• A new LGBTQ+ forum is now being trialed and there have been changes made to the Support and Advice forum. To read more about these updates, click here.
  • Hey Trainers! Be sure to check out Corsola Beach, our newest section on the forums, in partnership with our friends at Corsola Cove! At the Beach, you can discuss the competitive side of the games, post your favorite Pokemon memes, and connect with other Pokemon creators!
  • Due to the recent changes with Twitter's API, it is no longer possible for Bulbagarden forum users to login via their Twitter account. If you signed up to Bulbagarden via Twitter and do not have another way to login, please contact us here with your Twitter username so that we can get you sorted.

TEEN: Prema Kannagi: Memory of a Ghoul [COMPLETE!!]

I was hoping Prema would win, but that would have been too easy, considering Konrad is a more experienced trainer than she is. I also want to say that I'm relieved that Konrad has been dealt with, but something tells me that we likely won't be seeing the last of him. That's usually how stories like this tend to go. Glad that Satomi and her Blastoise managed to help out, and she certainly lives up to her prowess as a once powerful trainer. Curious to see what's next. Another good chapter like always.
 
Well, that outcome I didn't 100% predict but I did suspect it might happen after the emphasis on the shrine's tendency to cover things up and play loosely with the truth--reiterated here with how Taiyoko was caught by Haruto but she has to tell everyone she did it in exchange for receiving her.
This will be gone more into in the next chapter.

(A strange thought about that--your fic seems to go for the idea that Pokémon are at least fairly close to human level intelligence, so theoretically Taiyoko would be a potential "leak" about it if she ended up disliking Prema, though it's not like many humans could be told by her...)
A very interesting thought. Training Taiyoko so she wouldn't could well have been a challenge to Prema, of course. Then again, see the above comment. Also stuff in the next fic covers some of this stuff.

I was a bit more surprised by Ghul attacking her himself right after...
...and then Priestess Satomi from the side with the steel chair Blastoise, and it's all over!
Guhl was more than likely trying to lure in someone even stronger. Of course he didn't think Satomi would be a threat...

Huh...it's a pity the whole shrine business stopped Nori from coming, since his bloodthirsty Pawniard probably can't murder ghosts but it would be a chance for him to battle with it again.
You glossed over. Nori could've come, like Priestess Satomi said! Prema just decided not to out of a mix of concern and misguided thoughts. Note that Priestess Satomi actually reacts a little negatively to saying she'll be fine with just her there. She certainly came to the same conclusion as you. That said, there's also an interesting reason why it wouldn't have necessarily worked. I'll spoiler it in case I can't write it into next chapter: {ispoiler]Guhl didn't think much of Nori. Of course, he could've easily proven him wrong, since he had outdated information.[/ispoiler] But I'll get more into this in the postscript.

I was hoping Prema would win, but that would have been too easy, considering Konrad is a more experienced trainer than she is.
She may have lost the batle, but she won the fight. And in the end, that was what mattered! This was interesting though, since Prema's speculation is actually on the mark: her advantages were enough that if it weren't for the frostbite, she could've easily taken it.

I also want to say that I'm relieved that Konrad has been dealt with, but something tells me that we likely won't be seeing the last of him. That's usually how stories like this tend to go.
Prema basically banished him to the afterlife. He won't be getting up from that one easily. Of course given some of my inspirations he could come back, just not nearly in the same dangerous capacity.

Glad that Satomi and her Blastoise managed to help out, and she certainly lives up to her prowess as a once powerful trainer.
I think you mean still-powerful, she pretty much wrecked Fuchspuk from over half health. The only reason Priestess Satomi could be seen as once-powerful is that many of her partners have left her.
 
Encomium (adjuration III)
Adjuration III: Encomium

Prema had much to think about on the ride back. She considered what had happened and what was going to happen. Although the night had been a success as far as the Kannagi Shrine was concerned, her future still felt in flux to herself. She needed to correct it quickly, at least so that she could avert the threat of another night of restless sleep.

Priestess Satomi owned a lockup a block away from the Kannagi Shrine which she used as a garage for her motorcycle. As she shut the door, Prema decided to speak up.

“Priestess Satomi, I need to tell you something.”

“You can tell me whatever, Lady Kannagi!” she said, twirling her keys on her left index finger before pocketing them. “Go ahead and bend my ear.”

“I do not feel as though my performance tonight was adequate,” she admitted, lowering her head slightly. “I should have been able to do far better.”

“Well, I disagree with you there,” she said. “Personally, I think you did the best you could.”

The words struck hard. “You believe that was my best?” she repeated, her legs feeling like jelly. She had expected such a ruthless assessment. Was she not good enough after all?

“Lady Kannagi, to clarify,” she said with a wink. “I think you did perfectly fine.”

“Fine…” She pondered the word. There were innumerable expectations of her and they would only continue to grow in stringency and number as she grew older. Would just fine be acceptable to her critics?

Prema had been preparing for her eventual position for ten years. Some would say she had been for all fifteen years and seven months of her life. It was merely a simple vengeful spirit that she had to deal with. She could not defeat his Pokemon and was twice caught unaware by his ambushes. It was not about her failing, as that was to be expected in life. It was about her failing at something so simple with so much training.

“I know it's a lot of pressure, being the shrine's only heir,” Priestess Satomi said, placing a hand on her as they started up the stone steps.

“Why could I not have been born with a sibling…” she loathed. Simply knowing there would be another to turn to if she could not live up to standards would be enough to ease her tension.

“You know why.” Satomi allowed a sigh to escape her. That was true. Too true. “Not to pressure you more, but I think you got what it takes to excel.”

“I don't think so…” she said. “Not if I need help to handle a vengeful spirit.”

“Well, I know so. I can say that since you remind me of your dad at his age.”

She stopped. “Father was like me?”

Priestess Satomi chuckled. “That's a story for another time, of course.”

Of course, since it was late. She still pondered, what could Priestess Satomi mean by that? Was it a matter of confidence and personality? There were clear differences all the same. For one, he had siblings and cousins. The shrine's lineage would not have ended had he faltered…or worse.

Which reminded her of something. “I wish to speak with Father tonight.”

“Don't wanna wait, do you? He'll want to hear from me,” she said. “But hey, should be no problem hearing from you now rather than tomorrow.”

Prema lightly smiled in thanks. She wanted to hear his thoughts what happened sooner rather than later. Moreover, there was something else she was mulling over that she wished to discuss with her elder.

“Speaking in the hypothetical for future reference,” she started. “Would it have been acceptable for another person to have battled Mr. Guhl on my behalf?”

“If the spirit found it acceptable,” came the reply. “But for the record, I think he'd have dismissed me as washed up and the Demon Tamer as a nothing. He wanted to face you, Lady Kannagi. And you did!”

It came as no surprise Priestess Satomi knew what she was referring to. She understood the first and last point at once, but the second took more thought. She asked for clarification, “Are you saying he had no respect for Nori?”

“I can't say that for sure, but reasonable speculation. Here's this fresh trainer who got this strong Pokemon to start with. Experienced ones would naturally be dismissive or jealous. Know a few were for sure!”

While Prema did not understand trainer culture, she could see how some people might take that perspective. Her friend had since underwent formal training, but a spirit would not be privy to the news. Thus, still thinking Nori was not worth his time.

“Course, if Guhl said that to his face, well.” Priestess Satomi chuckled, not stating the likely conclusion. “Anyway, now you know.”

She nodded and said her thanks. It was a hypothetical, after all. There was no sense worrying about it, only learning from it. She had more pressing concerns, such as her performance. The beginning of an idea to make up for it was starting to take shape in her mind. How would it be received?

---​

Prema partook in some quiet meditation in the kamidama chamber while waiting to speak with her father. It was a good opportunity to calm her nerves and consider what she wanted to say and how. He undoubtedly was going to ask for her account of the exorcism. That was going to be the simple part. More difficult would be how to present a request she had regarding matters.

She was uncertain of how much time passed before there came a soft knock at the door. “Lady Kannagi, are you in here?” came the voice of Priestess Satomi. Her debriefing had evidently concluded.

“I am,” she replied. “Is Father now ready to see me?” She would understand if he wanted to wait until tomorrow.

“He's all yours.”

The green-haired teenager rose. “Thank you.”

She repeated those words as Priestess Satomi graciously opened and shut the door for her. Prema went over her thoughts one final time as she strode through the hallway leading to her father's office. Upon reaching it, she was able to knock without hesitation.

“Father, I am here,” she verbally announced her presence.

“Come in, Prema.”

Her father was seated at his desk. The light was on, exposing his closed journal beneath. She discerned little from his body language. His body was like a statue, his face an expressionless painting.

Prema stood four meters out. “Thank you for taking the time to speak with me tonight.” She bowed.

“Yes,” he said, rubbing his neck with a single finger. “Priestess Satomi has already explained much to me.”

She suddenly became aware of her slouched posture and snapped upright. “What did you speak of, if I might ask?”

“The incident, the future of the shrine, and some other things.”

Not very revealing, especially the last point. Although she supposed it was only right that she not be privy to all the details of their conversation. She did not want to chance prying, either. Priestess Satomi had been honest in her earlier praise, so she knew it could not have been entirely negative.

Her father leaned forward. “First, I would like to hear what happened tonight in your own words, as well as your thoughts on the events.”

She did as he asked, resolved to leave out no details. Partway through her explanation of the battle, he asked her to simply summarize it. At several points, she jad to excuse herself for a cup of water. Her father patiently waited each time she retrieved some from his cooler and gulped it down. She chose to withhold her true feelings on how it had concluded, expressing only her wish that it did not have to end how it did.

“I see,” was all he had to say at the conclusion of her story. “Well done. I simply ask you to speak to no one about Satomi's involvement at the end.”

She froze up. So it was true after all. She should not have needed Priestess Satomi to step in. She took a steadying breath. Her father had essentially said to her that it was something to be ashamed of.

Prema opened her mouth. It was difficult to speak. She felt as though she had been drinking raw syrup, not water. “Father, may I make a suggestion?”

He did not answer immediately. It took ten seconds before he silently motioned to do so.

“I do not feel that my performance tonight lived up to the standards that are expected of me.” She lowered her head. “I should not have needed the aid that I did. I cannot apologize enough, Father. So I would like to ask for another task at a later date, even if we are to publicly say that I passed this one.”

“No.” His answer was so quick and concise that it took a couple seconds to register.

“But you asked not to speak of her involvement,” she stated. Her toes curled as she pressed her lips together. “Was it not implicit that I performed this task without the direct intervention of others?”

“You understand nothing,” he said, his voice rising as he stood. “Satomi was there in case you needed help, and you did. Together, you successfully exorcised the spirit of the warehouse. You were successful, though part of me is beginning to believe that you need to repeat it for another reason.”

“But Father! I–”

“Prema.” The Master of the shrine sat back down and folded his hands on the table. “My daughter, do you understand what the purpose of this task was?” he asked, stern and steely.

She snapped upright, recalling at once. “It was not simply meant as the initial test of my abilities. It was also meant to teach me how to handle situations that take multiple attempts or are otherwise longer term,” she mused aloud.

Her father nodded slightly, yet his expression did not change. It told her that she was correct, but there was more to it. She was uncertain of what other conclusion could be drawn, however.

“I apologize. I cannot imagine what other purpose it might have served.”

“Priestess Satomi was there to help you,” he repeated. He lowered his gaze, though he continued to stare directly at her.

She closed her eyes and thought carefully. Those who accompanied her on tasks were indeed there to protect her. “Her help was acceptable…” she tentatively mused as she looked back at her father. She could only hazard a guess. “Was this also to teach me about accepting help?”

“A suitable answer,” he approved. “Your success tonight was the sum of the efforts of many, not just you alone.”

It finally came together. Yes. Yes, that was true. Even disregarding Priestess Satomi's intervention, Nori's research had been an immense help. Nariya, Maiden Kaede, and Acolyte Jack had also played their part, as did Father and many others. Perhaps she had been mistaken in the first place.

He stood once more and idly walked over to the window to gaze outside. “One day, you will inherit the position of Master of the Kannagi Shrine. However, that burden is not yours to bear alone. You will need friends and confidants you can trust in. I speak of people who will be there in times of need, be it helping in incidents, as a voice of reason, or providing emotional support.” He glanced over his right shoulder. “Like you, Priestess Satomi has been one of those people for me. Your mother, Lisa, was…” Her father trailed off. His mouth closed, hiding his lips as he bit down.

Her mother. Prema had never known her, any memories being too far back to have formed. But everyone who she spoke to had only good things to say about Lisa Kannagi. They said that her father was never the same after her disappearance.

The painful realization struck. “I will need friends such as Nariya.” Prema sighed heavily.

Haruto nodded stonily, realizing the bitter irony as well. Nariya had shown a willingness to risk life and limb for her, and for that, she might not even be permitted to return to the shrine.

“I have arranged something that might help you,” her father said quietly.

“You have?” she asked, taking a step towards him.

He confirmed. “A letter containing my assessment of her performance during your first attempt. We'll see how it goes.”

Prema could only bow profusely. “Thank you, Father.”

Yes, it was not just her being tested. Priestess Kaede, Acolyte Jack, and Nariya were as well. It was a test to see how worthy they were of higher positions in the shrine. Prema already had a good idea of what her father had said about each of them. The only question was how Nariya's parents would take it.

“You did well tonight, Prema,” he assured her, walking in front of his desk. “Hold your head high.”

Nervously, she did so, trembling lightly. Part of her still felt that she did not deserve to do so. But it felt good, such as how smiling releases endorphins.

She forced a smile that gradually became a real one. “What do you think about how I handled the spirit? Konrad Guhl, that is?”

Her father curled his lip. “I agree with most of Priestess Satomi's assertions.”

“Most of her assertions?” she queried. “Which ones do you not?”

He crossed his arms. “I disagree that he deserves to be pitied.”

Prema was taken aback, although she tried not to show it. She, too, felt pity for Konrad Guhl. No one deserved to go the way he did. “Father? What are you saying?”

“No matter his life story, there was no excuse for his actions. You did your job by exorcising him. There was no shame to be had.”

Prema frowned. She also believed he was not in the right, although did not go as far as dismissing him altogether. “Do you believe I should not have obliged his last request?”

“I did not say so,” he said. “It is a diviner's job to appease a spirit before sending it. You did well by accepting a battle with him.”

But she had not appeased him. “Yet I could not win.”

“I agree with Satomi that he would not have been appeased even if you had.”

“He lied, then.” She had been lied to and not seen through it.

“No,” her father shook his head. “I simply believe that his expectations were unreachable. Yet no one will be able to say you did not make the attempt. And from what Satomi told me, it was closer than you, or he believed. That is why I believe that if he lost, he would have chalked it up to luck. Either way, there is no sense dwelling on it.”

That was presumptuous. She wished to say more, but thought better of the attempt. It still made sense, if only a little. Maybe she would have won had Taiyoko not suffered an untimely frostbite. It did not make her feel better about how things had played out. But it did about Konrad Guhl. Prema sighed. She did what she had to do. Would he have found peace if he had been defeated? It was difficult to say. All she could do was pray that he would find it on the other side.

Haruto went back to his chair. But before he sat down, he turned to her and did something he had never done before in his life: he gave her a bow of respect. It was light, barely perceptible, yet distinguishable from a nod.

“Get some rest. You've earned a long one.”

“Thank you, Father.” She returned the bow, far more deeply, before leaving.

While her mind had been eased a little, there was still much on it. The fact remained that she needed to improve, both as a priestess and as a person. Were she more competent, Nariya never would have gotten hurt in the first place. Prema had been training for ten years, some would say all fifteen of her life. It was just a simple vengeful spirit. She could not defeat his Pokemon and was ambushed by him twice. She should have been able to do far better.

Moreover, there was a conundrum that she did not understand. Her father said to accept help from others, yet also said not to tell anyone that she had received it? She understood that it was a matter of image. But what about giving credit where it was owed? What if word got out? More pressingly, what would her followers and the public think if she were to show the weakness she felt?

Prema had too many doubts and it felt like there was no one to talk to about them.

#########
========
#########

If you want to read Blade of the Blackout Killer, get up through Chapter 13 before the next chapter of this fic. It will contain massive spoilers for it! If you don't care or think it will give you a different perspective though, go nuts.
 
Not much to say about this one, as it's a fairly short chapter about Prema still being conflicted about whether she fulfilled her course of action. I was surprised to see that her father took the whole thing fairly well. Curious to see if Nariya will be allowed back into the shrine and to be friends with Prema again, since her parents didn't want her hanging out with Prema after what happened. Another good chapter like always!
 
Not much to say about this one, as it's a fairly short chapter about Prema still being conflicted about whether she fulfilled her course of action. I was surprised to see that her father took the whole thing fairly well. Curious to see if Nariya will be allowed back into the shrine and to be friends with Prema again, since her parents didn't want her hanging out with Prema after what happened. Another good chapter like always!

Her father's reaction was supposed to be surprising after what was set up, but a pretty big piece of lore dropped here, the first mention of Prema's mother, Lisa Kannagi (though first appearance was in a dedish RP). Also the fact that Prema's concerns about needing help were unfounded and that she was actually partially expected to accept it. In these short chapters, they're typically full of info or character interactions.
 
Anamnesis (adjuration IV)
Adjuration IV: Anamnesis

A white Rondo Accord pulled into the driveway of a two-storey house at the far north side of Stony Hills. It was modest, but worthy of the owners' upper-middle-class status. The driver and passenger got out, the latter taking a moment to stretch her legs. The walk from her hospital bed to the car had been the most she'd used them in days.

Nariya sighed longingly. It was good to be back home. At least one part of her life was returning to normal. Other parts might not ever go back to the way they used to be.

Two individuals were there to greet them as they stepped through the front door. The first was their pet Glameow, Glamer. She rubbed affectionately against Nariya's leg, wrapping her tail around Nariya in a sort-of embrace. The other was her father.

“There's our little angel!” he boomed, promenading over with his arms outstretched. She accepted the hug. She badly needed one. “So how was the hospital?”

“Terrible,” she said. “I'm glad to be out of it. I missed…” She took a deep breath to steady herself. “I missed reading books, I missed watching TV, I missed walking around, I missed watching you play your video games, I missed eating real food…”

Owen Yaznik laughed. “All big things to miss. But don't worry. May not be a home-cooked meal, but we bought you a pizza for tonight. Meat lovers, your favorite! Just gotta throw it in the oven!”

“Oh, thanks dad!” That was the perfect pick-me-up after all that bland hospital food. She hugged him tightly for a brief moment before turning to her other parent. “And thanks again for getting me out, mom,” she said as she got her shoes off.

“You're welcome, dear,” Quinn Yaznik said. “I figured it would be easier on you. Do you want to have the rest of the week off from school?”

“No, I'd better not fall behind on my classes any more than I have.” Mom was delivering her homework, but it wasn't good to miss the lectures. Besides, it wasn't even the middle of the week. “And I sort of miss school.”

Her mom smiled. “Smart girl,” she approved.

She let a sigh escape her. “I miss Prema, too,” she said. She missed having a friend. “Mom, can you–”

Her mood changed in an instant. “Nariya, I don't want to talk about that right now,” she said before walking off in a huff. Nariya knew better than to protest further at that. It would only make things worse.

“Ah, just give it time,” her dad assured her with a shrug. Their pet meowed and flopped down on her foot, comforting her further by rubbing her head into it. “You just got back.”

“I…guess,” she admitted, leaning down to give Glamer a scratch on the ears. Her mother always acted with her best interests in mind. Nariya wouldn't have it any other way. But this time was different. What her mom thought wasn't actually what Nariya wanted. All she wanted to do was have friends. Most people didn't want to be hers, and something always went wrong whenever she made a friend. It felt so simple, so why did something so simple have to be so difficult?

“By the way, a letter came for you,” her dad said, pulling out a light purple envelope with gold markings.

Nariya fidgeted and stood on the tips of her toes momentarily. “A letter?” Who would send her a letter?

With a knowing smile, her dad passed it over. The sight of the return address made her retinas widen. “I'm gonna go read it.”

She rushed upstairs to her room. She placed it in her letter opener and let it do its thing. Part of her wanted to tear it open right there, but she never liked cutting the tops off, especially nice looking envelopes. The wait was painful, and she paced the whole while during it.

Eventually, the machine beeped to let her know it was finished, allowing her to simply open the warmed envelope as if it had never been sealed. It was from the Kannagi Shrine. She wasted no time pulling the letter out.

To Acolyte Nariya, it began. The second word practically leaped off the page. She was just a friend of Prema's. She never did anything to deserve that title.

On Friday, September 25th, 2015, you accompanied Lady Prema Kannagi as one of her overseers on her task to exorcise the spirit of Konrad Guhl. You would normally have been called to speak with the Master of the shrine – myself – to discuss your performance. In light of the circumstances, I have sent this letter.

Though your actions were few, they were significant. Your actions in protecting Lady Kannagi went far beyond my expectations. You have attended the shrine for only three months, yet you have shown devotion in line with those who have attended twenty times longer. If you wish, we would formally welcome you into the shrine's ranks and bestow upon you the title of Acolyte.

There is one thing I would advise you about. Your willingness to risk yourself for my daughter is commendable. However, there is a difference between courage and recklessness that you must be aware of. I would advise you to visit the shrine when possible, or alternatively, seek counsel from a soul specialist to check for lingering spiritual damage. Remember that you have but one life, and you would disappoint many if it ended so young. Already, you have made many worry for your condition, including Prema and your parents. Sacrifice is permitted, yet you must weigh the wisdom of it.

To Mr. and Mrs. Yaznik: Your daughter's actions are commendable. I would highly appreciate it if you considered permitting her to return to the shrine, at least that we might properly express our gratitude. The Kannagi Shrine, and my daughter as well, would be glad to have her as an official member.

Sincerely yours,
Master Haruto Kannagi, Head of the Kannagi Shrine​

Though unsure what to make of it, Nariya thought about it. Maybe, just maybe there was hope yet. But it remained to be seen if it would amount to anything. Her mother cared about her, but she could be as stubborn as a Tauros. Would she change her mind…?

##########​

The success of the heir to the Kannagi Shrine completing her first task was a cause for celebration. Everyone had words for the future Master Prema Kannagi on Thursday, and if it were not for the fact that Tsukimi had just happened, there would likely have been a mini-festival on Friday. The public smiled at them on the street, and even their rival Mitsutri Shrine sent congratulations. Prema, of course, could not fully enjoy the praise that she felt was undeserved. She nonetheless maintained a facade of modesty in front of her followers.

On Saturday afternoon, she received a pleasant surprise. Nori stopped by to see her. Prema had to whisper thanks to the gods; with Nariya's status unknown, he was her only human friend, and she needed some personal time. It was an ordinary day, mild and sunny. For lack of better ideas, she proposed a walk behind the shrine.

It was just the two of them at his suggestion, with no Pokemon at their side. As they followed the trail, Nori was glancing around and marveling at the sights of the forest. “I never knew there was a path back here,” he eventually remarked.

“Most are unaware of its presence.” In fact, it was informally restricted. “It does not lead anywhere in particular, simply from one end of the shrine to another.”

“That's so cool!” he said with a small hop. “It's like your own private trail! You can get peace and quiet whenever you want!”

His eagerness was endearing. However, his statement was an incorrect one. “There are rooms in the shrine better suited for that purpose,” she stated. Her quarters were the most ideal. “Moreover, it is untrue I can come here whenever I wish.” Night and when she had duties to attend, for instance.

Nori stretched, reaching for the heavens. “But it's still nice to get fresh air and exercise.”

“Yes.” There were benefits to being outdoors. Sunlight, for instance.

They arrived at the clearing without further discussion, which was unusual. Nori was ordinarily talkative. Something was evidently on his mind, too. She only wished she could speak to him about her troubles.

She decided to initiate conversation. “I come sit in this grove on occasion.”

“How often do you?” he asked.

An unexpected question. She lightly turned away, although not so much as that she was not facing him. “Admittedly, only thrice.”

Perhaps it was her not being used to having this luxury. The original Kannagi Shrine in Celestic had nothing of the sort, since it was situated near the center of town. Not only that, she had no need or desire to play in the wilderness at any point in her life. It was only happenstance that she discovered this place, like a feeling she had.

“We should continue,” she said, making for the other side of the clearing. It was only a walk to clear their minds, although she was uncertain of what they might be able to do upon returning to the shrine, short of leaving for elsewhere.

Abruptly, Nori hustled out in front of her, obstructing her path. “Wait, Prema. Can I ask you something while we're out here?”

She nodded serenely. “Of course, Nori.” It was safe to assume that it was related to Pawniard, if not private and personal. She had promised to help him once she had completed her task. Now was the time for her to keep that promise.

“I, um.” He wiped his brow, perhaps involuntarily. He paced to and fro before looking her square in the eyes. “Am I cursed? You can tell if I am and break it, right?”

The request caught Prema off guard. She was taken aback both by the question itself and the fact that it was uncharacteristic of Nori. He had moments of weakness as any other, but he always faced his trials head-on. This behavior was unusual in that regard

Fortunately, helping people with such problems was something she was used to. She folded her hands and spoke softly. “Nori, I understand that there are times when life is frustrating. You have had to deal with far more adversity in yours than anyone your age should have to. But I do not believe that it would be as a result of a curse.”

“No, no, no.” He waved his palms rapidly and frantically. He shuffled his feet before continuing, very expressive in his motions as he spoke shakily. “I mean, I think a Pokemon might have cursed me recently. Or um, maybe it didn't. But I want to be sure! Can you check?” He had a wrinkled brow, wide eyes, and took some swift breaths after speaking. He even slapped himself.

So he was speaking of a literal curse? Well, she could also deal with those. Where was this coming from, however? All she knew was that his concern was palpable and he would tell her if he felt comfortable. For now, she had to set his mind at ease.

“I understand. Stand there.” She gestured to the center of the clearing.

He did as requested. “Okay. Now what?”

Prema approached him. “Hold as still as you can.”

She held her arms out at full-length and placed them upon his shoulders. He flinched at first, but otherwise remained steady. Prema closed her eyes, tilted her head to chest-level, and pointed her thumbs at his heart. While she kept a calm visage, she was in truth focusing intensely on his soul. She saw souls as colored objects and lights. His was a primarily green polychoron, with other colors in various degrees. It actively spun on its many axes, pulsating when his heart did. It hastened as she observed, perhaps in nervous anticipation of what she had to say. But there were no other abnormalities.

She broke from her trance and let go. “I do not sense one upon you.”

He trembled, but it was out of relief. A deep breath escaped him as he shakily walked over to the log and sat down. “That's good,” he hummed.

At least she could do that much. Prema still felt she should have been able to do a far better job at the exorcism. What would people think of her if they knew the truth? Even someone like Nori might think ill of her.

“Nori.” Something occurred to her. Perhaps it was just irrational fear brought on by her emotional state. “Is this the only reason you wanted to visit?” Was he going to leave after they returned to the shrine grounds?

He looked up at her with a surprisingly radiant smile. “No, no,” he replied. “I wanted to see you, since you have time for me now. Plus it's the weekend, too. That was just…something I was wondering and figured to ask, since I'm here.”

She exhaled quietly. As the weight lifted, Prema was unsure why she was even worried about it at all. Perhaps it was a combination of her recent self-doubts and his now being the only friend she could see. He would not come all this way just to ask something of her before leaving. At least not during normal hours.

She turned to him and found he was smirking a little at her. Prema did not mean for her relief to be so visible. A part of her continued to wonder what was behind his fear. She could tell from his tightened limbs and lightly clenched fists, something was still weighing on him.

She bowed lightly. “Forgive me if you are uncomfortable with sharing. I am intrigued as to why you would worry about having been cursed.”

He quickly turned away. Prema only folded her hands and waited. What could entail being so secretive? Nori was always willing to speak his mind. Unless, perhaps, he had self-doubts of his own?

Slowly, he turned to face her, his eyebrows gathered inward. He rubbed the nape of his neck. “Well. I… Pawniard…” He shook his head forcefully at himself. He shut his eyes and spoke his next words through his teeth. “No, we killed a Ninetales.”

She took a step back, somewhat involuntarily. Of all the things she had expected, that was not one of them. “What…?” she blurted.

That was all she had a chance to say or even think before Nori leaped to his feet. He paced as he plunged into a hectic explanation. “We were out training on Wednesday when I heard a girl calling for help. She was pinned under a rock. But when Pawniard saw something was wrong, she changed form and tried to kill us. I think it was because we fought her young in the woods the week before. She was angry enough to fight off the Demon. But Pawniard killed her, right as her tails were glowing.”

He paused just long enough for Prema to gather her thoughts. This certainly explained why he was reluctant to say anything. He was attacked by a Ninetales old and powerful enough to take human form. She found herself at a loss as to what to think. But one thing she gleaned was that Pawniard had chosen to protect Nori.

“I don't know,” said Nori as he paused. “I don't know what to think or how I should feel about what happened. Like, I just feel like I'm going to fail my Pokemon, even though I know I'm making progress. There's good signs. But he's still…”

Prema felt a beat of her heart. That summed up her own feelings. As he stared at her, begging her to say something, she did so. “I empathize. I have also felt that way as of late.”

Nori glanced, swallowing as he did so. “What do you mean by that? That you'll fail?”

Her muscles tensed. She did not mean to specify recentness. It would have been easy to dismiss it. Nori would respect that. And Father had told her not to tell anyone what happened. Yet it would not be entirely honest. And he had just confided in her something serious.

The girl checked their surroundings. Not a soul in sight besides them, and only the occasional chirping of birds. She made a decision at that moment. She walked over to the log and sat down.

Nori followed and moved beside her. She looked at him, heavily sighing. “Where should I begin?”

“Well, it's about Wednesday, isn't it?” he speculated with certainty.

Astute as always. Prema had to compose herself. “Your research was correct.” She decided to begin with the part he had helped her with. It was a good way of setting the scene, regardless. “The spirit in the warehouse was that of Konrad Guhl.”

Nori let out a small vocalization. He briefly froze up, but the tiniest smile crept onto his lips.

Prema continued. “He wanted to battle a strong trainer before truly passing on.” She squinted. “I could not oblige him that.”

“Why not?”

Of all the questions to ask, it had to be that one. “I could not defeat him. My training, both as a priestess and a trainer, was insufficient. Moreover, he attacked me after the battle. Priestess Satomi had to save me and help me send him to the afterlife.”

Her friend scowled. “He attacked you for losing to him?!” he yelled, louder than he should have. “What's wrong with him? He's no better than Lochlyn Nuzzo! Well, besides killing, but still!”

“Nori…” She could not find the words. She actually had to look around for eavesdroppers. Thankfully, there were none.

He was on his feet. He waved his fists like he wanted to punch the guy. “Screw him! He got what was coming to him! I'm glad you're okay, Prema. If I was there, I would've done the same thing!” With a growl, he sat back down and crossed his arms.

Send him to the afterlife? Or attack him? Or maybe save her? She supposed all three, knowing him. Whether his presence would have changed matters, considering what she speculated with Priestess Satomi, was another question.

But that had nothing to do with it. “You do not understand. In spite of having sympathy for him, I am under no illusions that Konrad Guhl had to be dealt with.” The accident was unfortunate, but what became of him after his passing even more so. “But I feel as if I should not have needed aid at the end. It should not have come to that point.” She groaned. “I am ashamed of myself.”

He huffed. “I don't get why you think that. I mean, I helped you! Nariya and the others helped you! Why do you feel bad about Mrs. Kurusu helping you?”

“Because…”

She reflected. So many people had helped her. She had thought about it even before the exorcism. Her father had indirectly pointed it out. This task was attempting to teach her that she would need help sometimes. If it was not for Nori, she would never have known all there was to know about the spirit. It could be argued he did more than anyone, and she did not feel bad about his actions.

All Prema was able to do was chuckle. “I suppose I do not really have an adequate answer.” She glanced up at the heavens, sighing heavily. “I suppose it feels like the logical conclusion. I am the future Master of the Kannagi Shrine. I have been training for that role for a decade. I should have been able to do better.”

Nori shook his head. “Yeah, well, that guy was training Pokemon for even longer. No wonder you couldn't keep up.” He leaned back bitterly, propping his hands on the log for support. “But that aside, you have a bunch of people willing to help you and throw themselves into danger and protect you! I'd be glad to have people like that, especially if I'm leading something! And besides, there's always room to grow!”

“I suppose so.” There was wisdom in how simply he was thinking of things.

It was ironic. He was saying what Father had said without being privy to their conversation. She considered those words, that she needed others to support and confide in. Nori could be such a person. His position as an outsider was a benefit in that regard, as he could see things from a different perspective. One fact remained. She definitely needed to improve as a priestess. But she had time to do so.

Then they were quiet. Nori eventually broke the silence. “Well.” His voice quivered slightly. “What do you think about my situation? And Pawniard, now?”

Now that her mind was free of worries, she could think about it more clearly. Vindictiveness was by no means a trait exclusive to Ninetales. They were only infamous because of their ability to curse. Regardless of what happened, Nori had acted in self-defense. It was unfortunate. There were laws that absolved trainers and Pokemon in life-or-death scenarios, but Nori surely knew as well as she did that the Pawniard once belonging to Lochlyn Nuzzo was unlikely to get such leeway due to his history.

She stood. Prema felt it would make her more comfortable. She was used to giving speeches this way. She faced her friend and got into her analysis.

“Without being able to observe his behavior on a long-term basis, I cannot say for certain. Yet it is evident that he has some degree of honor and respect for you. It would have been easy for him to abandon you in the chaos of the attack. Instead, he stood and fought. He did neutralize that Ninetales, but I find it likely that he did so to stop her.”

Yes, it was equally likely that he did so for the sake of killing. Protecting his trainer could have only been the excuse. But she did not want to say that aloud. Besides, he still protected Nori. To have inspired him to do that, he had to have done something to connect with Pawniard.

He was quiet, processing her words. She eventually added something more, “I believe his saving you is proof that you are making progress on his rehabilitation.”

He leaned forward. He touched his shoulders and stretched his elbows over his head. “I feel like her death could've been avoided. Maybe if you were there…”

If she was there? It was a possibility. Maybe if he had been with her, things would have been different too. Their situations were parallels in that regard. Yet she knew they could not think that way. Neither of them. She finally understood what Priestess Satomi had been saying. What her father had outright said.

She stood tall. “Nori, there is no sense in dwelling upon a hypothetical. There was no guarantee that my presence would have helped, or vice versa. With that said, going back to your Pokemon, I feel as though his protecting you – even if he chose to subdue your attacker lethally – is a sign that he can yet find redemption under your care.”

He pressed a finger to his nose as he considered her words. Soon, he grinned and gripped the log. “Thanks,” he said. “I was thinking that, but I didn't know if it made sense.”

“It does,” she assured him.

He stood up as well and walked in front of her. “Well, for that matter, I think you're going to make a great head priestess some day. Who cares if you needed help to send some dumb dead trainer to wherever he's going? Even if it means anything, not like you'll be head of the shrine tomorrow.”

She stifled a laugh at how he referred to Guhl. It was apt, if impolite. Besides that, his words made sense. “Tomorrow's wind will blow tomorrow,” she quoted a proverb, placing a hand over her heart.

“Right. You still have plenty of time to be worthy of taking over, and I still have time to rehabilitate Pawniard.”

“We will simply need to keep working towards our goals, little by little.”

One thing was for certain. Prema would not soon forget this experience. She would keep the memory of Konrad Guhl in her mind forever. That was the least she could do for him.

It was quiet. He was looking at her, and she at him. Once more, neither of them had any idea what to say to the other.

Prema eyed the trail. “We should return soon.” She was the one to break the silence this time.

Her friend agreed. “Yeah.”

Side by side, they set off. It was always liberating being able to talk about things with someone else. It would have been another source of anxiety to keep them bottled up, as Father had told her to. He did not have to know that she had told Nori–

Wait, that was right. That was important. “One further thing. Father said I should not tell anyone that I needed Priestess Satomi's help.”

It took Nori a moment to react. The realization visibly sunk in as his pupils gradually dilated. “Really? Why did you tell me?”

She stopped. “Because I needed to tell someone.”

He turned to face her at the same moment she turned to face him. They were silent for a second that felt tenfold the time before Prema spoke words from her heart.

“And, I trust you.”

His mouth hung agape in a grin. “I trust you too, Prema.”

That was obvious from how he had told her his Pokemon slain another. Still, as they stood there silently once more, it felt like a special moment. Prema could only conclude it was because of the secrets they had confided.

“Let's go back,” Nori eventually said, starting off again with a light spring in his steps.

“Of course.” She followed right at his side.

Simple words could not express the joy Prema felt. Finally, she had found another person besides Priestess Satomi to whom she could talk to about anything. And he had been right in front of her for so long! Her elderly mentor was always wise. Now, she fully understood what she meant by how Nori was never going to throw away their friendship. It was something she could count on for as long as they both drew breath.

---​

“So that's that, huh?”

“Yes. She's taken her first step forward, even if she doesn't think so.”

“Anyway, was glad to help you both.”

“Just so you know, I told her not to tell you assisted at the end.”

“Yeah, figured. You were keeping quiet the whole time. But you knew she'd need me to step in, didn't you?”

“I did not think it definite.”

“Right. But one question, with all due respect.”

“Yes?”

“Why don't you want her not telling anyone I helped out? Everyone'd get it, a few probably already suspect it. Hell, it's no secret I help you in many ways.”

“It is important.”

“Well, if it's what you want, she'll keep quiet. But it's gonna eat her up inside.”

Haruto Kannagi smirked confidently. “No. She'll tell someone worthy of her trust. I think she's doing so now, in fact.”

Satomi Kurusu's eyes stretched wide. The first task was not a test of power, but of bonds. To that end, he wanted her to open up to others besides them. The Master was giving his daughter a push without her even realizing it. That sort of thinking was not something she had expected out of Haruto. It was cruel, but it was also ingenious.

“Sly,” she had to express her admiration. “Just don't make it a habit.”

He nodded. “Of course not.”

Their little princess was growing up. There would come a time when neither of them would be there for her. When that happened, it would be people such as Nori Carino, Kaede Minmei, and (hopefully) Nariya Yaznik who she would have to rely on. But those two, Nori and Prema, brought out the best in each other. She had no doubt that they would go further together than they would alone.

Satomi rubbed her hands together. She was eagerly looking forward to seeing where their paths would lead them from here.

#######
======
#######

This fic has reached its conclusion! If you've made it this far, thanks for sticking through it. If you've made it through both fics, thank you even more. I'll go into more detail in the postscript of BotBK. For now, I'll say this was an experimental style for me and I felt I could get more if they weren't entwined. Expect the final Nori chapter very soon. As you might expect, it'll be mostly the same scene from another perspective, but as usual, there will be very different things in that other perspective and comparing the two is a good thing.

This was my first time writing a story with a major plot twist in Guhl's existence. I hope there was enough foreshadowing for it. I also have to say, Prema is coming along as I hoped she would at least in practice: someone who while a young person in an adult-like position still suffers immensely from all the pressure on her. Didn't really show before.

I haven't decided what or when the next major Prema story will be, but you can certainly look forward to seeing the Nariya plot hook get addressed. In the meantime, look forward to the next Nori story where Prema will get to play a more active role.
 
Last edited:
Well, Haruto is a manipulative son of a gun, but the "test" actually being about getting her to open up more fits pretty well with what we've seen of him so far, I think. He's not quite as unapproachable and cold as he sometimes seems, and he even sent that kind letter to Nariya.
That said I doubt he's wholly innocent of Prema's hangups.

Next chapter is the end of BOTBK? Felt like there was still a lot more to go.
 
And with this, Memory of a Ghoul has come to a close. I quite liked this story here! It gave us more insight into Prema, her background, her duties at the shrine, and her growth. Also, yay, my girl Nariya's actions got recognized! I certainly hope her mother will change her attitude towards Prema and let Nariya hang out with her again. You did mention you have another story planned that'll resolve that particular plot thread, so I'm eagerly looking forward to it, mainly for more Nariya. Can you tell I love her yet? Also, "All she wanted to do was have friends. Most people didn't want to be hers, and something always went wrong whenever she made a friend. It felt so simple, so why did something so simple have to be so difficult?" I can relate to this so hard, as this was pretty much my experience growing up in elementary school. Tis also why I had my Pokemon fic MC experience this.

It's also nice to see Nori and Prema reconnect with one another. Sorry I totally misread the intentions behind the whole scene in the recent chapter of Blade of the Blackout Killer. I really need to get better at paying attention to certain details. Glad to know that the Ninetales didn't curse Nori. For all he knew, he might have been transported to the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon world and turned into a Gengar, like Gengar in the actual PMD games. Or something like that. Here's hoping things work out for Nori and Prema in future fics you write, which I know will be soon since you flat-out told me you're writing them recently. BTW, I thought your foreshadowing was just fine. A little harder to figure out, but that just means you're good at making it not feel too obvious, making the audience work to figure it out rather than just flashing neon lights revealing the twist too early. Sometimes holding off on playing your best cards can work well, and you did it great here. Looking forward to your next fics!
 
Well, Haruto is a manipulative son of a gun, but the "test" actually being about getting her to open up more fits pretty well with what we've seen of him so far, I think. He's not quite as unapproachable and cold as he sometimes seems, and he even sent that kind letter to Nariya.
Haruto is supposed to be something of an enigma at this point. His interactions and motivations do feel a little all over the place. Of course, C12 provided an interesting piece to the puzzle, that his missing wife was a big confidant and he was never the same after (or so people say).

That said I doubt he's wholly innocent of Prema's hangups.
Oh, he certainly indirectly is the cause of some of Prema's stress.

Next chapter is the end of BOTBK? Felt like there was still a lot more to go.
Go over this in BotBK replies itself, but short version here: Pawniard's rehabilitation is going to continue across subsequent fics. He just won't be the focus. It's unrealistic for every project to be done in the span of one fic.

Also, yay, my girl Nariya's actions got recognized! I certainly hope her mother will change her attitude towards Prema and let Nariya hang out with her again. You did mention you have another story planned that'll resolve that particular plot thread, so I'm eagerly looking forward to it, mainly for more Nariya. Can you tell I love her yet?
You can sort of call her a fanservice character in that regard, but also, an answer due to how she differs in places as I mentioned. :p

Also, "All she wanted to do was have friends. Most people didn't want to be hers, and something always went wrong whenever she made a friend. It felt so simple, so why did something so simple have to be so difficult?" I can relate to this so hard, as this was pretty much my experience growing up in elementary school. Tis also why I had my Pokemon fic MC experience this.
This is basically me too. Except with much more added misfortune like the friends moving away. Basically gave up for a while.

Sorry I totally misread the intentions behind the whole scene in the recent chapter of Blade of the Blackout Killer. I really need to get better at paying attention to certain details.
Happens to the best of us sometimes. Though you both missed (or it was so obvious) something intended to be sweet and adorable in this last chapter. I'll mention it after the last BotBK chapter if not.

Glad to know that the Ninetales didn't curse Nori. For all he knew, he might have been transported to the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon world and turned into a Gengar, like Gengar in the actual PMD games. Or something like that.
Funny you should bring that up specifically for two reasons. First, in secondary material, I mention that Ninetales' curses eventually dissipate if they're not alive to maintain it; their purportedly long lifespan is how the 1000-year curse thing got started. So it would've gone away anyway. Prema never thought to mention it though because, much more pressing things to discuss. Second, I used Nori in a RP setting for PMD and had him resist the transformation and stay human due to willpower, strong self-identity, and possibly a divine-blessed pendant from Prema. (If I wasn't allowed him in like that, he would've been ejected). See also, Nori basically shaking off a Hypnosis attempt with only a bit of subconscious anger that it was tired.

That said, the nature of the potential curse is left to the reader's imagination.

Here's hoping things work out for Nori and Prema in future fics you write, which I know will be soon since you flat-out told me you're writing them recently.
I mean, given their conversation here and the bit in The Interview...

BTW, I thought your foreshadowing was just fine. A little harder to figure out, but that just means you're good at making it not feel too obvious, making the audience work to figure it out rather than just flashing neon lights revealing the twist too early. Sometimes holding off on playing your best cards can work well, and you did it great here.
Bit of a relief to know!

#####

So as an added bonus, here's some behind-the-scenes and bits.

  • Working title was Prema's Mysterious Exorcism
  • This was originally just nine chapters, including when first posted, and their first letters spelled out ANAMNESIS (which is why it looks odd in the threadmarks). But I needed more, so I kept that and instead...well. You can see it.
  • Nori was supposed to try (and fail) and be a positive force, but he didn't have enough scenes to do that. He also only heard about the incident on the news and speculates rather than doing research to help. I changed this and gave Nariya more prominence.
  • At another early point, Nori and Prema had their conversation about him wanting to help in the hospital with the same points. I changed it to him seeing Nariya first.
  • Guhl had a Drifblim in early drafts. I changed it to a Dusclops to better disguise his true nature. This also ended up changing the battle around. S-Zoroark became the ace instead of the first Pokemon, and Dusclops went out first. Crobat was originally his last Pokemon.
  • Originally, the night of Nori's visit was all one chapter and ended on Prema feeling she can emerge victorious. I split it up to have the revelation be a wham line. The first of these chapters also had a lot of care put into it. His counterpart didn't need the splitting, but as I think I mentioned, the flashback scene was planned for that fic but moved here because it was more about this fic's plot.

  • Akari Schrader previously appeared in The Interview (aka trainers of fanfiction), which is set after this. I actually gave it some revisions to account for her role here.
  • Note that a lot of Prema's worries and fears are just paranoia or misunderstanding, like it being rare to get a second chance in life.
  • There's a pretty big detail with information given C7 and C12. In C7, Haruto has some painful memories resurface. He also thinks that Nori reminds him of...someone, before not really getting into it. C12 makes sense of Satomi's statement: Prema is an only child because of her mother's disappearance. Satomi also mentions that Prema is like Haruto at the same age. Plus Haruto mentioning Lisa as a confidant. Put it all together, and...
 
Last edited:
Please note: The thread is from 7 months ago.
Please take the age of this thread into consideration in writing your reply. Depending on what exactly you wanted to say, you may want to consider if it would be better to post a new thread instead.
Back
Top Bottom