized the voice right away. It was Lillie, the famous Kanto gym leader... and much to his surprise, the legendary Pokémon Mew.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
  3. Marika_CZ

    Marika_CZ Well-Known Member

    PART 2


    Kaimi was trying to comprehend a rather absurd image in front of him. Lillie the famous Kanto gym leader was in his house at his door... And she had Mew the legendary Pokémon in her possession.

    Lillie was Kaimi's heroine, because from what he could find on-line and from the rumors, she originally didn't intend to be a Pokémon trainer at all. She only got into the battles as a personal quest for growing strong. Just like him! She also traveled a lot. After spending a childhood in Alola, she moved to Kanto and completing her Pokémon journey there, she became a gym leader in a new Lavender Town Gym. Her specialty was a fairy type.

    Mew flew towards dumbfounded Kaimi playfully with a huge smile. However before it could do anything, Lillie called it back to one of her Poké Balls and quickly put it in her bag. "Why did you do that? You never left your Poké Ball on your own like that..." she said in direction of her bag.

    Then Lillie realized Kaimi was staring at her and that she should probably explain herself.

    "Oh, I am sorry," she said with a guilty smile. "You are lady Susan's nephew - Kaimi right? Nice to meet you!" She took his hand and shook it in a gesture of greeting. He was still looking at her bag, containing supposedly a mythical Pokémon, which was obviously very real (unless his eyes deceived him just a second ago).

    "Please don't tell anyone. Will you promise?" Lillie looked at him with sad puppy eyes. "Me and Mew could get into trouble if anyone knew!"

    "Eh... You have a legendary Pokémon..." He finally managed to open his mouth and say something coherent. He still felt a bit dizzy from the unexpected revelation.

    "Yes, and you mustn't tell anyone, please. I don't want anyone to hurt it again. Some weird people had hunted it in the past, you know? Rumors say they used its DNA to artificially create some terrifying Pokémon. Mew doesn't deserve that! I will keep it safe and hidden."

    Kaimi listened to her and thought it was probably the most humble, altruistic approach towards a legendary Pokémon he ever heard. His heroine was even more impressive than he thought. If he owned a Mew, he would definitely brag about it everywhere.

    "I don't get it... Why did Mew just leave the Poké Ball and went down the hall like that?" Lillie asked, interrupting Kaimi's thoughts. "Gosh, that reminds me of Alola a few years back. I wonder how Nebby is doing...?" She became lost in her memories, not realizing she was confusing her host's son again.

    "Uh... Alright, I guess," Kaimi said.

    "Alright what?"

    "You have my promise. I won't tell anyone," he explained."

    "Oh, thank you! You are the best!" She smiled again.

    Kaimi realized this was another good opportunity. Now that Lillie owed him a little bit, he could ask her anything he always wanted (as well as watch if there was anything odd about her). And he did. Like with Valerie before, he buried Lillie with questions about herself and her Pokémon.

    They lost track of time, talking about Lillie's journey through Kanto and how she became a gym leader there. Lillie was visibly happy to share the story and as far as Kaimi could say, there was nothing suspicious about her either, except for her legendary Pokémon. Wait. Could THAT be related to what is going on? Nah. He just couldn't imagine Lillie as some insane mastermind with reality altering powers. That was just ridiculous. If anything, she would be a victim of it. Heck, the fact she met and caught a Mew could be the great change I felt before.

    Kaimi's parents and Valerie appeared upstairs and began walking towards them, possibly heading for the living room. It meant they would pass by him and Lillie. Kaimi moaned inwardly. He should have invited Lillie inside his room, instead of just chatting in the hall. Now he had to deal with his father. But this day was apparently full of never ending surprises. His father barely noticed him as he walked by with Kaimi's mother and Valerie. He was frowning and lost in his thoughts, looking worried. Kaimi's mother and Valerie just smiled as they passed Lillie and her eagerly listening fan, following Kaimi's father to the living room.

    Lillie's bag suddenly rocked, making her stop in the middle of excited description of Saffron City Gym.

    "Oh no, now what?!" Lillie whispered, expecting Mew to come out of a Poké Ball again. However it didn't and nothing else happened. Kaimi's parents and Valerie disappeared behind the corner in the meantime. Lillie hurriedly finished her description, noting: "I really have to go now. I promised Mr. Cornelly to join him and Valerie at 11 AM."

    And with that she ran after the group that just passed, shouting "It was nice to talk to you, Kaimi!" before she disappeared too. Kaimi was left alone with his thoughts again.

    He didn't think there was anything wrong with Lillie (except for Mew of course). Instead he grew interested in his father's behavior today. Unlike his mother and the gym leaders, he sure was acting strange. Moping around the house absent minded and frowning silently - that was definitely not the father he knew. Could he be behind it? He sure was a person used to get what he wanted. If there was something he desired, he would lay out a perfect plan with precise timing - no matter how daring - and then execute it with the cool stoicism. And then he would tell everyone how very clever that was. On the other hand, he would never turn into an absent minded worrier - not even if the plan ended in a failure. Something must have bothered him a lot. Maybe his scheme had unexpected results, or by-products? Or perhaps the great change affected his personality somehow? Well, there is one way to find out - let's go see him and force a civil chat. Then again, he had something to discuss with the gym leaders. Interrupting them during business talk didn't seem like the best idea.

    A hand landed on Kaimi's shoulder making him jump in a surprise. It was his mother, Dana.

    "Sweetie, are you alright?" she asked with a concerned face. She evidently left Kaimi's father to talk work with the gym leaders alone and came back to check on him instead. "You know, you are acting strange today. Is something the matter?"

    He wasn't sure if he should tell her about his feelings on the mysterious change. He didn't want her to think he was crazy, but he also had to say something to placate her. So he gave her a short, vague version about his suspicions. He mentioned that it was probably nothing, hoping she would brush it off.

    "That sounds kinda odd." his mother said, still concerned. "You are making your mom nervous, sweetie. Please don't do anything rash or dangerous, okay?"

    He promised her that, despite not having any intentions to keep the promise. His mother then left him with much more optimistic look, going to the stairs and picking up her cell phone on the way.

    As soon as she was out of the sight, Kaimi went to find his aunt and uncle. His father was busy with the gym leaders at the time, so he decided to use the time by talking to the other two people on his imaginary list. However it actually took quite a lot of effort to find his visiting relatives. Kaimi heard his uncle downstairs in his father's study before, but now there was no one in the room. There was no one in the dining room, the smoking room or the entrance hall either. Only the kitchen wasn't empty; he could hear his mother on the phone with someone. Kaimi walked to the garden to look around. He had no luck there either. There was only Tucker, his father's Herdier. It was chasing some Fletchlings and barking loudly. Kaimi returned to the house. His aunt and uncle must be upstairs then.

    "Good morning, is this Pixie Dust...?" He overheard his mother making another call from the kitchen as he ran up the stairs.

    He almost bumped into his uncle who was just leaving bathroom with his cell phone at his ear.

    "Sorry!" Kaimi exclaimed.

    Aunt Susan's husband Simon was a quiet nervous wreck in his fifty eight. He has been everything really - a retail owner, an accountant, a business middle manager (not for long), a security guard (much longer), his wife's editor (for about two weeks), and also "mental health consultant" - a title nobody understood. The only role in his life he didn't fail at, was his wife's obedient and supportive care taker.

    "Damnit, boy! Watch your step!" his uncle Simon shouted. Then he calmed down and started to look nervous and worried. "W-what are you doing here anyway? Listening on private conversations?"

    "What?" Kaimi replied, confused. "No, I wasn't-"

    "Silence! Now run along you. I, uh... need to make some, erm... calls. With someone. None of your business!"

    Well, another person who acts weird today,
    Kaimi thought as he walked away, leaving his uncle alone. He looked back and realized his uncle was eying him with a very strange face expression. It seemed like a mixture of concern, surprise and... something else. The problem was he couldn't put his finger on it.

    Finally Kaimi passed his room, walked around the corner, passed the living room (hearing his father's and Lillie's voices, but not Valerie's for some reason) and arriving at the guest bedroom. That specific one was used by his aunt and uncle. Kaimi thought his aunt might be inside. Hopefully I will be able to talk to her alone. He was thinking of some excuse to start the conversation as he knocked on the door. When his aunt's voice invited him in, he opened it.

    His aunt Susan was fifty three years old semi-famous fiction writer who thought art overshadowed every single other aspect of human existence. She was such a snob that Kaimi's father paled in comparison. In fact he suspected his father may have spent his entire life trying to impress her and has just kept failing. Aunt Susan couldn't be ever impressed by anything simply because she considered herself too great and her work too flawless for mortal beings to comprehend (even though her younger brother was much more wealthy these days).

    "Ah, it's you," Kaimi's aunt noted disappointingly when he walked in. She sat behind a desk with her laptop open. "Is it time for lunch already?" Before he could reply, she scanned his casual outfit from tip to toe and continued with an audible annoyance: "Are you going to the town in THAT? Dear Arceus..."

    "Um, no - not lunch, I mean," Kaimi reacted. "I just thought I could ask you something. Please?"

    "Oh?" She raised her eyebrows. "I can't imagine you and me having anything in common, boy. But sure, I will humor you. Ask your question."

    Screw you too,
    he thought. As superior and better than everyone as ever!

    "It is about Lillie. I understand you two have talked?" He said aloud, desperately trying to control his real emotions. His aunt Susan, whose attention went back to the on-line review of her latest book in the meantime, looked back at him again and chuckled.

    "Puberty is such a lovely phase of the childhood. This is exactly why I never wanted to have children. Shouldn't you talk about that with your father instead?" she ranted, obviously losing interest fast and reading the review again.

    Definitely screw you,
    he thought.

    "That is not what I meant," Kaimi sighed. So far it was his aunt at her best - no changes there. He wanted to continue but his aunt suddenly looked at him again, this time with a very stern look in her eyes.

    "No, you didn't. I doubt you even knew what you wanted yourself. What is this? You never talk to me, unless you have to. Now you suddenly walk on me and ask these random questions about that annoying pest of a girl - Lillie, was it? What are you playing at, boy? What are you really up to?"

    Very definitely screw you
    , he thought and realized it might be a good idea to retreat for now. Caught off guard, he mumbled some lame excuse and started to slowly walk back.

    "Right," his aunt said, obviously not convinced and suspicious of him. Her eyes kept watching him until he closed the door behind him.

    Ugh, that didn't go so well,
    Kaimi thought. But at least he knew his aunt was completely her usual self and less likely to be involved in this. He walked back to his room, closed the door behind him and sat on the bed. What now? Should he wait for his father to be alone and have a chat with him too? Kaimi wasn't exactly thrilled by the idea, especially after the unpleasant talk with his aunt Susan.

    He was sitting there for a while, until he heard voices passing by his room's door. It was Valerie, Lillie and aunt Susan. He could tell, because Lillie was asking something excitedly and received a grumpy, short answer. Valerie then promptly asked something else (probably in an attempt to avoid a tense conversation). So, father is alone right now. I guess it is now or never, Kaimi thought.

    He waited until the three women's voices moved to the stairs. Then he left his room. He headed for the living room. Once at its doorstep, he could hear his father walking in the room. But before he knocked on the door, he heard his uncle shouting. It came from the guest room where Kaimi talked to his aunt just a while ago. Curious, Kaimi approached the guest room door and listened.

    "I AM CALM, OKAY?!" Uncle Simon yelled. Then he probably realized he was being too loud, because his next sentence was quieter and notably more nervous. Kaimi had to hug the door to hear him clearly.

    "Look, I... I don't know how. But he does know. All that snooping around... I guess he found something. Now he knows. I can't go on like this. We have to do something about him..."

    Kaimi made a few steps back in a shock, driving off the urge to gasp loudly. Uncle Simon? The nervous wreck who could never do anything right? No way! At yet, what I heard seconds ago was pretty much a proof of guilt.

    He kept backing until he was at the door to the living room again. What to do?! It just occurred to him he never thought about what he would do, if he ever discovered the truth. How was he supposed to revert anything that uncle Simon changed?

    Heck, how do I even make people believe I'm not crazy?
    He thought.

    As he was standing there, feeling lost and helpless, the door to the living room opened.

    "Oh! It is you, Kaimi." It was his father, still looking a bit absent minded and worried. "Actually this is a good timing. Would you come to the living room, please? I need to have a word with you."

    Kaimi was so dumbfounded he followed his father obediently without a single word. He didn't know what was his father's problem today, but he no longer cared. He needed to tell someone about what he discovered...

    "There is something I wanted to ask you. It might sound odd..." His father said.

    It was so strange. His father Richard looked and sounded more like Kaimi's constantly nervous uncle Simon than his normal self. Just what's your deal? the boy thought.

    "Is... I mean... Doesn't it feel like something is different today?"

    Kaimi looked at him and his jaw dropped.

    "It feels like there is something or someone I have forgotten. Am I losing my mind? Am I alone in this? Don't you feel the same?"

    "Y-you too?!" Kaimi exclaimed, awestruck.

    "Ah!" His father gasped. "I knew it! Something IS wrong!"

    Almost in the same moment they heard hurried footsteps behind the door. Before Kaimi could even realize what it meant, his father was at the door in a flash and opened it wide.

    "They are gone. Whoever spied on us is a pretty fast runner." His father frowned. He closed the door again and walked to Kaimi with a concerned look.

    "So, how about you tell me all you know? Then we can decide what to do," his father said.

    Kaimi hesitated at first and thought about it. All that he witnessed today made it most likely that his uncle was the culprit and his father was just an affected bystander like himself. And Kaimi did need an ally right now. His uncle sounded like he was aware of Kaimi's little investigation.

    "Alright," the boy sighed. Then he gave his father a short version of his morning activity. The more he said the more his father frowned. When Kaimi got to the point of overhearing his uncle Simon, his father interrupted him.

    "Oh, Simon? No... That can't be. That incompetent fool never did anything right in his entire life. Although I suppose that would explain why this 'reality warp' wasn't perfect," he grimaced.

    Now that was a spark of his father's usual self. Kaimi couldn't help but remember his aunt. The family resemblance was uncanny.

    His father continued: "No, what concerns me more is who did Simon talk to on that phone call?"

    That is actually a very good question
    , Kaimi thought. He was so taken aback by what he heard that he didn't even think about such important details.

    "Hm, according to our schedule we are all supposed to attend lunch," his father continued. "That might actually be a good opportunity for me to watch everyone myself." He then looked directly into his son's eyes. "I will need your help. We need to come up with some sort of plan. Who says what, what to ask at what moment, how to follow up on that and such."

    Kaimi raised his eyebrows, but for the first time in his life he was glad his father was telling him what to do. It was so comforting and reassuring knowing that someone else was willing to come up with ideas, and that Kaimi wasn't completely alone in this whole mess.

    "Tell you what," his father whispered all of the sudden. "We can't talk privately here. I mean somebody already heard us for Arceus' sake. Let's meet in the garage. Wait for me until I tell everyone lunch is delayed for half an hour and then we can talk there alone."

    Kaimi agreed and watched his father leave to gather everyone. He followed him out of the room soon after that and headed for the garage.

    As he was standing there alone waiting for his father, he became lost in thoughts again. Everything that happened this morning was so overwhelming. He recounted some of his conversations with the others in his head, hoping to find some detail that might eluded him. They still didn't figure out who was the missing person, after all.

    Kaimi was so lost in his thoughts he didn't hear footsteps behind him. Being completely oblivious to his surroundings, he didn't realize a person entered the garage and was now walking to him slowly. The person eyed him angrily, with a Poké Ball in their right hand, being ready to send out their Pokémon at any time.

    In fact the person intended to give their Pokémon an unusual command: To kill Kaimi.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2018
  4. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    Welcome to the fanfic forum! It's always great to see new people posting here. A short mystery story is an interesting idea, too; for whatever reason we don't get too many mysteries, and it's nice to have something

    I enjoy Lillie's cameo in this story. I imagine there has to be something up with her being around and having Mew of all things with her, whatever Kaimi thinks. And of course Lillie can't keep Mew in the bag. It's interesting that you've set this story a little in the future relative to the franchise as it currently stands, what with Lillie having become a gym leader and all. You mention another fic project in your opening notes... I don't know if this is a spinoff of that, or if they're totally unrelated, but this story certainly feels like it could be a part of a larger universe.

    I'm not as sold on how you open the story, though. Kaimi basically wakes up, then spends a long time--around a third of the whole chapter--thinking about who all's in the house and why he feels weird. It's a bit hard for me to remember so many characters when they're all introduced at once like that, and I think it's overall more fun to learn about the various players in the story by having them appear and interact with the protagonist, rather than having the protagonist think about his relationship with them and their various characteristics. For example, you do a fine job of showing Kaimi's aunt to be a snob who's totally unimpressed by him when he actually goes and talks with her... and that's a much more fun scene! So to me, mentioning that she's a snob who's totally unimpressed by Kaimi earlier doesn't really add much that the later scene doesn't, and it just delays getting to what I think is the much more interesting part of the story. I think it might be better to break this section up and provide some of the exposition when a particular character actually shows up or simply delete it and let their behavior speak for itself.

    It's cool that you're posting this in English when it isn't your first language. I definitely wouldn't be brave enough to do that with one of my secondary languages, heh. However, there are some consistent grammar/punctuation goofs that show up in your writing.

    Probably the most common one is that you drop articles a lot. That's words like "the" or "an" that go before a noun to show whether you're talking about a specific item ("the" book, meaning a specific book, not any old book) or about one of those items in general ("a" book, meaning any book at all). Like here:

    I've added the missing articles in bold. Whenever you have a noun, like "garden" or "tree" or "pokéball," it's almost always going to be accompanied by "a"/"an" or "the."

    Or look at this paragraph:

    Again, the missing articles have been inserted in bold text. Also in this paragraph: it's join in on the fun, not just "joining on" the fun. Also, the first two sentences of this paragraph are strange: they're fragments, not complete sentences, because they don't have verbs in them.

    Or look at this paragraph:

    Here the first three sentences (or most of the paragraph) are fragments. Fragments can be used for stylistic purposes, but my impression is that you're not using them intentionally. A fragment like "Indeed Kaimi's mother, Dana" just sounds strange (her mother Dana what?). Again, I added missing articles in bold text.

    Those are just some examples; there are a lot of missing articles and weird fragments spread across both chapters.

    Also, while you often punctuate dialogue correctly, you started slipping up in the second chapter, right around here:

    When dialogue is followed by a tag, something that describes how the dialogue was expressed ("with a concerned face" here), the first letter that comes after the quotation mark isn't capitalized. The correct version would be:

    (You were also missing an "a.")

    Same deal here:

    However, in cases like this, where the dialogue would end in a period, you use a comma instead, along with de-capitalizing the first letter after. Like so:

    (And I added a second comma in there, but commas we can talk more about later.)

    One more example here:

    Should be:

    So, dialogue punctuation is something else to look out for.

    There's a lot of space between your paragraphs. Is that intentional? It looks a bit weird, especially with shorter paragraphs/dialogue, which kind of end up hanging in space.

    Not sure what this sentence means. Kaimi's decided there's nothing suspicious with either of them?

    Anyway, at this point, I have to admit I have no idea who might be behind the weirdness going on here, or indeed who might be missing! Simon's the only person who's done anything suspicious besides Lillie, and I wouldn't expect her to turn out to be the culprit unless you go for a more humorous ending, where the disappearance turns out to be something totally harmless and Lillie ultimately didn't do anything bad. Simon, on the other hand, seems like way too obvious a choice. At this point Susan seems like the best bet and a logical person for Simon to have been talking to... and she was a bit distracted when Kaimi tried talking to her earlier, although he passed it off as her reading reviews. There's not a lot to go on there, though.

    Welcome again to the forums, and I look forward to seeing the end of this little whodunnit! I do think having someone beta read for you would be helpful, if you can find someone to do it. However, it's a neat premise you have here, and I'm definitely curious how things are going to shake out in the final chapter. If you enjoy mystery stories, you might also want to check out Cutlerine's Ghost Town... it's the only other proper mystery story I can think of that we've had around here for quite a long time!
     
    Marika_CZ likes this.
  5. Marika_CZ

    Marika_CZ Well-Known Member

    Thank you Negrek!

    Your tips/corrections/notes are very helpful. I knew from the start that no matter how hard I try, I would definitely screw up in some places simply because my English will never be as good my first language.
    I intend to improve though and you are helping me with that, so thanks again :)

    Normally I wouldn't post without beta reading done by a native speaker, but this is kinda a special case. The other project I mentioned is the main thing; I have half of it translated (it is a novella sized work) and waiting for beta readers' feedback. To kill some time while waiting for them to catch up, I decided to write a shorter story - to introduce myself here and to see how badly my fics need beta reading. I literally wrote Parts 1 and 2 over the weekend (the final part was completed yesterday; I will post it soon).

    There is a reason why the main characters and suspects have their neutral introduction. It is a whodunit, so I was worried reader would be like "Oh now there is aunt... and uncle... geez how many more guests? Is he making it up as he goes?" - I wanted it clear from the start how many characters is Kaimi going to meet, so that reader could focus just on their personality and behavior.

    Maybe I should have made the Kaimi's introductions shorter though. Hmmm, I will have another look at Part 1.

    The sentence fragments in the introductions were actually intentional. It was supposed to be Kaimi's filter, so phrases like "Oh yes, his uncle Simon." etc. were meant to double as Kaimi giving a sigh inwardly. Now I am not sure if that was a right choice though. Maybe I should simply rewrite it so it is separated from narrator and turn it into Kaimi's actual thoughts.

    Any other sentence fragment is not intentional and defo needs to be corrected, same for missing articles and incorrect dialogue.

    Thanks again, it is obvious your review took a lot of time. I aprreciate you chose to spend it on my fanfic. Hopefully the finale won't disappoint you.

    EDIT: The spacing was unintetional, but I assumed it wouldn't matter. Corrected now.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
  6. Marika_CZ

    Marika_CZ Well-Known Member

    PART 3

    Kaimi was standing in the garage, waiting for his father. He was so lost in his thoughts that he didn’t even realize somebody had approached him from behind.

    A Poké Ball was thrown and it fell on the floor behind Kaimi with audible Thud. It took Kaimi just two seconds to snap to reality, but that was already too late.

    “Giga Drain!”

    Kaimi was hit by a grass Pokémon move before he could turn around to face his attacker. The move sapped all his strength away. He suddenly felt very weak and collapsed to the ground on his hands and knees. He stared at the floor, his limbs hurting and shaking. He struggled just to stay conscious. His vision became a bit blurry as he heard noise, footsteps and shouting.

    “You are unbelievable. You actually thought you could get away with this?!”

    Was it his father’s voice? With a lot of effort, Kaimi raised his head. It was indeed his father, standing right in front of him and looking furious.

    No! This can’t be, not after- Kaimi thought, confused. Did his father lie to him before? Did he make Kaimi believe he was trustworthy just to trick him?

    Then the boy realized his father was staring furiously at somebody behind Kaimi’s back.

    “Dana, you have hurt him. Stop this madness at once… And I just might let you walk away without calling the police.”

    “I don’t think so, sweetie,” Kaimi’s mother’s voice replied from somewhere behind him. The boy instantly froze in utter shock.

    “You see, I have come very far to stop now. When would I ever get such an opportunity again? It is either all or nothing for me,” she explained. What horrified Kaimi the most was that his mother Dana was still talking with that same energetic socialite tone - like she was still schmoozing Valerie about her Friday dress. He almost expected her to clasp her hands in excitement.

    “Serperior! Use Leaf Blade!” She yelled and this time she sounded dead serious.

    Kaimi instinctively covered his head with his arms, expecting to be hit and hurt. But instead his father screamed in pain and fell down right in front of him. Kaimi panicked. Was his father dead?! He was lying on his back, arms spread, and wasn’t moving. His head was turned away from Kaimi. It was impossible to say for sure.

    “Wrap!”

    A nimble strong snake-like body suddenly coiled around him, forcing Kaimi to stand on his knees, arching back a bit. Serperior’s muscular body started to squeeze his body and chest, making it harder for him to breathe.

    In the meantime, his mother Dana walked around him and his father on the floor and looked directly to Kaimi’s eyes.

    “Sweetie, I warned you, didn’t I? I distinctly remember asking you not to do anything rash or dangerous. You should have listened to me,” she said once again in her chatty socialite voice, like she was commenting on the weather.

    Dana walked right to the boy, kneeling on the floor in pain and being crushed by her Serperior’s muscular body. She gently grabbed his chin in a gesture of fake affection and said: “You do realize this is all your fault, don’t you? You are forcing my hand in all of this.”

    She bended over so their faces were barely an inch apart.

    “You wouldn’t stop. You would ruin my perfect new world,” she whispered to him. Her face changed from cheerful conversational one to an angry, disgusted one.

    “Well forget it, you worthless little piece of shit. I will kill you first…!”

    Kaimi was speechless. However being so close and looking directly to her eyes made him realize something important. Those eyes… they were not…

    “Y-you…” he whispered, in pain. He could barely breathe and even talking itself hurt.

    “What is it, sweetie?” She switched back to her fake chatty mom voice, mocking him.

    “You are… not.. m-my mother…” he gasped.

    She didn’t respond, but she frowned and let go of Kaimi’s chin. She stepped back.

    “Oh, that. I wondered how did you and Richard figure out something was changed. It didn’t make sense for you to remember Rachel…”

    Rachel? What was the woman in front of him rambling about? But he had to admit the name sounded familiar to him now that she mentioned it. Was “Rachel” the missing person?

    “However,” Dana continued ranting, “since you do and at the same all those ridiculous Pokémon exist in real life… I think it is not that hard to figure out the culprit behind all this mess.”

    She grabbed another Poké Ball at her belt and sent out her other Pokémon. And unless Kaimi’s eyes were deceiving him, that Pokémon was Jirachi.

    Jirachi looked at Dana with a cute smile – for a split second, before she roughly grabbed the little Pokémon by its neck and made it squeak in pain.

    “You!” Dana hissed with an accusatory tone. “You did this on purpose, didn’t you? I did my research today before breakfast… and I don’t recall anything like this. Your wishes aren’t supposed to work just partially… nor should you add your own personal flavor to them…”

    Kaimi was confused. His entire body ached and he could no longer breathe.

    “I said I wanted the world changed… and you interpreted that wish as a desire to merge our world with the Pokémon one. But that was YOUR wish, not mine! You cheeky little dodger. Why would you care about Rachel is beyond me, though.”

    She was choking Jirachi at this point.

    Kaimi thought he was going to die. He could feel Serperior squeezing all his life out. But then it happened. A determined, aggressive Pokémon cry sounded behind Dana. It was followed by feminine, “Oh no, get back to my bag before somebody sees you!”

    Mew flew in the garage, followed by worried Lillie.

    Mew’s eyes found Kaimi, then moved to Serperior hurting him. A very angry expression appeared on the otherwise cute Pokémon’s face. Mew attacked before anyone could say anything or react to the sudden intrusion. A wave of barely visible energy burst through the air and hit Serperior right between its eyes. The snake-like Pokémon cried in pain, releasing Kaimi in the process. The boy fell down to his hands and knees again, panting heavily.

    Lillie was looking at the whole scene completely taken aback. Her eyes moved from Mew, to Kaimi and Serperior, to the boy’s father lying on the ground, and finally to Dana with her hands still on Jirachi’s throat.

    “Mrs. Cornelly?! Explain yourself!” Lillie shouted, still in shock. She instinctively reached for her Poké Balls.

    Dana realized her situation was very quickly escalating far beyond her control. Under the pressure and being desperate, she decided to attack Lillie too.

    “Serperior! Leaf Blade again!!” she shouted looking completely mad.

    “Mew, use Psychic again!” Lillie countered, completely switching to her gym leader fighting mode. She also looked at Kaimi and his father worried, and threw one of her Poké Balls in their direction. “Use Floral Healing on those two, please,” she said just as a Comfey appeared.

    While Comfey was tending to Kaimi and his father’s injuries, Dana’s Serperior and Lillie’s Mew clashed. The snake-like Pokémon formed a giant leaf in the shape of a sword. Mew tried to avoid it and use Psychic at the same time. However Serperior carefully waited for the psychic Pokémon to move and swung its blade only after that. Mew was hit hard and hurting, it cried.

    “Giga Drain!” Dana commanded.

    Mew got hold of itself however, flew up to the ceiling to avoid the next attack – and to obey Lillie’s command. Another wave of invisible energy cut through the whole garage. Serperior was hit harder than before and sent flying back to Dana’s feet.

    “No!” Dana yelled and pierced Lillie with death glare.

    Serperior stayed on the floor, clearly fainted.

    “Mrs. Cornelly,” Lillie said, intending to offer her a chance to surrender peacefully. Dana didn’t wait however. She simply started running to the back entrance, which she used before to sneak up on Kaimi.

    “She is going to escape!” Kaimi’s father shouted. He and his son were back on their feet again, feeling better after being healed.

    “Oh no!” Lillie lamented. “I wish we could stop her somehow…”

    Jirachi, still floating near her and watching whole fight puzzled, turned to her and smiled. In the next second, Dana was teleported back – with hands behind her back and handcuffs on. Everybody gasped in their surprise – everybody but Kaimi.

    He looked at Jirachi and suddenly a lot of things started to make sense. Jirachi was very rare mythical Pokémon who had the power to grant wishes (at least according to the rumors). Whatever this Dana did was accomplished by Jirachi granting her wish…

    Mew flew down to Kaimi’s father Richard, startling him a bit. It smiled at him, then playfully circled around him a couple of times. Then it looked at Kaimi and circled around him too, before appearing right in his face with a huge smile.

    Those eyes…

    Mew then saddened and flied to Jirachi. The two mythical Pokémon exchanged couple of excited sentences in Pokémon speak, confusing everyone including Dana in handcuffs. Mew smiled again and flew to the garage door, followed closely by grinning Jirachi.

    When Mew realized the humans were all just standing there, staring, it turned around and waved at them.

    “I… I think Mew wants us to follow them to the garden,” Lillie blurted out.

    “Yeah,” Kaimi said and looked at his father.

    “Don’t worry about me,” Richard said. “I will keep an eye on her,” he jerked his head in Dana’s direction. “You two go with the Pokémon. I will call the police in the meantime.”

    Lillie thanked her Comfey and called it back to its Poké Ball. She then joined Kaimi.

    Two mythical Pokémon flew out of garage, followed by Kaimi and Lillie. The boy and Kanto gym leader ran after them across almost entire lot.

    “I think they lead us to the wishing well!” Kaimi shouted, looking back at Lillie.

    He was right. Mew and Jirachi flew near a well standing in the corner of the garden. Kaimi and Lillie caught up with them couple of seconds later, gasping for air after the unexpected jogging exercise.

    “Phew… So what it is you wanted to show us, you rascals?” Lillie asked the Pokémon when she composed herself a bit.

    Mew flew to them and touched Kaimi’s and Lillie’s hands with its paws. It also touched Jirachi with its tail. It then closed its eyes and concentrated. Jirachi began to glow, as Mew established a mental link among all four of them. From Kaimi's perspective, all their surroundings began to glow too.

    Then everything faded away, and all of them were standing in the middle of what seemed to be an outer space.

    Oh, my memories!
    Jirachi squeaked excitedly. That's right, this is how it all started!

    Kaimi and Lillie jumped in surprise. They didn't expect to understand a Pokémon speak.

    "D-did you hear that too?!" Kaimi turned to Lillie.

    "Yeah! It must be Mew's psychic abilities..." she replied.

    Of course it's me,
    Mew chuckled, turning to them both and startling them some more. We are now going to experience Jirachi's memories. You need to understand everything that happened.

    "Actually, we have kinda figured it out," Kaimi said, looking at Mew nervously.

    You don't know the half of it. Trust me. This will be worth your time,
    Mew said, smiling playfully. Now look over there! It pointed behind them.

    Kaimi and Lillie turned around to see an interesting scene. Jirachi's former self was in argument with another legendary Pokémon - Hoopa. They didn't see the reason of the quarrel, only its consequences.

    You will regret that!
    Hoopa yelled and opened a wormhole behind Jirachi. The steel Pokémon was unceremoniously sucked in and transported to a different plane of existence. The world Jirachi landed in turned out to be familiar. The outer space surroundings changed to accommodate its memory. They were now standing on the Cornelly lot again - complete with the garden and the wishing well. Yet something felt different.

    No, not here!
    Jirachi of the memory lamented with a sad face. The World without Pokémon... How can I ever go back?

    "World without Pokémon?!" Kaimi and Lillie exclaimed in unison, looking at each other confused.

    Yes,
    Mew confirmed. Me and Kaimi here come from the world where Pokémon exist only as fictional creatures. But that world was merged with the world that you hail from, Lillie...

    Lillie just blinked in surprise, not sure what to say.

    Kaimi was confused even more. He said: "Wait, what do you mean YOU and me come from the world without Pokémon? That doesn't make any sense. You are a Pokémon yourself."

    Mew saddened, looking like it was going to cry any minute now. You will see for yourself soon enough. Just watch Jirachi's memories.

    They did just that. Watching the scene around them, Kaimi realized it was definitely a Friday promotional party at their house that his father Richard threw for his company. Many people were walking in the distance. One could hear lots of noise - people speaking, music playing, occasional laughter. One creepy thing about the entire view was a complete lack of Pokémon or anything related to them.

    Jirachi's memory self was flying around with sad look, not sure what to do. Then one of the party guests left the crowds and walked to the wishing well, apparently looking for a quiet spot where they could be left alone. Jirachi of the past looked scared and flew behind the well to hide itself. In the meantime, the guest arrived at the well and took out their cell phone to make a very private call. It was Kaimi's uncle Simon.

    "Honey, we have a problem," uncle Simon whispered to the phone. "I may be wrong but I think somebody who works for my wife saw us together. I just... I don't know. If Susan ever learns about this she will divorce me that very day and kick me out of the house. You know how she is..."

    The reaction from the phone evidently didn't please Kaimi's uncle. He said: "How can you be so casual about this?! That guy is actually here at the party. Snooping around and always close to Susan. Wh-what if he really knows?!"

    "Is that what it was all about?!" Kaimi suddenly exclaimed, feeling like an idiot. Mew, Jirachi and Lillie turned to him, looking puzzled.

    "I overheard my uncle threatening to do something about someone who was 'snooping around.' I assumed he was talking about me. But all this time, it was just him having an affair... Geez..."

    Kaimi's eyes started to sparkle rebelliously when he realized he could use the information later, after this mess was resolved.

    They all heard the sound of footsteps behind uncle Simon, and so did the man himself. He quickly whispered "Have to go, call you later" to the phone and walked away. The two people who came to the well were Kaimi's father and a middle aged plump lady. Mew saddened again.

    "Oh shoot!" the lady exclaimed, sounding rather disappointed. "I was hoping someone was there using my wishing well." She sighed. "I guess I am the only one who likes making wishes."

    "Rachel, darling, of course," Kaimi's father laughed. "You are the only woman in the town who has the right spirit and a mindset to appreciate such a wonderful object..."

    Kaimi was just standing there amazed. Was his father having an affair too? No, wait... Something was horribly wrong here. Rachel... Wasn't that the name Dana mentioned before? He continued to stare at the scene, expecting something terrible to happen.

    "Oh Richard, you are making fun of me again, aren't you?" Rachel laughed back.

    "Not at all," Kaimi's father obviously lied, still bemused. "In fact, isn't it time for that thing to prove its worth? Go ahead and make your wish, darling."

    "I still think you are just teasing me," she reacted, pretending to be upset, but winking back at him. "But you know what, fine. Time for a wish!"

    She walked to the wall, with past Jirachi still hiding on the other side of it.

    "I wish that people who love me will never forget me, no matter what," she said, with a serious face and her eyes closed. Jirachi behind the wall smiled adorably and granted her wish. The change was so subtle that there wasn't any sound nor a light effect. But it was a huge change nonetheless.

    "That's it?" Kaimi's father said, confused. "No eternal life? No world peace?"

    "Oh please." She turned around and smiled. "I just want to be happy. And now I know I always will be."

    "Hmph. You should know I would never forget you, darling," he said with his arms crossed.

    "Oh I know, sweetie," she said, smiling.

    Another sound of footsteps. Richard and Rachel turned around to face the arriver. It was Dana.

    "Mr. Cornelly, would you mind going over the repor- oh!" she said, surprised to find her boss with someone else.

    "Dana! Good timing, actually," Kaimi's father said. "I think it is about time for the two of you to be formally introduced... This is Rachel, my wife."

    Kaimi gasped and stepped back. He was too fascinated by what he was seeing and hearing to do anything else. Lillie was shocked too, standing there and covering her wide open mouth with both hands.

    Kaimi's father turned to Rachel and said: "Darling, this lady is Dana Peterson, my secretary you have heard so much about."

    Rachel giggled like a little girl and clasping her hands, she said: "Oh so you are that kind, smart Ms. Peterson. We have talked several times on the phone. So lovely to see you in person!"

    Dana watched Rachel's giggling and awkwardness with raised eyebrows, but before she could appear rude, a professional warm smile appeared on her face. So you are that annoying hysterical woman who always makes my work more difficult that it needs to be, Dana thought. Did Cornelly actually marry this fat childish thicko?

    Aloud, she actually said: "Nice to meet you Mrs. Cornelly. We did talk indeed. You are always checking on Mr. Cornelly, always worried about him." Combined with Dana's smile, it sounded like Rachel's unintended intrusions were the most charming of delights.

    "Please, call me Rachel," Richard's wife said, jumping excitedly as if she was just making a new best friend forever. For a split second one could see Dana's eyebrows raising, before the mask of professionalism fell back.

    Lady, you will be easy to parody and mock if I ever get the chance,
    Dana thought.

    Rachel then started to ramble about something silly, unintentionally annoying her husband's secretary further.

    So this is it?
    Dana thought. I work my ass everyday, licking boots and dealing with the stuff Cornelly is too lazy to be bothered with? But you have everything brought to you on a silver platter. You don't have to lift a hand and get to chat with your bimbo friends all day, but you will still have more money then I could ever earn. ...I hate you.

    "...but then we arrived ten minutes late," Rachel was still prattling. "You simply CAN'T imagine the embarrassment..."

    Screw you.


    "...and I wanted to invite you too then, but then I realized you probably wouldn't feel comfortable with such uptight self-important higher-ups..."

    I hate you, bitch.


    "Oh dear! Richard, look at the time. Isn't it time for the raffle?" Rachel suddenly stopped her awkward rant.

    "Right," Kaimi's father confirmed. "Dana, please excuse us. I am free to talk to you in half an hour if you needed to discuss anything."

    And with that they left, leaving bitter Dana behind alone. She looked at the well and snorted.

    A wishing well. What kind of dumb idiot puts such a thing in their garden?


    "Too bad it doesn't work," Dana said under her breath, bemused. "Because I have a wish myself right now. I wish I could switch places with that stupid bitch Rachel. Actually, I want her gone like she never existed... Yes, if only I could change the whole world like that..."

    Kaimi and Lillie exchanged amazed looks.

    Jirachi behind the well frowned. That is not a very nice wish... But I have to... Oh! Maybe if I do THIS, I can actually get home that way!

    Jirachi flew upwards, scaring Dana to death in the process. It closed its eyes and focused. This was a huge change and required lot of work.

    "W-what are you!" Dana gasped. But instead of an answer, she got to see for herself.

    A glowing circle appeared around Dana and Jirachi. Then, as the steel Pokémon spread its tiny limbs, the circle started to gradually expand, slowly engulfing everything around them.

    Poké Balls appeared at Dana's belt. A couple of fireflies near the well changed into Volbeats and Illumises. A Fox Terrier sitting in the kennel was turned into a Herdier. The circle's borders became so wide they engulfed entire Cornelly lot. A tennis court was changed into small Pokémon battling arena. Two women playing a match there, with people cheering on them, were turned into Lillie and Valerie. Dana watched it all, amazed. So did Kaimi and Lillie.

    The circle border spread behind the lot and engulfed entire city. A fancy clothes shop changed into a Pokémon gym. A textile manufacturing plant behind the town changed into Poké Ball Factory. Several houses around the town changed to reflect the look of Laverre City in Pokémon games. "Star Dust" pub was turned into "Pixie Dust" restaurant. Apparently the circle expanded even further, far beyond the city.

    “Well, well, well,” Dana said, thrilled, as she was turning to face the little miracle worker.

    Jirachi finally opened its eyes again and smiled naively. Yay! And now I don’t have to get home. I AM home!

    A Poké Ball flashed through the air, hitting Jirachi in the head. The wish granting Pokémon cried as it was sucked into the capsule. The catching device rocked a few times before falling right into Dana’s hands.

    Dana was looking at the Poké Ball, saying: “You, my friend, will be such a great help. I will find out all I can about you and your fellow creatures. And then we will talk more about some further changes… Yeah…”

    Kaimi and Lillie watched, completely frozen from all the revelations. They heard hurried footsteps behind Dana. Just like her, they turned around. It was Kaimi’s father.

    “Darling, where have you been?” he called to Dana. “Did you forget about the raffle? Please come with me, all those good people are waiting for us…”

    “Oh… I see… Yes… Of course I will come with you, ‘sweetie’…” Dana said, grinning devilishly. I wonder if he even remembers Rachel? I need to know for sure…

    They walked back to the house to greet their guests, leaving Kaimi, Lillie, Mew and present Jirachi there. The memory ended and their surroundings turned back to their today’s morning appearance. They were back.

    “Wait, is that it?” Kaimi looked around confused. “What happened to Rachel?”

    Oh. Mew saddened and flew to him. You still don’t remember, sweetie?

    Did you just call me “sweetie?” he said to himself. Also, those eyes of yours… So familiar…

    “M-mom?!” Kaimi jumped in a shock.

    Oh! You do remember! Mew smiled and circled around Kaimi a few times excitedly. Dana wanted me gone, but Jirachi didn’t have the heart to make me just disappear. So it turned me into a Mew instead and sent me to Lillie.

    “M-me? Why me?” Lillie asked.

    You have been kind to legendary Pokémon before, “Mew” explained. Sweetie, you have quite a reputation – especially in the Alola region…

    “Why didn’t you tell me?” Kaimi asked, making his mother turn over and face him again. “I could have helped you sooner…”

    I am sorry. I wanted to, his mother said. That is why I escaped from Lillie’s bag and went to your room. But then I realized Dana was nearby. I was worried about what she would do if she knew I was in the house. So I decided to wait. I was hoping Dana would leave the house one day so I could talk to you and your father alone… I had no idea everything would go downhill this fast – that she would actually openly attack you on the same day…

    “Well,” Kaimi said, looking at Jirachi. “I guess we should clear this mess with just one more wish…”

    His mother giggled and said When you are at it, sweetie, be a dear and wish also for Jirachi to return to its own world…

    Lillie looked in Kaimi’s eyes.

    “I guess this is goodbye then?” she said. “It was nice to meet you Kaimi. I had no idea how crazy this day would turn out to be when I met you! Poor Valerie missed it all. I will tell her but I am not sure if she is going to believe any of it…”

    A few minutes later a glowing circle began to spread from their location, and the world was changed forever.

    //

    Next Saturday the Cornelly household was enjoying some peace and quiet time.

    Richard was sitting in his study room with a laptop, reading on-line news. Rachel was pacing around the dining room with her cell phone, excitedly chatting with her friend. Kaimi was upstairs in his room feeding Axel, his Speckle-faced parrot. Tucker, Richard’s dog, was barking outside. Kaimi grabbed his 3DS console and went downstairs. It was almost time for lunch. Debbie, their cook, was energetically running around in the kitchen, tending to the pots and appliances.

    Kaimi sat at the table. His mother Rachel ended the call and put the cell phone away. His father Richard closed down the laptop and joined them in the dining room.

    “There was an article about Dana actually,” Richard said. “They didn’t mention her by name, but they did say a woman assaulted a son of her boss and was arrested for an attempted murder.”

    “Great,” Rachel reacted. “And I hope I will never see or hear about her ever again.” She turned to her son. “Sweetie, what is it you are playing?”

    “Just re-playing an old game. Ultra Sun, actually,” Kaimi replied, smiling.

    “That’s a Pokémon game, right? The one with Lillie as a companion character?”

    “Yeah.”

    She gave him a look full of understanding. Then she asked: “You know I have never played a Pokémon game before. Do you still have a copy of X? I… I kinda miss Laverre City.”

    Kaimi laughed. “Sure, mom. When you arrive there, give my regards to Valerie, okay?”

    Richard was completely confused. “What on earth are you two talking about?” he asked.

    But Kaimi wasn’t listening anymore. His mind became lost in memories. He would never forget those last minutes before his wish was granted…

    "So, I am actually a major character in one of your video games?" Lillie asked. "And I have fans in your world? Oh dear!" She blushed.

    "Lots of people like you and cheer for you. You will be the best gym leader ever!" Kaimi said.

    "Oh you. You say that just to make me feel better. But thank you anyway." Lillie grinned. "If I ever appear in one of those games as a gym leader, maybe we can have a really great Pokémon battle."

    Kaimi laughed. "Okay. It's a deal!"

    "Alright!" Lillie smiled. "I will be waiting for a challenger called Kaimi... Oh..."

    "What is it?" Kaimi asked.

    "I just realized..." Lillie tilted her head. "For about one day, every person in your world who plays Pokémon game has become an actual Pokémon trainer. For real."

    "Probably, yeah," Kaimi gasped. "Nobody except me and my mom will remember it but... Yes, we all have become real Pokémon trainers. That is so cool!"

    Lillie saddened. "Well, time to go. It was really nice to meet you Kaimi. I will never forget this crazy day. Or you. We are friends now, you know!"

    Now it was Kaimi's turn to blush. "Take care, Lillie!"

    And the wish has been granted.


    The End
    I will be gradually revising / editing the text according to Negrek and Cutlerine's notes before I ask for it to be moved to "Completed Fic" section. Hopefully it will eventually reach a level, where native speaker could read it without being distracted by errors and oddities (which btw. is rather ironic, given the story's plot).
    Thanks to everyone who decided to check it out and read it to the end. Hopefully it didn't disappoint.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
  7. Cutlerine

    Cutlerine a lonesome harp guitar

    Well, this is fun! There are very few mystery fics on the forums, and this one is an interesting one, hyper-compressed down into a single morning and a few thousand words. Which is one of the most striking things about it, really: you squeeze everything you might get in a whodunnit into a very short space, red herrings and out-of-context conversation fragments and all. Apart from a few moments where the pace is a bit dodgy – I'd agree with Negrek that having the first third of the opening chapter just be Kaimi thinking about all the various members of his family is a little slow and inelegant – it's a very lean and focused kind of story. Nothing happens that isn't relevant, either as a clue or as something that will get picked up later on. Like, I thought Lillie and her mew were a fun cameo, and I would totally have been on board with it if that's all they were (jokes about Lillie's pokémon not staying in the bag just never get old), but they actually turned out to be integral to the ending, which is really cool. I like that a lot.

    So far as critique goes, I feel like Negrek covered much of what I would have pointed out – the grammar corrections, the uneven pacing at the start. That leaves me in the enviable position of being able to talk more about what I liked, and there's a fair bit of that. A tightly-plotted classic mystery story isn't easy to write, and I think you hit a lot of the right notes here, from the way you effectively set up your culprit as initially the least likely suspect to your rather unique take on the detective story convention of explaining how it was done at the end. Detective fiction often tells itself twice: there's events as they actually happen, which the reader is left to puzzle over on their own, and then at the end the detective transforms the messy raw material into the ordered narrative. This is an interesting take on that, since your detective (such as he is) actually fails, and the real order of events is explained not by him but Jirachi – who has access to information the reader doesn't, and so kind of pushes the boundaries of the kind of fiction you're imitating here. I don't really have a point to make there (you've probably noticed, I think detective stories are fascinating, and I think about them far too much), but it's definitely interesting.

    One thing I might quibble with is the way that the Jirachi revelation seems to come out of nowhere. Maybe I just missed it, but I didn't really see much in the way of set-up – and given that part of the appeal of this kind of fiction is the possibility that you might guess the ending before you get there, the fact that I don't feel like I could really have foreseen Jirachi's involvement feels a bit off. I don't think it's necessary to have your reader be able to guess everything about the ending, but maybe a line or two at some point just to raise the possibility of Jirachi as an explanation for the way reality seems to have warped would be helpful.

    Anyway – all that said, I really rather liked this! I'll definitely keep an eye out for whatever you come up with next.
     
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  8. Marika_CZ

    Marika_CZ Well-Known Member

    Thank you! I was hoping everyone would think of Lillie as a cameo. Her Pokémon leaving to talk to someone for a very good reason is important, but noone is likely to think of it that way - because well, Lillie. If it was anyone else, people would probably think about it more.

    The purpose is really just to give the impression that these few are all the important players and the readers' suspects. If needed be, I suppose I can trim down those paragraphs into one/two sentences and mention the rest when the character actually shows up to speak to Kaimi. Do you think this will improve the first part, or did you have other change in mind?

    Yup, that was unavoidable. E.g. the articles - they don't exist in my first language at all. Putting them in the text feels like unnatural padding. Unfortunatelly for me the "padding" is really the correct grammar so I will have to work on that. Next time I won't post anything that hasn't been beta-read by a native speaker first (although that might prove challenging, as it is very tough for me to find one who isn't busy IRL).

    That is the luxury of having a whodunit/any story set in the Pokémon world. You can write whatever genre you want and add a bit of supernatural elements to it without anyone questioning it. After all, it is a story about fictional creatures with magic abilities.
    So I decided to put in two mysteries. One was the classic one that a reader could solve (identity of the culprit) and one that is purely Pokémon related and magical. There is absolutely no way to see the second one coming because I structured the story purposedly that way (and kept the information about Jirachi hidden). If you guessed Dana was the culprit, the Jirachi part will tell you how and why - it is like a Pokémon bonus to a classic murder mystery. Also, the story actually taking place IRL was sort of a leaning on the fourth wall - not sure if anyone noticed or thought about this. But personally I do wonder where was I on that fateful Saturday? (fingers crossed for Cerulean gym and meeting Misty heh heh).

    By the way, this is way how (in my mind at least) a readar could identify Dana as the most likely culprit, despite the appearances. If you read a lot of detective stories, just the fact she seems least likely is also a good clue haha. Take this with a pinch of salt, I am well aware these are rather subjective:

    1. Lillie's bag rocking (Mew) when some people walk by
    - Mew had no qualms escaping before; why stay put and hidden now? It is scared of one of those people!
    - suspects: Richard, Dana and Valerie

    2. The people who noticed Kaimi was acting strange and acted upon it
    - if they are innocent or indifferent, why would they care about it at all?
    - suspects: Dana, Susan and Simon
    (And yes, Dana has a natural reason since she is supposedly his mother... except she didn't care in the kitchen, but after seeing him talking to more people she suddenly did care)

    3. Kaimi's idea about involved person acting strange is wrong
    - the culprit is actually more likely to act perfectly normal (it is in their interest to maintain the mask of innocence and normalcy)
    - the people who act weird are more likely confused or affected by whatever is going on (like Kaimi himself)
    - suspects: Dana, Valerie, Lillie and Susan

    4. Conclusion
    - Dana is the only person to appear on the suspect list every single time

    Yes, agreed. You didn't miss it. As mentioned above in the spoilers, the clues should lead you to the identity of culprit (you don't need Jirachi for that - by that time you either figured it out or it was revealed to you). The other mystery has no build-up and is meant to surprise you. To be honest I thought about it when writing Parts 1 and 2 and realized there was no way to do it right.
    Either I mention Jirachi related to the culprit and you just know instantly what has happened (Jirachi's trait to grant wishes is well known), or I only hint at it, but than you will never guess anyway. Might as well keep it a bonus mystery for the ending.
    Or at least that was my reasoning.

    I know what you mean, but I honestly have no idea how to do it without spilling its name. Also I'm worried if Jirachi is mentioned, everyone will focus on that instead of watching characters' behavior. And then be unplesantly suprised that Jirachi has nothing to do with who was the culprit this all time. I am totally open to discussion if you want tho! :D Maybe you will convince me.

    EDIT: Oh and since you mentioned loving detective stories, you are instantly twice more cool person in my book haha. I enjoy reading Ghost Town (in the middle of Ch4 rn) and looking forward to see what happens next.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2018
  9. Negrek

    Negrek Lost but Seeking

    I think you round things out really nicely in this chapter, tying up all the loose ends in addition to resolving the mystery.

    I think Kaimi's mom works nicely as the actual source of the trouble; you did a good job of directing suspicion onto other characters but still having the clues there in her dialogue, on a second read, and you did a good job of providing explanations for e.g. what was really going on with Simon. In particular I was happy to see how important Lillie and Mew were in the end. I was thinking that Lillie was just a cute cameo, which was nice and gave some cool worldbuilding details, but it was even more interesting for her to turn out to have a real reason for being there and to play a part in the endgame.

    The twist with Kaimi actually having come from a world without Pokémon and the whole situation having come about from Jirachi merging two worlds as a result of Dana's wish was cool. Cross-dimensional shenanigans are always fun, and I thought it was cute at the end when Kaimi's mom wanted to try his copy of X. I'm not sure how you expected readers to figure out that's what happened beforehand, though? Like I said, you did a good job of setting up the mystery of who'd done something bad, planting clues and red herrings, but if there was any indication of Jirachi or dimensional shenanigans (besides Kaimi/his dad's feelings of unease), I missed it. Kind of undermined the mystery for me, since I don't know how I was supposed to figure it out, and too bad considering you handled the other half of the mystery, around Dana, really well.

    I also thought it was a bit odd that you included Dana's thoughts during the part where she's talking to Rachel. I'm pretty sure that's the only time in the story that you jumped outside of Kaimi's head to give somebody else's thoughts, so it was kind of weird to have it pop up just there at the end. All in all I didn't really think you needed to do that; I think it came across pretty well that Dana was pretty slimy and didn't actually like Rachel just from the dialogue.

    You did a lot better with the articles in the last chapter! In general I thought it looked a lot more polished in terms of the grammar, so nice work spiffing things up. There were still a few instances where you dropped an article, though; these are the ones I spotted.

    Here you want "the otherwise-cute Pokémon's face." You'd usually also say "on" its face rather than "in" its face.

    And here you want "The" snake-like Pokémon.

    *in the shape of a sword

    *the power to grant wishes

    *a couple of times

    *The steel Pokémon

    *The circle's borders

    *in the Alola region

    That's way less than in the first two chapters. Here's some additional notes on specific lines:

    Should just be "split second," not "split of second."

    Here, too, it should be "split second" instead of "split of a second."

    Ah! Clever. So that's why Kaimi could tell something was wrong when he woke up, eh? I totally missed this the first time I read through this chapter, but it's a nice detail.

    You want a comma after "feminine."

    Should be "she shouted"--not capitalized.

    Should be "sneak up on" Kaimi.

    I don't think you meant to capitalize "world" here, since you don't in other places. Also, it would be a world without Pokémon, if Kaimi isn't familiar with how many worlds like that there might be. It would be the world without Pokémon if he was referring to a single, specific world that he already knows of that doesn't have Pokémon.

    Maybe "picked up" their cell phone? It's still a little odd; I would have been expecting him to take it out of his pocket or something.

    How did Dana know to do that? Is she a Pokémon fan?

    Anyway, overall this was a fun fanfic! Like I said, I enjoyed how everything came together in the last chapter. The length is just right, making for a nice snappy read. It's also pretty different from the stories we get around here, and it's refreshing to see something new. Good job on this one, and I look forward to reading what you post next!

    Also, not related to the story itself, but the artwork you added to the first chapter is really cute!
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
    Marika_CZ likes this.
  10. Marika_CZ

    Marika_CZ Well-Known Member

    Beware, SPOILERS EVERYWHERE!

    Thank you! I was hoping those two aspects would make people happy or intrigued, at least.

    Also thanks for pointing out grammar errors, odd words and phrases. Will fix those ASAP.
    It should be better next time. I am finally getting some real experience through everyone who reads this, plus I will also depend on beta readers.

    This is something Cutlerine mentioned too. You are indeed not supposed to figure that one out because there is just no way without any clues and just very vague foreshadowing.

    There are actually two mysteries, but I specifically mention just one in the first post: The identity of the culprit. That one is in the fashion of classic detective story and the reader is provided with clues to uncover the truth themselves.
    Jirachi and real world twist are not mentioned because that is separate mystery #2 that I never expected reader to figure out. It was menat to be a nice Pokemon-related bonus to what be otherwise a straight whodunnit.
    I made that decision because the more I thought about Jirachi the more it was obvious I couldn't make it right. Either I mention the Jirachi (pls see below the problems I had with that) or I simply don't.

    Mentioning Jirachi would mean:
    • it is immediately non-mystery; obvously culprit changed the world by making a wish
    • reader's focus will become Jirachi, which will divert their attanetion from watching charcters' behavior
    As a result, reader would "discover" the truth about mystery #2 in anticlimatic way and also miss their chance on mystery #1 (to deduce the culprit's identity) - which is supposed to be fun of Parts 1 & 2 until you reach the finale.

    This is why ultimately decided to not mention Jirachi at all and keep the mysteries separated. If you read "Author's note" in the first post, I really tried hard to make it clear that Whodunnit mystery is actually about the villain's identity. Nothing was said about the reality warp. I guess people just naturally expected that regadless, because depending on your taste and preferences, mystery #2 may actually be the more interesting part of this story.

    Not sure if this makes sense? But yeah, that was my reasoning behind it, and why there are no clues to Jirachi.

    Ah! Well spotted. I did that on purpose after thinking about the reveal scene very hard. I decided to go with it despite sort of breaking established Kaimi's POV. It's related to:
    This is actually the point though. Dana just being slimy doesn't properly justify why she did what she did.
    Her hatred towards women like Rachel, her personal distaste after meeting her in person and general feeling of being overworked and unappreciated needed to be exposed more in detail. Otherwise you could very well ask me, "Huh? So Dana didn't like her boss' wife... so she decided to change reality?? AND to replace her?? WTF just why? Why didn't she just call her a ****, shrug it off and just move on?"
    Dana's thoughts answer these natural questions before you even ask them. They tell you why this seemingly trivial conflict had so much bigger meaning in her head, and why she was desperate for a switch to the lifestyle she couldn't actually afford.

    She is now lol. Note how few paragraphs before that line, poke balls appear at her belt. Just like in Pokemon world, most people are Pokemon trainers now. This is part of Jirachi's reality warp. For example, Kaimi's father knew the word "Pokemon" as a videogame brand and he didn't care about it. But after Jirachi's wish, he is suddenly a trainer himself and has a Herdier of his own.

    Yes. Kaimi's father acts weird the whole time for the very same reason.

    Thank you for reading and actually going to trouble of reading it twice. Your and Cutlerine's comments are very much appreciated!
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2018

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