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  • AussieEevee trains in the Bellsprout Tower on his journey through Johto. Watch as he ascends to the next level here.

TEEN: The Long Walk

It's been a while
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Hi there :D So I read every chapter so far and I'll tell you what I think, though I might not be thorough, seeing as I'm going to review them as a whole and not separately. I will however tell you what I think of the prelude, and interlude, which I have just read.

Prelude: I found the way you describe bulbasaur in a pokeball intriguing, though it did raise a lot of questions. In my opinion the way the pokeball stores pokemon can be interpreted two ways. The first being compression and decompression of mass, which requires tremendous amounts of energy, justified by the fact that this is fantasy and not sci-fi. Th second is a pocket dimension (pun unintended), meaning the pokemon are transferred to a different space where they wait to be recalled. The way you describe it reminds me of the first possible method, with the exception of the pokemon still being conscious. I'm not going to tell you you're wrong, because there isn't a solid canon as far as I know, but I actually like the concept you describe.

Interlude: First of all I love how you don't mention Lugia once yet it is so obvious, just goes to show you how well written it is, and it is. It was short, but so full of emotion. I was sympathizing with the beast of the sea. Your description and execution of the action was impeccable. I really don't know what more to say.

Now to the main story. I want to start off with the setting and genre. I haven't seen many fics that take place in Johto, most people go with the Kanto, and those you don't go with the newer regions. I'm glad Johto isn't being completely neglected. Next the genre. Now at first glance it looks like a journey-fic, and it most definitely is, but you write the story in such a way, that it's not as much about the journey as much as it is about the characters. And I love that. You focus more on the raw character relationships, which is rarely seen in a classic journey-fic. This story really comes across, to me at least, as more of a "slice of life" than a "shounen" which is the more prominent form a journey-fic takes. And yet, your description of the journey is better than most. I'm really excited to see how this story plays out. I really hope you don't sacrifice the character driven story that this is with a plot twist that changes it into something cliche.

On another note, I really love how you give those small little details of everyday life in the pokemon world, which most writers ten to leave out. I also loved how you take unconventional roads from city to city, instead of the ones that we're forced to take in the games.

Now for the characters. Joshua, your main protagonist, seems like a guy you can easily relate to. He's a nerd, who isn't popular. He has problems communicating with his father. He doesn't want to stay in a dead-end job, even though he can't do much else. He really comes across as a more realistic character all-around, which is difficult to find is the fan-fiction world, where most people tend to exaggerate. Evelina also seems realistic. I mean, she basically lives with the same problems most people do in the real world; wanting to be different.

I do have a little problem with the pokemon. Actually it isn't with the pokemon themselves. You see, this being the realistic story that I find it to be, I don't understand why you didn't nickname the pokemon. I mean they shouldn't even be called nicknames in the real world. You don't call a dog, dog, for example. I just thought that it would've given this story an even greater sense of realism if the pokemon had names. Then again that's personal choice, and I suppose it can't be changed now.

Well, that's all I've got for now. I hope you continue with the same quality of writing, and even improve, because isn't that really why we do this?
 
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This is very well written. Some minor issues and typos but nothing big.

The prose is beautiful and graceful while still painting a good picture. I like the depth Josh has already, and your battles are well done as well.
 
Ch. 8 - Two is Company
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Responses:
@kintsugi: You can see why I'm no good at poetry xD. Yes, I am deliberately being coy with the Interlude. Part of it is the problem with narrating from one point of view - Lugia the Beast of the Sea in this case. Rest assured that I am going somewhere with this, though possibly not in the way you'd expect

@GastlyGibus: Chapter One has always been problematic. By rights I should have re-written it from scratch, but what the hell, I've made that bed now. Characters are the backbone of the story, so you needn't worry about Josh staying static! Oh, and you're not the first person to say that my style is unique, though I confess, I'm not sure what is unique about it

@Flaze: Hurrah! So glad my characters ring true. I spend more time fussing about whether Josh and Eve's interactions feel right than any other aspect of the story. Eve in particular is a character that I just can't leave alone.

@Scholar: Damn those technical errors. I spend so much time looking at my own writing that even after a word-for-word proofread I still manage to miss some

@Lance: You're very kind, especially about the Interlude ^^ . I suppose I thought that if I'm going to be writing a character-driven story, then the world needs to feel real as well. It does bug me a little in the anime how everything seems to revolve entirely around pokémon, but in the oddest ways. Every festival seems to be a pokémon festival ("Pokémon windsurfing? What's that?"), but you never see anyone trying to make money off journeying trainers outside of tournaments. Where are the travel lodges and hostels?

Oh, and as for the nicknaming, you have a point. I am going somewhere with nicknames as you may notice in this chapter, see what you think!

@Legacy: I was having a bad day on Wednesday, I needed that little confidence boost, so thank you!

Version History
1.1: Small tweaks to dialogue. Josh and Eve now have slightly different dialogue
1.2 : Changed Pidgeotto gender to female
1.3 : Revised Pidgeotto vs Meowth battle. Revised Pidgeotto's inner monologue

Chapter Eight – Two is Company (Version 1.3)

Joshua

Pokémon are endlessly fascinating in their incredible diversity, their powers and abilities unlike any other form of life that we know of. They wield elemental forces that range from the mysterious to the spectacular. They heal wonderfully from all manner of injuries - a process that the technology of the Poké Ball accelerates - and they have an instinctive understanding of our languages. It is not for nothing that spiritualists throughout the ages have speculated that humans and pokémon were somehow meant to co-exist.

It is for this reason that I devoted my youth to the understanding of pokémon psychology, and why I chose to write this book. There is nothing remarkable in the character of myself or any of my family that prefers us to the care of pokémon. It is a skill that anyone can develop if they do so with an open heart -


“One cranberry juice aaand one perry. Your lunches will be following in a couple of minutes. Can I get you guys anything else?”

Josh looked up from his book as the waitress set down his drink. It was another bright spring day, and both he and Eve had been determined to stop for lunch at the riverside bistro from the moment they had set eyes on it that morning. The little town of Longwater was a half hour's journey away from Azalea by bus. It had a similar quaint charm, living half in the past with its red-tiled houses, its winding alleyways leading to unexpected courtyards, its ivy-hung walls and window boxes overflowing with flowers. Against all reason, steam driven paddle-ferries plied the waterway, visiting the villages up and down the river. A light wind blew from the northeast, bringing with it the scents of the river and the barest hint of distant redwoods. Sitting outside on the bistro patio, Josh took a long, contented breath and savoured the myriad springtime aromas.

“A bit early in the day, isn't it?” Eve said, raising an eyebrow at the perry.

“A cold perry on a sunny lunchtime? What could be finer?” Josh replied with a smile. Eve was still giving him a sceptical look. “Oh, alright. Normally I would wait, but since we'll be back in Azalea by dinnertime I want to have one now. This is cider country, Eve! And I am reliably informed that Crossbow Summer perry ranks among the best that Longwater has to offer.”

He took an experimental sip of the pale cider. It tasted crisp and clear, with the light, sweet flavour of wepear offset by the sharp tanginess of the alcohol. The perry went down almost as easily as water. Thirsty though he was, Josh resisted the urge to finish half the pint in one pull.

“Oh yes? And who's your reliable informant?” Eve asked playfully.

“My dad.”

“Big drinker, huh?”

“Not really. He's what you might call a connoisseur, though he'd never call himself one. On weekends he has a pint or two of something ordered from a micro-brewery … when I was a teenager he used to give me a sip, and if I could tell him exactly where the beer was brewed I could have a full pint,” he half-smiled at the memory. Eve smiled back at him, leaning forward on the table. She has such a pretty smile, Josh thought, and fiddled with his book reflexively.

“And so are you, by the look of it,” she said, nodding at the book. “Every Trainer A Nurse. It's the best general pokémon healthcare primer around.”

“Oh, do you have a copy?”

“You haven't looked at the inside cover have you?” she replied with a quick wink. Josh opened the front cover – the inside dust jacket showed a photo of a bespectacled Joy in a white lab coat, watching a young Joy play with a totodile. Beneath was a short caption: 'The author, Dr Imogen Joy with her niece Evelina'. It almost looked like a spontaneous snapshot, Dr Imogen watching with a proud smile as the teenage Eve played with the totodile without a hint of self-consciousness.

“So your aunt is a pokémon professor?” he asked.

“Well, sort of! Aunt Immey is the secondary at the Cherrygrove Centre now – oh, that's like the second-in-command of a Pokémon Centre – but way before that she got her doctorate at Celadon University, studied pokémon psychology under Professor Oak, even did a bit of pokémon training as part of her research!” Eve stopped abruptly and contemplated the photo of herself and her aunt. “It was Aunt Immey that helped me get the money together for this journey. Oh, here's our lunch.”

Josh straightened up in his chair while the waitress made her way over, plates in hand. A loud ding! sounded as he accidentally kicked something metallic under the table. “Sorry Magnemite,” he apologised. “You alright there, screwball?”

Magnemite didn't answer. It was trying to think. Its trainer had polished it, before they left the Pokémon Centre that morning. It had been the single most enjoyable experience of its life. Now Magnemite was having to think, really think for the first time. For reasons it couldn't quite understand, Magnemite wanted to please its trainer. I must think about this some more, it thought, and then tried to remember what 'I' meant.

Magnemite's trainer was peacefully disassembling a splendid river trout, while Eve attacked a lentil salad as if it had personally offended her.

“I almost wish I'd ordered the fish myself,” she said.

“You wish, you wish, you'd ordered a fish. Here, try some of mine,” Josh said, loading his fork with a mouthful of trout.

“It does look good,” she admitted. “Hold on, are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“You know, you don't have to share -”

“I know. I'm offering.”

“Yeah, but you've paid for it.”

“It's only a taste, Eve!”

“I mean, you're welcome to try my salad -”

Eat the damn trout!” Josh stretched his arm out a bit further, the fork hovering below Evelina's nose. She still hadn't taken her eyes off it.

Eve leaned over a little shyly and ate the proffered mouthful off Josh's fork. “Mm,” she said indistinctly, “s' good.”

They glanced up at the sound of wings thrashing at the air. A falcon pidgeotto was circling above the bistro, crest feathers blazing a brilliant scarlet in the sun. She looked small for her species, perhaps a feather over two feet from beak to tail.

“Pidgeooo!” she cried triumphantly. “Pidgeot-TO!”

The pidgeotto landed on a convenient lamppost and fixed Josh with an unblinking stare.

“I dun like the way it's looking at me,” Josh said. She was glaring like she was a loaded weapon, aiming at him.

“Don't be silly,” said Eve, reapplying herself to her salad. “All pidgeotto look like that.”

“Ye’ve a-got it backerds,” Josh glanced down at his trout. “Oh no,” he said as the pidgeotto leapt into the air. “No no no, this is mine …”

Josh raised his fork aggressively as the bird bore down on the table. Pidgeotto landed with a thump, ignoring Josh's attempts to stab her, and delivered a painful peck to the ear. Then she was off in a whirl of feathers, leaving behind Josh clutching his ear and Eve shrieking curses.

Pidgeotto retreated to the roof of the bistro with Josh's trout clutched in her talons. She immediately began tucking into her stolen prize. Josh leapt to his feet with a growl.

“Oi! That cost me seven dollars, you pirate!” Josh raged. Then he noticed his upturned glass. “That was my – that was my bloody pint! That tears it! Magnemite, Thundershock!”

Magnemite emerged from its thinking-place under the table. It paused, aimed, and shocked the pidgeotto thoroughly. The fish clamped between her toes burned to a crisp. Josh watched in disbelief as she plunged back into the sky, apparently completely unharmed, climbing with a scream of battle-fury. She heeled over and tumbled into a dive, sabreing down in a bolt of coffee-and-cream feathers.

“Tackle, a Normal-type attack -”

“That's not a Quick Attack?” Eve gasped.

Pidgeotto smashed into Magnemite, sending it spinning away. Magnemite steadied itself and zapped her with another Thundershock as she regained height, rising like an angry soda bubble.

“Look!” Eve called out. “There's a glow, around its feathers!”

She was right. It was hard to see through the glare of the Thundershock, but Josh could just make out a golden haze outlining pidgeotto. Whatever that is, I'll bet it's why Thundershock won't work.

“Alright, Magnemite! Get ready for Sonic Boom,” he commanded. A Poké Ball whizzed past, cracking open to reveal a scruffy black meowth. He took one look at the pidgeotto and unsheathed his claws.

“Sorry Josh, but I want this one!” Eve cried. “Meowth, Fury Swipes!”

Pidgeotto lined up for another attack run on Magnemite, sweeping down even faster than before. Meowth pounced at her and missed as Pidgeotto wrenched aside. She would have executed a perfect dodge – had she not side-slipped into a chair. Meowth was on her in a heartbeat.

“Enough! Get here now!” Eve demanded, Meowth slashing madly at his foe. There was a Poké Ball in her hand.

Eve pitched her Poké Ball with deadly accuracy, striking pidgeotto square on the back before she could take flight again. The Ball rattled and bounced around wildly as the pidgeotto within thrashed and struggled in fury.

The Ball burst open as the capture lock failed. Pidgeotto exploded into the air even before she had properly re-materialised with all the psychotic panic of a trapped predator. She kinked off into an invisible gyre of warm air in a ripple of wingbeats and circled away southeast over the town, calling in triumph. Evelina cursed sincerely. Both she and Josh watched the pidgeotto soar over the roofs of Longwater – here on the eastern side of the river the town tumbled down a steep hill till it met the riverbank. Josh looked back at his spilled perry ruefully. It would have served the blasted pigeon right to have been captured by Eve.

“Sir? Miss? Are you both ok?” A man in a neatly pressed shirt and apron was making his way through the tables towards them. “I'm the owner,” he said, shaking Josh's hand. “And I'm very sorry about that pidgeotto. We've been trying to capture it for a while, but for some reason electric attacks don't affect it at all. If you'd care to reorder then your lunch is on me, with my apologies.”

“What's up that way?” Eve asked, pointing towards the southeast.

“That way? The battlefields are in that direction, by the apricorn trees. Pidgeotto likes to roost there, we think.”

Eve looked up the hill thoughtfully. “Right,” she said. “Come on, Meowth! Let's go bag that bird!”

“Eve, wait!” Josh called after her. “What about our lunch?”

But Eve was already pounding up a flight of stone steps. Josh sighed and held up Magnemite's Poké Ball. “Come on, screwball. Looks like lunch is going to have to wait.”

*​

The cyndaquil blew out a dense Smokescreen, forcing Magnemite to abort its Tackle.

“Way to go, Sori! Now, use Ember!” its trainer ordered. She was a perky black girl in a red tartan miniskirt, and had been fighting hard to keep her advantage over Magnemite. A Zephyr Badge glinted proudly on her lapel. Josh had been trying to get one final clean hit in but her cyndaquil just kept evading Magnemite's attacks.

A cloud of fiery sparks jetted from somewhere inside the smoke, catching Magnemite off-guard. It spun on its axis rapidly to try and throw off the embers clinging to its metal skin.

“Hang in there, screwball! Come on, Sonic Boom, through the smoke!” Josh called. The Smokescreen burst apart as easily as Sleep Powder, the shock wave blowing it apart and tossing the cyndaquil across the concrete battlefield. Both pokémon were looking battered, each snatching a moment to rest while their trainers took stock. Magnemite had battled tenaciously despite its type-disadvantage. It was more focused on the battle than before, Josh was sure of it. After taking direct hits from several Fire-type attacks, Josh felt he owed his pokémon a break.

“Hey. How about we call it a day? I don't know about your cyndaquil, but my screwball here has fought enough,” he said.

“Yeah, ok,” his opponent replied. “Sori's pretty tired too. Good battle, mister!”

She recalled her cyndaquil and took off at a run, leaving Josh alone on the battlefield with Magnemite quietly circling him. He flung himself onto a bench at the edge of the field. The battlefield was surrounded by a chain-link fence, overhung in places by the branches of apricorn trees. The pink and white apricorns were in season, the bright fruits hanging heavily among the budding leaves.

He was about to call Magnemite to him when he remembered what he had read in Dr Imogen's book. 'Magnet pokémon display affection by repeatedly orbiting objects.' Josh smiled at his Magnemite. It was a strange creature, but armed with Dr Imogen's book, he was beginning to understand what made his little screwball tick.

Just then, Eve joined him on the bench, plunking herself down with a “Hmph!” She folded her arms tight across her chest and scowled up at the sky. The soaring pidgeotto was just a dark crossbow-shape against a scrap of grey cloud.

“Still can't catch that pidgeotto, eh?” said Josh.

“Hmph.”

“I've been thinking. I reckon I know how you can catch it.”

“Hmph?”

Josh pointed to the overhanging branches. “White apricorns,” he said.

“White apricorns,” she repeated dully. “White apricorns! Fast Balls! Josh, you're brilliant!” Eve leapt up and carefully selected an apricorn, slicing through the stem with a pocket knife.

“Josh, you're brilliant,” Eve beamed at him. “Hmm … maybe I'll take a couple of colours.”

“Don't thank me too soon. I think you'll find that you owe me lunch.”

“What? I do not!”

“You do, Miss Evelina, because the bistro owner was going to offer us lunch for free but you ran off to catch a pokémon.”

“But pidgeotto was getting away -”

“Free lunch,” Josh countered.

Eve looked ready to keep arguing, but her scowl changed to a smile instead. “Maybe I'd rather take you out to dinner,” she said archly.

“Do I get to choose the restaurant?”

“I don't see why not. You seem to have good taste,” she said with a wink. “Are we square?”

“We're square,” he said. “Come on, let's head back to Azalea! If we're quick you might have your Ball ready for tomorrow.”

*​

Humming happily to herself, Ledyba landed on the damp turf and clicked shut her wing cases. Her armour shone a healthy crimson, flecked with a cluster of irregular black spots.

“Kind of looks like a constellation, doesn't it,” Josh said thoughtfully. “A bit like Lyra.”

“You think so?” Eve replied.

“Sure. That big spot there could be Vega. And there, R Lyrae, beta Lyrae ...”

Ledyba buzzed her way over to her trainer and landed on her head. “Maybe I should call you Lyra then,” Eve said. “Yes. Lyra's a good name.”

*​

Pidgeotto circled slowly over Longwater. She had lost her, and now she couldn't find her again. She was looking for the female human with the pink crest, the one with the savage black meowth. There was a rattata, engrossed in a half-eaten bagel. An obvious target. She ignored it: where was the human? There was a pichu, foolishly exposed on a lawn. She ignored it: where was the human? She wanted to take all the human’s food. And slam her talons into the meowth.

She eventually mugged a passing human for his hamburger, but it just wasn't the same.

*​

Sunset was fading into twilight when Josh got back to the Pokémon Centre. He found Eve relaxing outside with her ledyba. She'd let down her rings, the loose locks falling to the small of her back.

Lyra buzzed something at Eve. “Are you sure?” she replied. “You're usually too sleepy around this time.”

“Dyyy-ledyyy,” Lyra said cryptically.

“Ok then. Be back when the stars come out,” Eve told her. Lyra spiralled into the air and flew off into the dusk.

“You can understand her?” Josh asked uncertainly.

“The words she said? No. But I understand the meaning well enough,” she giggled at his surprised expression. “It's not that unusual. You can already read your bulbasaur's moods, can't you? I wouldn't be surprised if you started to understand his speech before long. It happens with most trainers, sooner or later. Anyway,” she added, “I'd best shower and change since we're going to dinner.”

“Erm, Eve? We can eat at the cafeteria here if you like.”

“Mm-mm,” she said, shaking her head firmly. “I said I'd take you out to dinner, and I meant it. And, um, it's nice to have company … I had a lot of fun today.”

*​

“I'll see you when you've won your Badge!” She had meant it in a playful way, but to Josh it still felt like a vote of confidence. He had wanted to win anyway - for the sake of proving Dad wrong, and for the sake of his own pride. But now he also wanted to win because of the confidence Eve had in him. She was probably in Longwater by now, Fast Ball in hand.

He leaned against the bole of a chestnut tree and took a few deep breaths. The Gym felt more like a forest than a building. The strategy he'd devised should work, but … Bugsy might throw anything at him. There was no way he could research all the possibilities. Closing his eyes, he forced himself to breathe slowly. When his heart rate dropped, Josh headed to the dirt battlefield in the middle of the Gym.

“So Joshua, come to challenge me already?” Bugsy called. He was standing up in the branches of a tall elm, his retinue of bug catchers clustered below.

“I've come here to win a Hive Badge,” Josh called back, trying to sound more confident than he felt.

Bugsy shrugged. “I accept all challengers. Benny, would you fetch the referee? Tell him Joshua has arrived for a two-on-two battle. Brandon, hold the ladder please.”

They took their places on the field while they waited for Benny to return with the referee. After a while Bugsy said, “Have you ever heard the saying 'He who learns the rules of the Bug pokémon, learns to rule the Bug pokémon'?”

“No. As I recall, I was told to go and bond with my Electric pokémon,” Josh replied evenly. He was faintly pleased to see Bugsy raise a quizzical eyebrow, as if not quite sure what to make of his remark.

Josh was still focussing on keeping his breathing steady when the referee arrived, standing out in sharp contrast to the Gym Trainers in his black and gold uniform. With a flourish of his flags – red for Bugsy, green for Josh – the referee announced the rules.

“This official Gym battle between the challenger Joshua Cook of Mulberry Town and the Gym Leader Bugsy of the Azalea Town Gym is about to commence! Each trainer will use two pokémon and only the challenger may make substitutions! A Hive Badge is at stake!”

My pride is at stake.

“And … begin!”

“You had better be ready, Joshua! Go Spinarak!”

Stay calm. You can do this. “Magnemite! Let's win this.”

There was a moment of absolute stillness. Magnemite hung motionless, unfazed by Spinarak staring back with a spider's patient menace. There was something unnerving about the way it stood perched on the tips of its yellow legs, beady black eyes giving away nothing. Your move, Bugsy.

Bugsy broke cover first. “Use String Shot,” he yelled. Spinarak went from statue-still to lightning-fast. Magnemite instinctively dodged the String Shot and retaliated with a Thundershock, but Spinarak was already moving, somersaulting into the trees on the end of a silken safety-line.

“Thundershock, again,” Josh said.

“Webs, Spinarak.”

Chased by Thundershocks, Spinarak zipped from tree-to-tree leaving behind trip-lines as it went. It moved with sudden bursts of frantic movement, all skittering legs and flying String Shot, and before long it had spun a net of silk over the whole battlefield.

But Josh had spotted a mistake. “Sonic Boom,” he ordered calmly. The Sonic Boom sounded off with the familiar crashing ckroom that Josh was beginning to love, accompanied by a clatter of snapping threads. In one swift attack, Magnemite ripped Spinarak's net to ragged shreds.

“He who learns the rules of the Bug pokémon, learns to rule the Bug pokémon,” Josh quoted. “Spinarak spun its web too taut.”

“... very clever, Joshua. Let's see if you can figure this out – Shadow Sneak!”

Darting into the gloom beneath the branches, Spinarak melted into the shadows and disappeared from sight. Josh was instantly suspicious. Why Shadow Sneak? A relatively weak Ghost-type attack should barely affect Magnemite with its Steel-typing. But Spinarak hadn't attacked – it had melted into the shadows beneath the trees as perfectly as if it was not there at all. What are you up to, Bugsy?

“On your guard, Magnemite. As soon as you see Spinarak, zap it.”

“Sorry Joshua, but it won't be that easy. Use Night Shade!”

Black rays like the negative of a Psybeam lanced out from the gloom, smashing into Magnemite's left magnet with a flash of shadow. The blast shaded to a sinister red at the edges, throwing out shadows rather than glare. Shadow Sneak was never intended to be an attack, it was camouflage. Josh racked his brain, trying to remember the effects of Night Shade. It was a Ghost-type attack, but why then was Magnemite so easily injured by it? Volleys of Night Shades shot out from the trees. Many missed, but too many found their mark. Josh winced as Magnemite let out a grating screech – one of its magnets had bent out of shape. Switching for Bulbasaur won't solve anything. I can't see Spinarak and neither can Magnemite. Night Shade bypasses Steel-type resistance somehow …

Josh realised he was in trouble.

*​

Pidgeotto was getting angry. A ledyba, a damn bug, was challenging her to battle! What was worse, this bug wasn't afraid of her! She just couldn't squash it, try as she might, this brave little ledyba that fought for the female human with the pink crest. She didn't want this.

She wanted to battle the meowth!

Pidgeotto decided that she had had enough. She climbed sharply to gain some height, fully expecting the ledyba to follow. No matter. She was fast and nimble, and could out climb any mere bug. Wheeling round, she glared down at the ledyba and the pink-crested human far below. Time to make an end of it!

Rolling into a dive, Pidgeotto swept her wings back and plummeted like a meteor. A few quick flaps of her wings corrected her course, a barrel roll compensated for ledyba's sluggish dodge. Next, the talons swung forward, six gleaming claws ready to crush ledyba once and for all. Less than a second before impact, there was a flash of green and then -

It was like flying into a brick wall.

Disoriented and half-conscious, Pidgeotto tumbled to earth. The pink-crested human threw a ball at her, a red, yellow and white ball …

*​

Magnemite narrowly evaded another Night Shade. It flicked a Thundershock into the trees, guessing at Spinarak's position and failing.

“If you can't cope with surprises, how do you expect to win one Badge, never mind eight?” Bugsy said. “You should probably quit now rather than lose completely.”

Josh ignored him. Calm down and think, you fool! Spinarak hadn't stepped out into the sun since using Shadow Sneak. That must mean it could only hide in the shadows. But surely it couldn't hide in just any shadows, it would still need to be able to see Magnemite. Which means that it's probably hiding in the widest patch of shadow …

There. A space overhung by the evergreen spray of a cypress. “Magnemite!” he called, pointing with an outhrust arm. “Sonic Boom that area now!”

Whether it was out of trust, Josh didn't know, but Magnemite didn't even hesitate. It simply spun, and fired. And fired. And fired.

Next Chapter: Scary Shiny Glasses

Atlas - Cider Country:
The perry Josh orders at the bistro was inspired by an actual perry I ordered in Padstow last year. Cornish Orchards is indeed a fine cider to sip on the Padstow harbour front when you have nothing better to do. The town of Longwater is based heavily on the blink-and-you'll forget-it town at the beginning of Celebi: Voice of the Forest. I have no reason for this other than because I liked the look of it, although originally I had intended to fold the forest in the movie into the Ilex Forest and have our heroes visit Arborville
 
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Don't Look Away
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Well, once more I have to say that I really enjoy the pacing in this fic, it's actually funny considering this chapter has a lot of scene breaks which usually could kill a chapter because it can throw the pacing off. Such things do not happen in this chapter at least to me...okay well it did drop a little actually, I'd recommend being more careful with that but it was able to get back into the hang of things quick enough before it could cause any trouble.

The chapter was more of the same and at the same time different. Aside from being the first chapter to officially feature Eve and Joshua together form start to finish it's also a chapter that focuses on what the two are doing to further their training. I like the fact that Joshua is bonding more with Magnimite by just doing things that its species generally likes instead of just having the Pokemon train with him like fighting will actually get him to like Joshua more, I thought that it was a nice touch. Though on the subject of battles I have to say that your battle scenes got a lot better this chapter, they flowed more smoothly this time around.

I also liked how you focused on the Pidgeotto and the interest that it grabbed on Eve and I'm curious to see how their relationship will develop
 
The Hidden Author
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I like reading this! It is funny and clever, and the battle scenes really do pay off! I myself as a writer can't get too detailed without it getting boring, but I think you hit this one in the sweet spot! Good luck finishing!
 
Reader and Writer
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Also, your dialog is very good and effective in that it isn't just necessary words coming out of the mouths of the characters; your characters' dialog is actually unique to each personality and helps develop the characters by itself. When a quotation is given without attribution, I can easily tell which character is speaking.

And I'll say again, your vocabulary and word usage is very graceful.
 
ready as i'll ever be
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Late reviews are late; my bad. Compiled my general scoring for the awards for your fic below; I assume you already read them since you have access to the group, but if/when that gets deleted/for your convenience, they're here:

Plot (8/10)-- While on the surface, I could wax eloquent about how interesting it is to have mostly-adult characters going around on their mostly-adult journeys and doing mostly-adult things, which really does present an interesting take on fanfiction that I don't see often. However, on a deeper level, there's nothing that makes this much more different from typical journeyfic--the characters are older, sure, but they seem to have similar thoughts and problems/etc as their younger counterparts. Perhaps this is more of a reflection that journeyfic with younger protagonists write their characters too mature, but hey.

So far, the plot is picking up, and there are certainly hints of greatness to come. The focus for me was more on the characters, but the plot lent itself easily to helping them grow and was entertaining on its own.

Setting (7/10)-- It's classic Johto, from what I can gather. I thought that the backstory and focus given to the Joy Hegemony was a nice touch that we don't often see in most fanfic--not entirely in the sense of "wow no one's ever focused on Nurse Joy before!" but more of "wow most people never bother describing the families of their characters this well." There are some interesting new cities, like Mullberry from the opening few chapters, but it doesn't really seem to be dramatically different from, say, Cherrygrove or some other generic small-town area (the Atlas note, which I did read, is promising, but I didn't get that sort of feel from the story alone, and we end up leaving before anything more can come of it).

All in all, well done, but nothing ridiculously mind-blowing. The setting, rather, tends to take a backseat in favor of plotting and characters, which is, once again, not bad (it just means that your setting section scores a little lower, haha).

Characterization (8/10)-- This was one of the sections that you did particularly well, I think. I'm going to write-up my feelings about Evelina as a supporting character in a bit, but, in all honesty, I felt like she and Josh had almost-equal levels of importance. Juggling two characters so fluidly without having them actively journeying in the same place is impressive in itself, and most of the main/supporting/somewhat-discussed characters have their own quirks and personalities here. Props for giving the Pokemon some fairly unique things as well.

Style (7/10)-- I find that my grading scale kind of falls apart here, but while I find the style of writing entirely adequate here, and it's certainly not shabby, I found nothing here in the style that knocked me off of my feet. And this is not wrong at all. You have pretty standard layman's prose--it gets the job done, and nothing more. That's basically all I look for in most fanfic, especially in fiction with as many things up in the air as journeyfic--it is, however, nothing out-of-the ordinary, I guess?

Technical (9/10)-- I see no butchering in the English language here. There are a couple of places with questionable word choice, but this is a fairly bulky fic, and they were never enough to distract me from the story entirely, so hey. Couple of random typos, but really nothing too hefty here.

Overall: 77/100
Judging has shown me that I'm surprisingly picky when I want to be. Your story certainly has potential, and I don't mean to knock it; at this stage, however, there's nothing flashing me in the face that'll blow me away. Bear in mind that I am very rarely blown away, and even more rarely at the hands of fanfic at any kind.

That being said, I see oodles potential here. Your story is enjoyable and several cuts above the rest, and your development of your characters is quite elegant thus far.

Evelina Joy

Depth (9/10)-- As I mentioned earlier, Evelina feels like she could be a main character--and seeing as she has surprisingly few viewpoint chapters, this is excellent. We see a lot of her in a surprisingly small amount of time, and the unique way in which she addresses her issue of being a Joy is awesome--doubly so because the people she's mad at aren't painted as evil evil mcevilfaces.

Originality (8/10)--Token rebellious Joy isn't the newest thing I've seen in Pokemon fanfic, but I think you address a lot of the family issues with a lot more finesse than most fanfiction does.

Contribution to the Plot (8/10)-- While Evelina feels like she could be a main character, it's quite clear that she's not, heh. Found myself wondering what the story would be like if she weren't present, and I can't help but think it would be somewhat similar? That being said, I see strong hints that she'll be super-important later, so I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt here.

Entertainment Value (8/10)-- You've done an excellent job of addressing Evelina's plight thus far, but I feel that at some level the "ugh I just don't want to be like my family lolz!!1" angle will become dry--not now, of course, and I certainly cannot predict the future of your fic with any degree of certainty. Thus far, it works, and it works well; I fear that you're reaching that line soon, however.

Overall: 83/100
I'm still a hardass, lol.

We don't see much of Evelina, but what we do see of her is quite impressive. She has plenty of room for growth and development ahead of her (one might even call it a long walk oh god no stop), and you've certainly laid down the groundwork for this development quite beautifully.



Also, I never seemed to get around to the most recent chapter, which I just read, so I'll leave a quick comment on that as well. I really enjoyed reading this installment--it was super fast-paced, and the quick cuts between perspectives really did help ratchet up the suspense a bit (this isn't a problem yet, but I remember that thread regarding multiple viewpoints in the workshop, and I think that this was the perfect time to do abrupt cuts in point of view, so kudos there). It's interesting to see how you handle two different trainers simultaneously, and you've managed to give both of them things to do without shafting one character or making it look like you're attempting too much at a time.

I do admit that I found magnemite's change in personality to be a bit too abrupt, I guess? It seemed a lot more antagonistic toward Joshua from what I'd read in the previous chapters, and it seemed a little too contrived (to me, at least) to have it suddenly decide "OH THIS GUY POLISHED MY SHELL THAT BE SUPER CHILL I LIKE HIM" and enter the battle happily and all bro-y again.

Still, I really liked the most recent chapter, and I'm excited to watch this unfold.
 
make plove not warble
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Heyo! I've been reading this for a while, deeply sorry about not responding for so long. Let's begin.

PLOT: My immediate impression of this fic is that it is a more slice of life approach to the journey story than anything else. It seems to focus more on characters and development than some huge epic overarching plot. This is immensely refreshing, but I've always felt like it can only get you so far. The Beast of the Sea chapter seems to be hinting at something larger, so I'm going to withhold judgment on that front for now. As it is, the storyline is paced very well. I never got bored about nothing changing and I never got frustrated at any constant barrage of incredibly vital events one after the other. It's a fine line, and one that you walk with great poise. in general, I really think this is a great way to write a journey fic. I love the emphasis on adventure and self-discovery, which are both things I think would be very important if this were something that people actually did.

CHARACTERS: As I said above, this is pretty clearly where your emphasis is. There's not a lot that I can say that others haven't already. I love your characters, as they are all relatable in some way. Joshua has even had noticeable development already, which is an impressive feat. Evelina doesn't seem to have changed much over the course of the story so far, but she comes across as an already developed character if that makes any sense.

You do a great job with perspective, even though it's a third person narrative. The way scenes are written seem to be affected by which character has the POV, which is quite cool. Every character (I don't know why I keep saying every, there are only really two important characters at this point) has an important role in this story beyond just revolving around Joshua. Joshua and Evelina are both likable and believable, which is all that matters at this point.

WRITING:
SOLID. I usually break this section up into description and dialogue, but honestly I have no real problems with either of those in this fic. I want to say that I noticed the way you used immersive description before you even wrote the Academy article about it. In fact, I was planning on asking you if you often went on walks/runs/whatever and just described things in your head as an exercise. That's something I've been trying to do lately, and I think it's paying off. Specific details make the world seem so much more real. I usually have a problem with people lacking description (or people piling on long, boring expositions) but you kind of nailed it.

Dialogue is great as well. It really ties in to your strengths with characters. The dialogue is believable, like something you would actually hear, not something scripted. The only advice I'd give is kind of tricky to implement (I'm pretty bad at it myself). Try giving each character more of an individual voice. As it is, some scenes come across as the same person talking to them self. Everyone uses different sentence structures, slang, filler words, etc. Try to incorporate that more into your dialogue. Like I said, it can be hard to do and your dialogue is in no way bad right now. I'm just trying to come up with ways to improve :p

OVERALL:
Great character-driven story. I love how vivid, believable (there's that word again...) and well thought out your version of Johto is. I look forward to more!


Review Extravaganza 1/50
 
Ch. 9 - Scary Shiny Glasses
Thesaurus rex
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@Flaze Wow, a lot of little sighs of relief from me! Pacing was tricky for this chapter, no doubt. Trying to write for two characters in different places and develop pokémon personalities = lots of scene breaks. There was originally going to be a longer montage, but though I might have enjoyed writing it, it would have been a lot of words for the sake of Warm and Fuzzy Feeling

@zookinator Why thank you! I do sometimes wonder whether anyone laughs at the silly moments

@kintsugi As I mentioned to Flaze above, this was a tricky one to pace, so I'm glad it's more or less worked out. Regarding Magnemite, I do take your point. In the first chapter plan I had more of Josh and Magnemite but it felt like the point was being belaboured somewhat. This isn't the end of the strange pokémon that went wandering off in Chapter Four, though!

@AetherX I GET FIRST REVIEW HAHA This story is quite a niche plot, I suppose, by the standards of pokémon fanfiction. I see it as the kind of story you can read easily as a break from more epic stories like, oh I don't know, Unpredictable ;) In answer to your question, I often go for walks and tend to naturally pay attention to my surroundings anyway - but it's something anyone can do, as I mentioned in the Academy. I personally think it's well worth learning the details of the world around you. This is why I can now tell the difference between an oak and a beech, or why such odd town names like Shepton Mallet exist

1.1 : Eve now says "by the gods" not "by God"
1.2: Imogen's e-mail to Eve now discusses Pidgeotto psychology. Eve's response explains that Pidgeotto is a subspecies

Chapter Nine – Scary Shiny Glasses (Version 1.2)

Evelina

Evelina skidded through the Gym's automatic doors and legged it through the trees. Dry leaf litter crackled beneath her boots. I hope I haven't missed it! From up ahead came the sights and sounds of battle - the high-pitched sizzle of Thundershocks, Night Shade rays flickering through the trees. Leaping over a gnarled tree root, Eve thumped to a halt behind the trainer's box.

Josh didn't appear to notice. He was concentrating on the battle, on his magnemite hovering over the middle of the field. Bugsy's pokémon – presumably a spinarak – seemed to be hiding somewhere in the trees off to the left. How much of the battle have I missed? Josh was shifting his weight from foot to foot, as if the soles of his boots were burning.

“If you can't cope with surprises, how do you expect to win one Badge, never mind eight?” Bugsy said. “You should probably quit now rather than lose completely.”

Eve felt a pang of disappointment shoot through her chest. Was the battle really going that badly? But Josh said nothing of quitting. Instead he was methodically scanning the treeline - trying to spot Bugsy's pokémon, perhaps.

“Magnemite!” he called, pointing with an outhrust arm. “Sonic Boom that area now!”

Magnemite spun and locked onto its target with remarkable speed. For a brief second Eve wondered whether Magnemite could see something that she couldn't - or whether it was trusting to its trainer's commands – and then it was blasting away with Sonic Boom. Branches snapped and foliage shredded; the shockwaves bulldozed the leaf litter and scoured the soil. From somewhere in the trees came a panicked “Spinaa!” and a thump.

“How the hell ...” Bugsy gasped in shock. The referee edged forward for a closer look.

“Spinarak is unable to battle! Magnemite wins!” he called. Eve suppressed a cheer with some difficulty. She didn't want to distract him, not at this critical moment.

“I don't know how you figured out where Spinarak was hiding. I'm wondering whether it was a lucky guess,” Bugsy said.

“Calculation,” Josh replied.

“Well, consider into your calculations the ashigaru to scyther's samurai – Beedrill! Attack stance!”

The Beedrill that emerged from the Poké Ball was a fine example of its species. Three feet long, with a glossy golden carapace, strong limbs, and beautifully proportioned wings. And disciplined, too. Most beedrill were berserkers, full of nervous energy. This one hovered almost motionlessly a few feet in the air. It immediately took a stance, thrusting its tail stinger forward, right arm locked out, left held at a right angle above its head ready to stab forwards.

If Josh felt any elation from his victory, he didn't show it. He looked up at the ceiling, for some cryptic reason, before recalling Magnemite. Smart move. If the battle had been hard-fought, then Magnemite would probably be knocked out in short order. This way, the Poké Ball would allow it to heal a little and become his holdout pokémon.

“Battle's on, Bulbasaur!” Josh called out. Bulbasaur shouted no battle-cries upon entering the field, instead choosing to mimic his trainer's composure. Eve couldn't help but look at the seed pokémon with a professional eye. Bulbasaur's bulb was a handsome velvety forest green, his scales shiny and supple, closer to green than teal in colour. She was a little impressed by his lean physique – captive bulbasaur often tended to develop a greedy streak and needed a firm trainer to stop them overeating.

To her slight surprise, Josh took the initiative. “Vine Whip,” he ordered hesitantly. A strange move, Eve thought, given Beedrill's double-resistance to Grass-type attacks, but one that would allow Bulbasaur to attack from beyond the reach of those vicious stingers.

“Defence stance, Beedrill!” Bugsy countered, his beedrill snapping into a new stance - reorienting itself to face Bulbasaur side-on, pulling back its tail stinger and bringing its left arm down, tight across the thorax. Bulbasaur lashed at it from all sides, striking at the wings, the thorax, the abdomen. With practiced ease Beedrill parried and blocked, deflecting the strongest attacks and ignoring others completely.

“I think that's enough waiting around,” said Bugsy. “Use your Agility!”

The low drone of Beedrill's wings rose to a buzzsaw wail. It zipped around the field in irregular loops, easily dodging the flailing vines that tried in vain to swat it from the air. Bulbasaur grunted “Bulba! Bulba!” with every attack.

“Don't try and follow it Bulbasaur,” Josh said. “Use Growth, and let it come to you.”

Deep within Bulbasaur's bulb, a soft green phosphorescence flickered into life, eerily beautiful in its strangeness. Yellow motes of light lit up from nowhere, dancing and flirting around the swell of his bulb like fireflies.

“Saaaur!” Bulbasaur howled with exhilaration, bathed in the glow of his own phosphorescence. Seizing its chance Beedrill slashed down with its stinger, drawing a thin red line down Bulbasaur's face before cutting a deep gash on the backstroke. Faint green after-images followed behind the stinger, brighter on the second stroke. Fury Cutter. The third Fury Cutter missed as Bulbasaur smashed it to the ground with a Growth-assisted Tackle. Quick though it was, Beedrill only just managed to dodge Bulbasaur's attempt to trample it where it lay.

“You're doing great, Bulbasaur, keep it up!” Josh called.

“Good, Beedrill! Now swarm Bulbasaur with Twineedle!”

Wings wailing out a harsh buzz, Beedrill plummeted vertically down, stingers poised and ready. The first strike whistled past Bulbasaur's flank and ploughed into the dirt; the second caught him behind the ear, the third stabbed at his neck. Bulbasaur tried to drive the poison bee off with Vine Whips – Beedrill slid easily aside and attacked from the flank, perforating his bulb with a flurry of Twineedles. Josh watched, jaw clenched, as Beedrill switched flanks with a mid-air roll, slashing with Fury Cutter as it went.

“It's all about speed. Nothing can match a Bug pokémon that's been trained to move,” said Bugsy confidently. He looked relaxed, sure of his strategy and sure of his pokémon, giving orders with an arm outstretched. It was quite common for trainers to make all kinds of grand gestures during the heat of battle – Eve knew that she herself had a tendency to snap her fingers a lot – but Josh hardly moved. Arms folded, he just stood there in the trainer's box with an air of measured concentration. I know it's all a battle persona, but it's kinda, well ... cool.

Yet Eve saw an expression on his face she'd seen once before. Behind those dark eyes the cogs in his head were whirring. She half-expected the sun to reflect off his glasses dramatically.

“Bulbasaur!” Josh shouted. “I need you to trust me! Don't aim this next attack!”

“Bulbasaur!” he protested.

“I know you can do it! I just need you to trust me! Sleep Powder!”

Sleep Powder mushroomed into the air, a heavy, heady cloud that settled around Bulbasaur like veil. Beedrill rose in panic and blundered straight into the powder. Fighting to stay airborne, it zigzagged drowsily out of the reach of Tackle. Bugsy was yelling encouragement, yelling at Beedrill to stay awake.

“Quick! Give it a Leech Seed barrage!”

Bulbasaur let fly with a shower of Leech Seeds, the seeds raining down around Beedrill. With nowhere for it to go three found their mark, wrapping the bee in a thicket of tendrils. I don't know if he knows it yet, but Josh has got this battle won.

“Attack stance! Give it everything you've got!” Bugsy shouted. He's panicking! Beedrill surged forwards, stingers stabbing with all the berserker fury of its wild cousins.

“Keep it in front of you! Heal yourself if you have to,” Josh ordered. Bugsy's pokémon was tiring with the Leech Seeds rapidly sapping away its vitality. Each strike was slower than the last, and Bulbasaur seemed to know it. He refused to let Beedrill slip out of his field of vision, constantly herding it back into sight with his Vine Whips. Finish it! One good strong Tackle and it's over!

Bulbasaur reclaimed one of his Leech Seeds, his wounds visibly sealing up before Eve's eyes. Beedrill landed with a stagger – too tired to fly, its legs shaking with the effort of standing up. Call it, referee! Bulbasaur reached out and grabbed Beedrill's stingers, effectively disarming it. Beedrill thrashed and kicked in a futile tug-of-war.

With a certain degree of care, Bulbasaur lifted Beedrill and smashed it against a tree, again and again, until finally, it stopped struggling. Eve's eyes were on the referee. Call it, damn you!

Up swept the green flag.

“Beedrill is unable to battle! The victory goes to the challenger, Joshua Cook!

“YES!” Eve punched the air, her pent-up excitement bubbling up like soda fizz. Surprised by her outburst, Josh turned just in time to be nearly bowled over as one hundred and twenty pounds of young womanhood threw her arms around his neck. For a brief, horrible moment all Eve could think of was what a complete fool she had made of herself … and then he was wrapping his arms around her, and laughing.

“Um, congratulations?” she said redundantly after they broke apart, and giggled. Josh gave her an odd, perplexed look.

Having finished recalling his Beedrill, Bugsy had been waiting tactfully for them to break apart. “I was merciless, but you beat me anyway,” he said. “You've earned this Joshua – the Hive Badge.”

The round metal badge shone bright and new in the springtime sun, black and red like a ledyba's back. Josh took it between finger and thumb, staring at his prize. Eve wondered what he was thinking.

“You know, Bugsy,” he said slowly, “when I came here to challenge you, I wasn't thinking about the Badge. But now I'm holding it in my hands, despite the fact that I didn't really want it till now, I can't remember the last time I was so happy to achieve anything.”

“I think you've got potential, Joshua, and I'm not just saying that,” Bugsy said. “You strategise well, and you can definitely think on your feet. What I'm not seeing yet is the passion. And that's something you can only find yourself.”

“Oh, hey!” Eve broke in. “You should get your Badge scanned at the Pokémon Centre!”

“Scanned?” Josh replied.

“Each Gym Badge you win allows you to claim PokéGelt,” Bugsy explained. “PokéGelt is a currency that you can exchange for pokémon-related items and services. It's banked on your licence, so you can claim your Gelt at any Pokémon Centre. Oh, and Eve? If you've come to challenge me, I'm afraid it'll have to wait a while. Come back around five o'clock.”

“That's great. I'll be ready then,” Eve replied.

I just hope Josh will want to stay to watch my battle.

*​

From: Imogen Joy ([email protected])
Sent: 1 April 2012 22:13:34
To: Evelina Joy ([email protected])

Eve,

Remember that pidgeotto are very uncomplicated pokémon. It may be wary after capture (Pidgeotto usually are), but it has been attacking humans for their food. Strange behaviour for a rural pidgeotto. Maybe it likes being around humans – keep talking to it through the Poké Ball to acclimatise it. Keep a firm hand, in any case, because it will be impulsive. When in doubt, battle and find out!

I wish I could be there! I never got the chance to visit Azalea while the flowers were in bloom. How did you like Longwater? You should take the paddle-ferry up river to the Ilex Forest. Trust me, leave the boat at Withy End and walk on to Arborville. There are trainer's trails that will take you round Lake of Life Reserve through the Heartwoods to the Ilex Forest proper.

I still think that you should talk to your mother. If you won't call her then at least e-mail her. I know that you don't believe me, but she misses you and would love to hear about your adventures.

*​

From: Evelina Joy ([email protected])
Sent: 2 April 2012 12:24:16
To: Imogen Joy ([email protected])

We've been over this. If Mum really wanted to hear about my adventures then she would have supported me in the first place. It's my help around the Centre that she misses. I've made up my mind, and that's that. Anyway, it's not like she has no idea what I'm doing – I have to stay at Centres, remember?

I caught that pidgeotto. Had to use a Fast Ball to do it, but I caught it. Actually her, she’s a falcon, not a tiercel. Turns out she has the Motor Drive ability – isn't that crazy? The Pokédex says it’s a subspecies. Falco anaemos merlinii. Do you know it? The ecology says they specialise in pikachu, which explains Motor Drive. I want to spar a few times before the Gym, see what happens. I'll be battling Bugsy this evening.

I haven't decided which route to take next. It's something I don't want to decide until after the battle. Let you know how it goes.

Eve

*​

“Meowooooo!” Meowth howled piteously as Eve dragged him to his doom. His claws scrabbled and gouged at the floor but it was no use. She had a steel grip, both hands locked tight around his tail. He had sensed that something was wrong the moment she'd let him out his Poké Ball. Growing up as an alley-tom had taught him to run at the first sign of trouble, but Eve could move faster than a human had any right to.

[Somebody stop her! She's no nurse, she's a monster!] he howled. [Call the cops! Confiscate her trainer's licence!]

Eve took no notice. Meowth's increasingly frantic hollering was drawing attention from the other trainers in the Pokémon Centre. Some looked annoyed at the din. Others – the cat lovers, most likely – looked on in horror. Josh had staked out a space by the lounge for her, where he was test-pitching his new tent. Next to him was what Meowth so dreaded – a plastic basin of warm water.

Eve seized her pokémon by the scruff. “You are having a sodding bath, whether you like it or not!” she hissed.

[This crazy bitch is trying to drown me!] Meowth yowled. [Murder! Murder! Mur-blbl-bbl-blr!]

Eve gave him a thorough dunking in the tub before bringing him up for air. “Shut. Up. And put those claws away, because if you scratch me, by the gods you will regret it!

Meowth watched her sullenly, water dripping off the ends of his drooping whiskers. [MUR-bbl-blubl-bll!]

“Is that really necessary?” Josh asked with an amused smile.

“I'll have no grubby pokémon on my team,” she said, methodically scrubbing Meowth's fur.

[Don't act so proud. I can smell your pits from here, pinko.]

“At least I don't wash my hair with spit!” Eve snapped. His constant struggles splashed an especially large spray over her polo shirt, and she snarled in annoyance. Meowth quailed, sensing that he'd gone too far.

She was somewhat relieved to see Josh pay no attention to the damp spectacle. “Ok, I'm familiar with this thing now,” he said. “Pass me my boots?”

Josh's boots were a solid-looking pair of hobnailed brown hiking boots. They seemed to be the only item of clothing he bothered to look after – unlike his scuffed Pokégear, faded jumper and fraying jacket, his boots were freshly cleaned and polished.

“These are quite heavy,” she said, passing them over. Meowth took the opportunity to make a valiant bid for freedom. Without really thinking, Eve seized him and dragged him back in.

“They should be. They're reinforced toe to backstay with aron steel,” he replied casually.

Eve flipped a sceptical double-take and realised that he wasn't joking. “Aron steel? Where on earth did you buy them?”

“I didn't. I made them. Well, with help. I was on holiday once, on Dewford Island. There's a craftsman there who makes aron steel the traditional way, almost the last to do so. Mostly he makes pocket knives and the like to sell to tourists. Anyway, one day I went in to buy a knife and we got talking. He ended up taking me on as apprentice for the week,” he smiled fondly. “He was so happy to find a young person who was actually interested in learning from him.”

“Hold on, hold on, back up! You made aron steel? Like, shirt off and ringing hammer?”

“Well … yeah. It was hot in front of the forge,” he replied, embarrassed.

The mental image of Josh stripped to the waist, hammering away at an anvil was so strange that Eve wanted to laugh. She forced herself not to; it would be cruel to make him think she was laughing at him.

“Hey, where's Magnemite gone?” she asked. Magnemite had been let out of its Poké Ball to be charged and had been behaving itself so far.

“Oh no,” Josh said, “Magnemite! Magnemite! Leave that bloody pikachu alone!”

Still in his socks, he awkwardly ran to try and haul his pokémon away from the spooked pikachu it was pestering. Eve really did laugh then – the struggling pair were the centre of attention, Josh cursing and threatening while Magnemite did its level best to get near the pikachu. He'll be cuddling that metal ball later. For all that they didn't see eye-to-eye, Eve could see they were beginning to develop an affection for each other.

And what about you, Evelina Joy? The last two days had been unexpectedly fun. Since leaving Cherrygrove City, Eve had been quite content to adventure on her own. She wasn't quite sure what she expected to happen when she invited Josh to the café, but it had turned out to have been one of her better ideas. He was good company. You might look at him and see only the bookish trainer, but beneath that was a woodsman, a steelsmith … full of odd surprises. Someone who went climbing down onix-burrows to get out of the rain was someone she wanted to get to know better.

Part of Eve wondered whether she should even be feeling this way. She'd only known Josh two short days, after all. They would soon be going their separate ways, probably for good. Too soon. How long has it been since I last clicked with someone so well?

“I just fed you, you overgrown ball bearing!” Josh had finally managed to restrain Magnemite in a bear hug. Red and blue bolts were crackling between the poles of Magnemite's magnets. Before she could shout a warning it blasted out a halo of coloured sparks which promptly earthed themselves on Josh's arms.

“OW! What was that for?” he said, sounding more hurt than angry.

“Congratulations, Josh,” Eve called. “Your screwball learned Thunder Wave.”

“I'm so very proud,” he replied dryly.

Eve's smile didn't last long. What do I do about this? She forgot about scrubbing and automatically started scratching her pokémon behind the ears.

Meowth looked up, confused. [Something wrong, boss?]

“Just thinking, buddy. Just thinking.”

Next Chapter: The Question

Atlas - The Geography of Azalea:
First of all, the bath scene was adapted from a Weekly Prompt, so thanks are due to @LightningTopaz

There are a few things I can say about this chapter. The geography of the Azalea Town area isn't quite as it appears in the games – as I mentioned in the Chapter Eight Atlas, the town of Longwater and the river are inspired by Celebi: Voice of the Forest. The Heartwoods, then, are the forest around the Lake of Life that we see in the movie. And trainer's trails? Well, here in Britain the National Trust has little paths and walks all over the place, usually marked by wooden signs bearing the acorn logo of the Trust. I imagine that Johto probably has something similar for the use of travelling trainers.

Atlas - PokéGelt:
PokéGelt is an odd name, I grant you. “Gelt” is Yiddish slang for “money”, though it also has roots in German. The idea of PokéGelt comes from thinking about how paying for a Gym challenge would work. Under this system, poorer trainers are effectively subsidised by the Pokémon League which would allow more people to be able to take the challenge. The money feeds right back into the sport as PokéGelt has to be spent on things like travel equipment, amenities such as Pokémon Centre canteens, and other pokémon-related paraphernalia
 
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Don't Look Away
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All right, first of all the battle was done pretty well. I thought that it flowed just right and the pacing off it wasn't too taxing, plus I liked the fact that Joshua thought through the battle in such a great way making Bugsy look like a complete rookie in comparison.

I think in essence this chapter had a lot to offer in regards to character development, I liked the little part with Eve talking to the other joy via emails, it's nothing big but it does give it a stronger connection to the real world. I also laughed out loud with Meowth not wanting to be bathed and Eve's reaction to it, a good piece of comedy after so much action is good for the soul after all.

Now I'm wondering whether Joshua and Eve really will separate once more, I don't want them to, I really done. But I guess in essence it's all down to what you think it's best. Either way the shipping fuel was good.
 
Brock's Pikachu
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Oh man, that bath scene was so funny! I'm glad the prompt helped you with it.
 
Reader and Writer
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Haha loved the bath scene. The battle was very well done with a great amount of detail but still flows very well. Very elegantly done. Bugsy didn't know what hit him. Josh's character is very deep and refined so far, which is illustrated through his dialog.

I agree with Flaze that character development takes a key turn with this latest chapter. The dialog and interactions between characters is very rich and well done, in my opinion. The Josh/Eve dynamic is great with many nuances even at this point.
 
Because I like Tophats
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Alright, I've been reading The Long Walk for a while now, I have to say that I enjoyed it fully. It's a bit late, but I would like to give my review of your fic.

Characters:
Unlike other journey fics, yours is more focused on character development and their personal lives. Both Joshua and Evelina are interesting characters, with each their own personality and quirks. Joshua has developed quite a bit as a character in 9 chapters, which is impressive I might add, from a person who had just started out as a Pokémon trainer with little knowledge to become decent in battles. Evelina hasn't developed much though, but you could say she's already a well-developed character and that doesn't hurt her. Nevertheless, there are definitely signs of a development of Johua's and Evelina's relationship that I like, especially on the last 2 chapters, that I'm keen to see how it goes.

Plot:
Plot-wise, your story focuses a lot on the characters and their life, kinda like slice-of-life. However, with the interlude with the beast under the sea, there's definitely signs of a much larger plot in the works in the background. At any rate, the plot is well-paced and doesn't feel like it's rushed, nor does it ever get boring. Overall, it's well-written and enjoyable.

Description and Dialogue:
What can I say? They are both superb. Your description is full of life and the dialogues are as realistic as it can get. In terms of advice, I can only say as what AetherX already said, by giving each character an individual voice for example.

At any rate, keep up the good work :)
 
Just Marcat
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Huh. So I decided to read this story for the review game, and after reading the eighth chapter per the request, I got hooked and went straight for the ninth chapter to see what happens. It's a pretty interesting story. Here's what I think.

I've always been fond of journey fics; they tend to be light-hearted and fun and they have room for episodic plots and arcs with an overlying plot. Perhaps the most fascinating thing about journey fics though is the fact that they tend to follow a rather formulaic plot (the eight badges/journey) and so it comes down to the characters and the writer himself to carry the story. You need deep, interesting characters to hold the plot on their shoulders and carry it forward, you have to be interested and invested in them and their journey, and at the same time, you need a writer with good writing skill, and an original take on the story and exposition to make it work.

I'm happy to say that on most accounts so far, I've seen that in this story. Josh and Eve are interesting characters, I like viewpoint switches and I like how unique each viewpoint is. That is to say from two chapters, I could tell if it was third person focused on Eve or third person focused Josh. That being said, you need to focus on maintaining that viewpoint and not straying from it. For example, the eighth chapter, I believe it was focused on Josh's perspective in the third person, yet you suddenly switch to Magnemite and describe his exact thoughts immediately. At the time, the viewpoint was focused on Josh and him only, so it wouldn't make sense for him to know exactly what magnemite was thinking. Now something like this isn't a major issue perse' but I still feel it's something worth addressing.

Another thing I liked was the dialogue and writing style, it's really good, you have an entertaining way of describing how characters act or how a particular place looks like, it's very pleasant to read. I particularly enjoyed Eve being able to talk to Meowth and vice versa.

That being said, I do have some criticism to note. As much as scene breaks are good and help with character development on multiple levels, you have to make sure each scene has context, a clear beginning, end, and setting. In the eighth chapter, the way it suddenly jumped to a scene of them naming the ledyba, it threw me off for a moment and left me confused. Be careful with that. Important thing about scene breaks, make sure you conclude a current scene before moving to the next, and make sure you give context to each and every scene.

I really liked your story, and it's definitely something I'll continue reading, mainly because you do so much right, it overshadows the errors.
 
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Ch. 10 - The Question
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Couple of general comments – Thanks to everyone who gave feedback, I guess you already know I'm grateful due to the “like” on every review, but it doesn't hurt to repeat. It's nice to know that the Josh/Eve dynamic is so well received!

@Tophat Dragoneye: I do take the point on character dialogues. Josh and Eve tend to end up using the same vocab if I'm not careful – I've been trying to give them each a more individual voice of late, you might notice they use slightly different curses, for example.

Eve … Eve's a tricky one to develop. She already knows what she wants, or at least has a much clearer idea of what she's doing and why. This chapter shows some of her complexities, I hope!

@Thabet: Funny that the two chapters you should end up reading would be the most experimental, so to speak. The switch in perspective to the pokémon is cheating, I agree, and it's something I intend to do sparingly. In Chapter Eight, I see what you mean about the scene changes. In hindsight perhaps the vignettes are a bit too snappy for their own good

Chapter Ten – The Question (Version 1.0)

Evelina

“This official Gym battle between the challenger Evelina Joy of Cherrygrove City and the Gym Leader Bugsy of the Azalea Town Gym is about to commence! Each trainer will use three pokémon and only the challenger may make substitutions! A Hive Badge is at stake!”

Ok, Eve. Mind in the battle now. Late afternoon was turning to evening, and her shadow streamed out long and black, turned into a distorted giant by the setting sun. Ledyba – Lyra – had been unusually active near sunset these past few days when she'd normally be lethargic and sleepy. She wondered whether Bugsy would try and capitalise on the time of day by using a crepuscular or nocturnal pokémon … a venonat, maybe.

“And - begin!”

“Ok Miss Joy, let's see what you can do! Go, Beedrill!”

Left jacket pocket, Poké Ball, not Fast Ball. Pokédex, back jeans pocket. “Lyra! You have the honour!”

Lyra materialised in mid-air, jabbing with each of her little fists in turn. [C'mon, c'mon, I ain't scared of you, stripy!] she buzzed, eager as always.

Eve wasted no time in making the first move. “Mach Punch!” she ordered, and Lyra shot forward, crossing the field in less than a second. She landed a blow square between Beedrill's eyes and immediately whirled round to present her armoured back. Beedrill's retaliatory Twineedle scored a thin line across her carapace. Lyra spun, fists flying, but she just wasn't quick enough – Beedrill smoothly parried away the Comet Punches.

Wrong pokémon. What was I thinking? “Ledyba, good. Come back!” Eve said, and recalled Lyra. What she needed now was raw ferocity. Right jacket pocket … I've got to get some belt clasps or something when all this is over.

“It's your turn Meowth!” she shouted. His claws glinted as he leapt yowling from his Poké Ball. Using Hone Claws as soon as he was released was a sneaky trick that Meowth had taught himself. Ragged whiskers held flat against his face, he shifted into his favourite pouncing position.

“Change your pokémon all you like, I'll still be ready for you,” said Bugsy. “Go Beedrill, attack stance! All-out attack!”

With a piping buzz, Beedrill took to the air, hovering cautiously for a moment before diving on Meowth, tail stinger first. It had deliberately chosen to attack from vertical as it had with Bulbasaur, this time to make counter-attacks awkward to execute. Meowth stood his ground, waiting while the vicious stinger plummeted towards his neck until -

“Double Team!” Eve called. Beedrill stung only dirt, having impaled a shadowy copy that vanished as soon as it was struck. Suddenly it was surrounded by leaping, hissing, scratching cats. Charms and claws flashed in the chaos. Eve was irritated to see Beedrill patiently slash through the copies, winnowing away the fakes in an attempt to find the real Meowth.

The real Meowth slunk round behind his opponent, pounced and delivered a powerful Cut right across its thorax, ripping through a hind wing with a sound like tearing paper. Meowth landed, rolled, and used Double Team again to cover his escape.

“Fly, Beedrill,” Bugsy ordered. “Find the real one, you can do it!”

Eve gave no orders of her own – she knew she could trust Meowth to press the attack. Bugsy's pokémon took to the air, Fury Cutting at the Double Team. Eve kept her eye on Meowth as he approached from below, waited, leapt with claws outstretched …

But Beedrill twisted its tail and stung Meowth hard, sending him thumping into the dirt. Josh let out a sympathetic groan of dismay. Meowth lay crumpled on the battlefield. He's not hurt that badly. The referee moved forward for a closer look, as did Beedrill. For a moment it might have looked as if it was all over, until Meowth suddenly raked Beedrill across the face.

“Beedrill!” Bugsy cried out as Meowth became an angry ball of howling fur and claws. Fury Swipes almost seemed too tame a name for the attack – Meowth scratched and slashed as fast as he possibly could. Buzzing in distress, Beedrill tried and failed to take flight. A faint yellowish-green glow played about its stingers.

“Quick! Twineedle attack!” Bugsy called. With some effort, his pokémon held off the furious meowth with one arm while drawing the other back. It thrust with its stinger as hard as it could, stabbing Meowth full in the chest, pitching him bouncing and skidding down the length of the field.

“No way!” Eve shouted in complete disbelief.

[Oof. I'm alright boss, just winded me,] Meowth wheezed, struggling painfully slowly to his feet.

The referee disagreed. “Meowth is unable to battle. Beedrill wins!” he declared with a flourish of the red flag. Eve bit back a curse as she recalled Meowth.

“It's not your fault,” she told him through the Poké Ball. From the sidelines, Josh gave her an encouraging smile. Eve was damned if she was going to lose this battle in front of him. She selected what she hoped would be the right Ball, “You and me, we're in this together,” she told it. “Pidgeotto! You have the honour!”

Pidgeotto burst from the Fast Ball like a comet, soaring over Eve's head as she re-materialised. It looked like Aunt Immey was right about Pidgeotto. After a few sparring matches during the afternoon she seemed to have picked up the concept of following orders in battle - something that might have a lot to do with her interacting with Meowth and Lyra. Or maybe it was talking to her through the Poké Ball that helped. Oh well, here goes …

“So, Pidgeotto is your new pokémon? Flying-type or no Flying-type, we're not backing down!” said Bugsy. “Use your Toxic Spikes Beedrill!”

Beedrill spun like a top, throwing out a cloud of what looked like purple caltrops that glistened suspiciously. Eve scanned the attack with her Pokédex.

“Toxic Spikes, a Poison-type attack. Classified as an entry hazard, Toxic Spikes inflict the Poison status on any enemy pokémon entering the field.”

“Flying will only save you for so long. Once your pokémon touches the ground, the Toxic Spikes are activated,” Bugsy continued. “So what do you do now, Miss Joy?”

An idea began to form in the back of Eve's mind. The Toxic Spikes were likely insurance against Lyra, but maybe she didn't have to worry about them ... she decided to let the idea sit and mature for a while. “Pidgeotto! Finish it with one Tackle!”

Pidgeotto climbed sharply, rising up to the ceiling before rolling into a dive, just like she had when battling Lyra. Talons swung forward ready for impact -

“Use your Agility, then Twineedle!” Bugsy called. The duel happened so fast that Eve couldn't follow it. There was a nasty crunch as Pidgeotto's talons thumped home, then suddenly Beedrill was lying unconscious on the dirt while Pidgeotto soared overhead, with a thin scratch on her flank. Bugsy seemed almost resigned to the defeat as he recalled Beedrill.

“Your Pidgeotto's fast,” he said, smiling. “Lucky for me I have a pokémon who's just as fast. I choose you Yanma!”

Yanma was about the same size as Pidgeotto, with a certain prehistoric sleekness to its long, red body. Its four filmy wings beat in a complex forward-and-back pattern as it hovered in place, legs held up tight against its thorax. It looks fragile … and the type match-up is still lousy. Why use it at all? Eve brought her Pokédex up just in case.

“Yanma, the Clear Wing Pokémon. Yanma has a 360-degree field of vision. It is a great flier that is adept at making sudden stops and turns.”

Ah-ha! That's why. Ok, I know how I'm gonna play this.

“Start this off with Silver Wind!” Bugsy ordered, taking the first move. Yanma loomed over Pidgeotto and beat its wings till they blurred. A cylinder of gusting winds and whirling silver-grey scales blasted down. Pidgeotto dodged to the right and Eve shouted for a Tackle. The Silver Wind fountained back off the dirt in a billowing cloud, filling the air with a silvery haze as Yanma chased Pidgeotto with its relentless attack. Swerving round the Silver Wind, Pidgeotto inverted and grabbed at Yanma with her talons, forcing it to break off the attack and dodge.

“Quick Attack!” Eve yelled.

“Quick Attack!” Bugsy countered.

Both pokémon attacked, and both missed because they were trying to attack and dodge at the same time. Silver Wind residue churned and billowed as the combatants dodged and swooped. Pidgeotto seemed to be steadily slowing while Yanma got faster and faster. Eve had to squint to make out Yanma whirl round and slam Pidgeotto with its abdomen. Hold on, I can use that!

“Pidgeotto, Sand Attack!”

Arcing round to put some distance between Yanma and herself, Pidgeotto hovered close to the ground, beating her powerful wings hard and throwing up dust from the dry battlefield. The ochre dust mingled with Yanma's Silver Wind, effectively blinding both Yanma and Bugsy.

“Now!” she ordered with a smile and a snap of her fingers. “Quick Attack!”

“Detect!”

What!” Eve yelled. She could feel her cheeks flushing red with fury.

“Now use Light Screen!” Bugsy ordered, taking advantage of the lull. Hundreds of translucent yellow diamonds appeared around Yanma, slotting themselves together so that they formed a tessellated box before flashing briefly and disappearing. It was a clever move, one that would shut down any Gusts that Pidgeotto might try and leave her with no choice but to switch to Lyra. Not sodding likely.

“Get up high for a Tackle!” she ordered, and Pidgeotto eagerly swept up towards the ceiling.

“That's a bad decision. As soon as you see Pidgeotto, Quick Attack!”

Pidgeotto reached the apex of her flight. Barely a foot of space lay between her and the ceiling, and she let out a long call as if to say 'I'm ready, give the order!'

Eve snapped her fingers, and smiled. That is, she showed her teeth. “Defog!”

Almost leisurely, Pidgeotto swept her wings down, washing the battlefield in a gentle but persistent breeze. Dust and silver-grey scales melted away at its touch, the hidden Toxic Spikes in the dirt were picked up and dissolved into nothing. Yanma's Light Screen flashed back into existence, the myriad diamond panes whirling away like confetti.

“Give it a Gust, the strongest Gust you have!” Eve ordered, not wanting to give Bugsy even a moment's respite. The Gust caught Yanma in its teeth and sent it spinning end over end towards the ground. Straining to right itself, Yanma's wings beat so hard they sent shockwaves crashing into the dirt. Josh was shouting something, his voice drowned out by the sound of wind and wings.

“Hang in there, Yanma!” Bugsy shouted.

“Tackle, make it count!”

Down came Pidgeotto with her wings swept back, sleek and swift as she had been when Eve first saw her flying above the bistro. Yanma managed to regain control of its flight, but the momentary loss of concentration was all the chance Pidgeotto needed. With a wide barrel roll she intercepted Yanma mid-dodge and bore her opponent to the ground.

“Pidgeooo!” she cried, exhausted in victory. “Pidgeot-TOOO!”

As the referee formally announced the result, Bugsy called back his pokémon. He said something encouraging to it before he pocketed the Ball. Pidgeotto fluttered off to perch on a tree branch to catch her breath.

“As a Gym Leader it's my duty to push challengers hard. That's why I always save my best pokémon for last,” Bugsy declared, “the Bug pokémon warrior - I choose you Scyther!”

The scyther that took to the field was everything a scyther should be - fierce, barbaric, intimidating. He stood proudly in front of his trainer and raised his scythes to the sky, shouting a challenge as he did so. The evening sun shone a harsh gold on the blades. But it was the eyes that were truly frightening – sharp, intense eyes, eyes that looked at you first as an adversary.

Eve thought fast, and decided to keep on battling with Pidgeotto. For all the exertion of the battle so far, she hadn't yet taken much damage and she would need her speed to counter Scyther's inevitable physical strength. Seize the initiative.

“Pidgeotto, Gust, nice and strong!” she ordered. Pidgeotto leapt from her perch and threw out a powerful Gust. Despite being half Scyther's size she managed to force him to lose his footing, the same strong muscles that powered her flight lending strength to the Gust. Apparently sensing that Pidgeotto could keep him pinned this way, Scyther took flight, darting rapidly under the cone of the Gust.

“Quick, but not quick enough,” Eve said, snapping her fingers at Bugsy. “Quick Attack!”

“Oh, Scyther doesn't need to fly faster,” Bugsy answered as Pidgeotto closed in. “Aerial Ace!”

Fierce eyes fixed on Pidgeotto, Scyther swept his blade down in a savage diagonal arc. At the last moment Pidgeotto swerved out of the way, but spinning through nearly 360 degrees Scyther turned lightning-fast, intercepting perfectly on the upswing. Pidgeotto screeched in pain and alarm, collapsing onto the battlefield with an undignified roll.

Eve gasped in shock – there was a long cut across Pidgeotto's chest that was beginning to bleed freely. She didn't wait for the referee's inevitable ruling, instead recalling Pidgeotto immediately. The Fast Ball would effectively halt the bleeding and accelerate Pidgeotto's natural healing. “You did great,” she told her, “and I'm very proud.”

Even so, how was it that Scyther knocked Pidgeotto out with one strike? Either Scyther was much stronger than she had originally suspected or … Twineedle. That Twineedle must have poisoned Pidgeotto. She drew Lyra's Poké Ball from her pocket. Adrenaline made her heart thump almost painfully against her chest. Pitting a ledyba against a healthy scyther was not the sort of position she wanted to be backed into, even with a ledyba as feisty as her Lyra.

“You're my last hope,” she murmured to her through the Poké Ball. “Lyra! You have the honour!”

Lyra materialised punching at the air again, undaunted by the prospect of facing a scyther. [Let's do this, Eve! C'mon guy, I ain't scared of you! Whaaaat?] she taunted.

“That's a pretty nice ledyba you've got there, Miss Joy,” said Bugsy. “No way she's faster than my Scyther. Quick Attack, now!”

Scyther pushed off the ground, holding his right blade out in front of him like a cavalryman's sabre.

“Reflect!” Eve ordered. A small hexagonal pane appeared in front of Lyra, translucent blue like tinted glass. Others appeared around it, rapidly locking themselves together until they formed a hexagonal shield big enough for Lyra to hide behind. She had barely finished constructing the Reflect when Scyther's blade crashed through it, shattering a couple of the hexes as it did so.

If Scyther knows Brick Break it's all over. “Mach Punch, then get out of there!” Eve called. Lyra promptly punched Scyther in the eye and curled away under the reach of his blades to make her escape.

“Chase her down with Pursuit!” Bugsy called. Scyther had lost sight of Lyra, but Pursuit gave him instinctive knowledge of where she was. With a twist of the body and a burst of speed from the wings, Scyther tackled Lyra hard. The attack seemed to startle Lyra badly – she spun and threw a volley of Comet Punches, striking at the head and the arm joints below the blade. Still smart, even when her Rattled ability activates, Eve thought proudly.

“Finish this with Aerial Ace!” Bugsy ordered confidently.

“Protect!” Eve countered. She couldn't afford to let even one Aerial Ace land. The attack screeched off the shimmering green Protect.

“You can't Protect forever! Fury Cutter!” Bugsy refused to give Eve any breathing space. Down the Fury Cutters rained, green afterimages whirling in the wake of flashing blades. Reflect hexagons smashed and flew, cracks and rents opened up everywhere on Lyra's carapace. She showed no mercy herself, punching and jabbing whenever Scyther left an opening to exploit, but Eve could see that it just wasn't going to be enough. The one saving grace was that every time Fury Cutter hit, it also activated Lyra's Rattled ability. Lyra kept getting faster, fast enough to break Scyther's hitting streak and stop Fury Cutter from building power.

[No quarter! No giving up! Take this!] Lyra yelled, and threw another Comet Punch volley. Scyther drew a blade back, ready for an attack. Too late Eve recognised what it was about to do.

“Protect!” she yelled desperately. Nooo, too late! Scyther's blade flashed twice, and Lyra was sent flying into the branches of a cypress. She slipped to the ground through the evergreen leaves.

[No giving up … we can win this Eve!] she insisted, wings buzzing as she made her way slowly into the air. Eve blinked back tears, mixed adrenaline and fury blotting out her thoughts.

[What the?]

There was a curious snapping, zapping sound, soft but strangely distinctive. And Lyra started to glow a pure white. Evolution …

Like most people, Eve had seen evolution before, watching pokémon battles on TV. Most people knew how it worked on at least a basic level – through caring for pokémon, Eve had picked up some knowledge of the complexities. But it was nothing compared to seeing it happen right before your eyes … the transformation was beautiful, wondrous. A pulse of light burst from Lyra's glowing silhouette. Her body began to change shape, becoming sleeker, more streamlined. Her third pair of arms migrated down and developed proper feet, her four remaining arms grew longer. Her wings grew larger and took on a swept delta shape.

The glow faded, and Lyra was no longer a ledyba, but a ledian.

[Yea-heh-heh-eeeah!] she exulted, [I have evolved! Hey, pointy!] she called down at Scyther standing on the field below. [Guess what?]

Lyra flicked her wings inward, and an invisible blade carved its way through the battlefield. Scyther cried out in surprise as he was knocked off his feet. Lyra just laughed and attacked again, chasing Scyther with her new move.

“Air Cutter, a Flying-type attack. Classified as a Special attack, Air Cutter has a propensity for dealing unusually high damage.”

Air Cutter … Eve laughed along with her feisty, loyal ledian. We might just win this after all.

“Get it together, Scyther!” Bugsy shouted. “Use Fury Cutter!”

“Reflect! You can do it Lyra!”

The two pokémon met in the middle of the battlefield, spurred on by the orders and encouragement of their trainers. Scyther chopped and cut with savage skill, smashing hexes out of Lyra's Reflect almost as fast as she could renew it. Whenever he tried an Aerial Ace, Lyra blocked it with Protect and struck back with new, strong fists. Possibly no other ledian had ever fought him half as hard as Lyra did, Eve thought as she watched Lyra blast an Air Cutter across Scyther at point-blank range.

Shaving more hexes off Lyra's Reflect as it did so, Scyther laid down a flurry of Fury Cutters into Lyra's left side. His right blade swung up to a ready position; both Lyra and Eve spotted what was coming at the same time. Fury Cutter was a feint! Nice try, Scyther.

“Protect!” she shouted, and Scyther's blade scraped violently clear of the Protect-bubble, throwing his arm out and opening up his guard. Lyra wasted no time, spinning round and throwing Mach Punches with both of her right fists. There was a sharp crack, like a pistol shot, and Scyther let out a deafening shriek. His blade was badly cracked, a large chip missing where the force of the blow had smashed the edge away.

“Stop!” Bugsy shouted. “That's enough. I concede defeat.”

“What?” Eve said. Then she spotted Scyther trying to cradle his injured arm. “Oh ...”

“Scyther, return. We'll get that blade fixed up soon,” Bugsy ordered. He crossed over the field, smiling regretfully, while Eve's heart thudded with the adrenaline still running through her system.

“I don't need to tell you, of all challengers, that it would be irresponsible of me to have Scyther fight on with an injury like that. Congratulations, Miss Joy. You have a new ledian. And you have earned this,” Bugsy said, holding out a bright new Hive Badge.

Take it, you fool. Eve took the Badge and squeezed it in her hand.

“Lyra! Lyra! We did it, we won the Badge!” she wrapped her arms around her laughing pokémon, dancing a little victory-dance. She looked up at the sound of applause, and there was Josh, clapping and looking at her with – what? Was that admiration?

Eve raised her hand invitingly. Moments like this called for a high-five. And because life is never quite that neat, they almost missed.

*​

They were the last two people to walk down Old Village high street that evening. A golden afternoon had given way to a warm evening as the sun set in splendour. Thousands of azalea blossoms, magenta, orange and white, nodded in the late breeze that twitched and tugged at bright little lamppost banners.

“The way you dealt with Yanma was incredible,” Josh enthused as they ambled their way down the street. “I was starting to think nothing would work then you won in three moves! And you got rid of Light Screen and Toxic Spikes in doing so! Clever tactics, Eve.”

“You're sweet to say so, but I told you, I don't plan these moves,” Eve replied, smiling a little sheepishly. In the aftermath of her Gym Battle, with the Hive Badge pinned temporarily to her jacket, she was as happy as she'd ever been. Right now even the imminent prospect of the Pokémon Centre - with an aunt and two teenage cousins in the full flowering of their bitchiness – even that couldn't annoy her. Still, there was a nagging voice in her head that she couldn't quite ignore, a voice that had been quietly chirping away all afternoon -

“We should celebrate our Badges,” she said. “I say we split a bottle of red.”

“A bottle of red!” Josh cried in mock outrage. “Eve, Azalea Town is no Longwater but it's still cider country.”

“You can't celebrate with cider! Ok, ok, how about brandy? A nice slow evening in that pub we saw yesterday.”

“I'll have to grab my maps then. I still don't really know where I'm going next … Violet City, maybe.”

There it was. The moment Eve had been trying to put off all day. Had Josh forgotten what that meant? Did he care?

Tell him you don't want to part ways!

I don't even know that he likes me all that much!

The guy just spent the best part of three days in your company. Take a sodding guess!


“Eve? Something wrong?” Josh asked. Eve realised she'd stopped dead to have an argument with herself. Josh was looking at her with a kind of puzzled concern.

“Oh, erm, no!” she said reflexively. He didn't look convinced, head cocked to one side as if he was trying to see her from a different angle. Are you twelve or twenty-three? Ask him!

“Come with me!” Eve blurted.

“... what?”

No going back now. “Come with me,” she repeated. “On my journey. Our journey. I've really enjoyed spending time with you and I don't want to leave.”

“Yes.”

“I mean it's ok if you don't want to but - what?”

“I don't want to leave either. I've really enjoyed your company, it's been … it's been. Er.”

There was an awkward silence. Neither of them could quite look the other in the eye. A flock of pidgey went fluttering by, heading back to their roost for the evening.

“I feel like we should do something,” Josh said tentatively.

“Handshake?” Eve suggested.

“Too formal.”

“High five?”

“Clichéd.”

“Um …”

“Oh, to hell with it,” Josh said, and in one smooth movement pulled her into a hug. Eve squeezed him back, and made a contented little growling noise. She felt Josh breathe a long, relaxed sigh, swinging her from side to side a little before they broke apart.

Eve couldn't help but break the silence. “Come with me, the time is right! There's no better teeeam!” she sang at him.

“Shut up!” he laughed, giving her a playful shove.

“Arm in arm, we'll win the fight, it's always been our dreeeam!” she continued with exaggerated passion, slipping her arm round his.

Later, Eve would remember it as a perfect moment.

Next Chapter: Forging a Friendship
 
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It's been a while
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It's funny, while I was reading the comments about the bath scene, I was expecting something else. Let's just say I was pleasantly surprised with what it was actually about. I thought it was hilarious though. There's just something about your attention to the small details that really brings this story to life. I'm actually learning a lot while reading, since I'm usually more accustomed to only noting significant events, or important details rather than the ones that give the text flavor. Though I do agree with @Thabet; about the flow in chapter eight being a bit off, especially when it came to perspective and scene changes. Overall though, great chapters. I loved the whole thing you did with the gym battle, it literally put me on the edge of my seat.

EDIT: After reading chapter ten, I just had to edit this comment and say, great ending. I loved it. The gym battle was awesome too ... dat ending tho, so satisfying.
 
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make plove not warble
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I'm afraid I won't be writing a proper review since I need to focus on the ones I'm doing for the Extravaganza, but I will say that this:

Eve raised her hand invitingly. Moments like this called for a high-five. And because life is never quite that neat, they almost missed.
...made me lol so hard. My God, if I had a dollar for every time that happened to me...

Also the ending. ily so much
 
Don't Look Away
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So I finally finished reading this. Now I'm not exactly going to give a big long review but I will say that I loved the chapter. The battle was interesting, there were some parts that were a bit hard for me to completely get into but by the end of it I was invested in it. The evolution felt a bit like an asspull but it still worked pretty well I think :p

The missed high five was funny as hell but not as funny or as touching as the last part of the chapter. I'm glad to see that our two heroes really are going to travel together from now on, which I think will make things a lot more interesting from this point onwards.
 
The Vulture Queen
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Well, I said I would return the review. And Lannisters always repay their debts.

It's a very intriguing story. As someone who has read (and wrote) quite a few journey fics, I am willing to rate it as one of the better slow fics that I've read. Which is really kind of the interesting part of it. Sure, it's a journey fic. But for a genera widely known for absurdly young children doing absurdly awesome things in an absurdly dangerous world, this is a welcome break from the norm. Lugia's lurking in the background with hints of a bigger story unfolding, but at the moment it looks like it could be a while before the protagonists even get mixed up in that. So the story is really just two people wandering a region to get badges with no major overarching goal than "do well." In absence of the classic epic plot the story inevitably focuses more on characterization and the casual aspects of a journey fic like world building. And now that I've done summary to organize my thoughts on the story, time to go into things you might not know.

Once again, I really liked the story. But it has a handful of, if not weaknesses, areas that don't really blow me away. First is RUT (random unexplained things). Like Magnemite living off-area and randomly plaguing farmers. And rock snakes randomly helping travelers. And Bugsy using different teams (Eve's was harder in every real way) for presumably equally qualified challengers. And a Pidgeotto with Motor Drive, of all things. Don't get me wrong: none of these are bad in and of themselves. The problem is that they kind of don't get much of an explanation beyond "that happened, onto the next thing," which can kind of ruin suspension of disbelief a little. As a journey-writer, I fully get that things like that happen. But just a little hand-waving or explanation can make a lot of difference for them.

A lot of people have pointed out cliches but to be fair... it's a journey fic. Whether we like to admit it or not, it is extremely hard to pull off a journey fic without them and that would probably be boring. I view a well-written journey fic as one that simply pulls them off more skillfully than most. So, sure, Rebel Joy and evolving during a gym match aren't particularly original. But your Rebel Joy has actual characterization, motivations, and problems beyond the trope and mid-battle evolution is really just kind of awesome when done right, even if it's usually really easy to see coming (you signaled it pretty hard at the start of the match as well).

A lot of people have said otherwise, but I actually find Eve to be a more interesting and developed character than Josh right now. Sure, she hasn't really developed, but we've only seen her for a short time and not a lot has happened that would realistically cause her to develop. But she has real motivations and challenges that have been depicted and generally seems more motivated to actually do things and plan them out. Josh's biggest problem is basically being a terribly uninteresting guy with some family issues who just happens to be kind of awesome when put on a journey. There are interesting things in his backstory and I get that one of the points of the story is that not all journies are pointlessly epic, but... I don't know. He just seems more like "wiser, older, emotionally stable journey protag #60" than anything to me. I hope you prove me wrong or I was missing something, but as it stands he's easily the less interesting of the two to me.

And now that I have criticism out of the way, onto why I like the story! Yay!

The Bugsy matches, particularly Eve's were well done for first gym battles. There was actual strategy and some description and mid-match dialogue that did not drown out the excitement of the match. A few things didn't quite make sense (why is Bugsy using TSpikes against a team of flying types?) but for the most part it was an exciting battle that actually showed that Eve can think and not just smash. And you can write characters who think and don't just smash. Bugsy kind of succumbed to the usual 'leader can form a brilliant plan that falls apart the moment the hero gets a strategy' trope, but that's understandable for a first gym match.

Another strength of this is that dialogue and character interaction is done pretty well. Not sure how I feel about the entire "I met you two days ago, but I will totally travel into the middle of a dark forest alone with you" thing, but that's understandable because of the genera.

Overall, it's a good slow-moving journey fic that defies the usual expectations for the genera. A sort of bland protagonist and RUT kind of slow it down, but the fic's many redeeming points make up for it. I'll be back for the next chapter.
 
Gather round, people, I'll tell you a story
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Been meaning to read this for a while, and I'm glad I did.

Put simply, this is one of the best journey fics I've ever had the pleasure of perusing. Your characterization is excellent, including that of the Pokemon themselves, which is often lacking in stories like this one. I'd say that characterization is probably your biggest strength, and you've wisely chosen to place the main focus of the story on the humanity of the characters, rather than necessarily on the journey itself. That's not to say you are bad at writing the journey and battle scenes - far from it. Those are also very well-done. You make your battles interesting, engaging, and unique, to avoid falling into repetition. I commend you for that.

I very much like Eve's character, and her arc - that of rejecting the "proper" path her family expects of her and choosing her own destiny - has thus far been handled with enough grace and originality to avoid cliche. One issue I do have with her, though, is that in earlier chapters she seemed a bit more serious and contemplative compared to the more bubbly personality she's displayed in Azalea. However, characters, like ogres, have layers, and I can see her becoming more outgoing as she opens up more to Josh as a reasonable growth of character. I actually kind of wish they hadn't begun to travel together just yet, so that Eve and Josh could have a bit more time to develop separately, but hey, your story.

I don't have any major criticisms to offer at this point, though that may change in the future. For now, you're doing very well, and I thank you for producing such a solid piece of fiction. I will definitely be continuing to read.

(P.S. Magnemite is basically the best thing ever, jsyk :p)

(P.P.S. Being able to make Bugsy seem badass takes damn skill. Props)
 
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