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COMPLETE: Restarting (Oneshot) (EVERYONE)

ERROR
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Hello! Decided to start off with something simple. I'm posting an old oneshot I submitted elsewhere. I made some revisions based on feedback, including removing a scene that pretty much everyone who read it thought was unnecessary. If anyone wants, I can post the deleted scene later. If you do give it a read, let me know what you think.

In the meantime, enjoy!

XxX​

I stumble through the entryway, nearly knocking a chair into a glass table. Only biting my tongue saves me from letting out a grunt. I’ve only got a short window of time to get out of here before Mother wakes up. So I can’t screw things up now. Not after I’ve managed to get one of these things free. I blink my eyes repeatedly, praying they can adjust to the dark.

Finally, I glimpse the outline of my bedroom door. I wipe sweat from my brow and hurry forward. Luckily, I avoid bumping into anything else. Gripping the doorknob proves a struggle. My hands are clammy and my arms are trembling. But I’m able to twist the knob and push the door inward. I slide into my room and flip the light switch.

This proves to be a big mistake, because it wakes Riolu up. A sinking feeling starts filling up my gut. This is the situation I wanted to avoid. I can’t handle this. I can’t just leave him here. But things are bound to go belly-up if I take him with me. That means he has to stay behind.

I ignore Riolu’s squeaky yawn. Instead, I focus on my closet. To my relief, the door’s already open. I hurry over to it and start hurling the awful dress clothes Mother forces me to wear onto the floor. Eventually, I uncover my lockbox. I reach into my pocket to get the key, only to fumble it and have it fall to the ground.

This time I let out an angry hiss. I hear a startled yip from beside me. My heart skips a beat and I look down. Riolu’s standing next to me now. In one instant, I see the curiosity fade from his eyes. Instead, confusion sets in. A huge wave of guilt crashes over me. I don’t blame him for staring. His trainer wakes him up in the dead of night, sweaty, shaking, and panting like an overheated Rockruff. I’d be confused too.

“Go back to bed,” I tell him. “I’m fine.”

I return my attention to the lockbox, praying Riolu’s choosing to listen to me. The key goes in smoothly and the top pops open. Unspent allowance money spills out onto the floor. I kneel down and start sweeping the bills into the pouch on my belt. There’s a tug on my pant leg as I go to stand up. Riolu’s confused look gives way to one of concern. He lets out a whine and presses his snout against my knee.

My heart sinks. Why does he have to look at me with those innocent eyes? Please stop making this harder than it has to be. I feel awful enough as it is.

“Be quiet,” I say, putting a finger to my mouth. Riolu’s ears droop. Satisfied, I double-check to make sure I’ve got all the money from the lockbox. But Riolu steps in front of me. He stretches his paws up toward my waist, letting out another whine. His head brushes my thigh as he does a short hop up. But I push him down with my free hand. I squeeze my eyes shut, and tell myself that I’m doing the right thing. But that belief immediately crumbles, because Riolu tries to jump into my arms.

A strong part of me wants to catch him and carry him into bed. We could curl up under the covers and read comic books or Pokémon battling magazines by flashlight like we used to do before Mother became so insufferable. But I swallow hard and stuff those thoughts as far back in my mind as I can.

“I don’t have time for this,” I remind myself, adjusting my grip on a Premier Ball. Riolu looks up at it and my breath goes still.

This is bad. He knows that’s not his ball. I can see the panic all over his face. He jumps higher this time, reaching for the ball. This time I back away and jam the Premier Ball into my belt case. Riolu grabs hold of my right leg and starts whimpering. Those thoughts I tried stuffing down come roaring back. It’s not too late, they say. You can take him with you. You can make it work.

But that’s a lie. I don’t even have a plan. Besides, if Riolu sees the Beast Killer for just a fraction of a second, it’ll frighten him so much he’ll never want to leave his ball again. He has to stay back for his own good.

I shake my head. No, that’s not the real reason, is it? The real reason is so disgustingly selfish it makes my gut squirm. I swallow hard and force myself to stop thinking about it.

“Get off,” I order, pushing on Riolu. “I have to leave. You’re holding me up.” He seems to pick up on it. But that just makes him squeeze my leg even tighter and whimper even louder. “No, you can’t come with me,” I say.

Riolu’s eyes widen in horror and I realize I screwed this up badly. Why didn’t I just lie to him? I'd be gone already if I just said he could come. But that opportunity is gone. Instead, Riolu’s paws start scratching against my leg and I can see him reaching for my belt case. My vision’s starting to blur now, and it’s not from the sweat. Riolu’s been by my side since he hatched from his egg. What would even happen to him if I left him here, anyway?

… hmph. Get it together, Gladion. You can’t think like that. You’ve got a boat to catch.

I take a deep breath and shove Riolu off of me. He lets out a squeak as he hits the floor. His eyes start to water, but I turn away and start looking around the room. I can’t fall apart now. Even if my brain’s screaming at me to stop this. To grab Riolu, climb back into bed, and forget this crazy idea.

But then I see his Ultra Ball lying next to my toy chest. My chest tightens up. Oh, the irony. That his ball would end up next to a box filled with toys we’ve spent hundreds of hours playing with together. I imagine that, somewhere, Tapu Lele is laughing gleefully at my misfortune.

I approach the ball, my breath growing steadily more labored. My arms shake as I go to pick it up. I try to take some deep breaths and tell myself that this is okay. That I’ve returned him plenty of times, and this is no different. Once he’s in the ball, everything will be fine. Out of sight, out of mind, right?

Riolu looks up at this point, and sees his ball in my hands. He stumbles to his feet and runs at me. This isn’t like other times when I’ve returned him. There’s worry all over his face. Tears stream down his cheeks. I bite my lip, look away, hold up the ball, and press the button. Red light appears in the corner of my eyes and quickly fades away.

I’m hyperventilating now. My arm’s shaking so much I feel like it’ll pop out of my shoulder. It’s done. All I need to do is drop the ball and I’m gone. I’m gone and I never have to look back. But I’m hesitating. My brain’s saying let go, but my fingers aren’t listening. There’s still a part of me that wants to take him along. I rub my eyes and look down at the ball. I think of Riolu. His big, red eyes, always brimming with excitement or curiosity. The smile he usually wears on his muzzle. If I drop this ball, I’ll never see that smile again.

But that thought is suddenly drowned out by memories of Father. And then I think of Mother and a chill runs down my spine.

I toss the Ultra Ball onto my bed and run out my bedroom without even looking back.

XxX​

Two years later, I make an unplanned return to Aether Paradise. And with it comes the opportunity to restore the friendship I foolishly ended. At least, that’s what I should think. Instead, I manage to firmly convince myself that Riolu hates me for abandoning him. So, rather than going straight to him and apologizing, I do literally anything else I can think of.

The problem there is that, like a stupid rookie who won't stop using Protect in a Battle Royal, I've suddenly become the center of attention. I swear, every employee I walk past decides to drop what they're doing and follow me. I try to sneak out of the main building through the back stairs. But it's no good. There's a wave of people in white jumpsuits waiting for me.

And then the questions come pouring in. Is the president okay? Where did you go? What's going to happen to Miss Lillie? Why do you look so ragged? Where's Branch Chief Faba? Why is the news saying we've been invaded by aliens?

Each one steadily wears out my patience. I try to tell everyone to back off, but it's useless. Eventually, I snap. I release Silvally, and they let out a high-pitched roar. That sends the employees scattering. Most of them run for the main entrance, a few shouting about me having a monster. Silvally lets out an unamused huff and I give them a pat on the back.

Of course, one person wasn't scared off by that little outburst: Wicke. She remains standing there, a smile plastered on her face, but a look in her eyes that says, "You know better than that."

"Young Master," Wicke says, giving one of her obnoxiously-polite bows. "It's nice to see you getting reacquainted with the staff. But I'm not sure that's the right way to go about it."

I scowl and look away. "You saw it for yourself. They wouldn't leave me alone. So, I made them go away. Why should it matter how I did it?"

"They're only showing their concern, you know." She shakes her head. "But, that's not what this is about, is it?"

I turn away from her. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Oh, Young Master," Wicke says, with a giggle. "You were never good at lying."

I swear I hear a chuckle from Silvally. "Hey, whose side are you on here?" I growl. Silvally opens their beak up in some sort of awkward attempt at a smile. The message is pretty clear. They're just having a good time with this. Lucky them.

"I've tended to Riolu while you've been away," Wicke says. She's facing the mansion now. "His ball is still in your room."

I tense up and grip my belt. I can't like Wicke see that she's getting to me. She'll only ramp up the guilt-tripping. And Lillie's already given me enough of that for one day. "Thanks for the heads up. Maybe I'll check in on him later." I put a hand on Silvally's shoulder. "In the meantime, we're busy. So... later, I guess."

Silvally turns to give me a look screaming, "Really, Gladion?"

"Given that Hau, Moon, and Miss Lillie have departed, I would think your schedule is rather open right now, Young Master," Wicke says. She still has that smile on her face. So warm. So patient. So... infuriatingly good at wearing me down.

"Well... it's not," I counter, mentally kicking myself because I know I can come up with something better.

"Are you sure you're not just nervous about seeing Riolu again?"

And that's enough, I say to myself. I furrow my brow into the best glare that I can manage and look right at Wicke. "We're done talking about this," I say. "C'mon Silvally, we're leaving."

But Silvally doesn't listen. Instead, they step in my path, forcing me to look back at Wicke. She closes the distance between us. "Young Master," she says, and puts a hand on my shoulder. I flinch and push it off. Clearly, this is going great. "I understand this must be difficult for you. If I were in your shoes, I'd probably feel the same way. But the longer you continue to ignore this, the more it's going to eat at you." At last, the smile disappears. "I do think you've grown in your time away. I know you think you're doomed to fail, here, but I believe Riolu will see that growth." She turns back toward the mansion. "And the only way to know that for certain is to go to him."

I stick my hands in my pockets. She's right, of course. I can't run from my problems forever. Otherwise, I wouldn't have even come back here in the first place. Silvally steps beside me, staring intently at the mansion. "Fine," I say, throwing my hands up in surrender. "You win. I'll go." I start walking toward the mansion, muttering about what a disaster this is going to turn into and how any Absols we're keeping here are probably going stir-crazy right now. After what feels like an eternity, I reach the front door. My hand hovers over the doorway. There’s too much uncertainty. My brain’s running through every direction it thinks an apology to Riolu can go. And none of them look promising.

“... hmph.”

I glare at my hand, as if I can somehow scare it into pushing the door open. My hand resists, however. Must be losing my touch. I blame Hau and Moon. They’re turning me into a wimp. I growl and glare even more intently at my hand. There’s a twitch, but I ultimately fail to get the door open.

That’s when Silvally steps forward and headbutts it. The door flies open, nearly coming off its hinges. They point a talon inside.

“Yeah, yeah, I get it. I’m going,” I mutter, walking inside the house. Silvally beams proudly and follows along after me. Our footsteps echo through the entryway. No one’s around to hear them, of course. But that’s for the best.

“This way,” I say, leading Silvally toward a door tucked away by the stairs. The closer I get to it, the more I feel like turning and walking out. I can’t believe this is really happening. Two years ago, I put him into his ball and ran out, expecting never to see him again. And now I have to fess up to my mistake and try to repair the damage I caused.

What could possibly go wrong? Knowing me, it’s everything.

It takes Silvally letting out a growl to get me to turn the handle and walk in. The first thing I notice is that someone cleaned the room. And by someone, I mean Wicke. Riolu’s Ultra Ball sill sits on my old bed. But there’s not a speck of dust on it. Wicke had said she let him out on occasion. I guess this proves it. While I have no problem picking the ball up, I can’t bring myself to open it.

Again, Silvally senses my hesitancy. They lean over and press the release button with the tip of their beak. My heart is up in my throat the instant the ball opens and light spills out. Silvally watches curiously as my starter materializes in front of us. He rubs his eyes with his small, blue paws.

“Skreeee!” Silvally decides to announce our presence with an enthusiastic trill. Riolu immediately stiffens.

I flinch. So much for taking a subtle approach to this. Then again, subtlety was never my strong suit. “Hey… Riolu. It’s, uh, it’s been awhile, huh?”

Riolu shuffles backward. He stares at me, clearly unsure what to make of this. I don’t blame him. I barely look anything like the boy who left him here. We silently stare each other down. Riolu, trying to figure out what’s going on. And me, utterly unsure of what to say to him.

His eyes dart over to Silvally, and then back to me. The little bauble-thingies on his face tremble. Riolu’s eyes widen in fear and he scrambles toward the closet, taking care not to look at me. He clamps his paws on the door handle but can’t quite turn it.

I knew it. He wants nothing to do with me. This is turning out to be a stupid idea after all. And when I think something’s stupid, I slip into my glaring stance.

But the second I do that, Silvally pecks me in the back, right between the shoulder blades. I jump and turn around, fixing my glare on them. They lower their head and point it toward the corner of the room. I glance over my shoulder at Riolu. He’s given up trying to get into the closet. Instead, he’s hiding under the carpet. And doing a very poor job, because I can see his legs and tail sticking out. His limbs are shaking and he’s whimpering loudly. I recall how terrible he always was at hide and seek. There’s a brief longing feeling from that memory, but I shoo it out of my mind. With the way he reacted to me, it's pretty clear we're never going to have that kind of relationship again.

I look back at Silvally. “… hmph. There’s nothing I can say to snap him out of this. I’m a trainer, not some Pokémon therapist.”

Silvally shakes their head in disagreement. They sit down and puff out their chest, locking eyes with me. It takes a few seconds, but I think I understand their gesture. If I could free them from their control mask, who’s to say I can’t restore my friendship with Riolu?

Okay, Gladion. Take a deep breath. Good, now ease up on the glaring and go comfort Riolu. He’s your starter. Your hand’s not going to explode if you pet him.

I walk over toward the corner of the room and kneel down next to the large lump in the carpet.

“It’s okay, Riolu. It’s Gladion. You can come out from there. I just want to talk to you.”

I reach my hand out toward the edge of the carpet and pull up. The second I do, Riolu lets out a startled yip and lunges at me. He headbutts my chest. The wind rushes out of me and another glare appears on my face. I can’t help it. It’s instinctual at this point. But Riolu’s never seen one of my intimidating glares. A horrified look crosses his face. He sprints to the other end of the room, dives underneath my bed, and starts whining loudly.

Silvally gives a disapproving huff. “... hmph. What did you expect?” I snarl, getting back to my feet. “There’s a reason I didn’t want to do this, you know. I rescued you from that lab, but with Riolu it’s the opposite. I left him behind. He doesn’t even recognize me now.”

Silvally doesn’t buy that excuse. They forcefully nudge me in the back, sending me to the floor. I see a blue tail for an instant, before hearing the scratching of paws on carpet. It’s obviously Riolu, scrambling toward the other end of the bed.

I look up to see Silvally towering over me. They jerk their head toward the bed. “What do you want me to do?” I ask. “Battling's easy. Apologizing's hard. I don’t know what to say to him.” Silvally shakes their head and growls. I see a talon point forward.

“… hmph. I’d like to see you try and do this.” I get on my hands and knees and crawl forward. God, I must look so ridiculous. I can already feel my glare sharpening.

C’mon, Gladion, wipe the angry look off your face, for once. You’re just gonna spook Riolu again. Think of something funny. Oh! Remember when Hau outsmarted old Faba over that security key business? I’ll never let him know this, but that was hilarious.

Good, the glare’s gone again. Maybe now I can make a little progress.

“Riolu, it’s really me,” I say. “I know I’ve been away for a while, but I’m back now. Honest.” A muffled sob escapes from underneath the bed. I can just make out a pair of red, watery eyes. “Look, I know you’re surprised. And a bit frightened,” I said. “Will you at least let me prove it to you?”

The crying stops. That’s a good sign. I roll to my feet, getting a confused look from Silvally, and jog to the old toy chest. To think, this thing once helped me cut ties with Riolu. And now it’s going to help me mend those ties. I start digging through some action figures and Poké Dolls – which Lillie must’ve thrown in because I definitely wouldn’t play with something so girly – and eventually pull out a screwdriver.

I return to the bed and lie down next to it. “Remember this?” I place the tool a little bit under the bed. “It’s the screwdriver we stole from Father’s toolbox. We used it to break into Faba’s office and undo the screws on his chair.”

A paw reaches out and grabs the screwdriver, pulling it in.

“Faba fell on his back and walked around all hunched over for a month. Remember how he wouldn’t stop complaining to Mother? We were laughing at him the whole time,” I continue. “So, do you believe me now?”

No response. Great. So much for that idea. And I just reminded myself of Father. I’m on a roll right now, clearly.

Except the silence doesn’t last. I hear shuffling against the carpet and scoot back to give Riolu space. Silvally inches closer to me but I hold up a hand to halt them. Riolu’s head pops out from under the bed. He turns those big, innocent eyes up toward me. And this time, I see a gleam of recognition in them. I watch his little feelers twitch. Riolu looks down at the ground.

Maybe he’s trying to come to terms with all of this? Well, that makes two of us.

I steal a glance back at Silvally. They’re giving me a look that says, “You know what you need to do.”

And I do. But I don’t want to. It should be easy. It’s two simple words. I’ve already said them to Lillie and Moon today. Besides, I’ve made too much progress to get tripped up. So, I take a deep breath.

“I’m sorry.”

There, it’s out in the open. And I didn’t bring down the wrath of the Tapus or spontaneously burst into flames. It’s something, right?

Riolu looks up at me again. And I can feel Silvally eyeballing the back of my head. I’ll bet they think I’m not being sincere enough. Maybe Riolu’s thinking that too, because he’s still frowning.

“I’m sorry,” I repeat, “for leaving you here all this time. I should have taken you with me.” I grab my right wrist to stop it from covering up my face. Now’s not the time for one of my angry poses.

I feel another nudge from behind. As far as Silvally’s concerned, I’m not done explaining myself. But what else is there to say? Think of something, brain. This is my starter I’m talking to.

“I let my anger control me,” I continue, noticing Riolu’s bauble thingies twitching. “After Father disappeared, I felt so conflicted around you. I couldn’t look at you without thinking of him. I’d see that warm, goofy smile he wore as often as his lab coat. And I’d remember the proud look in his eyes when he gave me your egg. Then I’d realize that Father’s gone and never coming back. To make matters worse, I’d think of all the times Mother called us both hideous. I couldn’t deal with those feelings anymore. That’s the real reason I left you here.”

Riolu’s eyes are tearing up again, and I hear a growl from Silvally. “But it’s not your fault!” I quickly say. “It’s my fault, okay? I was an idiot. A big, dumb, stupid, selfish, irresponsible idiot. And you have every right to be mad at me. Because you were my friend, Riolu. And I let you down.” I take another deep breath, trying to settle my stomach. As hard as I found that to say, the next part would be even worse.

“I’ve learned a lot, while I’ve been away,” I say, “About what it means to be a Pokémon trainer. At first I thought that winning was all that mattered. If you couldn't win a battle, you were weak. End of story. I fought battle after battle with this guy over here." I gestured to Silvally. "Because I figured that's how I could make him strong."

"But the truth is, things aren't that black and white," I concede. "There's more to being a trainer than battling. And there's definitely more to battling than winning or losing. For the longest time, I couldn't grasp that. And so, Silvally's power stayed locked beyond my reach."

"Then I met a couple of trainers who showed me what it looks like to battle for something other than getting stronger by winning." I reach my hand up and feel Silvally’s feathery crest. “They taught me to battle for the sake of forging strong bonds with my Pokémon. Thanks to them, Silvally reached their true potential.”

“But, I’m not a fool. I abandoned you. That’s unforgivable. I just want you to know that there wasn’t a day that went by when I didn’t kick myself for leaving you here,” I continue, reaching up and grabbing his ball. “It’d be stupid to think we can just pick up where we left off two years ago. That’s why I want to try and make up for what I did any way I can.

I lower his ball into my lap. “I’d like nothing more than to build a bond with you that’s as strong– no better than what I have with Silvally. But, well, judging by your reaction to seeing me again, that’s not gonna happen.” My expression sharpens. “So, I can give you to another trainer. One who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated. I think… I think you’ll really like Moon. She’s… a better trainer than I’ll ever be.”

“Skree?”

God, I really just said that out loud, didn’t I?

Riolu has this dumbfounded look on his face. Even Silvally seems surprised. Though, to be fair, I spent the better part of the last several weeks calling Moon an annoying little girl with an obnoxiously colorful outfit that makes my blood boil. I’m just glad she’s not around to see this. She’d never let me live it down.

An awkward silence follows. I can feel my brow wanting to furrow. It’s taking every ounce of willpower not to glare at Riolu and tell him to accept the offer. Finally, Riolu reaches out toward his ball. Only, he doesn’t open it up. He pushes it up into my gut.

My heart rate picks up. This has to be a mistake. He can’t seriously still want to be my Pokémon, could he?

“You’re absolutely sure about this? You want to stay with me, even after what I did?”

Much to my surprise, Silvally walks past me. They stretch downward, bringing their head in line with Riolu’s. “Kreeeeee!” they trill, wagging their tail. Riolu initially withdraws. The hesitancy is all over his face. But Silvally’s not deterred. They stick their head out and gently tap Riolu’s snout. Riolu gives a startled squeak and his feelers stick up.

The tension doesn’t last. His fearful look quickly fades, replaced with one of interest. Then, he catches me by surprise. A smile slowly forms on his face. He steps forward and bops Silvally’s mechanical beak.

“Skrrrreeeeeeee!” Silvally’s tail wags even faster. Next thing I know, they hoist Riolu into the air, place him on their back, and start racing around the room. Riolu’s clinging to Silvally’s head crest and I can’t see his expression. I bolt to my feet to put a stop to this, only to freeze at the sounds of… laughter?

The sight's so absurd, it makes me cover up my face with my right hand and let out a quick, “Hmph.”

Am I fantasizing? Is Tapu Lele playing mind games with me? My starter Pokémon is riding around on my current partner like one of those old western movies we used to love watching together. Maybe this whole thing’s just some ridiculous dream and I’m gonna wake up back in that cramped motel on Route 8.

That last thought is quickly proven wrong. Riolu decides to leap off Silvally. My reflexes aren’t quick enough to catch him and he slams into me. We fall back onto the bed. It takes a few seconds for me to get my bearings straight. But when I do, I feel Riolu nestling his head against my belly. I sit up and see Silvally sitting in front of me, beak opened in what I guess constitutes a smile for them. They give a cheerful chirp.

I put a hand on Riolu’s head and start petting him. A nostalgic feeling rushes through me. This sensation of excitement over getting to be a trainer and have real Pokémon battles against others. It was a feeling I’d erased when I left Aether, choosing to battle only for the sake of getting stronger.

But I have a team of Pokémon who want to be by my side. And that includes Riolu, who by all accounts should hate me. It occurs to me that now might be the time to get his training started. Silvally seems to pick up on that, however, and shakes their head.

I give them a silent nod. There will be time to train soon enough, I imagine. For now, Riolu and I have some catching up to do.

END

XxX​

And that's it. Mostly just decided to make a up a little headcanon answering the question, "Where did Gladion get a Lucario from, anyway?" Because I couldn't have been the only one confused when that happened, right?
 
Last edited:
make plove not warble
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Hey! Welcome again to the Workshop. Figured I should repay your review.

First thing I noticed was your use of present tense. It's not a common tense to use, and I think it struggles over the long term, but in short one-shots like this it's great. It really adds to the "in the moment" emotional intensity of the scenes. Using first person was also a great choice and well executed. Hiding that the narrator is Gladion at first helps keep the reader curious and interested, but you don't draw it out too long for it to get annoying. Would have been much harder to pull that off in third person. The beginning caught me, and then once it was revealed that this was Gladion, I had enough context to understand where the story was going, but was also intrigued as to how it would get there.

I liked your use of descriptions of Gladion's physical state (clammy hands, trembling, etc) to help the reader immediately identify with his emotional state without having to go in to the exact emotions he's feeling. Telling us that he's scared and nervous straight off wouldn't have had much impact before we'd gotten to understand his situation, but the physical descriptions are much more visceral, which circumvents that issue.

I noticed one typo:

The site’s so absurd,
*sight

Not much else to say. I always have trouble reviewing short pieces that I really like. I'll be keeping an eye out for more from you!
 
ERROR
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Figured I should repay your review.
Ah, well thank you kindly. It certainly brightens up an evening. :)

First thing I noticed was your use of present tense. It's not a common tense to use, and I think it struggles over the long term, but in short one-shots like this it's great. It really adds to the "in the moment" emotional intensity of the scenes.
I didn't actually realize it was that much of a gamble, ha ha. It wasn't terrible to draft, since I use present tense for work memos and outlines. But I totally see your point. I think this being a oneshot did factor into my decision to try and experiment with present tense.

Using first person was also a great choice and well executed. Hiding that the narrator is Gladion at first helps keep the reader curious and interested, but you don't draw it out too long for it to get annoying. Would have been much harder to pull that off in third person.
I agree... and I definitely have gotten flack for that third-person thing you mentioned in the past.

The beginning caught me, and then once it was revealed that this was Gladion, I had enough context to understand where the story was going, but was also intrigued as to how it would get there.
The introductory scene was actually added in per the suggestion of the two folks who were kind enough to beta read this. They both said that intro needed to be there. And I'm quite glad I listened to them. I did intend to have a bit of a bait and switch going. Like, if you were reading about Gladion, you'd expect it to be about Type: Null/Silvally. But, I thought that'd be a bit too cliché and decided to go in a different direction.

I liked your use of descriptions of Gladion's physical state (clammy hands, trembling, etc) to help the reader immediately identify with his emotional state without having to go in to the exact emotions he's feeling. Telling us that he's scared and nervous straight off wouldn't have had much impact before we'd gotten to understand his situation, but the physical descriptions are much more visceral, which circumvents that issue.
Glad you liked it. I think I was going for an adrenaline rush, "fight or flight" type of scenario with the begging there. And so, I figured I needed to give some physical descriptors to hammer that home.

I noticed one typo:
Ah, good eye! I seem to have a very bad habit of typing out "site" when I mean to say "sight." Going to have to keep working on that.

Not much else to say. I always have trouble reviewing short pieces that I really like. I'll be keeping an eye out for more from you!
It's alright. Like I said, I just wanted to start with something shorter and simpler. Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for reviewing. ^^
 
shame personified
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Hey! I already told you I've been meaning to read your writing for a while, and a one-shot's as good as any place to start for a slow reader like me, lmfao. If you're okay with it, mind if I crosspost the review? It'll bump it up over on the other forum for you.

A huge wave of guilt crashes over me. I don’t blame him for staring. His trainer wakes him up in the dead of night, sweaty, shaking, and panting like an overheated Rockruff. I’d be confused too.
I agree with AetherX that your first person writing is solid here. You make great use of it in an emotional one-shot like this, and you can really feel Gladion's struggle over his friendship with Riolu. I particularly like the quoted part. It sums up everything rather nicely, I think, and the impact hits hard.

“Go back to bed,” I tell him. “I’m fine.”
Your actions say otherwise, dude.

You also do a good job with Gladion's personality. It fits perfectly with what I've seen of him in the games! That is, he might be falling apart on the inside, but he tries to act tough on the outside anyway for personal reasons. Also, kudos on incorporating his "angry" stances from the games in here rather naturally. Gladion's clearly self-aware of a lot of things about himself, so it'd make sense he'd understand his own quirks when he's angry/upset and try to control them in a situation where he's trying to put Riolu at ease.

A strong part of me wants to catch him and carry him into bed. We could curl up under the covers and read comic books or Pokémon battling magazines by flashlight like we used to do before Mother became so insufferable. But I swallow hard and stuff those thoughts as far back in my mind as I can.
The main downside with emotional one-shots, I think, is that there's not a lot of time to establish a connection between the readers and characters. So details about Gladion and Riolu's relationship when things were really good helps to paint a picture of how close they were and why the emotional conflict in the story matters.

But then I see his Ultra Ball lying next to my toy chest. My chest tightens up. Oh, the irony. That his ball would end up next to a box filled with toys we’ve spent hundreds of hours playing with together. I imagine that, somewhere, Tapu Lele is laughing gleefully at my misfortune.
I thought at first pointing out the irony was a bit too on the nose, but... well, that's a thing you can realistically put in first person, and like I said, Gladion's self-aware. So I'm not as bothered by it as I was before I sat down to write the review. Also, the Tapu Lele thing is a nice homage to Alola's culture as a whole amidst the character-focused parts.

Of course, one person wasn't scared off by that little outburst: Wicke. She remains standing there, a smile plastered on her face, but a look in her eyes that says, "You know better than that."

What follows is one-sided guilt-tripping. With the end result being that I find myself in front of my old house. My hand hovers over the doorway. There’s too much uncertainty. My brain’s running through every direction it thinks an apology to Riolu can go. And none of them look promising.
This part feels a bit rushed. Does the deleted scene perhaps have to do with Wicke...? Her role in this seems important - I get the impression it'd take a lot for Gladion to go back home, after all - but she's simply glanced over. She's by no means the focus of the story, sure, but it might've helped to segway the past and the future parts of the one-shot to include her a tad more.

If I could free them from their control mask, who’s to say I can’t restore my friendship with Riolu?
Lol, silvally is adorable here. Gladion having a pokemon that evolves through friendship is a sure sign he's actually really sweet and kind deep down. ;)

Really liked this overall. It was bittersweet and again the emotion was well written, particularly with the first person writing style. Hope to see more from you soon!
 
ERROR
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Hey! I already told you I've been meaning to read your writing for a while, and a one-shot's as good as any place to start for a slow reader like me, lmfao. If you're okay with it, mind if I crosspost the review? It'll bump it up over on the other forum for you.
Sure, you can cross-post. ^^
And I'm not a fan of people judging themselves by reading speeds. As long as you have fun with it, that's what matters most, in my book. :)

I agree with AetherX that your first person writing is solid here. You make great use of it in an emotional one-shot like this, and you can really feel Gladion's struggle over his friendship with Riolu.
Thanks. I'm pretty sure the revisions sort of helped to solidify Gladion's voice in this. I don't really remember the early draft (and I'm too scared to look it up), but it definitely didn't read like this.

You also do a good job with Gladion's personality. It fits perfectly with what I've seen of him in the games! That is, he might be falling apart on the inside, but he tries to act tough on the outside anyway for personal reasons. Also, kudos on incorporating his "angry" stances from the games in here rather naturally.
I think at first I had a bit of trouble trying not to make him too over-the-top. One of the betas (anon, I think?) suggested I tone down some of the descriptive bits and just vaguely describe it as a stance, and that it should be okay that way. So, all credit to him. XP

The main downside with emotional one-shots, I think, is that there's not a lot of time to establish a connection between the readers and characters. So details about Gladion and Riolu's relationship when things were really good helps to paint a picture of how close they were and why the emotional conflict in the story matters.
Glad you liked them. Those bits were always in the story, but I did have to rearrange them when I went back to add in that first scene. That said, I think they're more natural because of it, so it's a win-win! ^^

I thought at first pointing out the irony was a bit too on the nose, but... well, that's a thing you can realistically put in first person, and like I said, Gladion's self-aware. So I'm not as bothered by it as I was before I sat down to write the review. Also, the Tapu Lele thing is a nice homage to Alola's culture as a whole amidst the character-focused parts.
Yeah. Sort of a start of Gladion going into his "I'm unamused" phase. His in-game reactions to Hau are... I almost want to say it's Game Freak making fun of the part of the fanbase that doesn't like the friendly rivals, but that feels too meta. Spot on with the Tapu Lele bit, though. I do think Alola's one of the better regions for tying their Legendaries into the local culture, so I wanted to try and make a reference about it. That, and I'm pretty sure I'd just seen the anime episode about Tapu Lele, so... yeah.

This part feels a bit rushed. Does the deleted scene perhaps have to do with Wicke...?
Funny you should mention that. I'd gotten feedback saying that, originally, the scene transition felt too abrupt, and some folks wanted to at least see a bit of Gladion wandering around Aether Paradise. So, I had added that part in. But, it looks like I made another abrupt transition in the process. I did go back to flesh it out. This is what it's reading as, now:
What follows is one-sided guilt-tripping. Wicke asks why I'm wandering around when there's someone who's been waiting for me. I tell her that I'm busy and I'll get to it eventually. She counters that I'm nervous. And that she understands why I'm nervous. But that it's no excuse for me to go around scaring the employees... and blah, blah, blah. I nod along. She's right, of course. I don't want to see Riolu. I don't think it'll end well. But Wicke remains outside, her smile directed toward the mansion. Wicke's done this before, of course. She's not going to budge until I go into the mansion. So, I stick my hands in my pockets and head for the front door.
Hopefully that's a bit bitter. Or maybe it isn't and I'm bad at making corrections. *shrug*

Lol, silvally is adorable here. Gladion having a pokemon that evolves through friendship is a sure sign he's actually really sweet and kind deep down.
I'm very biased and love writing Silvally like a big puppy dog. :3

Really liked this overall. It was bittersweet and again the emotion was well written, particularly with the first person writing style. Hope to see more from you soon!
And thank you for the review! I think I'll be bringing my story over soon, but I wanted to dip a toe in the water before diving in, so to speak. XP
 
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@Ambyssin There's enough focus in that edited part to make it not feel completely glossed over, but it's still clear it's not your main focus of the piece. So, thumbs up from me there.
 
Don't Look Away
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I have a little thing where I like to read and review what those that have reviewed for me have written so, well this is a perfect time to do just that isn't it?

Like others pointed out, I was a bit surprised by present tense if only because it's one that isn't used as much over here, though I do think that it might've affected your writing in making it feel a little empty in regards to feeling. This actually leads into something that bothered me while I was read it and that is the flow in which the story progresses. Like, you're able to pull off the emotional scenes between Gladion and Riolu pretty well, but in between it feels like the story is rushing itself a bit, we zip through Gladion's encounter with Wicke pretty fast and in general the description could use a lot more detail, particularly in describing Gladion's emotion.

Ironically you also run into an issue of repeating yourself, like when Gladion goes back to see Riolu and we're reminded that it's been two years since he said goodbye and that he abandoned it. In essence this makes sense since Gladion is reminding himself of what happened, but in practice it kind of feels like you're reinstating something that is still clear in the reader's mind.

That aside, I do think your writing works best in the character department, particularly with the Pokemon. While you're able to help us relate to Gladion pretty well and give us a good idea of how he feels, and I particularly enjoy how you poke fun at his ever present glare, Riolu and Sylvally easily stole the show for me, with Riolu acting like an actual puppy would while Sylvally became Gladion's voice of reason. It was cute and it showed a different side of these Pokemon as well as highlighting how Gladion relates to them.

Overall, I think it was a serviceable enough one shot, I think I'll wait to see a proper fic from you because I think that your style would work better in a multi-chapter format. Either way, I hope to see more of your writing soon and don't be afraid to share.
 
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Like others pointed out, I was a bit surprised by present tense if only because it's one that isn't used as much over here, though I do think that it might've affected your writing in making it feel a little empty in regards to feeling.
I understand. I think it was a combination of feeling experimental and, while writing the first draft, constantly slipping into the present tense despite trying to write in the past tense. The only other first-person stuff I've done (a couple of chapters in a chapter fic I should be bringing over soon) used past tense, because it came after I wrote this. I probably won't try it again. ^^;

This actually leads into something that bothered me while I was read it and that is the flow in which the story progresses. Like, you're able to pull off the emotional scenes between Gladion and Riolu pretty well, but in between it feels like the story is rushing itself a bit, we zip through Gladion's encounter with Wicke pretty fast and in general the description could use a lot more detail, particularly in describing Gladion's emotion
No, that's perfectly valid. Which is why, funnily enough, as you were writing this, I was revising that scene to make it a full blown conversation that, hopefully, does a more serviceable job than the one paragraph that was there. Sorry about that! ;~;

Ironically you also run into an issue of repeating yourself, like when Gladion goes back to see Riolu and we're reminded that it's been two years since he said goodbye and that he abandoned it. In essence this makes sense since Gladion is reminding himself of what happened, but in practice it kind of feels like you're reinstating something that is still clear in the reader's mind.
I think I see your point. I may have slipped into that anime tendency of overly-explaining this. Oops.

That aside, I do think your writing works best in the character department, particularly with the Pokemon [...] Riolu and Sylvally easily stole the show for me, with Riolu acting like an actual puppy would while Sylvally became Gladion's voice of reason. It was cute and it showed a different side of these Pokemon as well as highlighting how Gladion relates to them.
Glad you liked that. Though I'm still rather new to writing, well, anything, this was my first time writing something where Pokémon aren't expressing themselves through speech, so I wanted to make sure their personalities came through somehow.

Overall, I think it was a serviceable enough one shot, I think I'll wait to see a proper fic from you because I think that your style would work better in a multi-chapter format. Either way, I hope to see more of your writing soon and don't be afraid to share.
Right-o. That... should be coming soon, I hope. Thank your for the feedback and the review. ^^
 
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a random prenote


I’ve seen you reviewing a ton of things like it’s no one’s business, and as someone who’s trying to get back into the reviewing saddle I just wanna say you’re an inspiration and it’s really cool and also I wanted to return the favor <3


general/premise

I love fics that are founded around this sort of concept—this is one of those scenes that would’ve had to happen in-universe for things to turn out the way they did, and the way you told it made me 1) sad that it hadn’t happened in-game and 2) glad that you’d written about it here. Good shit. The emotions were good, the narrative shift from “here are a bunch of excuses” to “I’m sorry” felt realistic, and it’s always nice to have more Gladion/Silvally squad.


technical/nitpicks

Of course, one person wasn't scared off by that little outburst: Wicke. She remains standing there, a smile plastered on her face, but a look in her eyes that says, "You know better than that."
I think things that aren’t actually said aloud by characters aren’t supposed to go in quotation marks, but punctuation is a really random part of the English language and even as I’m writing this I’m not sure. That being said, I think it might read a little more clearly with italics/as:
She remains standing there, a smile plastered on her face, but a look in her eyes that says, you know better than that.
But I mean besides debatably-incorrect esoteric grammar things, this is pretty spot-on.

structure/growth

You mentioned having a deleted scene that you edited out because it was unnecessary; after reading this again I almost wonder if the first scene really plays a major role, either. The main reason I say this is because of this:
I’m not a little kid anymore, after all.
The first scene would be good at demonstrating the difference between young-Gladion and present-Gladion—he abandoned Riolu when he was in a very different frame of mind than he is now. And, with the benefit of first-person narrator, you can really drive that difference home.

However, the younger-Gladion and present-Gladion’s read pretty similarly: they’re both still racked with guilt for what they’re doing/did, they each have a bit of nostalgia for their childhood (“We could curl up under the covers and read comic books or Pokémon battling magazines by flashlight like we used to do before Mother became so insufferable.” / “Remember when Hau outsmarted old Faba over that security key business?”), and the way they present facts and details is pretty similar. Gladion says he’s not a little kid any more the second time around, but it doesn’t really feel that way.

I think this could lead into two things—either 1) that the first scene could be reworked to create a tangible difference between young-Gladion and present Gladion, or 2) that the story opens instead with the second scene, with Gladion going into Aether Paradise and dreading some weird reunion that slowly gets revealed to the readers as him somewhat-literally facing the abandoned skeleton in his closet. Or, honestly, it’s still an enjoyable read the way you have it; this is mostly just spitballing.


cute character quirks

The way you described Silvally wagging their tail and basically doing anything was quite adorable. That is all.


overall

This was a solidly-written, tightly-focused one-shot with great pacing, solid premise, and nice characters. Overall I thought it was a great read and I’m really glad to see you posting your own stuff as well!
 
ERROR
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I’ve seen you reviewing a ton of things like it’s no one’s business, and as someone who’s trying to get back into the reviewing saddle I just wanna say you’re an inspiration and it’s really cool and also I wanted to return the favor <3
Aha ha. I appreciate the sentiment. I'm... probably just crazy. Honestly. Truth is that life circumstances have arranged themselves to where reading is a relatively safe way to spend my free time. Which I guess is why I do a lot of it. @[email protected]

I love fics that are founded around this sort of concept—this is one of those scenes that would’ve had to happen in-universe for things to turn out the way they did, and the way you told it made me 1) sad that it hadn’t happened in-game and 2) glad that you’d written about it here. Good shit. The emotions were good, the narrative shift from “here are a bunch of excuses” to “I’m sorry” felt realistic, and it’s always nice to have more Gladion/Silvally squad
Happy to hear it. I freely admit that this was part of a headcanon I had developed for Gladion and his Lucario when I saw it pop up in SM. "He can't go to Poni Grove on his own. Maybe it was his starter and he left it back at Aether."

I think things that aren’t actually said aloud by characters aren’t supposed to go in quotation marks, but punctuation is a really random part of the English language and even as I’m writing this I’m not sure. That being said, I think it might read a little more clearly with italics/as
Honestly I have no idea, but if I do something like that with my chapter fic I'll definitely remember it. ^^

You mentioned having a deleted scene that you edited out because it was unnecessary; after reading this again I almost wonder if the first scene really plays a major role, either.
The deleted scene was the Mt. Lanakila rival battle, actually. Feedback said it was okay, but felt disjointed and the fact that Gladion loses made it a sudden downer ending in what was supposed to be a heartwarming oneshot, so I axed it. The first scene was added at the recommendation of both betas, who said they didn't feel very invested and wanted to know all the circumstances behind Gladion abandoning Riolu.

However, the younger-Gladion and present-Gladion’s read pretty similarly
I see what you mean. That was sort of the point. In my mind, he's firmly a teenager in both scenes. And he really didn't start making any progress until he met Hau/the player, which would've been about two years later. I can see how that "little kid" line would be a bit awkward, though, so I removed it.

that the story opens instead with the second scene, with Gladion going into Aether Paradise and dreading some weird reunion that slowly gets revealed to the readers as him somewhat-literally facing the abandoned skeleton in his closet. Or, honestly, it’s still an enjoyable read the way you have it; this is mostly just spitballing.
The funny thing is that the first draft did open up there, but beta feedback suggested it didn't flow well starting there. If that makes sense.

The way you described Silvally wagging their tail and basically doing anything was quite adorable. That is all.
Yes! I love Null and Silvally. They're really just chimera puppies who want snuggles. :3

This was a solidly-written, tightly-focused one-shot with great pacing, solid premise, and nice characters. Overall I thought it was a great read and I’m really glad to see you posting your own stuff as well!
And thank you for the review. Glad you liked it. ^^
 
The acest of trainers
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Awards review time!

The writing is excellent; not my sort of style usually, but given the tone and context, this pleasant, emotional bent works well and has you invested in the outcome. However, this is felt more strongly in the first scene given the uncertainty of it and the cruelness of what Gladion is doing. The second scene is more predictable and lacks any twists – it had the air early on that Riolu would accept Gladion again, and I ended up just waiting for this to happen.

You have managed to craft a number of delightful characters who make the most of their screen time. If Best Pokémon still existed, both Riolu and Silvally would be strong contenders, the epitome of what it means to write non-talking Pokémon well. Riolu is believably emotional, while Silvally is a nice twist on the canon idea of this dark, brooding monster, and the playful dog adds some levity to the piece. Faba’s appearance was brief but sweet.

However, Gladion didn’t really work for me. His internal monologue is believable and well written, and you do find an interesting, and what feels original given the minimal amount of Alola content, way of expanding on the canon character.

While he may have a good personality, his main flaw comes from the inconsistency and rushed thinking behind his actions. Why does he leave Riolu behind, why would it be such an issue to take him? That isn’t really made clear, outside of some brief notions that the young Pokémon may be difficult. And then his big emotional rant to Riolu undermines his serious self – all the talk of being a better person and growing felt a little cliché, especially as it’s delivered in such a dense block of text.

I also would have liked to have seen some more description of the world outside of the bedroom, as Gladion just walks through the Aether Foundation with sparse attention given to what he sees. It is forgivable as he is returning home and his mind is on other things, but as the story was entered in Expansion, it’s always nice to see the author’s interpretation of the world.

I think the main flaw with the story is that it is too short. Mainly, I think the jump from leaving the bedroom to coming back was quite sudden – I was surprised by how little there was separating the two scenes, and it took away much of the agency and gravitas of what Gladion had done. If we had seen him actually living with the pain of what he had done, things could have worked better, but instead, we pick up on him in what could easily have been five minutes later and are told at length why he feels bad. You are clearly aiming at shaping an emotional piece, but we are not given the chance to see any of that emotion on our own. Show, don't tell, always remember that.

None of those things are to say that this is a bad story; I enjoyed it for the most part, and it is very well written and imaginative, full of well-crafted characters and a sweetly style of writing. Really, if there had been some more scenes between Gladion leaving and returning, I think it would have been a strong contender in the Expansion race. However, as it skips from one scene to the next, it doesn’t feel like there is any emotional weight behind the story.

You are clearly a good writer, with a solid grasp on style, humour and character – I definitely felt horrible for poor Riolu at the start. If you were to do another one shot again, I would recommend not letting worries about a word count or anything infringe on your writing, and always try to show us what you are talking about rather than having to explain it.
 
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All right.

I like the concept of this. It's a short and simple little plot that explains a small thing. However, quite a few things dragged it down for me. One of these being the length. I feel this was hurt by being a one-shot, so there was no time to develop and expand things. I especially feel the setting and Gladion's characterization could have benefited a lot if this was a short fic, about 2-4 chapters, rather than just one.

Speaking of characterization, I'll just copy/paste my awards review bit because it sums up my thoughts well.

Hoo boy. First off all, let's talk about the man of the hour, the edgelord Gladion himself. The fic does an acceptable job of capturing the guy's personality, but he still felt off in some way. It's kind of like he's being portrayed as a dude who's trying to act tough when he's not, rather than one who is tough who's trying to conceal his sensitive side. More importantly, it seems there was very little difference between past Gladion in the first scene, and the present Gladion. He grew over the course of SM and that was barely expressed. Again, being more than a simple one-shot might've helped in this regard.

Still, that's an interpretation, so I can't knock it too hard. But now let's look at where this suffers the most. Silvally. How can a Pokemon in a fic where they don't talk drag down the characterization score? By essentially threatening Gladion into making amends with his starter Pokemon Riolu. This kind of cheapens things because it feels like he's being forced into it rather than pushed. When it was started off with Wicke doing just that, it was fine. Gladion was still making the choice of his own accord. Then we get Silvally voicing its concerns when Gladion starts to get cold feet. I don't mind this either, the bit tying it into its happiness evolution was fitting. Then it happens again. And again. And again. It starts to get really distracting with the big white...thing...constantly growling or flashing its claws or whatever else. I kind of feel that Wicke should have played a bigger role in this, as someone able to actually speak. But all the forcing and pushing makes it really distracting and makes it seem like he's been forced into it.

What about the starter Pokemon? It's actually fairly fine, to end on a good note. Riolu came across reasonably well as a Pokemon who had been hurt by betrayal who Gladion needed to make amends with. And with Gladion's apology, forced or not, it comes to forgive him and even bonds with his new partner despite worries otherwise.
One irritating technical thing was how you always emphasized Riolu as Gladion's starter Pokemon. Like this was repeatedly stressed and would be the most grating thing in the fic if it wasn't for Silvally. Friggin Silvally.

So yeah. Silvally and being too short for its own good. Really good idea! I would've liked it a lot more if it had breathing room and its interventions were toned down. As is, it was just all right.
 
ERROR
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So, I suppose I should start responses by saying that this was written, I think, back in September 2017, so it's (hopefully) not a good indicator of my current abilities. I wrote it for a contest on another site that had a very strict word count limit and it had to be a oneshot. It was longer, but I deleted an entire scene that everyone who read it elsewhere agreed added nothing to the story. Not even sure why dp nominated it, given how short this is. XP

The writing is excellent; not my sort of style usually, but given the tone and context, this pleasant, emotional bent works well and has you invested in the outcome. However, this is felt more strongly in the first scene given the uncertainty of it and the cruelness of what Gladion is doing. The second scene is more predictable and lacks any twists – it had the air early on that Riolu would accept Gladion again, and I ended up just waiting for this to happen.
That's probably the result of having written it out of order. The second scene was written first and then the first scene was written on the suggestion of a beta reader... who helped with that emotional element.

You have managed to craft a number of delightful characters who make the most of their screen time. If Best Pokémon still existed, both Riolu and Silvally would be strong contenders, the epitome of what it means to write non-talking Pokémon well. Riolu is believably emotional, while Silvally is a nice twist on the canon idea of this dark, brooding monster, and the playful dog adds some levity to the piece. Faba’s appearance was brief but sweet.
That's fair enough. Despite the "dark, brooding monster" thing there are actually a few examples in different canons of Silvally being a sweetheart (the picture with Gladion in the SM end credits, their hugging of Lillie in the anime). I tend to headcanon them with some dog tendencies.

While he may have a good personality, his main flaw comes from the inconsistency and rushed thinking behind his actions. Why does he leave Riolu behind, why would it be such an issue to take him? That isn’t really made clear, outside of some brief notions that the young Pokémon may be difficult. And then his big emotional rant to Riolu undermines his serious self – all the talk of being a better person and growing felt a little cliché, especially as it’s delivered in such a dense block of text.
Drat, guess that missed the mark. The idea was that I was trying to show Riolu's presence was a constant reminder of Mohn (who was gone by this point) and Gladion couldn't deal with thinking about his dad, so he chose to leave Riolu behind. Difficulty with Type: Null was his weak excuse.

I also would have liked to have seen some more description of the world outside of the bedroom, as Gladion just walks through the Aether Foundation with sparse attention given to what he sees. It is forgivable as he is returning home and his mind is on other things, but as the story was entered in Expansion, it’s always nice to see the author’s interpretation of the world.
Yeah, that's fair. I concede that this was written at a time where I was still struggling with scene setting in description. I'd like to think I've gotten a lot better with my actual fic, including revising old chapters that lacked description, but that's for readers to decide..

I think the main flaw with the story is that it is too short. Mainly, I think the jump from leaving the bedroom to coming back was quite sudden – I was surprised by how little there was separating the two scenes, and it took away much of the agency and gravitas of what Gladion had done. If we had seen him actually living with the pain of what he had done, things could have worked better, but instead, we pick up on him in what could easily have been five minutes later and are told at length why he feels bad. You are clearly aiming at shaping an emotional piece, but we are not given the chance to see any of that emotion on our own. Show, don't tell, always remember that.
No, that's totally fair. Like I said, this was written for a contest around the theme of "platonic friendships," and I had a very strict word count limit. I could've expanded it before bringing it over here, but I didn't. :(

You are clearly a good writer, with a solid grasp on style, humour and character – I definitely felt horrible for poor Riolu at the start. If you were to do another one shot again, I would recommend not letting worries about a word count or anything infringe on your writing, and always try to show us what you are talking about rather than having to explain it.
Can I quote this any time someone complains about the size and number of chapters in my fic? Because you're the first person here to tell me that. I've only every gotten "your stuff's too long, buddy," feedback from here until now. *sniffle*

I feel this was hurt by being a one-shot, so there was no time to develop and expand things. I especially feel the setting and Gladion's characterization could have benefited a lot if this was a short fic, about 2-4 chapters, rather than just one.
Yes, you definitely have a point. Honestly, I'm surprised you guys don't just have a separate category for oneshots. I know this is going to be comparing apples and oranges no matter what the hosts do to modify the rules, but a oneshot would have to be some sort of masterpiece to beat out longer, more fleshed-out stories. I feel like that's never going to happen, so oneshots ought to get a separate category to themselves, but that's just me.

Hoo boy. First off all, let's talk about the man of the hour, the edgelord Gladion himself. The fic does an acceptable job of capturing the guy's personality, but he still felt off in some way. It's kind of like he's being portrayed as a dude who's trying to act tough when he's not, rather than one who is tough who's trying to conceal his sensitive side. More importantly, it seems there was very little difference between past Gladion in the first scene, and the present Gladion. He grew over the course of SM and that was barely expressed. Again, being more than a simple one-shot might've helped in this regard.
Hmm, yeah, I see what you mean. Perhaps the original ending scene that got cut might've helped a bit in that department, but I doubt it. That was just me using a monologue to apparently express character development. I'll go sit in the corner of shame.

Still, that's an interpretation, so I can't knock it too hard. But now let's look at where this suffers the most. Silvally. How can a Pokemon in a fic where they don't talk drag down the characterization score? By essentially threatening Gladion into making amends with his starter Pokemon Riolu ... all the forcing and pushing makes it really distracting and makes it seem like he's been forced into it.
Huh, you're the first person to look at it that way. And I, of course, hadn't considered it that way. The idea was supposed to be that Silvally was acting as a morality pet of sorts and applying a bit of tough love. I guess it was a bit too ambiguous in parts? Oh dear... ._.

What about the starter Pokemon? It's actually fairly fine, to end on a good note. Riolu came across reasonably well as a Pokemon who had been hurt by betrayal who Gladion needed to make amends with. And with Gladion's apology, forced or not, it comes to forgive him and even bonds with his new partner despite worries otherwise.
Well, at least I got something right. I'll take it! My apologies on the overuse of "starter." I'd like to say I was trying to show repetitive, one-track thinking, but it clearly wasn't that sophisticated.

Anyway, thank you both very much for the feedback. My apologies you had to judge this. And now I can move this to the archive as I should've done, like, five months ago! ^^;
 
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Surprise, surprise! Here I am with another (belated) Santa Review for you!

As this story is very short, I’m going to give quick impressions on the various characters and how they behave during the plot.

Gladion

All in all, I’ve found his characterization and the whole plot involving him quite good. It explores an interesting side of Gladion’s past and his return to the Aether Paradise, which is something unexplored in the games. And that’s nice!

Though, regarding the part where he goes to apologize to Riolu, I’ve found the bit where he talks about the meaning of being a Pokémon trainer a tad… abrupt. While it has been said that Riolu is his starter, I feel like the plot would have benefited if at some point during the past it was implied that Gladion wanted to be a Pokémon Trainer and challenge other Trainers together with Riolu. Or, if you couldn’t bring that up in the past, mention that being a Pokémon Trainer goes beyond just battling and victories, and it also involves taking care of your Pokémon and bonding with them, and going through problems and situations as a team – which Gladion could have mentioned as something he hadn’t done with Riolu.

However, as is it feels like a weird thing to bring up while apologizing to a Pokémon. It sounds like a misplaced tangent and as a bit of “It’s all about me, who I’m a Trainer, and me being terrible” thing. Perhaps that was the intent, but I didn’t really get the impression here.

Riolu

I think this was the most consistent character. It stayed true to itself and behaved like a puppy.

Though, there is something that I’ve found a bit weird: the fact that it pretty much remained unchanged throughout the years.

Like, you would have expected to see something different from him aside from the initial confusion of not recognizing his friend. It could have been a slight shift in personality and reactions, maybe even a mild physical change. And yet, it looks like Riolu has been frozen in time while things changed around it. Probably you wanted to follow the “Pokéball slows down time” premise, but I found that part a bit jarring.

Silvally

Regarding Silvally being a morality pet of sort, I feel like it would have been a bit better if you mixed physical encouragement with indirect encouragement. Basically, Silvally seemed more to be forcing Gladion to make amends, like a parent forcing their child to say sorry to another child. I found that more being bossy that being supportive, to be honest, as in “you ain’t leaving until you apologize”. It may have worked as a trigger to make Gladion take the first step, but it became quite annoying once it began bugging his Trainer. Just give him time to gather his thoughts, darn it!

Other than that, though, I found his reactions to befriending Riolu really amusing, especially the rodeo part.

Verdict

Overall, I’ve found this to be a quite enjoyable story with a nice premise. While I understand the limitations imposed for this prompt, I feel like some parts could have been polished better and fleshed out a bit more, even with the word count limit.

As already said by others, this story would probably have been better if it was a short story divided in more parts.
 
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