MATURE: How to Conquer Kanto in Eight Easy Steps - Chapter 97

Discussion in 'Writers Workshop' started by AceTrainer14, Oct 5, 2010.

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  1. canisaries

    canisaries now in mint flavor

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    Yeah, I suppose it could also be my personal fault, being very poor with timelines and having the attention span of a goldfish at times. In the chapter itself, the mention of eight years in particular without further context made me have to kind of guess what was the thing that happened eight years ago, and "literally being born" was the first conclusion my mind jumped to (instead of renovation, moving house, switching rooms, anything like that).

    Oh, apologies. I was somehow under the impression that the blogs were written and meant to be read after the arc or even the whole story. Looking back on it, not sure why, but as the request was on "arc one", I just took the first thing listed on that.

    Anyway - it is true that people's personalities are largely shaped by their past and surroundings, but I would not say that's all there is, by far. Besides tragedies like war and a slob father, there are years worth of minor events no author could possibly list all of and calculate coldly just how the person would psychologically turn out. There are playmates, TV shows, parents' beliefs and morals, insults, compliments, nightmares, all that. Then there are also genetic factors. Given this, a character should be so that even if select major events would not have happened, they would still have unique quirks about them.

    To put it more bluntly, "I had to grow up in the shambles of war" is not a personality trait. We know this to be true, as millions of people have grown up in crappy environments and lived through conflicts, yet each and every one of them is still unique. If we did create a character based solely on major things they were born with (sex, ethnicity, sexuality) or have gone through, we'd end up with a stereotype - and from a writing perspective, these characters would be unrecognizable if put into different scenarios.

    Anyway, I skimmed through Blog One just now, and I can definitely see why it should be gone through first. It's very expositiony, but that is to be expected from a blog, that's just how they are. It also has the personality that was missing from the chapter, and Alaska doesn't do any "my life not the good, pls feel bad 4 me" which I'm glad to see. So those two paragraphs before this: the problem I talk about seems to have largely been avoided, kudos. probably shoulda read the blog before writing all this, oh well
     
  2. Ghostsoul

    Ghostsoul "You can order me around and I'll disappoint you!"

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    ...is the plan to conquer Kanto in 8 easy steps?
    Okay, I've already read the prologue, I'll just say that whatever criticisms I had on it some months ago, probably still stand.

    Blog 1:

    I have to keep double reading that to make sure it's not 'Avocado'.
    Ace as in 'Ace Trainer' though?

    No matter how arrogant she is, it's still an odd thing to put into a blog. Especially since she's already mentioned her full first name.

    And even more narcissistic that she can still remember that.
    She can still remember who bested her at handwriting at year one!

    Even thought she is in the public eye, giving all this information about her (such as how closely she lives to her) and generally acts as if she's trying to ruin her interpretation.

    Woot! I like the unusual choice of 'starter' for this journey fic. The choice of opening automatically makes this tale far more interesting than most.

    You certainly make Alaska seem like quite an odd character, arrogant teenage girl, sure, but her arrogance does reach some more unsettling levels. You do have a lot of original concepts here such as the change of the starter Pokemon and the general Dystopian shake up of the region. Looking here, it seems like a story with a lot of potential for multiple directions it might be able to in.
     
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  3. AceTrainer14

    AceTrainer14 The acest of trainers

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    Thanks for the review @canisaries. As I said on Discord when we discussed, the arrogance thing I don't really see and it was not really my intention. I especilly don't think it is that narcissitic to make a joke about an award from her childhood XD I can remember things like that, and know a lot of people who can who are the opposite of narcissits.

    When looking for A last names, Acevedo appeared and I thought it seemed like Avocado. It seemed like the sort of thing a kid might get bullied for, so it stuck.

    I'm not sure how briefly describing one's appearance is narcisstic. It is not as though she did so in a complimentary fashion.

    That is the point of her venting. She is more immature than arrogant.

    I am glad there was one thing you liked XD

    I hope you enoy the rest of the story. I will take your view on board and have a read over the blog again and see if I can see things from your perspective.
     
  4. Threadmarks: Interlude Fifteen: Face to the Dawn
    AceTrainer14

    AceTrainer14 The acest of trainers

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    Interlude Fifteen: Face to the Dawn

    Kris paused at the stadium door. She had no idea if she was ready for this. For the past few weeks, she had been trying not to think about while at the same time incapable of thinking about anything else. The tension and the attention. Surrounded by people that hated her. Everyone expecting some grand statement. Kris wanted this, she knew she had to follow through, but as her fingers rested on the door handle, she had never felt so unsure of what she was about to do.

    You cannot back out now. You have to do this. You know you do.

    "Yes, I know, shut up!"

    "What was that?"

    Kris turned to her handler and smiled awkwardly. "Nothing, just talking to myself."

    "Okay," the woman replied, forcing her own smile.

    Kris didn't need psychic connections to know this twentysomething hipster wanted to be doing anything but making sure the world's least favourite Champion had a good day, but she had no energy to worry about that now. She turned back to the door, her eyes drilling into the black chunk of wood that separated her from her fate.

    You exposed Gold. You defeated Lance. You made sure Vanessa got to save the world. You can do this. Without any further hesitation, Kris pushed the door open, ready if unwilling for whatever waited on the other side.

    For a second, sunshine blinded her. Kris winced against the glare and paused a few feet from the doorway, waiting for her eyes to adjust. By the time Ampharos, Espeon and her handler had joined her in the open, Kris could see again. Instantly, she wished the blinding had been permanent.

    A hundred people stood before her, and every one of them was glaring at her. Middle-aged adults standing in huddles; young children clutching hot dogs and candy floss; elderly with withering looks behind oversized glasses; fellow trainers with their Pokémon by their side. No matter who Kris looked at, no one seemed happy to see her.

    Her throat suddenly dry, Kris forced the most insincere smile she had ever produced. "Hello and welcome to the Johto League Open Day!"

    Silence. Even her echo abandoned her, leaving Kris standing awkwardly near the wall with hundreds of eyes looking at her with scornful judgement. Kris half expected a tumbleweed to blow through Champion's Park, but the creaking of the Ferris wheel in the background and the flashing lights of the stalls was enough to make the awkward, tense, heavy quiet even worse.

    Then the clapping started. Though calling it clapping was pushing the definition of the word, and Kris didn't think it counted when her own Pokémon was the one doing it. She turned to Ampharos, watching those nubby yellow hands pounding soundlessly together, and tried her best to convey her confusion while not letting her façade slow.

    Thankfully, the gamble paid off. Kris cast her eyes across the crowd as more applause started to pick up. It was mostly Pokémon following Ampharos' lead, but children started to copy their pets, and eventually a half-hearted scattering of limp-wristed clapping spread through their parents. It lasted barely thirty seconds, but the silence shattered, people seemed to have lost the will to stare and turned their focus back to the stalls.

    Kris waited until she was sure no one was watching before turning to Ampharos. "Thank you."

    "Pharo," the Electric type chimed before spinning Kris back towards the stalls.

    Getting the hint, Kris rolled her eyes affectionately at her Pokémon before making her first steps forwards. She felt eyes flicker towards her as she moved away from the safety of Champion's Stadium, but Kris had expected the odd look; this was her first public engagement on this scale in three years, and after years of judgement, it all was familiar ground.

    You made the first step, congratulations.

    Don't condescend me, I shouldn't be praised for going outside.

    Well, hopefully, I won't have to one day.

    Kris looked to the sky and pulled a face, hoping Latias could see it. If this goes wrong, it's your fault. Remind me why we aren't having this meeting at my house where my whiskey lives?

    Because how are you meant to save the world if you cannot see what you are saving?

    Kris sighed. She knew Latias was right; the whole reason for doing this today amongst all these people was to make a point, and hiding away in her dark, cold house would do nothing to help her cause. She had to make a stand, and she couldn't do that with a tray of ice cubes and a whiskey tumbler.

    It still didn't make her little parade any more bearable. Everyone seemed happy and engaged in the festivities from a distance, but when Kris got close, people put that joy aside in order to watch her, some in stone-faced silence, others muttering under their breath to their companions.

    Why would you waste your weekend coming to watch someone you hate? I don't go and visit Gold when I need cheering up.

    Be patient, Latias sighed. These people might surprise you – turn around!

    Kris stopped and swivelled; a little boy was standing a few feet from her with a sheet of paper in his hands. "Can I help you?" She asked, putting on her politest voice possible.

    "Can I get your autograph?" The boy asked, lifting the paper up before she could say anything.

    "Um, sure!" Kris could not remember the last time this had happened, and she was more than happy to accept the ego boost. She smiled up at the boy's mother and struggled to keep grinning as the woman shot daggers back at her. "And what's your name?"

    "Noah."

    "What a lovely name! Do you want to be Champion when you grow up?"

    Noah nodded enthusiastically. "Yep! I want to be just like Red!"

    "Not like me?" Kris gasped before laughing.

    "Nope," the boy said with continued enthusiasm. "I wanted to get Red's autograph, but mummy told he wasn't going to be here and I'd just have to be happy with you."

    Kris' face hurt from the amount of effort it took to keep her smile up. "Well aren't you just the cutest." She nearly stabbed the pen right through the piece of paper before shoving it back to him. Jumped up little shit. What sort of fucking name is Noah anyway? Your whore mother hoping you're going to build her a boat to carry both fat arse cheeks all the way to -

    Krystal!

    Oh, fuck off, I blame you for that.

    I'm sorry, I didn't realise small humans could be so rude, Latias said, sounding offended herself. I have lived for thousands of years, but I rarely have I encountered so many horrid little humans!

    Kris stopped mid-march, sadness sinking through her body. Is it really that strange how much they hate me?

    There was a heavy pause that weighed down on Kris' brain, and she felt a strong wave of guilt spread through her. I did not mean it like that, Latias said finally. I just wish your life could have been easier. I worry sometimes if our bond has not exasperated your problems, being as connected as you are to the Soul Plane.

    Don't blame yourself. You could never have predicted things would unfold like this. I just wish… after all the things I've gone through, I just wish this had been easier.

    Kris reached instinctively towards a Poké Ball in her pockets, yet her fingers barely brushed the surface before she felt a sudden cold; in a second, her vision turned red, and Kris could feel the warmth of blood on her hands and legs, could hear a scream that rarely left her mind.

    "Kris!"

    She opened her eyes. Kris could feel everyone watching her again, but she realised it was because she was clutching her head with her hands, a visible shudder running down her body. Breathing deeply, she looked towards the source of the voice and felt instant relief.

    "What was that?" Spike whispered as he rushed towards her, pulling her in into a tight hug.

    Kris threw her arms around him without any care of who was watching. "Just another flashback, you know how it is."

    "Mount Coronet again?"

    "Yes," Kris said, trying to shake the thought from her head. "Let's not talk about it. Where is she?"

    "Kris, you don't need to worry about this just yet, she can -"

    "She can't wait. This is important." Kris broke away from the hug and looked Spike in the eye, bringing out her own glower.

    Spike sighed and gestured back the way he'd come. "I think she stopped to talk to Karen."

    "Probably checking if there is a way to have me overthrown." Kris laughed at the thought; her enemies would probably consider it a punishment, but after all she had had to suffer, little else would make her happier than leaving this place behind.

    "Come on, let's get on with this." She took off, leading the way towards her enemy. She could still feel herself shaking when she stopped for more than a second, but she needed something to focus on, and there was nothing that needed more focus than this.

    Spike caught up to her and wrapped an arm around her shoulders, frowning. "I wish you had waited until all this was over."

    "The meeting is too important."

    "Did it have to be today though? You've got enough on your plate without adding all of them to the mix."

    "Just wait and see; me and the twins have cooked something up." Kris tried to smile but she couldn't ignore all the eyes watching her. "I would have waited if I could, but time is against us. If I want to get them on side, I need to make a statement, and this is the only way to achieve that."

    Spike raised an eyebrow but didn't question her, which Kris was thankful for; the more she considered their plan, the more flawed it seemed, the more she wished she had another way of doing this.

    I have to do this. This is my duty, whether I want it or not. Kris looked at the people in the crowd, taking in all the eyes glaring blatantly at her. It was easy to feel bitter after all she had been through, but everything Cynthia had said at the conference had been true. She would rather live here surrounded by people that hated her then be stuck in New Leaf mourning her mother alone. This was not the life she had wanted, but it was as close as Kris was ever going to get it. Nothing was going to change if she kept letting everyone else dictate how she felt.

    As her eyes gazed through the crowd, they stopped as a mass of blue hair appeared amongst a sea of plainness. Kris paused and sighed. This was a side effect of the life she wanted. The Open Day, the crowds, the attention, that was the image they marketed; what was about to happen was everything they didn't tell you until it was too late.

    This is going to be tough, but I have to do this… If this all works, all your pain, all your suffering, there is a chance it might all mean something. Kris stepped forwards, a smile spreading up her face as she steadied her soul. "Clair, thank you so much for coming!"

    It had been four years since Kris had met Clair. She could clearly remember that day in the Dragon's Den, the day she had met Spike and learnt what Latias and the Enigma Stone meant. It had been one of the most profound and enlightening days of her life, yet it was becoming harder and harder to remember the kind gym leader she had met that day, the rare supportive voice on what had been a long and arduous journey.

    Four years later, the only support Clair would be offering would be if Kris decided to resign. As soon as the gym leader turned, Kris knew the hatred was as strong as ever. Clair wore a long cobalt coat despite the heat, hiding her body and drawing all the attention her face: thin lips, narrow eyes, flared nostrils, tensed neck muscles. Kris briefly glanced at Spike, trying not to smirk. This is going to be worse than I thought.

    Clair didn't say anything for a few minutes, letting the tension build and bubble in the air "I had little choice," she said finally. "When a Champion summons a gym leader, that gym leader must accept said summons whether they wish to or not. I, for one, do not disobey the laws of this land. You may have noticed, for example, that I didn't kill you the moment I arrived here." Clair smirked briefly, a smile so cold it made Kris shudder. Before she could say reply, Clair glanced at Spike. "However, next time I would expect the request to come directly from the Champion, not from her live-in lover."

    "I did not think you would respond if I asked you. Clearly I underestimated your loyalty to the League."

    Clair's eyes withered at the jibe. "Yet you thought sending this traitor was the better idea?"

    Spike scoffed. "Traitor? How does ensuring the Enigma Stone gets to its rightful owner betray the Dragon's Den mission?"

    "Funny, I didn't hear about you tracking down the Kanto girl. Or have you decided to steal something else for yourself again?" Clair growled, shooting a look at Kris. "Clearly the gods have better favour with me than you."

    "Here we go, I knew this wouldn't take long." Kris pushed Clair's hand aside and stepped forwards. "In your delusional anger, you seem to have forgotten the facts. I didn't steal anything from Lance, I bet him fair and square, and –"

    "Only because of Latias," Clair snarled.

    "Oh, is she the sore spot in all this? What's the matter, annoyed the gods didn't choose any of you?"

    Clair's lunged forwards; Kris expected a slap, but instead, a dark blue nail was pointed right at her throat, close enough that if she swallowed it would pierce her skin. "You know, I really have begun to doubt the wisdom of the gods of late. You may think your bond with Latios makes you special, but given the number of selfish little children running around with gods, you are no more special than any of them, nor does it make you worthy of your title."

    Kris looked Clair dead in the eye and smiled. "Lance is welcome to re-battle me, but we both know why he hasn't. He's already been defeated by children twice; if he loses to me again, his reputation is over, and there is no way anyone will pay him any attention ever again. And we all know your little cult would be nothing without attention."

    "How dare you, you uptight little cu–"

    "Careful, ladies, there are children watching."

    Kris and Clair turned simultaneously; an old woman stood a few feet away, smirking, while the crowds slowly walked past taking in the war of words. Kris blushed from the attention, but she saw Espeon and Ampharos had thankfully shown some initiative: the two were standing a few feet away, shooting sparks and small beams at each other for the amusement of a large crowd oblivious to the fight behind them.

    Keep it together. Fuck this up and you are done. Kris stepped away from Clair and let her body unclench before she faced her other guests.

    She had never met Evelyn Athlew before, but based on reputation alone, she could safely assume the elderly woman in the lush purple dress was the infamous socialite. There were two people behind her: Daisy Kris knew better and cast she smiled at the scientist, and she guessed the thin man next to her was Trevor Archer. She was about to ask why they looked so uneasy, but an angry shriek beat her to the punch.

    "What are they doing here?" Clair had heeded Evelyn's warning and was keeping her voice low, but every whispered word screamed with rage. "I was led to believe this would be a one-on-one meeting. You brought me here under false pretences!"

    "Would you have come if you knew they were here?"

    "That's not the right answer," Clair hissed. "What are we all doing here?"

    "Wait and see," Kris replied coolly, pushing past the gym leader and approaching her new guests. "It's lovely to meet you, Evelyn. I know your grandson from a long time ago."

    Evelyn smiled thinly and limply shook Kris' hand. "I know. He is the reason I came; I was surprised to get your invite, but Jericho told me not to believe what I had heard about you. I sincerely hope he is right."

    Kris smiled back, refusing to let her get under her skin. Already this day was wearing her down; this meeting hadn't even lasted two minutes and already she was tired. Spike was right. I've fucked this up. I should never have planned these on the same day. Fuck, I could really use a drink right now.

    Remember why you are here. Remember why you are doing this. Remember Coronet.

    Without even trying, Kris' mind returned to the mountain. That memory would haunt her for the rest of her life, waiting in the back of her thoughts ready to pounce whenever she gave it the opportunity. She only had to shut her eyes and let her vision turn red and she there: her hand in Latias', the Enigma Stone clasped between them, cold stone beneath under her knees. Kris could remember seeing her own eyes through Latias', the horror she'd felt in that moment thinking the pain had killed her and her soul had left her behind.

    Yet it was what came after that still haunted Kris' dreams. The scream, the splash of blood, a smooth green head leering backwards before slumping to the ground. Those moments were the fuel of nightmares, and often when Kris was alone at night, she could still feel the snow beneath her feet as she ran towards her Pokémon, fear clutching her heart, blood running down her hands.

    After what felt like an eternity, Kris felt a hand on her shoulder. She opened her eyes and found Spike right in her face. "Are you sure you are alright?"

    "I'm fine, trust me." Kris squeezed his hand reassuringly before turning to her guests. They all looked puzzled by her sudden pause, but Kris simply smiled back, refusing to let anyone interrupt her vibe. "I'm sorry, I got caught up in myself for a moment. I'm ready now, so I hope you are all prepared to listen."

    "Here?" Trevor asked, eyebrow raised. "I thought you wanted to talk to us about the incident in Kanto."
    "I still do, don't worry." Kris smiled at Trevor as his eyes bulged. "I am well aware how many people are around us right now. It may seem random – in fact, I'm second guessing it all right now – but trust me, there is a point to it."

    Kris gazed around the crowd. There was one couple that appeared to be in their fifties leaning against a stall, laughing as they fed each other cotton candy. A few feet from them, a group of children were enthusiastically patting a small Furfrou. Nearby, two teenagers that were clearly trainers were watching Ampharos and Espeon, whispering what could only be strategy ideas to each other.

    "These people hate me. I know some of you have your doubts about me, I accept that, but your reasons are somewhat more valid than theirs are. I am hated because they choose to hate me. Some of them don't even choose to; they just soaked up a feeling, an emotion in the air and decided it was as much a fact to them as it was to everyone else. I imagine if you stopped and asked everyone here today why they hate me, only a few could think of a solid answer.

    "They hate me because four years ago I left home to become a Pokémon trainer. I did it because I wanted to make my mother happy, but mostly I wanted to feel good. I hoped to do well but this wasn't my end goal. I just wanted to feel something different, something I had never been able to find in New Bark Town.

    "Along the way, I battled a boy. He was a child pretending to be wiser and more grown up then he really was. He had his own issues, I'll accept that, but no matter how much his parents screwed him over, he was ultimately just an evil child who craved success like a drug and was willing to do anything to get his fix."

    Kris turned towards Champion's Stadium, for a moment remembering the battles she had fought in there and the pain they both had caused. "I thought that when he and I faced off that last time I had finally beaten him for good. Yet Gold ultimately won without even trying. For a long time, I felt it was some sort of cosmic punishment for something; my father's past, my own assumption that I deserved of a better life, defeating Lance, who the fuck really knows.

    "It wasn't until recently – well, let's be honest, I only even started considering this last weekend. I could easily be talking out of my ass right now, and I did have a whiskey before I came out here so there's that as well. Okay, two. Fine, three!" Kris sighed, throwing her hands in the air and laughing.

    "Sorry, I probably seem mad right now. But it's just that, I've realised… this has all been one journey. Everything that happened with Gold and my mother and my father and Lance and Coronet, it used to feel like small incidents all on their own, but all these things have been one big journey. It was one big path I had to head down. For years, I wished things had happened differently, but looking back, I don't know how they could have. If I had waited any longer to go on my journey, I never would have faced Gold the way I did, but my mother would have died anyway, and then… what? If I had waited, I never would have met Spike or any of my Pokémon, or gone to –"

    "Is this going to reach a point sometime soon?"

    Kris looked at Evelyn and smiled. "Sorry, yes. What I have realised is that there must be some purpose to this all. Mount Coronet was one of the worst nights of my life, but if I look past all the pain, I know that Latias and I had to be there for we were destined to play our role and the only way to get there was to go through all the other stops first. I didn't choose to get here like this, and I didn't choose to be hated by everyone, but I am here now. So there has to be some purpose, some reason for why I have ended up here. And I think I have found it."

    Kris reached into her pocket and pulled out a small wooden box. "There is a fight happening in Kanto right now. You all know what I am talking about. Alaska Acevedo; I've never met her, but reading her blog, I can tell she has suffered in the same way I have. She has been forced to confront the realities of her destiny, and she has no choice but to play into this deadly game.

    "A few weeks ago, Latios came to me needing his sister's help. It was only then that I began to pay attention to what was happening outside of my own miserable existence, and slowly I have begun to realise something. I have the opportunity to help Alaska, and I believe it is my duty to do so. And I am not the only one. All our paths have converged at this point in time, we have all crossed paths with Alaska in some little way. We are connected to what happens next, and we have a duty to put aside our own feelings and hatreds for each other and do what is necessary to help her."

    Kris finally stopped. Her hands were shaking as she held the box with Latios' Enigma Stone, and she forced herself to keep steady. She looked around at her little assembly, wondering what they were all thinking. Silence was her response: there was the chittering of the crowd around them, but no sound from her guests. Spike smiled at her reassuringly, but even he seemed put off by the stony faced quartet beside him.

    Unsurprisingly, it was Clair who spoke first. "This is why you dragged me here, to listen to your new age bullshit about destiny and faith? Give me a fucking break. All you people care about are your bloody prophecies and none you can see it's all bullshit."

    "Says the girl whose family has been living in a cave for a thousand years," Evelyn said drolly with a roll of her eyes. "As much as I disagree with this one on most things, Clair has a point. Is that all? You are aware that we are all trying to stop this latest resurgence of Rocket – well, most of us, at least…"

    "I am aware, but you aren't doing it properly." Kris knew this bit would be the hardest, and the dismissive groans and shaking nods she got only confirmed it. "I have heard things from around the region. I spoke with Red last weekend about the situation from his end, I have read Alaska's blogs, I know that –"

    "Not to be dismissive, but Alaska's blogs are a tad… biased, shall we say," Daisy interjected. "I wouldn't put too much weight behind what them, between you and me."

    "Between you and me, Daisy, I don't think any of you really understand the position she is in," Kris snapped back. "She seems to have been put into a series of difficult positions by all of you, and I will not let anyone else be abandoned by those who are meant to be supporting them. We have the ability to fight alongside her, and none of you will leave here today without us deciding on a proper strategy for the weeks ahead, one that isn't just 'wait and see'. Evelyn, Daisy, Trevor; you have the resources and connections to ensure this happens and to get everyone else on board. Clair, I know you are not a friend of mine, but if the Dragon's Den joined the fight, then there is enough firepower to -"

    "No." Clair stepped forwards, a smirk crossing her lips as she glared down at Kris. "I will not help you. If I am called in my capacity as gym leader, I will fight as I must, but in my capacity as Dragon Master, I will not bring anyone of them into a Kantonian fight. This is not our war, and I will not let anyone fight it for the good of your people."

    "That is exactly the attitude we don't need in this fight," Evelyn said with a heavy sigh. "Everyone on our end is satisfied with our strategy. It may have been a struggle to get here, but we are making progress."

    "Progress? Does that include actually going after Buzz or Gideon?"

    Evelyn turned her scowl on Spike. "I don't know who you are, so I don't care what you think. We have evaluated the risks and know that any move we make against the enemy has a significant chance of failure. There have already been some complications in this matter over the last twenty four hours, knowledge that is irrelevant to both of you, that simply proves how irrational and unpredictable the other side is. I appreciate the value of your rank, Champion, but you are a child no matter how many gods have blessed you with their presence. Leave the fight to those who actually know what they are talking about."

    Clair snorted with laughter. "Well, I must say this trip was worth it to watch you lose." She cast Kris one last glowering look before she turned, her coat swishing tightly in her wake. "Farewell. Hopefully I never have to see any of you again."

    Kris felt winded as she watched Clair push her way through the crowd. She forced herself to look at Evelyn, struggling not to turn away from that sharp glare. If this had happened a few weeks ago, Kris knew she would not be able to carry on, but she only had to shut her eyes and see the blood dripping down one wilting petal to know why she was here.

    "I thought you might say that," she called, stopping Clair in her march. "I am late to this fight, I know, but I have a perspective that none of you has: Alaska's. Leaf and Red went through this, but they have not been on the outside in the way I was or Alaska still is. The wait and see method, this divided country bullshit, none of it helped when Team Rocket tried to tear our countries apart, and I am not going to stand by and let it happen again. If we don't put aside these petty hatreds and help her, then, well, this happens."

    Kris clicked her fingers, and instantly the world went quiet.

    The sudden change sent a jolt through the five that could still move, yet Kris only had eyes for Clair. The gym leader remained frozen for a second, but as the shock began to settle in, she looked wildly around, anger and resentment in her eyes suddenly filled with fear. "What have you done?"

    Kris merely smiled and stepped back. All around them, Champion's Park had frozen. It was as silent as it was every other day of the week, a silence that was all too familiar to Kris, yet never before had there been so many people to wallow in it with her. If they had not been talking, laughing, whispering, gossiping a moment ago, it would be easy to think she was surrounded by statues; people frozen mid walk, mid bite, mid gossip, mid laugh, mid glare. Kris turned and saw the little boy who had insulted her earlier standing by Ampharos, glass eyes wide with excitement; she waved her hands in front of them and got no response.

    "What is this?" Evelyn shrieked from the middle of a throng of unmoving people. "What sort of magic is this?"

    Kris looked at her and smiled. "Don't you remember? I've been blessed by the gods."

    A shimmer that distorted the world spread through the air above them. As everyone looked to the sky, Kris stepped back to get a better look, her heart racing with excitement; even though she had planned this and knew it was coming, the sight of Latios and Latias revealing themselves, eyes glowing red and blue as they held everyone in place, it was enough to take her breath away.

    "My lords." Clair sank indelicately to her knees, trying to avert her eyes but too in awed by the gods to look away entirely. "You grace us with your presence. It… it is an honour to witness you both in the flesh."

    Your words are welcomed, Latias said, her words echoing inside their heads. The Dragon Tamers of Johto have long been friends of my brother and me, and I thank you for your family's service to our cause.

    I, too, must apologise again for the abruptness of my departure and thank you again for your hospitality, Latios said in his deep, echoing tones. However, I was dismayed to hear the way you were speaking just now about the threat that hangs over all of our heads.

    "Forgive me, my lords, but the situation is much more complex than I made it seem, and if I was flippant at all…" Clair fell silent as Latias raised one of her arms, a gentle smile on her circular face.

    We understand and appreciate your cause and why you feel as you do. Yet the war that is coming has the potential to endanger all of us, no matter where our loyalties lie. It is a threat that cannot be stopped if we all simply wait for a better time to strike, or for a time when the threat is more personal to our own causes.

    My sister speaks the truth, Latios said, his voice rising, sending a chill down Kris' spine. I left this world because a war that could have been stopped cost my previous trainer his life, and I returned to this world because I sensed a fight that has the potential to be even worse, yet we do not have to let it be. All of those who are involved in this needless war has the potential to end it. Alaska Acevedo may be the destined one, but this is not a burden one human should have to carry alone. Nor can the gods alone fight this for you: it is a human battle, and we cannot lead you if you do not wish to be led. You need an army, one from both sides of Mount Silver, and you need to be prepared for the risks that come with peace. My sister and I sense a great darkness coming to Kanto, and if we do no stop it, then everything you know and understand will be like this, like Kalos. Quiet.

    The two disappeared and the world started again. People carried on walking and eating and gossiping as though nothing had happened, but for them, nothing had. Some may question why Kris and her guests had moved slightly in the blink of an eye, but the atmosphere of the Open Day was enough that people carried on with what they were doing.

    "I hope that answered your questions." Kris cast her eyes over her compatriots. They were silent again, the shock of what had happened still being processed, but Kris could see the same look in Claire and Evelyn's eyes: an understanding that the siblings spoke the truth, and the inkling that it might be time to act.

    "Ah, Kris, there you are." Through the throngs of people that lined the streets, a mass of grey hair pushed through them. "In the name of the gods, I forgot how crowded these foul things can get," Karen groaned, wiping a string of sweat from the back of her neck. "I swear some gross little child just coughed on me while I was waiting for a hot dog. Had to resist the urge to kick him. At least you seem to be in a good mood for once."

    Kris laughed and put an arm around Karen's shoulders. "I wasn't expecting to enjoy today this much, but I guess these things can surprise you."

    Karen looked sceptical, but Kris knew she would not question it now. "They want to start the exhibition match soon. Are you ready?"

    "Almost. I just have to do one thing." Kris pulled a Poké Ball out from her pocket. The red paint had been cracked and worn out over the years, closer to a rusty pink now than anything. Kris rubbed her fingers against the dirt that coated the surface, and suddenly her hands were coated in blood, blood that ran down her arms and soaked her legs while tears ran down her face.

    Focus Krystal, focus. She dropped the ball before she hesitated any longer and stared straight ahead as the energy formed. Her view of Ampharos and Espeon was obscured by a long green neck, and she looked up into a bright smile that seemed to Kris the embodiment of everything around her.

    "Mega Gani!" Her starter leaned forwards and nuzzled Kris enthusiastically, so long had it been since they had last stood this closely. Kris wondered if Meganium knew the exact time, if that was something Pokémon registered inside their little capsules. She felt a weight press down on her chest as she leant forward and wrapped her arms around the Grass type's neck, and the weight only got heavier as it moved from smooth but fuzzy skin to the rough, thick gash that stretched right down her throat.

    If Kris shut her eyes right now, she knew she wouldn't see Draco cutting Meganium down, she wouldn't see herself soaking in her blood; she would simply see Meganium's Poké Ball sitting on the shelf for years, ignored and unloved. Kris would see herself sitting on her balcony trying not to think about her past, her present, her future, and all the decisions she had made that had led her to her pain.

    I am never going back there. This all has to mean something. "Do you want to battle?"

    "Megani!" Meganium leapt backwards and shook her stumpy tail in joy, and at the exact moment found herself surrounded by the crowd of children that had quickly abandoned her team mates.

    Kris laughed and clapped her hands, ignoring the tears that streamed down her face. She managed to make herself look away long enough to face her guests not caring how they saw her now. "I'll be back for your answer later, but I trust I won't have to ask for it." She flashed a wide smile to Clair before turning back to Karen. "Of course I'm ready. Let's do this."

    *******

    "We can't carry on like this, Buzz. I don't care how many people are watching the show or whether these rumours are true or not. The allegations, the subject matter of them... they are just too much for anyone to comprehend. Robots hidden away in the basement. Murdering teenagers. Conspiring to kill the Champion? What am I supposed to do, Buzz, what else can I possibly do in this situation?"

    Samson Silph had been wailing somewhere near him for about ten minutes now, but Buzz was not paying attention. He could what was being said, but the words were like little bugs swarming around him, irritating but harmless. Buzz had no time for the problems of his boss, not when his mind was occupied by something far more threatening.

    She's done it. She's finally done it. Buzz had opened Alaska's blog hours ago, but he had not yet made it to the end. One line had stopped him halfway through, and it was that sentence he was still reading now. Even after all the hours that passed – however long that was, Buzz had no idea – every single word continued to cut him deeply.

    "Their producer was the one holding the gun to my head," Buzz muttered.

    "What was that?" Silph yelled, high pitched and hysterical in his reaction.

    Buzz looked up briefly. "Nothing," he mumbled through clenched teeth and forced his eyes back to the screen.

    Amanda had acted against him. For what reason and to what capacity, Buzz could not be certain. But if Amanda had pulled a gun on Alaska, if she had tried to kill the little brat without warning him first, if she had been plotting this while ignoring his calls, then there were only so many conclusions he could draw from that.

    There could be other issues at play here. Her phone could have been lost. The issue could be on my end, some tech bullshit problem. Maybe she decided on the spur of the moment to do it, maybe she thought I'd like it, or she was just going to maim her and -

    Buzz paused mid-thought. He sat up so quickly his back slapped against his chair; Silph stopped talking, looking confused and frightened, but Buzz didn't care about him. He was thinking solely of the laughter that rang out inside his head, penetrating every cell of his body, screaming at him from every corner of his mind.

    Pathetic child, trying to run from the truth. No wonder you are such a failure.

    Buzz shut his eyes to try and block it out, but then Gideon was in front of him, face twisted in sadistic merriment, a gun clutched in his hands. The scientist pointed it at Buzz's forehead, and as he laughed endlessly, his finger tightened on the trigger.

    "NO!"

    Buzz leapt to his feet. He knew he should be more mindful of his injuries, but in the heat of the moment, he felt nothing but rage. He knew it was all in his head but he had to check, unable to tell in this living nightmare his life had become. The only person in his makeshift office was Silph, who seemed to be shaking slightly himself. Buzz checked his laptop just to be sure, and his heart beat faster as he saw the same eleven words that were threatening to tear him apart.

    As the rage subsided, Buzz's began to feel pain down his middle. He reached instinctively for his groin but stopped with his fingers barely grazing the front of his pants. Touching it would not help, not when it was still healing.

    The laughter carried on, but as Buzz looked down at his spoiled body, his rage took over. It winced every time he stepped forward too vigorously. It burnt when he tried to pee. There was talk of them attaching a bag to collect his urine. The doctors were not sure yet if he would ever be able to get an erection again let alone have children.

    This is all her fault, Buzz thought, fingers digging into the desk. Alaska and her friend have taken everything from me. My plan, my future, my partner. Why am I sitting here letting them get away with this? The little bitch needs to be punished, she needs to suffer, she needs to know everything I have inflicted on her.

    Buzz grabbed the phone, imaging his tight grip was around Alaska's throat. He thought of the number of times he had called Amanda over the last few days and the dial tone he had gotten in response and his eye began to twitch.

    This was my plan. This is all happening because of me. You think you can cast me aside and do this without me? I am the one who first got the elites worried, I am the one who pushed Red out of the public light, I am the one who dragged Alaska into this mess, me. ME! No one else is going to take this glory away from me.

    Buzz pressed a single number and held the receiver to his ear. "It's me." There was no response, not that Buzz had expected anything more from Scar. "It's time. No more waiting. Let them free." He hung up the phone before anyone could question him. His order had been delivered, and Buzz expected it to be followed through.

    He got up, pushing his chair aside, and moved towards the window. The view was not as good as it had been in his old office, the angles of the neighbouring buildings not quite right. Nor was it sunset quite yet, the sky still a light blue smeared in places by pale clouds barely hanging together. Yet there was the sun above him shining brightly, casting dark shadows over everything below him. Buzz watched it for a few moments, breathing in and out slowly, smiling.

    "Have you paid any attention to what I said? You are not giving orders here anymore, you're done!"

    Buzz chuckled as he turned back to Silph. The owner of this room stood in the middle of it with his chest puffed out and his face twisted in anger, but his squeaky voice and pouty lips betrayed his authority. "It is alright, I understand. I quit."

    "Y-y-you quit?" Silph spluttered. "But… no, you can't, I've already fired you."

    "Oh no, I insist. In fact, I have been thinking about it for a long time. This place, it's so stifling, isn't it? I was never one to be stuck inside a box like this. In fact, if you don't mind, I'd like to make a few changes here before I go."

    In one swift movement, Buzz pulled his gun from his pocket and fired it at the window. Silph screamed as the glass shattered, and screamed again as Buzz grabbed him by the lapels and dragged him towards the empty space.

    "You're insane, you can't do this to me!" He wailed, eyes widening the closer they got to the edge.

    "Weren't you paying any attention; I QUIT!" Buzz screamed, grinning wildly. He pushed Silph so he was leaning over the edge of the building, only Buzz's grip stopping him falling several stories to his death. It would be easy and hilarious to let him go, but right now Buzz only cared for the view below. Everyone down there looked so small and indistinguishable from each other as they milled about their days, wallowing in their own sense of importance, walking down the street with no idea of what lay beneath, so blissfully unaware.

    Until now. Buzz smiled as the screams started, but the sweetest sound was that of the road cracking and bursting open. Figures rapidly rose up the side of the building and shot past without any time for him to make them out clearly, but a few of the robots looked familiar: a Poliwrath here, a Machamp there, a Rhydon and Gengar and Charizard scattered around them, too many to focus on.

    As his robots rose from their home and flew towards their next destination, Buzz's smile widened. He shut his eyes, listening to the screams getting louder and louder below, he could imagine Alaska's face when she saw them coming, Sandy's when the robots descended on her, Amanda when she realised her mistake; Gideon's when the truth became apparent.

    Buzz opened his eyes and looked at Silph. "Haven't you realised it yet? No one is the boss of me."

    Laughter reverberated inside the office, Buzz's cackle clashing with the faint echoes inside his head. But as he watched Silph fall screaming towards the pavement, his coattails brushing against the metallic Pokémon that past him by, the voices in his head got quieter and quieter. Buzz sank into his chair and watched the sun reflecting off the skins of his Pokémon, and he laughed.


    Finally, after a very long time, another arc is done! Only four of these things left... hopefully this story can be done before we hit the 10th anniversary, but if not, prepare yourself for a crazy bunch of chapters!
     
  5. canisaries

    canisaries now in mint flavor

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    I'm here to review a chapter for the Review Game, and now that I have read the blog and first chapter, chapter 2 is my target.

    While what "it" refers to here is deductible from context, it might be better grammar-wise to replace that with a word referring to the attack. Otherwise it's saying either Paige or the mankey was enough to get Paige away again.

    lol can you imagine if the humans in pokemon spoke like that

    Missing word? That, or it's an expression I haven't heard before. Also, dialogue tags starting with non-names should be noncapitalized according to my knowledge.

    I take it you take liberties with Pokemon movepools in this fic? You do seem like someone who would definitely check if a move is in a mon's movepool or not, so I'll assume so.

    Missing word?

    Twitter: (of a bird) give a call consisting of repeated light tremulous sounds.

    I'm not sure if that's is a fitting word for that vocalization? Unless you meant that she trilled.

    Haha, just by that wording I can tell he's gonna be something.

    The formatting looks very odd here, is a newline missing? I think Melton should have a period or something at the end too?

    You're very good at describing characters with their looks and similes about them and through the protagonist's reactions. It also tells a lot about the protagonist themselves.

    Needs a comma or question mark to end the sentence.

    Comma after "yep", I'd say.

    *arduously restrains herself from unfunny joke*

    I really like the word choices for Chloe; "prowl", "purr", "hiss". Gives her a subtle cat motif which emphasizes her bitchiness and femininity.

    hahaha that casual racism

    Also, funny how savage is probably more well known as a compliment nowadays. Times sure change.

    Wrong "their".

    Now for some more positive feedback at the end:

    The parts where Alaska reminisces about her hometown were very heartfelt, very good job on those. What's also well established is the rivalry between Chloe and Alaska. Generally the prose is also still really good, overlooking the few errors I pointed out.

    That's it for my review, feel free to respond with any questions or clarifications you feel are necessary.
     
  6. AceTrainer14

    AceTrainer14 The acest of trainers

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    Pidgey can learn Steel Wing through breeding and TM. I don't think I have ever made it specific, but as Paige was a gift, I imagine that she may have been purchased rather than caught from outside their house XD

    Thanks for the review. I have fixed the errors in document and will edit them in here at some point. Glad that things such as Mitchell's annoyance and the rivalry came across clearly :) I thought if you were going to do the Review Game, you'd have gone for DTYD to see your banner in action XD
     
  7. canisaries

    canisaries now in mint flavor

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    Oh, right, TMs exist, forgot to scroll that far down in the wiki page xp Thanks for the clarification.
     
  8. Threadmarks: Chapter 90: How Far We'll Go
    AceTrainer14

    AceTrainer14 The acest of trainers

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    New year, new arc. Let's keep this show rolling. Only four arcs left till everything explodes. Strap in folks!

    Chapter Ninety: How Far We'll Go


    Before the blindfold had even been torn from her face, Alaska had to shield her eyes from the glare of the sun. "Fuck sake, some time to acclimatise would've been nice. Some of us still have eyes in our heads."

    "Not for much longer if you keep that mouth running," Blaine growled. "What sort of hero are you if you can't even handle a bit of sunlight?"

    "A blind one," Alaska spat back. She turned to the gym leader and shot him as powerful of a glare as she could while she tried to blink away the white smear burned into her eyes.

    "You know he can't see that, right?"

    Alaska rolled her anger-filled eyes at Damian. "Just because he can't experience my withering high beams right now doesn't mean I don't get the satisfaction of – OW!"

    Blaine smirked as he led the way out of the rocky tunnel, twirling the cane he had just struck her with in his hands. "One final lesson for you, girl; the only true satisfaction of harming someone else is when you actually harm them."

    "Wasn't that technically the first lesson?"

    "Was it? I thought I'd spent the last day imparting all my earthly wisdom on you."

    "No, you just made me think you hated me, laughed, and then hid in the shadows."

    Blaine nodded. "I knew the first thing I said didn't sound right," he said with a throaty cackle, and he casually strolled down the thin bank of sand that constituted a beach on this frozen island, joyfully swinging his cane in his hands.

    Alaska watched him with burning contempt. If this was happening a few weeks ago, she'd probably push him onto the jagged rocks that bordered them and watched as the waves crashed over him. But times had changed, and even if it was Blaine's fault she'd slept on the floor of a cave last night, she couldn't blame him for any of her current feelings.

    Her journey through Seafoam had only lasted two nights, but it had left Alaska drained. She was enjoying the warmth of the sunlight after several days wandering through icy passages, but even as she limped away from Seafoam's caves, she couldn't escape the memory of what had happened down there: the reality stars, the ice in her lungs, fighting with Damian, warring with Amanda, Paige evolving, the river, fighting with Damian again, fighting with Paige, fucking Ponyta. It was a package holiday from hell – so much chaos in so little time, and she hadn't even received the continental breakfast.

    If she had the choice, Alaska would find the nearest bed and crawl into it and not wake up until this was all over. The last few weeks since Saffron had been the most intense physical and emotional experience of her life, and the last decent sleep she'd had was when Scar nearly killed her.

    Yet she couldn't stop now. Her eyes finally adjusted to the real world, Alaska realised how close they were to the ocean: cobalt water crashed rhythmically against the beach and the rocks around them, but beyond their little cove was simply nothing. She could see the clouds like melted steel reflected on the ocean's surface, but beyond that, the water simply went on forever and ever without any sign of life except a few birds flying overhead. Sandy was somewhere in all of this openness, if Amanda hadn't killed her yet. They had no reason to believe she was dead, and Alaska wouldn't entertain the thought until she had searched everywhere for her friend.

    I've let you down too many times – I am not letting you down again. She held that thought at the front of her mind, and it was the only thing that kept Alaska standing on her bung leg, Hestia and Damian framing her as they watched Blaine hobbling about.

    "Alright, let's get this over with before a passing cruise ship ruins my whole charade." Blaine stepped aside and pointed to the sand with his cane: seven x's were carved into the grains several feet apart in what looked like three separate clusters. The gym leader walked back to Alaska and made the eighth right in front of her, over a metre between it and the rest. "That is Seafoam. Those seven are the Sevii Islands. The last GPS records suggest Bertram's boat was heading towards the archipelago, but the signal faded before we could find out their destination. However, history would suggest they are going towards one of these two." Blaine pointed to the one closest before leaning and tapping the one furthest away. "One and Seven Island."

    "Imaginative lot."

    "Quiet!" Blaine barked before settling back into his teacherly persona. "When the authorities ordered Giovanni to disband Project Rocket, he had his army attack the Sevii Islands in order to split up the allied forces, though the main battle was fought on One Island. The town has rebuilt and there is a memorial there to the victims, so Amanda could go there for historical justice.

    "However, Giovanni himself was based in Seven Island. His operations were housed in an abandoned tower just north of the main town. The gods destroyed it during the final onslaught, and the League attempted to cast away the memory of Rocket by building a battle facility, which Giovanni in turn destroyed. Now it's just a ruin, and I'd say it's safe to imagine Amanda has taken Sandy and Lachlan there. But they will need to go through all the other islands to reach it, and if they were to stop to refuel, it would be at One Island."

    "So we're flying to that island first?" Alaska asked, and Blaine nodded. "Good, let's get going then."

    "What, already?" Damian shrieked incredulously. "Are you planning on taking Amanda on alone?"

    "I've done it before, I think I can handle her again," Alaska shot back as she retrieved a Poké Ball from her pocket.

    "My memory may be a little foggy after falling into a freezing river, but didn't she come pretty close to shooting you in the face a few days ago?"

    Alaska fired Damian her most withering look, but the reality star held his own, his backs straightened and hands clenched by his side. "She surprised me, I'll admit that, but I won't let that happen again. I may have made a mistake back in the cave, but so did Amanda – the bitch took the only person in the world I truly care about from me, and I will make sure she rues the day."

    Blaine's croaky chuckle cut through the tension. "If we put a flaming collar around your neck, you would be a perfect addition to my gym."

    Alaska ignored the jibe, focussing on her Poké Ball as she threw it towards the sand. The capsule burst open in the middle of Blaine's etchings and the red energy poured into the sky. With a triumphant squawk, Paige formed, her expansive wings shimmering in the light, and she began to soar in great, swooping circles above their heads. It was her first time in open air since evolving, and Alaska's heart warmed to watch her Pokémon making the most of her freedom, head crest trailing gloriously behind her. Yet her joy lasted mere moments before it was taken from her.

    "What about Leaf and all of them? I thought you were working with them? Why are we not waiting for them?"

    A little voice in the back of Alaska's head reminded her that Damian was on her side, but it was still a struggle not to kick him in the balls when she turned to him. "And what will happen in the time it takes them to get there? I am not risking Amanda killing my best friend. If Leaf and her lot have read my blog, which they probably get before I've even finished writing it, they will know what is happening and will be making their own decisions. If they choose to help us, they will, but I can't wait for them to make their minds up."

    "You must consider, Damian, that this could be part of Amanda's plan," Hestia said, resting a furry hand on the boy's shoulder. "She might be using Sandy to try and lure the gym leaders into a trap, and that would only make this whole situation a lot worse."

    Damian didn't meet the Delphox in the eye, his sullen face instead staring out to sea, but he nodded briefly and Alaska sighed with relief; he may be coming to this late, but Damian at least showed a few signs he understood the gravity of the situation.

    "You two could come with us, though. Amanda won't see that coming."

    Blaine smirked. "Thanks for the offer, boy-o, but I don't fancy myself getting caught up in whatever fiery plans your associate here has for the producer."

    "Oh Blaine, are you flirting with me?" Alaska said, winking as she blew an air kiss.

    Blaine shook his head. "Don't make me sick."

    "So are you just going to stay here then and let us do all the dirty work?" Damian asked, his lips pursed.

    "Weren't you listening last night, kid?" Blaine snapped. "I'm on your side, but that doesn't mean I am going to throw myself head first into your little war. I've set up a nice little life for myself here and I am not sacrificing any of that just yet. Now that I know Alaska is up to this task, I need more information and I can't find any of it here."

    "No shit, it's a cave," Alaska said.

    "It's more the fact I am purposefully not connected to all the central mainframes," Blaine replied caustically. "The world of Pokémon is connected by multiple computer networks; the PC system, league databases, the global trading system, and those are just the biggest ones. I haven't logged in to any of my accounts since 2008, and there are resources I'll need to bring me up to speed. But there are also a number of files and programs that even Red and Oak won't have access to, and that's mostly because they are all buried beneath several layers of volcanic rock."

    Alaska glanced to her left. "You mean they are on Cinnabar?"

    "Yes, Cinnabar," Blaine said, grabbing Alaska's head and tilting it to her right. "Everything that's happened to Kanto in the last few years all started on Cinnabar: the Rocket Group, Project M2, Missingno and all his mad ideas. Gideon and I were both there at the very beginning alongside Giovanni. It could be a long shot, but if there are any clues out there saying what Gideon is up to, they'll be there."

    "Well, as long as I'm not the one who has to go to that melted shithole, I'm happy."

    Blaine raised an eyebrow. "Oh really? And how do you expect to get your Volcano Badge?" His cracked lips spread open in a yellow-toothed grin as Alaska's face went slack. "What, did you think you were going to complete your last two precious steps in Johto?"

    Alaska crossed her arms and straightened her back. "Who says I want to battle you? I could hop on a train to Goldenrod anytime I want and finish this all off there."

    "And face Whitney's Miltank? On your training regime?" Blaine snorted. "Bitch, please, you need to get your priorities in order. No, you and I will face off once you have found your friend. Meet me on Cinnabar Island – Hestia will know when you are approaching – and we will battle. Four on four. No spectators. Does that work for you?"

    "I guess," Alaska said, shrugging. She didn't think she had any space left in her brain to start thinking about a new battle strategy, but she was pleased for the challenge. "Am I going to remember this match? I should feel honoured."

    "You should," Blaine sneered, stepping forwards so his bald, eyeless head loomed over her. Alaska refused to let her guard down and stood firmly, and after a few moments the sneer twisted into a smirk. "You've down some good work out there, girl. Don't let anybody tell you any different. The whole thing with Giovanni might have gone a lot differently if Red and Leaf had found their spines a little earlier. I hope you find your friend, and I hope you end this war your way."

    "Wow, thanks… um, I don't know what to say." Alaska looked to Damian and Hestia for advice, but they both seemed just as taken aback by Blaine's kindness as she was.

    "In fact, I've got a gift for you." Blaine reached into his pocket and pulled out a plastic bag, a single Poké Ball sitting inside. "I may be out of the system, but that doesn't mean I am entirely useless. I wiped the ID on this last night so the ownership is currently blank. Once you've touched it, it will register your fingerprint and it will be yours."

    "Fuck me, are you serious?" Alaska pulled the capsule out before she got an answer. The white half lit up blue before the button flashed red, and Alaska knew it was hers. A new Pokémon, a Fire type at that. She longed to know what it was, and catching Blaine's proud smile, Alaska rolled it onto the ground.

    "Thank you, I can't tell you how much this means to me. I wouldn't say I hate the other gym leaders, but it was difficult with them, but with you it's – oh, fuck you, you old prick!"

    Blaine's laughter erupted across the beach, making the Ponyta jump in fright, blue flames shaking violently. The Fire type looked down at the ball it had come out of and traced it back to Alaska, and Alaska could see her own expression reflected in the horse's bulging face.

    "NYYYYY!" Ponyta reared her head and turned towards Blaine, but the gym leader stepped backwards.

    "No, no, no, you're with her now." He smiled at his former Pokémon, his grin the opposite of the thin grimace across her face. "Oh come now, why the long face?"

    "I thought you said this was a gift."

    "It is. Doesn't mean it has to be a good one," Blaine sniggered.

    "This bitch hates me though. What am I supposed to do with her?"

    "Learn something, for one," Blaine replied, grinning malevolently. "And secondly, if you are going to search seven islands for a psychopathic producer, you will need some transport, and she might learn something from that."

    "What is she going to teach me, math?"

    "She could probably give you some geography lessons," Damian said.

    "I think you already know the answer, girl. Besides, didn't you mother teach you not to look a gift horse in the mouth – BAHAHAHAHA!" Blaine slapped his leg before turning back to the cave mouth, cane twirling in one hand and the other linking around Hestia's arm. The Delphox looked back apologetically, but even her wise face was struggling not to laugh, and the pair stepped back into the cave and disappeared into the darkness, only Blaine's echoing cackle remaining.

    Alaska watched the mouth long after the two had disappeared, struggling to decide if she was angry or amused. She could certainly see the joke in all this, but having a slot on her team taken up with a smug, moody horse was about the last thing she needed right now. She picked up the Poké Ball and turned back to the Ponyta; she was watching her distrustfully, a snooty sneer across its sparkling yellow fur.

    "Well, if we're stuck together, we might as well find some way to get along." Alaska stepped forward, but the Ponyta turned around, making a noise that sounded awfully like a 'humph'. "Well then," Alaska said testily, "I suppose we better leave it there for now…. Bluebell."

    Ponyta's jaw dropped, but she dissipated into red light before the weight of her nickname could settle in. Alaska stared at the ball, her fingers white as she gripped it; she had an idea what Blaine was getting at, but it would be a long time before she would appreciate this. Sighing, she swivelled to face the ocean and found Damian and Paige standing behind her, both biting their lips. "Something funny?" She asked thinly.

    "Nope," Damian said unconvincingly.

    "Gee," Paige added, her eyes watering above her quivering smile.

    Alaska chose to take the high ground and pushed her anger aside. She met Paige's eyes and pointed towards the makeshift map. "We're heading to the Sevii Islands, which is that way," she said, pointing the right way this time. "It's going to be a long way away, are you up for that?"

    Paige stretched her wings to their full length and nodded. The scar from the bullet was basically visible, a thin tawny line of bulbous flesh hidden buried within the feathers. Alaska brushed her fingers against it and Paige didn't flinch, simply watching her trainer with stern but kindly eyes that warmed Alaska to her core.

    "Alright, let's do this." Alaska hoisted her bag up her back and gestured at Paige, who lowered her chest to the ground.

    "Wait, do you actually know where you are going?" Damian said. "Don't you want to look it up on my Pokédex; there is a map on that."

    "There is nothing around Sevii except ocean and a fuckton of Magikarp. I am pretty sure we'll be fine."

    Damian rolled his eyes but didn't say another word, which was exactly how Alaska liked him. She climbed onto Paige's back, resting her bunched up legs in the folds below the Pidgeot's neck where back met wing. Damian climbed on behind her, his weight making Paige shift and causing Alaska to slid backwards, her neck hitting his face.

    "Well, isn't this romantic."

    "If you say so," Damian said stiffly.

    Alaska laughed as tapped Paige's neck. "Let's go find our friend!"

    "PIDGEEEE!" Paige squawked. She began vigorously flapping her wings, creating a small cloud of sand that battered Alaska and Damian. The Pidgeot then sprinted towards the end of the beach, her wings outstretched, and she launched into the air.

    Alaska didn't notice the water until it was too late; her mind was already in Sevii, wondering where Sandy would be, and it only returned to her body when it was plunged into the cold southern seas. Alaska cried out in shock, bubbles flying from her mouth, and she flailed until she got hold of Paige's damp neck.

    "FUCK!" The shout breached the water before Alaska did, echoing over their tiny little cove. Using Paige's headcrest as a rope, she hauled herself onto her back. "What the hell happened?"

    "Pidgey Pidge Eot Geee!" Paige squawked back. She waddled backwards onto the sand and then tilted backwards, throwing both humans back onto the sand.

    "What's wrong with her?" Damian spluttered, brushing sodden clumps of blond hair out of his eyes but only succeeding in smearing sand across his face.

    "She said you're too fat." Alaska could feel Damian scowling at her but didn't care. She needed to let off some steam. They may have landed on sand, but the fall had been jarring, sending renewed spasms down her leg. Sandy probably has it a lot worse, her small voice in her head pointed out, and Alaska knew it had a point.

    "Well, clearly Paige can't carry both of us." Alaska looked at Paige for confirmation, and the Flying type nodded curtly back. "Well, I don't know what to do now. Can you ride Gyarados?"

    Damian shook his head. "Not for that distance. Gyarados skin is too rough for long journeys. Plus they fly like they are swimming, basically shaking their bodies like an Ekans through grass. It'd be a struggle to hang on."

    "Well, we could leave you here…" Alaska said, earning a feathery thump around the head from Paige.

    "Don't worry, I've got an idea." Damian pulled out a Poké Ball and pressed the button; red light poured out and revealed a rejuvenated Charmeleon, whose sullen face got darker as he saw their wet clothes.

    "I don't think he's going to be much use on water."

    Damian ignored her as he pulled out what appeared to be several small lollies and slid towards his Pokémon. "I know we wanted to do this the proper way, but we've got to move things along if we want to save Lochy. It's not ideal and I'm not giving you any time to think about it, but do you think you're ready?"

    Alaska had no idea what Damian was on about, but Charmeleon did; with a wide grin made entirely of sharp teeth, he grabbed the candies without question. Sharp claws tore through the foil wrapping, revealing hard blue balls that the Fire type swallowed whole.

    "I'd step back if I was you," Damian said, his eyes shining with glee.

    Alaska did as suggested, even if she didn't know why, but a second later Charmeleon began to glow and everything made sense. They all watched as the Flame Pokémon doubled in size, arms and legs that were the length of a small child's quickly turning impossibly long. The skinny tail thickened and stretched, its sudden size shifting the sand as it grew. The neck shot up, his elongating head that had reached Alaska's chest a moment ago now several feet above her. But it was the wings that caught her attention; two jagged bones sprouted from the top of his back, pushing out and out and pulling the flesh as they did so, stretching out wider than his arms. It was only when they had reached their full length did the light stop, revealing a draconic being with glistening orange skin and sea-green wings where the Charmeleon had been a minute ago.

    "ZAAAAAAARD!" Charizard roared with flames flying from his mouth. He arched his now massive back and tested his wings; the current created nearly sent Alaska tipping back to the water as she covered her face from the mini tornado of sand.

    "YEAH BOY!" Damian leapt towards his starter and flung his arms around him, though they barely got around the big yellow stomach. Charizard, however, pulled him closer, clutching him with scaly arms topped by clawed fingers the size of Alaska's entire hand.

    Alaska wanted to be happy for Damian. To watch your oldest Pokémon evolve is a magical sight, one she wished she could relive again under better circumstances. She could understand the happy tears falling down his face and longed for nothing more than to congratulate him and head on their way. But his joy could not distract her eyes from the discarded wrappers being blown across the beach and the anger it brought up in her throat.

    "I was really starting to think you were different."

    Charizard looked up, naturally angry eyes narrowing further, but Damian made no move to respond. He looked relaxed in Charizard's arms, a content smile on his face, one that simply made Alaska angrier.

    "Fine. Once you're done with your little love session, you'll find us at One Island. Come on, Paige, let's get going."

    "Different? How does this change anything?" Damian pulled away from the hug, his face still wet with tears, but even through his smug smile his frustration was laid bare.

    "You just used a handful of Rare Candy to evolve your Pokémon. Only dicks who don't actually care about training cheat to evolve their Pokémon. It's the sort of thing some rich twat looking for a fancy pet would do – it's what Chloe would do."

    "Low blow," Damian said, body quivering. "What else was I meant to do? You might want me to sit here for the rest of my life, but you need help if you are going to save our friends. If I have to use something I won on Indigo Dreams to do that, then so be it. It doesn't mean I'm the enemy."

    "Just try not to do it again, okay? We don't need any more reminders of how royally that fucking vanity project has fucked everything up." Alaska tried to walk away, but even with Paige tensely watching her from the water's edge, she couldn't hold back the several days of frustration and disappointment that was racing to the surface. "You know, if it wasn't for that show, I wouldn't be in this mess. I'm not going to sit back and forget the role you played in enabling Buzz and Amanda's psycho dream project, even if you do think we are on the same side now – okay, what the fuck are you laughing about?"

    Damian was sniggering into his hand; eyes alight with spiteful glee as his schoolboy chuckle rang out across the beach. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I shouldn't laugh. I just can't believe you still think that's true."

    "Think what's true?" Alaska said coldly.

    "That this all happened because of the show. Alright, sure, there wouldn't be any robots or whatever, but your mad scientist friend would still be out there, you would have ended up in this prophecy one way or another. The only reason you left on your journey when you did was because one thing happened to spark your anger at that moment of time; if Indigo Dreams hadn't come along, something else would have worked you up."

    "Oh wow, thanks for that Psych 101 lesson, professor."

    "You know it's true!" Damian spluttered through his laughter. "I started following your blog the day we first met, and even back then it was clear you hated Red and Leaf. Probably half the reason you hate us is because we had a proper starter and you didn't."

    "Gee!"

    "Sorry, Paige but it's true. You think everyone's out to get you, but looking at your life, I have no idea what you are so mad about. Both your parents are still alive. They seem to like you enough to support you and not force their own desires on you. None of your Pokémon have died. Darwin may be screwed up, but it could be worse. He could have cancer or, I don't know, dementia."

    "Dementia? Dementia? How is that the first thing you thought of?"

    "Don't get snippy just cause I'm making a good point!"

    "But dementia, seriously, is that the first idea you pulled out of your ars-"

    "Team Rocket didn't win; they haven't taken over the world and forced us into some shitty dystopian society.

    "How cliché that would be."

    "That Cyrus bloke didn't shape the world in his image. There aren't monsters hunting you down. It's safe to go wandering the streets without Pokémon trying to eat you."

    "Not yet, at least."

    "Yes, the gods may be interfering in your life, but it's not like they are physically threatening you to do their bidding."

    "Trying having six of them watch you battle."

    "Given the shit you've pulled, things could be a lot worse. Just look at what you did at the power plant. You could have created an electric apocalypse if the people trying to help you survive hadn't saved your ass."

    Alaska turned and glared at Damian. "Electric apocalypse? You've been watching too much trashy television."

    "Stop trying to fight me," Damian said; he was smiling, but there was a bitterness in his tone. He walked around to Charizard's back and climbed on, his legs coming in just beneath the wing joints. "No matter what happened, Alaska, you were always going to get involved in this. Not because it's your destiny, but because you are so bloody angry. You're the one who chose to start a fight with Buzz and Amanda; not me, not Lochy, and definitely not Sandy. So maybe stop and consider that for a moment."

    Charizard roared and flapped his wings, covering Alaska in sand once again. By the time the cloud had cleared, both trainer and Pokémon were in the air; Alaska turned and watched the orange figure get smaller and smaller.

    "Bastard," she muttered, even though she knew deep down he was right. She walked back to Pidgeot, trying to ignoring the knowing look her Pidgeot wore. "Don't you start."

    Paige chirped innocently but made no other comment, and Alaska remained in silence as they took off again, this time successfully. Very quickly, the temperature dropped and the wind battered her face. Alaska made sure her bag was secure before wrapping her hands around Paige's head crest and burying her face underneath.

    If I had started this journey any earlier or later, Sandy would not be here. I had to start it then, didn't I? Over the top of Paige's back, Alaska watched the ocean pass by below, with nothing but blue for miles. Wherever you are, Sandy, we're coming for you. Just hang on. You won't be in hell much longer.

    ***

    Birdsong rang out in the air. The smell of saltwater washed over her skin, which was being slowly warmed by the midday sun. It was all terribly peaceful, and Sandy hoped she didn't have to move. She felt so comfortable, the soft cushions under her aching body, moulded to her weight and shape. Despite her chaffing wrists and the general aches through her body, it all felt a lot like home.

    "Sandy, you need to get up now."

    "Five more minutes."

    "Sandy, come on. I'm hungry and it's baking out here."

    "Just go inside, gosh."

    "We're on a beach in the middle of nowhere. There is no inside."

    "What are you on about, mummy?"

    "Mummy?"

    "CHU!"

    "AH!" Sandy bolted upright, arms flailing as a current ran through her body, and it was only because a firm pair of hands grabbed on to her that she didn't careen into the water. "Bloody hell, what was that?" She wheezed, clutching her chest.

    "Chu!" A perky voice chirped, and Sandy felt a tugging on her shirt. Sitting next to her was a chubby, bright yellow Pokémon that seemed to be the living embodiment of a smile. With a geometric, lightning bolt tail and rosy red cheeks, it looked like something that belonged in a toy store, but Sandy knew he was hers.

    "Oh my god, look at you!" She cried, pulling her Pikachu in close. "My big strong boy, aren't you just the cutest?"

    "Pika!" Pikachu groaned, trying to pull away, but Sandy held on tighter.

    "I don't care if you're embarrassed; you saved my life last night. You were astounding!"

    "Gooo!"

    "You as well!" Sandy said exasperatedly, scooping Goomy off the armrest and pulling her in close. "If it wasn't for you both, we'd still be on that boat. I can't thank you enough."

    "To be fair, Wartortle's the one who really saved us."

    Sandy swivelled on her cushion. She only gave the small beach a brief look over before her eyes fell on Lachlan. He was laying a few metres from the couch, his shirt and shorts drying out beside him so his chest was on display, only a few tufts of armpit hair disturbing the milky white canvas. Wartortle sat next to him, looking equally relaxed but with an added weariness that came from propelling a sofa over open waters all night long.

    "I was getting to him!" Sandy snapped, trying not to gaze at his body. "Thank you, Wartortle, I am equally grateful that you didn't let us drown and brought us…. where are we?" She added, drawing her eyes from Lachlan and turning to the world beyond.

    "Beats me," Lachlan said. He sat up and followed Sandy's gaze. "Your guess is as good as mine."

    Sandy climbed over the back of the couch, both Pokémon still in hand, and walked to the top of the beach. The sand only went back a few metres before long, untamed grass started to push through the earth, a mere taster before the wide emerald path that lay beyond. A rough, orangey cliff face loomed imposingly over them and seemed to stretch on for the length of a city. On either side of that, Sandy could see a distant coastline to her right and a slope heading through a corridor of rock on her left. What lay beyond either of those, no signs or clues giving away the secret, leaving Sandy with the mere weight of their new situation.

    "We're lost," she whispered.

    "Got that right," Lachlan said, collapsing back into the sand. "Hopelessly bloody lost."

    "We're alive, at least."

    "There is that," he sighed.

    Sandy's gaze turned to her companion. "How long have you been lying there? Did you think to go and find out where we were?"

    "I wasn't going to abandon you while you were sleeping," Lachlan said.

    "You could have woken me up."

    Lachlan sighed and sat up again, stretching his shoulders as he did. "After the night we both had, I thought we could use the rest, Wartortle especially. But I realised this fatigue isn't just something he can sleep off, so I woke you up."

    Sandy looked at the Water type; his arms and legs hung limply out of his shell, and even his wavy ears and tail seemed to be drooping. "Why didn't you give him a potion? Or food!"

    Lachlan faced the ocean, cheeks blushing. "I didn't win that many challenges so I don't have that many medical supplies. And I don't have any Pokémon food left, and barely enough rations for us."

    In a moment of blind rage, Sandy was tempted to give Lachlan a good kick up the arse, but the anger quickly passed. She looked at their surroundings, eyes darting between the couch slipping back into the surf to the seemingly barren landscape they had been washed up on. Her plan may have saved their lives, but without any supplies or any way to contact Alaska or a gym leader, they were stuck, and she couldn't blame him for feeling down.

    "Sorry, I shouldn't have snapped," Sandy said, sinking to the ground herself. "If we'd had time, we probably could have nicked some of Bertram's food. I can make a mean sandwich. Guess we'll have to find something here, wherever here is."

    Lachlan said nothing, and Sandy was glad for the silence. If anything else was said, the weight of their situation would only get heavier. It was easier just to sit here and try to think of something else, like the sand. All her life Sandy had had this nickname, but so rarely had she actually been to a beach that she couldn't help rubbing her fingers through her namesake, not for the first time that week thinking back to her old life, the time before her mother had left. If she had stayed with them, would Sandy be on a different beach somewhere, enjoying a break from school, building sandcastles with her parents and Butterfree?

    The silence stretched out for minutes, so long that Sandy was startled when Lachlan spoke again. "What do we do now?"

    She looked away, trying to hide her tears. "I don't know, why are you asking me?"

    Lachlan glared at her. "This was your plan! You're the one who got us to break free and float all the way here. Plus," he added, pausing for a moment as his scowl turned awkward, "you've been through this type of thing more than me. You must know what to do now."

    Sandy saw the worry on his face and grabbed his hands, clutching them gently. "Don't worry, we'll be safe. Even if Amanda is still alive, who knows how much distance there is between all of us now. She won't be able to find us."

    "Still, we should get moving." Lachlan looked at their hands for a moment before pulling away suddenly, blushing. "Come on, make a choice and I'll follow your lead."

    "My lead?" Sandy stared into space as the words washed over her. My lead, she thought, slowly turning back to the unknown landscape. She looked left and right and back again, taking in the two paths they had been presented with. It was not much of a choice, but Lachlan was right; this would be her decision, this would be her moment. No Alaska, no Amanda, no gym leader. This was all down to her with no prophecies for guidance.

    "My lead," she whispered, an unstoppable smile covering her face.
     
  9. canisaries

    canisaries now in mint flavor

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    Heya, decided the check out chapter 3 because why not, I'm already this far in :> Here are my comments.

    Missing period.

    Something seems to be missing before the period?

    These could use commas, like "Oh, great," and "Nice to see you too, Chloe".

    The innocence, popularity and cutesy-ness of the starters are very grippingly described here. You're very good at making Pokemon seem a strong part of this world in general, too.

    This is a pretty long and complicated sentence, I suggest chopping it up and perhaps substituting some pronouns with names or something like "the bird" and such.

    Missing period at the end of the paragraph.

    Comma, and... I personally kind of find Alaska's quips and such kinda forced? I mean, they do sound like something a kid would say, but Alaska seems pretty mature for her age in some aspects and she is already thirteen. My thirteen year old cousin would roll her eyes at most of these, especially this one.

    But I don't know, maybe I'm just overly cynical and so is my cousin, given cynicism is so hip and kewl with the kiddies these days. (She does see me as her "cool" cousin, which might not be such a great thing.)

    Comma and capitalization.

    With the missing periods and such in mind, I'm curious - what software do you use to write and edit your stories, and do you have betareaders?

    Also, I'd like to talk about Amanda again: you may have expected this, but I still don't like her. Not as in I don't like her because she's a bitch, but because she's just... so much of a bitch, she feels like a caricature, strengthened by Alaska literally getting those vibes from her and not being proven wrong (yet, but given how she was in the chapter I read later on, Alaska is not much off). When she's compared to a children's book antagonist, she really seems like a children's book antagonist, which still clashes for me in this otherwise pretty serious story. I really hope she gets more fleshed out during the middle.

    Sorry that these comments weren't too positive, it's just that the good qualities in this fic like the prose and story are just consistently good, so it's really hard to point anything specific out. I can't really come up with anything I'd be able to suggest improvements on.

    As always, questions, corrections, criticisms all welcome if you have any for me. See you.
     
  10. AceTrainer14

    AceTrainer14 The acest of trainers

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    Thanks for the feedback. I understand about struggling to say positive things, but nothing wrong with repeating things XD

    That line is purposefully forced as Alaska is revelling in her easy defeat.

    I was not using Grammarly at the time I edited these. Have not touched these for about two years XD

    She doesn't really at the moment, but I aim to give her a little more focus during her odd appearances. A large part of the story and especially with these characters is people assuming roles and playing characters in a way, and Amanda is purposefully meant to come across that way. It probably is not appealing as of yet, but I expect things to make sense by the end of the story.
     
  11. canisaries

    canisaries now in mint flavor

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    Read chapter 4, here are my thoughts. This time I'm going to lump all the grammar stuff in one section to make the review a bit more cleanly formatted and less repetitive. Alright, let's begin.

    I wonder now what the level of intelligence of Pokemon in your fic is. Clearly they understand their owners at least a little, but patting someone on the back is a very human gesture. Actually, maybe my qualm is more behavior related. A more bird-like response would probably be to cuddle up close or perhaps even attempt to "preen" her owner's hair, but it all really depends on the direction you want to go in. Whether Pokemon are non-sentient animals capable of learning commands, monster-shaped speech-impaired humans or somewhere in between is up to you.

    *suddenly unsettled in light of previous comment*

    It seems kinda weird that Paige is comforting in one situation but kind of an impatient jerk in this one? I mean, she must be empathetic if she pat Alaska on the back before.

    Hehe, always a trip to read a different interpretation of a character you also write. A very different one.

    Also, I don't know it's a good thing or a bad thing but I can't freaking get over "Redward", just thinking about it makes me giggle every time.

    Grammar

    Commas.

    Women, I believe. Although you did tell me once that Alaska shouldn't be thought of as a woman yet.

    Like he was too short?

    Not so much a grammar issue, but right now it's easy to accidentally misread it as Alaska saying that. I'd perhaps put the dialogue as its own paragraph or rework the sentences after. Also, both semicolons and colons used in the prose for with pretty similar functions make it seem a bit inconsistent.

    Think you meant "born".

    You're.

    General Comments

    The scenes of Alaska interacting with her family were very genuine, and the little boy's behavior was very believable and convincing for a child character.

    Alaska's attitudes towards the starters and the "heroes" of the town raise a lot of questions, which is good for hooking the reader in.

    ...Wish I could expand more on either point, but my mind's drawing a blank after putting them in those words, so I guess that can't be helped.

    Well, that's it for this time. See you in the next chapter (or blog post, I suppose) or your response.
     
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  12. canisaries

    canisaries now in mint flavor

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    At the blog post now, but couldn't find too much to say about it by itself - so allow me to go back to the first one as well and make this a double review! Though not sure if it counts as double when it barely has the content of just one.

    Blog One

    heh... nothin personnell kid

    alaska geez you're not supposed to be watching those kinds of shows you're 13

    I'm sorry for memeing, but it's a blog. How could I not.

    The sheer amount of butthurt in this blog post is just excellent. It leaks salt.

    I wonder if Chloe reads these blogs. If so, she'd have pretty good ground to roast her on. But then again, she's not shown to be the best strategist on the planet.

    Alaska thinks pretty highly of herself and that her causes are righteous, I see. Upon the first reading (and well, still to some degree) I wasn't perfectly sure if that was consciously intentional or an unironic attempt at making a character sound really cool and edgy. Which is always very hard to pull off in a way that stands the test of time, given how the model of a cool kid changes with every generation in real life and a whole lot faster online.

    On to blog two. And here you pretty much see why these two are merged - monologues are muuuch harder to critique than outside narration.

    Blog Two

    Trademark canisaries pet peeve: naming stuff in Pokemon fics after real life people/places/events and then calling specific attention to it. Whenever I see something like this, it just raises so many questions - questions which usually don't seem like they're intended to be raised. Do you reckon that when Darwin said evolution takes eons people told him he really must have sucked at training? :p

    also reminder that darwin had kids with his cousin

    yeah that Bright Powder will fuck you up good

    Actually snorted out loud in my physics practice group. Well done.

    Also, this blog made me realize how close Pokemon GO actually got to the authentic trainer experience in this regard. Whether that's good or bad depends on the person, I suppose.

    Well, that's it for my thoughts this time. See ya.
     
  13. Persephone

    Persephone The Vulture Queen

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    Interlude:

    I didn't quite like or get the first part. Could be that it's just there mostly as a bonus for your first story, but at this point I'm not sure how many people have even read it lol.

    Guess I'm just kinda shocked that the breloominati hadn't already started to take action in face of a semi-apocalyptic threat out to evolve an island of magikarp into the mythical Hydrados.

    Also didn't understand the big force at work, or why everyone hates Kris. Just kinda felt like you had an irrational vendetta against Krises who replaced male authority figures.

    Aren't half the gods currently cohabiting with children? Couldn't some of them do this speech earlier? They're clearly coordinating and in contact with gym leaders per Fuchsia City.

    Also confused why Meganium is happy with trainer after being held in a tide pod for five years.

    I know I don't usually like Buzz but I was actually find of the second half. But if the robots don't reach Alaska soon, I'll question its placement there.

    Chapter 90: Falling with Style

    I lol'd at Damian being 2fat4birb. And if you kill Paige I will personally come to the wrong hemisphere and scream "sad!" until you erase the death from canon.

    Felt that Alaska's outburst could've been saved for internal monologue as a sign of how she has (and hasn't) progressed as a character through the story. There's a point to be made that Alaska's never really changed, and things like that further it.

    And Sandy should never be trusted with power :|
     
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  14. AceTrainer14

    AceTrainer14 The acest of trainers

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    Kris has been in four previous interludes. Her role in the story is more important from here on out because of the Latias/os connection. It originally started as a potentially unnecessary reference to an old story but I don't see anyone else in this story or world having reason to give Alaska the enigma stone.

    Those ones do not speak. Only gods that have had strong connections with humans or exist on a higher plane than the regional defenders talk.

    Happy personality. And Meganium has been out at other times in this story. Will edit to clarify she has not been locked away the whole three years.

    I didn't put that in for them to show up in three arcs.

    Having clarified what you meant here in private chat, I do see your point but do not think it is an example of her personality remaining the same. Changing one's personality is not a magic flick of a switch. Alaska could have remained silent, but I think it would have been out of character for her to bite her in tongue in that situation, even if she does want to be a better person. Being and achieving are two very separate things. Not speaking up here would have meant her continued feelings with Damian and what he represents building until it would inevitably happen anyway. Snapping now when their relationship is already a little testy and him calling her out I feel is more room for development and growth as a character than waiting another five chapters to have it out.

    Thanks for the review though. I was worried that the Buzz part was weak, so glad it went down well.
     
  15. Flaze

    Flaze Don't Look Away

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    I think that could've been phrased better, maybe heavy quietness or tension would've worked better?

    Isn't this supposed to be Latias?

    Daisy Kris?

    She's would work better here.

    none of you

    what they

    have

    have

    'he could hear what was being said'

    And so I get another round of chapters to review, let's jump right in shall we :p

    Interlude:

    I think this interlude runs two risks, the first one being that maybe it goes on for a bit too long, I know that Kris has to show Claire and the other members of the resistance what they're potentially dealing with, but the chapter itself goes on for a while and while it's entertaining it can also drag in some parts, especially when you consider that most of it is debating between characters. I do like how Kris manages to make Evelyn shut up for once though since the old lady's been less than cooperative since she was introduced. I have always wondered why there's little to no consideration for the trainers that actually have to fight against these threats, it's like these people want them to embrace their destiny but at the same time want to control everything themselves.

    The other risk that this chapter runs towards is that while it gives us a pretty good look and conclusion to Kris' character arc which has been building up for the last couple of interludes (please let her actually get along with Alaska) it's also worth noting that it still relies a lot on events that happened during Kris vs Gold.

    Don't get me wrong, you do a good job of getting everything that happened across pretty well, but it can still feel confusing at parts, especially when you consider that absolutely everyone seems to hate Kris for the fact that...she won a tournament. I know that this is something actors and sports star go through in real life, but it isn't to this degree by far, there's always fans and for every idiot who judges a person based on whether they're as charismatic or if they have as much of a presence as another star or not there's also those that look at things more critically and don't let their emotions get the better of them. Here it ends up making the public of your story come off as petty and stupid.

    Anyways, it was the best interlude yet and I'm glad that something finally went right in Kris' life, though the Meganium thing also confused me a bit when I read it. Also I have to admit I couldn't help laughing at the thought of a crotchless Buzz just standing in front of a window...even though he kind of killed someone while doing so.

    Chapter 90

    We pick up the main story again right where we left off and right off the bat I have to say that the scene with Alaska thinking that Blaine wasn't such a bad guy and becoming excited only to realize it was the Ponyta she had fought with before was priceless, I mean it was expected but that didn't make the scene any less funny. In general, I liked Blaine way more in this chapter and I think that through all their arguing he and Alaska do have a different kind of relationship compared to other gym leaders shes met before.

    Overall I think what I enjoyed about this chapter was the dialogue, Alaska's still Alaska and I think it would've shown more of her character development if she had reserved her anger for Damien and understood why he had to use the Rare Candies, but the way in which you showed how the whole subject affected her is a nice callback to her original reasons for setting out on her journey. I wasn't a fan of yet another speech directed at Alaska's way of acting, but at least this time it was short and to the point.

    Also I wonder...are we going to have a full Sevii Islands arc now? because if so then I think that it's going to cover more than just a few chapters, at least if you want to give a good enough view of all of them, you could go over them quickly sure but then it'd kind of feel like you just breezed through them.

    Lastly, having the story alternate between Alaska and Sandy is a nice touch and one that you haven't done before, though I do hope that Sandy doesn't let all that power go over her head.
     
  16. AceTrainer14

    AceTrainer14 The acest of trainers

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    The only event that takes place in Kris vs Gold that has a direct influence on Kris' story is her beating Gold and her mother dying. The battle with Lance and resulting effects that have been spelt out in this story have not been written down anywhere except for this story.

    A) She did not win a tournament, she won against Lance. The reason this is controversial is because Lance was incredibly popular but was beaten by Gold, who had cheated in order to win. When Kris beat Gold in turn, and then did not stand aside for Lance, the public turned against her. It is not helped by the fact she herself is pulled off from society and does not interact with the public, allowing Lance to remain a prominent and influential individual, and the League, not wanting her as Champion but unable to force her out, aids the situation how they wish. All this information is in previous interludes involving Kris.

    B) I do not think it is uncommon for those who do care about sports to have people they actively hate and detest. The public seems petty and stupid because they are petty and stupid. You only have to look at the likes of Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan to see how the public can turn against people and essentially ruin their careers. This may seem a little extreme in relation to our world, but I think is a natural fit in ours.

    I... I am quite confused by this. You haven't really said any positive about the interlude except for this, so what was actually good about it, in your view?

    Buzz was stabbed in the crotch, he was not castrated.

    I will point you to my response to Athena's comments on this manner. Rash people do not stop being rash over night, even if they are trying very hard. No personality works like that.

    No, we will only be going to a few islands, only one in great depth.

    There have been several chapters where the story has alternated between the pair.
     
  17. AetherX

    AetherX literally the worst

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    Awards review here. I read all of the recommended reading and then some, as well as everything since I last reviewed up. Finally all caught up. Plenty of general comments, character specific comments, and chapter specific comments as requested. Let's start from the top

    Subverting the classic Kanto journey fic is always an interesting concept, but can fall flat on its face just as easily as sticking to the usual formula can. You do a good job of it though. You're not going for a “look at me I’m so unique” kind of style, but a style that actually deconstructs a lot of the tropes. It’s an interesting idea executed well. The main issue is that the way that it’s told is long and drawn out to a perhaps unnecessary level. That’s partly a symptom of it being a journey fic in general, but I still think some more concrete subplots or character arcs could make the story feel like it’s actually going somewhere. For example, outside of trying out for different badges, it’s felt like the purpose of the past few arcs has been largely the same: Alaska and Sandy coming to terms with the fact that they have to save the world. Every time it feels like progress has been made, the same conflicts arise again. More on that later.

    One of my biggest gripes with the story is the dialogue. Lots of dialogue clichés that don’t quite make sense in context. “Witty” one-liners falling flat. That sort of thing. Since it’s supposed to be subverting tropes, it kind of has to deal with some of these, but it really feels like it’s embracing them more than subverting them. The action is hit and miss. Sometimes it’s hard to follow what’s going on, but in general they’re good action scenes in terms of structure.

    There are definitely some sections of the story that are very well written. Bertram’s story about what happened to Kalos, and that whole chapter have some of the best emotion and prose in the whole story. Some good interactions between Alaska and Sandy also do a lot to carry the story. This kind of thing has improved a lot over the course of the fic.

    Most of the characters fit pretty neatly into archetypes. None of them strike me as wildly original, with the exception of a few side characters like Leaf and Cynthia. This isn’t inherently bad. Archetypes exist for a reason and they are varied enough that the main cast never feels too similar. There are a couple cases where, for example, the crazy old person who may not be as crazy as they’re pretending archetype shows up more than once. It’s a fun kind of character to write and read, but having multiple characters with that personality can be a little offputting. Some of these more outrageous side characters end up trying a little too hard to remind the reader of what makes them special (“I’m old” *makes an I’m too old for this joke* or “I’m gay” *innuendo*). But the longer they stick around, the more depth they receive and the more memorable and well written they become.

    Let's talk about Alaska. I know, I know. You've heard it before. But as long as it's true I'm going to keep saying it. Here we go.

    Alaska is a good example of a character who has much of her personality and motivations due to her backstory. This makes her considerably more realistic and believable. Being from a destroyed town and leaving home for a variety of reasons really help to shape her into an interesting character. She’s angry, a rebel, and for a good reason (at least to start, which leads me to development).

    Development exists, makes sense, and adds a lot to the story. But it’s so incredibly slow. Alaska’s character remains largely unchanged for a good forty chapters. Plenty of events happen that should at least minorly affect her goals, worldview, or personality, but none of them seem to. The development that does exist has been slowly dripped over the past few arcs, and I’m still waiting for the payoff. It’s good development. It’s necessary. But it’s taken so long to happen and still hasn’t really taken hold.

    I want to like Alaska, because I like the concept of the story, but it’s hard. She’s rude and outright mean to just about everyone she meets. Never once does she take the high ground and not be baited into screaming insults, and when whoever she’s talking to does so, she just keeps yelling. The conversation with Leaf and Janine is probably the only exception to this rule outside of her relationship with Sandy. That much yelling and immaturity got exhausting about halfway through the story and hasn’t changed much. The last couple arcs where she actually has calm conversations with rational people have been a wonderful change of pace, but the most recent few chapters were right back to form. Again, more on that later.

    Paige, next.

    The one strength that Paige has over the other Pokémon characters is how long she’s been around. Both in the story and out of it. Flashbacks to Alaska receiving her as a gift add a nice little bit of depth, but it’s hard to say that there’s much. There’s a bit in recent chapters where she’s upset with Alaska over something that didn’t quite make sense to me, so that’s a start. Trouble is, that never really feels like it's resolved. It just kinda goes away.

    It's mostly generic Pokémon fair in terms of personality. She’s devoted to Alaska, willing to fight, that’s about it. Could honestly say the same about any of Alaska's Pokemon. Darwin at least has played a role in developing Alaska. It’s beginning to look like Paige will play a bit bigger part from here on out, but you need to be careful not to sweep that under the rug as the plot unfolds more.

    And Buzz:

    Buzz is a fairly typical villain motivated by wanting to get vengeance on “the good guys” for defeating Team Rocket. It’s mostly an image thing, from the way he describes it. That’s potentially interesting, but it leads to a very shallow character. He doesn’t have much of an endgame past killing Red, and is ultimately motivated by emotions that aren’t terribly well established. He’s embarrassed by the fact that Team Rocket lost to a kid, but we don’t know enough about his real backstory to know anything past that.

    The main trouble with him is that he just kinda gets more and more pitiful as his losses rack up. It’s development in a loose sense of the word, but given that he went from being an almost cartoonish villain with vague motives to just being a sad, angry man, it’s not great change. Especially since Amanda apparently betrayed him in the most recent couple chapters, he feels kinda neutered as a real threat (in more ways than one). The recent interlude was clearly a change of pace there, but I'll talk about that later.

    As an antagonist, I feel like I should be afraid of what Buzz is going to do in the story. See him as a threat and worry about what he might do to the heroes. But I don’t. Amanda and Gideon just regularly outshine him as seeming threatening. He’s a puppet master who isn’t particularly smart. His two big moments were getting stabbed in the dick after monologuing, and finally he threw someone out of the window and activated his army of robots. So that's cool. Still not terribly worried about him, just his robots. Silph was dumb as a sack of bricks so I have a hard time feeling bad that he got "betrayed".

    Now for some chapter-specific stuff.

    Chapter 87

    Not just the repetition, but the sentence ends with a comma as well.

    Chapter 88

    I'm not sure how to feel about the whole Blaine joking about hating Alaska thing. On one hand it's nice to see someone who isn't a massive asshole for no real reason. On the other, it kind of brought more attention to the fact that everyone else is a dick, evidenced by the fact that Alaska and me and probably every other reader just assumed that Blaine was the same. This brings me to another issue. Go easy on the lampshading. This applies in a lot of situations, but I'm going to take these comments from my judging for Alaska:

    When Alaska’s being herself, she has clearly been influenced by her backstory in such a way that resulted in a unique character. This whole façade is often blown out of the water, however, when she makes nearly fourth wall breaking comments to call out various fiction clichés. It’s a little too on the nose, and hurts her believability. It’s such a cliché in fanfiction to have a character that is genre savvy in such a way that they’re constantly drawing attention to the fact that you’re reading a story.

    Drawing attention to stuff like this is probably not the best way to go about it. Constructive criticism: I know it can be hard to find the balance between getting your point across and being subtle about it, but try to err on the side of subtlety. With your writing style I think it would be a great boon to the story.

    Interlude Fifteen: Face to the Dawn

    I'm lukewarm on this interlude. I feel like it relies too much on vague references to stuff that happened in KvG. For example, has Spike ever been formally introduced? It would probably be worth reiterating who he is. Also all of the Kris stuff takes a while to get to the point. It worked well with Cynthia because the whole point of that interlude was big picture stuff and characterizing Cynthia, but it felt like the purpose of this interlude was the whole rally the troops [email protected] reveal. The rest of Kris' angst felt out of place next to that.

    Also, I'm having a hard time believing that the current champion of Johto has absolutely zero fans. Even if the media and popular opinion says you're a pile of shit, if you're successful then you'll have admirers. Again, a lot of this interlude played off the fact that no one likes Kris, but without actually knowing anything about her, I simultaneously don't really understand why and also don't care.

    A bit of an awkward sentence even without the typo(s).

    Missing word

    Oh no, if only the good guys had been able to see this coming, they could have done something about it!

    Snideness aside, I’m not going to be pleased if it turns out that there would have been zero negative consequences to Team Good Guys killing/arresting Buzz, killing/arresting Scar, killing/arresting Amanda, and destroying the robots before they were activated. I’m not entirely on board with the way that was sold in the story. The only explanation they gave as to why they didn't act was "something bad might happen" with no explanation why and uncharacteristically no questions or skepticism from Alaska. If Buzz's first real victory comes from other people being drastically incompetent, then he remains unthreatening as a villain.

    Chapter 90

    Blaine saying “bitch, please” really doesn’t feel in character for him as he's been established so far, but what do I know.

    x2

    I don’t know if this is a typo or that’s just how we’re spelling it now.

    Re: the rare candy thing:

    This ties back into what I was talking about with the same conflicts arising again and again. We know that Alaska thinks Damian is a decent guy, but has some negative feelings due to him being rich and a reality star and pretty much everything she hates the idea of. Grinding the story to a halt to reiterate this felt tiring. Constantly stopping to argue about issues like that slows the story down. That bit could have been trimmed from the chapter entirely, leaving the pacing much quicker, and not even really sacrificing any real character development. These people have shit to go do, lives to save! Why are they stopping to argue about the ethics of training Pokemon and slipping into trite diatribes about how the other one is actually a terrible person?

    Overall thoughts:

    I realize this probably came across as largely negative, but that's mostly a symptom of it being adapted from judging, where I tend to focus on negative stuff more. I do like the way the story is going right now and am very optimistic. The plot seems to be picking up, and splitting up Alaska and Sandy will make for some fun adventures. Keep it up.
     
  18. Threadmarks: Chapter 91: Another Day
    AceTrainer14

    AceTrainer14 The acest of trainers

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    Chapter Ninety One: Another Day

    Green was too simple a word. Sure, it was all green, the colour smeared across the whole valley, but Sandy had never realised how inadequate that word was. Emerald, she thought with conviction, but after a few seconds shook her head. That's too cliché. It's not lime, it's too dark for that. Though limes are actually kind of dark, aren't they? Avocado? Acevedo? Oh god, she'd kill me for that. Jade? Teal? Why is this so hard? Why can't this just be… beautiful?

    Sandy paused. She let her aching arms sink to her side. She tilted her throbbing head back, feeling her brain, her perspective, her gravity roll back with her. She shut her eyes, feeling the sun burning through her tightly closed lids, and she relaxed. It's beautiful. That's all it is. Not everything has to be something. Not everything has to have so much meaning. It can simply be, can't it?

    Gently she opened her eyes and leant forwards. It felt like she was looking at the valley for the first time again, the beauty so entrancing Sandy thought she might cry. The ocean of grass, nestled between the three walls of amber stone, danced in the wind. It looked so peaceful and undisturbed that Sandy wanted to dive right in and emerge herself in the flora. It was not a real ocean, she knew that, but the mere thought there could be an oasis like this in the middle of nowhere put an insatiable smile on her face.

    "Do you think we could stay here forever?" Sandy whispered, tearing her eyes away from the field to look at Butterfree. She had sent out her oldest Pokémon back at the beach, needing the reassurance before embarking up this path, yet she had not thought she would need Butterfree as intensely as she needed her right now.

    Butterfree didn't say anything at first. She let her gaze linger on the valley for a few more moments, her huge eyes shaking as they scanned the surface, before finally turning to her trainer. "Free," she chirped quietly, fluttering closer to Sandy and shaking her head. "Freeee."

    Sandy sighed, eyes welling up as Butterfree wrapped her tiny hands around her arm. "I know. It's nice to pretend though, isn't it?"

    "Free," Butterfree whispered into her shoulder, and Sandy used her other hand to stroke her head, gently rubbing the purple fuzz around her antennae as the two of them stared wistfully into the valley.

    "Did you have to choose the path up a giant fucking hill?"

    The hairs on the back of Sandy's neck bristled. "You could have stayed on the beach," she replied with restrained contempt, glancing at Lachlan; he was not even at the top of the slope yet, still a few metres away panting and wheezing as he stumbled, doubled over, up the dirt track.

    "And what, get sunburnt? No thank you. My uncle had a melanoma once, it was not pretty."

    "Well, there will be plenty of shade once we get down there." Sandy looked back at the valley; the endless field remained beautiful, but her moment of tranquillity was over. "If we walk in the shadow of the cliffs, we should stay out of the sun," she explained. She was longing to escape the heat herself; she had not struggled as much as Lachlan, but the climb had been tiring, the back of her shirt already dripping with sweat.

    With a grunt and a groan, Lachlan finally reached her side before collapsing to his knees, gasping for breath. He had a look like he was about to say something, but as he lifted his head away from his slick, damp neck, he seemed to freeze.

    "It's amazing, isn't it?" Sandy said, following his line of sight. "Almost makes you glad we got kidnapped," she added with a giggle before guilt silenced her.

    "We have… to walk… through that?" Lachlan puffed. Sandy nodded, and the ginger boy tilted backwards, arms splayed across the dirt. "Fuck… me…"

    "What's wrong with this?" Sandy asked crossly.

    "Do you hate me… or something?"

    "Hate you? Of course not!"

    "Then why… did you choose… the hilliest… ROUTE!" Lachlan shouted the last word, briefly sitting up to fire it into the world before falling back to his withered heap.

    The sound echoed with the ferocity of an explosion, and Sandy jumped as a flock of what resembled Spearow took flight from down below. Her shudder had knocked Butterfree loose, the Bug-type frowning and fluttering her wings with disgruntled vigour at Lachlan, but he was too zoned out to notice.

    "Don't blame me for the fact we were washed up here!" Sandy huffed, trying to control her sudden anger. "You left me to pick which direction we went in, so this is as much on you as it is on me. At least this is leading somewhere."

    From their raised vantage point, Sandy could see the thin coastal strip they had left behind; she traced the path, a conflict between sand and nature, until it came to an abrupt stop after only a few kilometres, thinning out and sinking straight into the sea. It looked like a dead end, but Sandy had no idea what islands lay beyond, what chances she might be turning down.

    She hadn't had much time to choose which route they took. The minuscule beach had offered no protection from the sun, which shone unperturbed above them, roasting their skin with every passing second. The clock against her, Sandy had weighed up the two options spread so evenly in front of her and had gone for the more obvious, if hillier, option; anything to get moving before her aching body and growling stomach left her immobile. It was one Sandy was regretting now they were up here. The climb had sapped away what little energy they had left, and despite the valley's beauty, it offered no respite from their current problems. Unless there was a restaurant hidden somewhere in the grass, Sandy doubted her stomach would shut up any time soon.

    Stop second guessing yourself! You choose to come up here, you made that decision, so you need to own it. There's no one else around to make these choices for you. If he's going to be useless, you need to be the leader.

    "Your right!"

    "Who's right?"

    "I'm right!" Sandy said. She wasn't sure if it was her delirium talking, but Sandy felt powerful as she looked steely down at Lachlan. "This isn't ideal, but nothing about this is ideal. We're here now though, so you can either lay here in the sun all day hoping that some friendly Wingull will rescue you, or you can follow me. That is your choice to make."

    Sandy barely let the words leave her mouth before she started walking towards the sloped path leading down into the valley. She felt a pang of guilt for being sharp, but another part was emboldened by her outburst and Sandy clutched onto that glowing feeling she had sought for so long. She walked in silence for a minute, ears pricked and waiting, and finally relaxed when she heard a pair of vigorous, angry footsteps behind her.

    "Do you think there will be any food down here?" Lachlan asked as he finally caught up.

    "Maybe," Sandy said slyly, exchanging a smirk with Butterfree, and the two lead the way into the valley.

    Her sudden boldness vanished as the reality of the valley set in. The slope was sharper than the one they had climbed. Often Sandy found herself gripping the cliff face to ensure she kept her balance, watching as disturbed rocks tumbled away beneath her feet. She and Lachlan walked in silence, focused solely on staying upright. The only upside was they had escaped the sun: the further they descended, the more the mountain's shadow engulfed them, and the pair welcomed it with open arms. It didn't stop them from feeling the humidity, but Sandy was pleased her pale arms, somehow untanned despite weeks of walking, were not going to be burnt any further.

    "At least we know we're in the Sevii Islands," she called out as they neared the bottom. "You wouldn't feel this heat in Kanto."

    "Mmmhmm," Lachlan mumbled back.

    He's a worse conversationalist than Alaska, Sandy thought, rolling her eyes. "How is your Pokémon training going?"

    "What?"

    "Your Pokémon training," Sandy repeated. "I imagine you must train a lot as part of the show. I've been really slack, actually. Never really find the time with all that's happened, you know?"

    One of Lachlan's sweaty hands appeared on Sandy's shoulder, and she turned to find him watching her with narrowed eyes. "Are we really doing this?"

    "Doing what? Walking?"

    "Chatting. Like we're just off on a normal walk."

    His beady gaze confused Sandy, and all she could do was giggle. "Is there something wrong with that?"

    "Yes!" He exclaimed. "Because it's not a normal walk, is it? Twenty four hours ago we were unconscious and handcuffed on a stolen luxury boat, we nearly got shot in the face, and now we're walking through some weird island with no idea where we are going next like nothing happened. Nothing about this is normal!"

    His words echoed cavernously against the face of the mountain. Sandy jumped again and desperately clung to the wall for survival; they were not far from the valley floor now, but she didn't like her odds if she injured herself in the middle of nowhere.

    Once the shock had passed, Sandy began to feel annoyed. Oh my god, one little upset and he acts like the sky is falling. Trying get shot in the chest, mate! she thought, rolling her eyes at the mountain so he wouldn't see. Stifling a sigh, Sandy started to walk again, wondering just how long she would have to endure this attitude.

    And then she stopped. She let the thought that had struck her settle, dwelling it over, and then she smiled. He's not Alaska, Sandy thought, and, feeling a surge of confidence, she turned on her heel so she was looking Lachlan square in the eye. "Look, things are not perfect by any means, but that doesn't mean we have to keep pointing it out. That isn't really going to fix anything, is it? We just need to focus on what comes next and hope that things are going to work out."

    Lachlan, his face red and slick with sweat, looked unimpressed. "And how do you imagine things are going to get any better walking through all that?"

    "All what? The grass?" Sandy smirked, shaking her head exasperatedly at Butterfree. "What's wrong with a little – oh…"

    Sandy trialled off as she slowly looked up. From above, the grass had appeared normal. There had been nothing that Sandy had seen that made her think it might be monstrously long. But standing on the slope, the long, whisper thin reeds already reached up to their necks, in some places above their heads. Patches were rustling as Pokémon moved about, but the field was so thick that there was no way of telling what was in there.

    "That's a lot of grass," Sandy muttered, almost speechless.

    "That is a lot of grass."

    "Yep…"

    "Did you know there would be this much grass?"

    "Of course not. It just looked… normal..." Sandy offered unironically.

    "Why didn't we walk along the mountainside? At least we'd have a better view up there."

    Sandy shook her head clear and turned back to him. "We'd be getting cooked alive as well. Besides, what path do you think we would be taking?" She pointed to the top of the slope, which now stood so very high above them. Lachlan followed her finger as she moved it around the edge of the valley; there was not a single flat surface up there, just jagged, weathered rock that barely formed a path, with any usable ground missing giant gaps every few metres.

    "I… I guess not," Lachlan mumbled, looking more deflated by the second. "At least we won't be attacked up there."

    "Well, we'll just have to be on our game, won't we?" Sandy said. She energetically and without fear walked the last few metres to the valley floor; the grass now loomed threateningly above her, as threatening as grass could be, but Sandy didn't let her fear show. "Butterfree's with us, we've got all our other Pokémon. What is there to be afraid of?"

    Lachlan said nothing. He simply looked over the silent field, eyes narrow and looking tearful. The jocular nature Sandy had known was gone, and right now she could see only the scared little boy she'd caught so briefly on the beach earlier. She put one foot back on the slope, wondering if she would need to comfort him physically, but the movement brought Lachlan's eyes back to her. Her concern must have been visible as Lachlan sniffed and straightened up, smiling determinedly but weakly.

    "You're right, it should be fine. It's only a little grass, right? When's grass ever hurt anyone?" He practically jogged the last few steps and stepped past Sandy, diving straight into the field.

    "Boys," Sandy sighed, rolling her eyes at Butterfree, who could only nod. She watched Lachlan for a few moments a she ploughed his way through and she smiled as she followed suit.

    The valley had already been quiet, but the second Sandy stepped into the field, sound seemed to disappear entirely. Even her footsteps were muffled by the mass of grass, only the faintest rustle of the reeds being pushed aside disrupting the heavy silence.

    "You need to lead the way," Sandy whispered to Butterfree, unwilling to talk any louder. The Bug type nodded, her Compound Eyes already glowing, and she floated ahead of Lachlan. Her wing clipped him softly as she passed, yet Lachlan leapt backwards with such force he looked like he had been electrocuted.

    "Have you always been this easily spooked?" Sandy giggled, pushing him back to his feet.

    Lachlan blushed and struggled not to grin. "Not really. I guess I just seem that way around you."

    "Around me?" Sandy whispered, a sudden heat spreading across her neck.

    "Yeah, of course. You also seemed so calm."

    "Oh," Sandy mumbled, suddenly disheartened.

    "I mean, how are you always this calm about everything?" Lachlan said, waving his arms dramatically.

    Sandy laughed. "Everything? You mean nearly being killed all the time?"

    "Yeah…"

    "Experience," she scoffed, though the laugh died in her throat. "Wow, that sounds depressing, doesn't it?"

    Lachlan smiled softly. "Just a little, I guess. I can't even imagine what the last few weeks have been like for you. If there's anything that we've done to add to that, I – "

    "Oh, Lachlan, no!" Sandy shook her head furiously. "This has nothing to do with you or Damian, or even Chloe, really. You guys have been used as much as Alaska and I have been. This whole situation is a nightmare, and the sooner we can put it all behind us, the better."

    "Agreed!" Lachlan paused as his shout rippled through the grass, earning him a stern look from Butterfree. "Sorry," he whispered, though his cheeky grin gave him away. Butterfree rolled her eyes dismissively, leaving Lachlan and Sandy to giggle in her wake.

    "We really shouldn't be doing this," Sandy whispered through her snorts. "I have no idea what Pokémon are out here!"

    "See, this just proves my point!"

    "What point?"

    "You, your whole demeanour, you are almost too perfect," Lachlan said, grinning widely. "Have you always been so…" He paused, trying to find the right word. "Collected?"

    "Umm, I guess so?" Sandy said, shrugging. "I can't remember ever going wild and crazy before I left home, if that's what you mean. Things were my dad were pretty strained, so I kind of had to toe the line a lot, be quiet and behaved and all that."

    "Until you ran away from home?"

    Sandy sniggered. "Yeah, until that. But that was after years of masking everything, pretending everything was fine so I didn't upset him. I had to be calm and collected around him because he never really was."

    Lachlan didn't say anything for a while, and Sandy realised she had not really gone into this with him before. The two always seemed to have gotten on well, and had spoken at length before, but they had barely scratched the surface of each other. It was only now that Sandy realised she didn't know anything about Lachlan's past; who his family was, why he signed up for the show – she didn't even think she could name his home town.

    "Hang on, I remember when I first met you!" Lachlan paused and spun around, his face glowing with excitement. "That day in Viridian Forest, remember?"

    "Of course I remember that day," Sandy said. Running away had opened the door to her, but meeting Alaska and the reality stars that day had changed everything. If I had climbed a different tree, or simply kept on walking, I probably wouldn't be standing here.

    "You weren't that calm then!" Lachlan started grinning like he knew a secret she didn't. "I remember thinking you were sort of crazy."

    "Crazy?" Sandy scoffed. "Next to Alaska and Chloe? Well, that's simply the cruellest thing anyone has ever said to me."

    "That's a pretty low bar though, who is ever mean to you?"

    "Um, how about your producer who tried to kill me?"

    "She tried to kill me too!" Lachlan huffed defensively. "Alright, what did you think about me that day?"

    "Honestly?" Sandy asked, and Lachlan nodded eagerly. "Nothing, really."

    "Nothing?" Lachlan cried. "Nothing?"

    "Nothing."

    "Surely I must have made some sort of impression on you."

    "You might have, but that was a busy day. You do remember the robotic Beedrill we had to fight?"

    Lachlan said nothing, simply frowning at her. "I bet you can remember what you thought of Damian."

    "Damian? What does he have to –"

    "FREE!"

    Silence fell immediately. Sandy could see Butterfree a few metres ahead, a tiny hand raised above her wings. Everything seemed quiet, there was no sign of anything coming towards them, yet Sandy was not going to ignore the urgency in Butterfree's voice. She remained rooted to the spot, only her eyes moving as she watched the grass for any changes.

    "Why is this grass so long anyway?" Lachlan muttered, his mouth barely moving.

    "The League mows the routes trainers are expected to take. Clearly they don't have a proviso in their gardening budget for random islands people get washed up on!"

    "I was only asking, you don't need to bite my head off!"

    "Why are you suddenly being such a –"

    The grass started to rustle. Lachlan made a soundless gasp as he stepped quickly to Sandy's side. She barely even noticed him as she stared fearfully at the grass, watching as the shaking movement got closer and closer. She could see Butterfree moving towards them, and Sandy reached slowly for her Poké Balls, wondering just how many she'd have to use against…

    "Quag."

    "Oh thank fuck." Sandy's hand moved from her pocket and clutched at her chest, breathing deeply. The Quagsire that had appeared before them, a bright blue blob looking like a glitch in the universe as it trampled through all the green, looked at her blankly before waddling past, wagging its tail obliviously.

    "Alright, can we put all these fear stuff behind us?" Lachlan said exasperatedly. "Just because the grass is really tall doesn't mean we need to be terrified of every little moment, okay?"

    "No one's disagreeing with you," Sandy said, trying not to smile.

    "I mean, this is ridiculous. Amanda may be totally fucked up, but I don't want to be afraid, you know what I mean?"

    "Loud and clear."

    "Good," Lachlan said, nodding vigorously. "Let's just keep walking then, alright? I'm not going to spend the next few hours being scared about tripping over a few shitty Quagsire!" And Lachlan turned and marched stubbornly forwards

    "FREE!" Butterfree cried, but she was too late to stop him; Sandy could not see what had caused it, but suddenly Lachlan was stumbling backwards, the grass transformed into an impenetrable wall.

    "Oh my god, are you okay!" Sandy shrieked, rushing forwards to catch him before he fell.

    "I'm fine," Lachlan said, dazedly rubbing his head. "Where the hell did that come from?"

    "Where did what come from?" Sandy struggled to see anything, the mountain's shadow making the thick grass even darker. But then she saw it; sticking through the grass, what looked like the bottom of a concrete pillar was sitting right in the middle of the field. "What the hell?" She muttered, and looked at Butterfree for guidance. But Butterfree was staring at it like it was a threat; slowly, Sandy looked back, and her heart stopped as the pillar began to move.

    "Oh shit it's a leg." Sandy felt the sweat on her neck go cold. She watched silently as the thick, cracked limb, the width of a tree trunk, pivoted about. The grass around it was suddenly pushed flat, a giant black trunk sweeping through it like an axe against a tree, two moss covered tusks bordering it on either side; Sandy knew now what it was, but nothing could prepare her for the huge, angry Donphan that was now staring furiously down at the two of them.

    Nothing happened for a moment. Everyone seemed to be waiting for the other to act. That thing is ready to charge, Sandy thought. She swallowed fearfully, unable to look away yet terrified of the rage filled eyes glaring from within the thick, leathery hide. "If we don't move, I think we might –"

    "SHIIIIIIIT!" Lachlan screamed, and without a moment's hesitation leapt to his feet and began to run.

    "You stupid fucking bas –"

    "PHAAAAAN!"

    There was no time for Sandy to think. As the Donphan somehow raised its giant frame onto its back legs, she forced herself to start running as well. Grass swiped at her bare, burnt arms as she chased after Lachlan, his frantic screams her only guide, but within seconds they were drowned out by the sound of four giant legs galloping after them. The whole world shook, and Sandy forced herself to sprint faster before the ground cracked and swallowed her whole.

    "Toxic!" She screamed back to Butterfree.

    "FREE FREE FREE!" The Bug type shouted back. Sandy could understand her rage; of course she wouldn't have stopped them for a little Quagsire, of course they should have paid more attention. If she had been focused on what was in front of them, if she hadn't been lost in the past and the future and Lachlan…

    Not like Alaska would have done any better. The whole field would probably be on fire right now, Sandy thought bitterly. Though I guess fire would be better than just running away though. She's not here to do all that crazy shit, so I guess it has to be me then.

    "Lachlan, you need to send a Pokémon out!" She didn't wait for his response, pointing her Poké Ball ahead of her. By the time the red energy had formed into Weepinbell, Sandy had caught up and was able to catch the Grass type before she fell.

    "Hey, welcome to hell," Sandy wheezed. "Please use Magical Leaf on the monster trying to kill us and don't stop until it does."

    Weepinbell looked confused but nodded her lemony body and made no objection as Sandy gripped her by the vine and aimed her over her shoulder. She smiled as she heard the familiar swish of Weepinbell's leaves flying through the air, but a furious roar a second made it clear it would take more than that.

    Suddenly, the thudding began to sound louder, and Sandy feared Donphan was right on her tail. She almost turned to look, but something ahead of her caught her eye, and at the last second Sandy leapt out of the way as a jagged boulder rolled past. Stunned, she watched as it powered towards Donphan, colliding with a resounding thud into the beast's tusks.

    "GRAVELER!" The boulder yelled, and with its four arms it gripped onto the sharp teeth, digging its feet in and forcing Donphan to slow.

    "Go on, Graveler, you can do this!" Lachlan yelled from the distance.

    Sandy tore her eyes away from the battle to try and find him. She hadn't realised how far they had run, but the entire valley had changed in only a few minutes: the ground was currently flat but got hillier and more uneven as it slowly sloped towards the mountains, which Sandy could now see were narrowing towards each other, creating a dead end about four kilometres away.

    If we don't stop it here, there is literally nowhere for us to go. Despite her buzzing head, Sandy cast her eyes across the cliffs, trying to find some oasis for them. After a few desperate moments punctuated by the grunting Pokémon behind her, something caught her eye; halfway up the mountain to her right, something was shining. It took Sandy a few moments longer to realise it was a waterfall: it was only thin, but the white glare at the top suggested a body of water wide and high enough to catch the sunlight.

    "Lachlan, you need to run towards that mountain," Sandy cried, using Weepinbell to point vigorously at the cliff.

    "Which one?" Lachlan yelled; he raised his hands to try and get her attention, but he was too thick in the savannah and too far away to see clearly.

    She tried to shout again, but a deep moan made her freeze. Sandy turned in time to watch Graveler get flung through the air as easily as if it was a beach ball; all six limbs were limp, and when it finally landed a kilometre east of her, the impact made the ground shake.

    "Fuck me, why couldn't we have drowned." Sandy began running, this time cutting diagonally through the field. She could hear Lachlan calling out for his fallen Pokémon, but her only concern was getting away from Donphan as it started running again; she had not realised how close it was before Graveler had stopped it, and Sandy did not want to see how far it would throw her.

    "Butterfree, keep using Toxic!" She shouted. She waited for a response, expecting to hear something over her shallow breaths and the echoing stampede, but after nearly a minute she realised there was no response. "Butterfree?" Sandy yelled with more urgency. Had she even seen Butterfree since she had started running? Had she heard anything from her since her last order?

    "Butterfree?" Sandy yelled, unable to hide the pain that slipped into her voice. She turned around as she ran, hoping to see her, but all she could see was the grass suddenly rising even further above her, almost as though she was on the ground…

    "AH!" Sandy realised she was falling only as she hit the earth, which somehow made the impact worse. In her speed she began to roll, the grass wrapping around her arms and legs, Weepinbell spiralling out of her hands. She carried on a few metres before stopping face first in the dirt.

    The dust stung, seeping into her eyes and nose, but Sandy made no effort to move. Her body ached too much. The lack of food and water, the heat, the climb up the mountain, and now this; it was too much for one person to bare. Sandy knew she'd need help to stand again, but Lachlan, Butterfree and Weepinbell were nowhere to be seen in this thick forest. This is so pathetic, Sandy thought, whimpering as she reached into her pocket for a Poké Ball.

    "DOOOOOON!"

    The roar was explosive, a sound so angry that made Sandy's blood run cold. She managed to roll onto her back, a short movement she instantly regretted, but she refused to die on her front. She stared through the trampled path she'd made and seized, hand frozen around a Poke Ball, as she saw Donphan was already coming for her. Its eyes were so small compared to the rest of it, but the blind rage that burnt within them was more obvious than the giant tusks; Sandy knew that the Donphan was not going to stop, not until it had punished them.

    Sandy stared at it, immobile. She knew she should be scared. She knew she should be trying to get away. Yet she knew all that was pointless. She'd never get away in time; trying to escape would only make things worse, one last bout of hope that would only make her suffering worse. The Donphan was so close now she could see dust flying from its feet. Sandy clutched at the ground and breathed deeply, refusing to look away. Death had been coming for her for weeks. Now, it would finally catch her.

    "FREEEEEEEEEEE!"

    Sandy felt her breath catch in her throat. She had felt the air change around as Donphan lunged for her, she could still feel her heart beating, pounding like an engine against her chest. Despite herself, she had shut her eyes at the last moment, the image of Donphan's grass covered leg still burnt into her vision.

    Slowly, Sandy opened them, and the sight made her gasp and swallow at the same time. There was still barely a metre between her and Donphan, the Ground type so close she could almost touch it. The only thing separating them was Butterfree; Sandy could not see her face, but she could see the pink glow from her eyes reflected across Donphan.

    "Butterfree." The name came out in a quiet sob, the loudest sound Sandy could muster right now. Butterfree was so close that she could touch her if she wanted to, but Sandy could barely lift her arms above her waist. "How are you doing this? I didn't know you could use Psychic."

    Butterfree didn't answer, barely even glancing at her trainer in acknowledgement. She simply pointed briskly at the sky for only a moment, her whole body seemingly focused on her new move.

    Sandy knew where she was pointing though. Her body shaking with the effort, she pressed the button on the Poké Ball. The capsule split open in her hand and the field shone red as the mass of energy pooled out right beside her. She had never realised how the air shifted when a Pokémon took shape, the hair on her arms tingling as a sudden pressure weighed down on her. There was something strangely magical about it, and Sandy craned her neck so she could trace Onix's body as it took shape; the grass was visible through the energy for a moment before grey stone solidified before it. Sandy looked up to the sky but the Rock Snake's head was against the sun, his face in shadow.

    "Can you see a lake?" Sandy shouted, her voice shaking with the effort. "You need to get us there, now!"

    Even as Sandy said it, she had no idea how Onix would achieve it, but he seemed to understand; something heavy prodded her stomach, and Sandy realised it was the tip of his tail, nearly wider than her, trying to get underneath. It hurt to lift herself up, but Sandy only had to hold the position for a second before the cold rock went under her and she could collapse on top.

    "Weepinbell, Vine Whip!"

    "Bell!" Her cry was faint, muffled by the grass, but an emerald vine shot out from the field a few metres away, flailing in the air before sinking towards Sandy; she gripped it as tightly as she could, and felt it contract as Weepinbell used her as anchor, retracting the vine in in reverse.

    Sandy pulled her in close the second she was close. "I can't believe I dropped you, I am so sorry," she whispered. "You did an amazing job trying to help."

    "Bell Bell," Weepinbell said softly. She was quiet and her eyes were heavy, dust dulling her bright skin, and Sandy felt the weight around her heart get heavier as she found yet another thing to feel guilty for.

    "Quickly, we need to go," Sandy said, looking back at Butterfree.

    "Free!" Butterfree said sharply, pointing at more forcefully to the sky.

    Sandy was confused. "You need to come with us, Butterfree."

    "Free Free!"

    "No, you have to. There will be enough time for us to get away before Donphan can stop us." Yet even as Sandy said it, she doubted it; the Ground type's body may be frozen, but its eyes were still moving, watching Sandy as Onix slowly raised her up.

    Butterfree clearly knew it as well. "Free!" She said, waving her hand. She turned her head slightly, and for a heart stopping second, Donphan's trunk moved forwards. Butterfree turned back quickly, stopping it after only a few seconds, but her body was quivering more than ever.

    "Butterfree, please, I am not leaving you here!" Sandy yelled. She loved what Butterfree was doing for her, her love for her had never felt stronger, but the fact she was making her do this made her hate her with what little energy she had left.

    "FREE!"

    Sandy screamed through clenched teeth. "FINE, HAVE IT YOUR WAY – VINE WHIP, GRAB HER!"

    Before Weepinbell could react, Butterfree's hands jerked to the side, and Sandy's stomach lurched as she felt herself move backwards. She thought she'd been thrown aside, but looked down as saw the ground was pulling away from her, the grass slowly getting shorter, Butterfree getting smaller.

    The next moment, Sandy tilted to the side, and she yelped as Onix placed her beside the water. She gave the small lake a cursory glance, but her anger was consuming her. "I did not ask you to do that!" She yelled, leaning over the cliff to look down at Onix. "This was supposed to be my chance, my opportunity to make a decision about my own life for once! I've already got gods and adults controlling it for me, I do not need my Pokémon usurping my destiny as well! You get your tail back up here and you lower me down there right now!"

    Onix said nothing. The Rock Snake simply raised his head up to her level and stared at her, and in an instant, Sandy's rage faded. In all that had happened since she'd entered the ice caves, she had forgotten the main reason why Amanda had nearly won. Onix did not seem to be in pain; Sandy had never reaslly been able to tell, but it looked like he was smiling, grinning as if his eyes were not both a red so scorching they seem to glow, beaming as if every time he blinked, Sandy did not see deep gouges on his grey lids thick enough she could rest her arm in them if she tried.

    Sandy sank backwards. Her energy was completely gone, her pain was numbed, and now she felt nothing but tiredness. The urge to cry was stronger than ever, but her body was too weak to even manage that.

    "Lachlan's out there. Can you –" Sandy began, but Onix had already dipped his head, swiftly lowering himself to the ground. Sandy was given a brief look at Butterfree so far away before Onix was back at their height, Lachlan gripping to his fin.

    "Was Graveler alright?" She asked as he climbed onto the ground beside her.

    Lachlan didn't meet her eye, walking right past her and sinking to his knees beside the water. "He'll be fine," he said eventually, his voice barely a whisper.

    Sandy knew something was wrong, but before she could probe him further, she sensed Onix move and turned to watch; he lowered his entire body to the ground, curving his body so his head and tail were side by side, and only when he was in place did Butterfree let herself fall onto him.

    "No!" Suddenly Sandy saw herself in her room watching the Caterpie crawling across her windowsill; she was in her backyard swinging from the tree on Sticky Shot while the Caterpie clung to the branch; she was watching that string forming into a thick, green shell; she was standing on a tree with Butterfree by her side, looking over the world and wondering what she was supposed to do now…

    You can't leave me. You can't just save me and then leave me behind, you might as well have let it crush me. The world seemed to slow down as Onix's tail rose towards her; Butterfree was balancing on the end looking like a large bruise, her body slumped motionless across the stone. Sandy reached out to her when she was still metres away, her body getting closer and closer to the edge, no longer caring if she fell.

    The second Butterfree was within reach, Sandy she scooped her into her arms. Her body was limp but still warm, a faint heartbeat reverberating against Sandy's touch. "Why did you do that," she whispered, doing her best not to sob again.

    "Onnnnnnn."

    Sandy blinked back tears as she looked into Onix's eyes, the mournful groan reaching into her very soul. "How the hell did we get here?" She sighed, reaching out with her free head and resting it on Onix's forehead, his cold, hard skin making her shiver.

    "What the hell do we do now?"

    Sandy couldn't bring herself to look at Lachlan. She couldn't face him yet, not when she was the one who had done this. Yet she couldn't look at Onix any longer; instead, she turned back to the fields below, staring at the fields they had just left behind. Even in the gloom of the mountain's shadow, the valley was as beautiful now as it was when she had first seen it what felt like hours ago. She didn't even care that Donphan was still down there somewhere; part of her longed to climb down Onix's body and live there forever, build herself a fortress she'd never have to leave, even if she knew that, just like every other beautiful place she'd longed to see, she had no place here.

    "I'm sorry, Lochy, but I have no idea. I have literally no idea." And Sandy slumped against Onix's head, staring at the sun's reflection in his eyes, not even noticing as her tears finally broke through.
     
  19. Persephone

    Persephone The Vulture Queen

    Blog Posts:
    4
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    First.

    Power tripping Sandy is adorable, and she should never be allowed to be in charge of anything ever again. Honestly had a joke thought when reading this that the entire story is her start of darkness as a future despot. She makes the rules. Follow them or leave.

    Oh, and, because I don't think I've emphasized this enough:

    BIRB KILLER. BIRB KILLER. BIRB KILLER. BIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRB KIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLEEEEEEERRRRR!1!!!!!!!1!!!!!!

    Did not remember Donphan being that big. Even if scaled to elephants, I don't think you could really just see their leg as a wall-type deal. Just a sort of human sized pillar. I also didn't understand the blind aggression. Bull elephants are nasty when in heat and all, but i'm not sure "pursue prey across the entire valley to make sure is dead because they hit my leg" aggressive. 'course, this is fiction and donphan are not elephants but. It felt a little odd as a reader. Something happened because the narrative required that something would.

    I liked valley descriptions. is a pretty valley. Reminded me of Yosemite with the Bridal Veil Falls expy and all that.

    Some things to c/p and fix:

    Emerge herself
    Trying get shot

    One final realism note: grass has a very high silica content. It's a lot like glass, and the edges are very sharp. As someone who's had to wade through fields of grass taller than I am, every square inch of exposed skin wound up with a paper cut equivalent, my feet were bleeding and it was a generally horrific experience. Would not recommend.
     
    AceTrainer14 likes this.
  20. AceTrainer14

    AceTrainer14 The acest of trainers

    Blog Posts:
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    Sandy is crouching down to catch Lachlan. Grass is very long. I didn't say that it was a tall pillar, just that it resembled a pillar due to its curvature and texture.

    It was sleeping and got disturbed, I was envisioning it as feral/untamed due to where it lives and reacting more violently than one would normally. It is notably on its own so not restrained by a larger herd.

    Thanks for the review! :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
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