• Bubapedia Error 503 Backend fetch failed

    Our technical staff are continuing to monitor the wiki to try and resolve these ongoing issues that are impacting page and image loading. We apologize for the inconvenience. We'll update as soon as we've got more information on this for you.

  • Check out our new Mysterious Garden forum style if you haven't already - we're sure you'll love it!
  • If you are finding yourself unable to log in, you should be able to fix the issue by following the following process.
    1. Close all browser tabs with any part of Bulbagarden open.
    2. Delete all Bulbagarden.net cookies (and if possible, any cached site data for Bulbagarden) from your browser.
    3. Close and reopen your browser, open a new tab, and log into the forums on the new tab.
    If you've followed this process and are still having issues, please contact us via the "Contact us" link at the bottom of the forum.

TEEN: Hell Eternal [a Malva One Shot]

Torchic W. Pip

Bravo Echo Tango Alpha
Joined
Feb 15, 2021
Messages
2,512
Reaction score
4,010
Pronouns
they/she/he
A character study of the Kalos Elite Four's Malva.

This story is rated TEEN for:
  • Pokémon Abuse
  • Abusive Relationships
  • Blackmail
  • Implicit Sexual Content
  • Swearing
  • A really brief mention of drugs in a metaphorical sense




The Hellbergs were one of the richest families in Kalos. Naturally, the esteemed Niccolo and Regina Hellberg were acquainted with many other wealthy, elite families, such as the Dufours. Malva became best friends with Siebold despite the two being polar opposites. Malva was brave, Siebold was shy. Malva was an only child, and her parents treated her like a princess. Siebold had ten siblings, and his parents added a mountain of expectations on his already burdened shoulders. Naturally, Malva “hired” Siebold to be her “butler”, meaning Siebold would do whatever mundane tasks Malva wanted her to do.

-

“Quit whining, Sobble Siebold,” she’d say. “If you don’t get me my dress for the party, I’ll tell your mom that you took an extra cookie!”

Their dynamic was childish, one could say, but Siebold was never hurt (though he was annoyed by being called “Sobble Siebold”, and the name would continue to torment him well into adulthood). Besides, it could have been worse.

-

Diantha was five years younger than Siebold and Malva, but the three knew each other from Sunday school. She was a small, frail child, always coughing and shivering while the teacher rambled on about scripture. She wasn’t even from a rich family. But she was a smart kid, and she was a good dancer. When her mother became Malva’s governess, she and Malva became friends. Of course, that all ended in a matter of time.

-

“Do you have a Pokémon?” Diantha asked.

“Of course I do!” Malva bragged. “My Litleo is the strongest Pokémon in Lumiose! She was a gift from my mom, bred from the best breeders in the country!"

“Then… could we battle?”

“What’s your Pokémon?”

“Ralts. She was a gift from my grandmother in Galar.”

“That’s nice, but she doesn’t stand a chance against Litleo!”

Malva ended up losing the battle, which came as a shock to her and Diantha.

“We did it!” Diantha cheered as she hugged Ralts.

Malva stared at Litleo, scowling.

“If you don’t do better next time, you won’t get a treat.”

-

Diantha eventually went to some camp in Shalour City so she could become a Pokémon trainer. Malva was angry—her parents made her stay at home so she could “be educated in the ways of being a smart, proper lady”. Malva thought it was bullshit, so she ran away from home at the age of sixteen.

Years later, Malva joined some organization called Team Flare, for the money and for their whole schtick about making the world a less ugly place. Through her looks, charisma, and skills at manipulation, she rose up to be the spokesperson of Team Flare and the face of the Holo Caster. Around this time, Malva also gained a position in the Kalos Elite Four after two of the older members stepped down. Of course, this meant she had to work alongside her childhood “friend” Siebold, but at least she got to mess with him and his emotions when their parents coerced them into a romantic relationship. It was a game she enjoyed, like how a child enjoys playing hide and seek or dolls.

This was the power that Malva had always craved. She had a whole organization and League under her thumb. She had a boyfriend that she could use to get whatever she wanted. She could get herself anything.

“If you don’t get me those documents, I’ll expose you as the one responsible for the last mission we failed!”

"If you don't give me your position, I'll tell your wife that you've been screwing your maid. I have pictures to prove it."

"If you don't kiss me right now, I'll expose your little secrets to your parents."

Malva learned two very important lessons: One: If you’re going to blackmail someone, the information you’re blackmailing them with must be true or could be true in the near future. Two: You must reveal said information, or threaten to do so, in a way that the victim cannot reveal that they were blackmailed or in the way that the public will doubt that it was blackmail.

-

The only thing that ended Malva’s power was the disbandment of Team Flare. To say she was furious would be an understatement. From then on, she was a powder keg: everyone knew she was a threat, and one small thing was bound to set her off into a raging inferno. Sure, she was still somehow able to keep her position in the Elite Four (blame nepotism, Wikstrom said, or her family's wealth and status), but she had lost a whole damn team overnight. Siebold had finally ended their relationship. She had nothing now. No grunts to carry out her orders, no higher ups to suck up to. Just three rich fools… and Diantha.

Why the hell did Diantha get to be Champion? She was some stupid movie star. Malva was prettier, richer, more charismatic, better in every way compared to her. Diantha didn’t deserve to be Champion. Kalos didn’t need some pretty girl movie star to be their symbol of strength. The only problem was that Diantha was a strong trainer, far stronger than Malva, as seen in Malva's attempt to claim to Kalos throne from her.

But Malva still had one way to exercise power: manipulation. Extortion became her sword, burning and biting like hellfire. It was how she held onto power, how she felt alive, how she felt happiness. The way her victims would beg and plead, as though she were a vengeful goddess, the rewards that came with it. The rush it gave her was better than ecstasy.

-

“Give me the forty thousand, or I’ll tell the press you two have been fucking.”

“Shut up about my record, or I’ll expose yours.”

“If you don't do as I say, I'll burn you alive. Got it?"
 
Last edited:

InfiniteBakuphoon

battered, but not broken, bakuphoon
Joined
Apr 2, 2016
Messages
959
Reaction score
1,159
Pronouns
They/Them
Hello there, @more than a torchic! You have the honor of being the first one to have their story reviewed by me as part of the February reviewing challenge, haha. As you might imagine, I’m looking for one-shots in particular, and I see that you’ve written a lot of them! And that out of all of them, this happens to be the only one that hasn’t been given a review yet; boo. Allow me to fix that for you right now!

I suppose I’ll start by saying that Malva is certainly a wonderful candidate to write a character study about, given her relatively unique niche in the modern-day franchise as a supposed member of the “good guys” — in this case, the Elite Four — who’s actually a loyal member of the the local global genocide cult… ahem, the “bad guys”. That kind of character seems to invigorate feelings of excitement and even reverence in certain circles of the fandom for some reason, with perhaps the whole “dark and edgy” aspect of it all being a decent guess for such a reaction. Yet for all of the hoopla over that, most of the stuff that we actually see Malva do in canon stays firmly in G-rated territory, with perhaps the most disturbing thing that she does — as far as I remember, anyway — is threaten to “burn you [the player character] alive” in an obviously figurative, G-rated way. To her credit, though, she’s intense enough with her delivery that we have to wonder for a second if perhaps that threat isn’t actually as figurative as it sounds (before we’re reminded that it’s a Pokémon game so of course not, silly).

Yet for all of the thinly veiled sardonic commentary that I dished out there (it’s just too much fun to resist!), I can honestly say that there really is something intriguing about someone like Malva, or at least there’s the potential for there to be so. Particularly when you consider the many not-so-G-rated ways that such a person could make our player characters’ lives hell (no pun intended) or when you begin to wonder how she became attracted to genocidal lunatics like Team Flare and their grand vision for a supposedly better world. And it seems that you’ve been having some serious fun exploring all of those possibilities, too, because this one-shot seems to basically play her as a manipulative mastermind with a sadistic streak whose tactics, while extreme, don’t exactly feel like they’re completely out of the wheelhouse of someone who would happily threaten an innocent teenager with “burning them alive” — figuratively or not — for daring to take down a global genocide cult who, had they succeeded, would have murdered billions, with a “b”… yeah. It takes a special type of person to be totally OK with even one of the highly problematic things on that train of thinking (“highly problematic” being an understatement), so while some might find this fic’s escalation of Malva’s many less-than-savory-values to their logical extremes to be, well, kind of extreme, I’d argue that it’s not quite as wild as one might initially think once you sit down and contemplate just how messed up she really is even in “G-rated” canon, given all that I’ve said above. Her antics and their implications are the stuff that fics like this are fueled by, and ultimately she’s easily believable for me here as a master manipulator, a super sadist, and dare I say… a woman-child?

Now, I’d hesitate to play psychologist when it comes to something that I have little book knowledge about, but from my (inevitably biased) personal perspective, I find manipulation to be… childish, to summarize it in one word. It’s something that children learn from their very earliest times alive and hone throughout the years, starting with their parents, their siblings, and other close relatives before moving beyond that. We’ve all been guilty of manipulation for at least some length of time in our childhoods, sometimes relatively innocently and sometimes… not, let’s just say. But as that little thing called “the real world” creeps into our lives, we learn the hard way that manipulation isn’t always so easily rewarded, and that for every malleable or gullible soul who’ll do anything for you with even the slightest push, there are many others who are either not down for the bullshit or are far higher up on the food chain than you are, and who will punish you hard for even trying to cross them. The lessons learned, for the more decent and well-adjusted out of us? Life isn’t fair, you can’t always get want you want, and you’re entitled to absolutely nothing in life. And with that, further lessons: earn your place in society, treat others and their boundaries with respect, and move on when things don’t go your way. But for those who didn’t get the memo and instead grow up to become adult manipulators, well… instead of bending themselves to those basic realities of the world — again, typically learned early and hard — they choose to bend reality to themselves, at the cost of everyone and everything else. Their vision is myopic, never expanding beyond that of a very young, very emotionally immature child whose viewpoints amount to little beyond “me me me” and “I want it and I want it now!”. At best, they simply articulate their selfishness in a slicker, more “adult” way, enough to perhaps give the illusion of something deeper or more sophisticated behind their actions, but nothing more than that… if that. There’s nothing appealing about a manipulator, and if anything, such people are really quite pathetic when it comes down to it, with their contributions to society paling in comparison to those who are actually capable of seeing beyond themselves.

So with all of that said above… how the hell is Sociopath!Malva so damn exciting and awesome!?

Of course, there’s the whole “fantasy vs. reality” thing to consider when it comes to our acceptance of antisocial behavior, but even then… damn. Whatever redeeming qualities Malva’s many canon incarnations might have had, we sure as hell don’t see any of them with this Malva, given how almost everything she does here boils down to her either getting what she wants, or her complaining about how she isn’t getting what she wants. This Malva was born bad, and that — combined with her spoiled upbringing void of responsibility to others — provides the perfect storm with which to create a monster. One who’s not only willing to flex their muscles in the worst way in the name of getting what they want, but who also enjoys every last minute of it. If the games showed us G-rated Malva, only hinting at the kind of evil that she could be capable of at the right moment and even then for somewhat relatable if still twisted reasons, then this is R-rated Malva, gone full sociopath partially as a result of circumstance, and partially because it was in her all along.

Now, regarding her relationship with Team Flare… what’s funny is that based on her portrayal here, I never got the impression that she’s really even that interested in Team Flare’s supposed goal for a better world at all (assuming that she even believed that to be their true goal in the first place). Rather, assuming that things like the million Pokédollar entrance fee are still in play here (including the types of people that such a requirement would inevitably attract), it seems that her real business with them is simply to have something to fuel her need to feel superior over everyone and everything. Which is kind of at odds with what relatively little the game canon gives us, I think, with her disgust at her one of her colleague’s rogue actions in the XY postgame — speaking of “honor” specifically — suggesting that she actually did believe in what Team Flare attempted to do (or at the very least in the sanctity of their ideals if not the methods… maybe) to the point where she’s willing to defend them even after they’re long dead and gone. That said, this isn’t canon, and your version of Malva is quite clearly loyal to absolutely no one but herself, and most definitely has no concept of honor or anything that isn’t “what I want”. Which would, again, normally be despicable and pathetic to behold, but somehow this “R-rated” Malva of yours is fascinating to read about instead. I wonder why that is?

Well, I actually have something of a theory about that (outside of your own solid abilities as a writer, of course). Without the context of her canon appearances, I suspect that Malva as she’s presented here really would be an absolutely pathetic character, and wouldn’t be entertaining to watch more so than she’d be cringey at best — and utterly revolting at worst — for delivering such pain and attitude towards characters who have done absolutely nothing whatsoever to deserve her wrath (poor Siebold especially… oof). That said, I think that the reason that such a story is still able to work is because the primary appeal isn’t merely watching a manipulative sociopath be a manipulative sociopath — and especially here where the fic’s short length kind of works against the nontrivial setup and investment required to make us “like” said manipulative sociopath, or at least make us unable to turn away — but rather seeing just how far our resident darkhorse rogue (“she’s in the Elite Four and Team Flare!?”) can go with the more vicious parts of her personality that canon only hints at. In other words, it’s pure fanfiction fantasy fulfillment of the highest order, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. And in that context, I think, one could say that Malva’s outrageously antisocial behavior here is ironically almost glossed over in the sense that we don’t hate her for it, because for those who already have some kind of emotional attachment to her character, the whole thing is just a fun game: “how low can you go?” But then I wonder how someone who knows nothing about Malva would react to her deeds in this fic, whether through lack of exposure to the Kalos games and media or to the Pokémon franchise as a whole?

Now, at the risk of ending up with a thesis by the time we’re done here, haha, I’m going to wrap things up here… which I’ll do by talking a bit about length and pacing. I had no idea what I was getting into when I first leapt into this one-shot, but I can say that by the time I finished, I realized that I was expecting something a bit longer than what I ended up getting, and yet… that’s actually OK with me? Just by feeling the pace — which is established very early on and doesn’t let up — it’s obvious that this is meant to be more of an overview of Sociopath!Malva’s exploits rather than a sweeping doorstopper epic, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Heck, if anything, I’d argue that the somewhat breezy, truncated nature of piece actually helps with the overall impact more than it hurts it, as detailing exactly how Sociopath!Malva became how she is and the full nature of her… encounters with those she extorts and exploits would’ve likely added more bloat than interest without a heavier narrative and thematic backbone to support the story as a whole (which would of course be much more difficult to set up, writing-wise). And then there’s that age-old mantra of less is more: why spend words upon words describing things when we can let the reader do the work instead with their own imagination, filling in the blanks of what’s possible based on what they know about Malva, her personality, and inner thoughts? And then finally there’s the cherry on top of all of this: I feel like you’ve added just enough detail for us to be interested in Sociopath!Malva, yet you’ve also ended it at just the right point where it makes you want more, in a good way. Plus, you’ve accomplished that feat with me even when I was, again, legitimately surprised and perhaps slightly disappointed that it did indeed end quite so soon, so kudos there for sure!

I think that’s about all I’ve got here. My apologies for writing a review that’s probably almost as long as the story itself, if not longer! Deadlines can really expedite the editing process for the worse at times (not that it could probably be helped with the type of mind that I have, haha). Hopefully my review helps this little one-shot here feel a bit less lonely, as it definitely deserves some love. I look forward to reading more from you soon!
 

Juliko

The #1 Deerling Fan!
Joined
Aug 10, 2015
Messages
3,485
Reaction score
2,349
Hello! I hope you don't mind me reviewing your one-shot for the February reviewing challenge (I missed the 11th, so I'm making up for it by reviewing two stories today). It's not often that Malva gets written about, and I would have liked to see more of her in the X and Y games. Glad to see you decided to give her some spotlight in your fic. What you have here is pretty good. I liked seeing your own take on Malva's history and how she got to know the other Elite Four members like Siebold and Diantha, and I definitely like the idea of Malva being a petty manipulator. It gives her a bit more depth than the game really gave her, and makes her feel more morally gray as someone who works for both the Elite Four and Team Flare. My only real gripe with the one-shot is that a lot of the story is just telling, not showing. I feel like you could have added more to it, like extra scenes with Malva, Siebold, and Diantha interacting with one another, or maybe showing Malva's battle with Diantha in detail, along with the emotions she felt during and after the battle, or even her interactions with Team Flare. Things like that give stories much more weight and make it feel more compelling. Then again, I struggle with "show don't tell" as well, so don't feel too bad about it. What you do have is pretty nice, and I did genuinely enjoy it, as short as it was! Definitely keep writing!
 

Daren

Unsung Hero
Joined
Sep 27, 2007
Messages
3,407
Reaction score
9,771
This was a nice little one-shot.

Malva's a character that I always thought felt rather underutilized in the XY games--a member of the Elite Four being part of the evil team is an interesting idea that XY sort of just brushes by, so it's a good choice for a short character piece.

This version of Malva is a portrait of a woefully self-obsessed person, best summed up by her complaining about her she should be champion over Diantha because the latter shouldn't be their "symbol of strength" while noting as if an irrelevant side notice that Diantha is a far stronger trainer. I've seen that sort of mindset pop up without a hint of irony often enough that it's unfortunately more realistic than one would think.

In the end you expect someone like this is likely to eventually crash, which has clearly happened to Malva after Team Flare was defeated--whether her cycle of blackmail and abuse will be fully unveiled in the future and lead to an even worse breakdown is outside the scope of this piece, however.
 
Please note: The thread is from 6 months ago.
Please take the age of this thread into consideration in writing your reply. Depending on what exactly you wanted to say, you may want to consider if it would be better to post a new thread instead.
Top