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Incinermyn
March 31st, 2008, 08:43 AM
Feral Twilight
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Rating: PG-13 for moderate language, varying violence, occasional tobacco usage and alcoholic reference, some rude humor, and dark themes throughout.

Disclaimers: Since I’m really not good at intros, I’ll just say… I do not own Pokémon, Pokémon Colosseum, or Pokémon XD. Also, in this piece, I use or refer to the names of preexisting companies, franchises, products, etc. I don’t claim ownership of those either.

Contents
i-Canersia
I-Lust (http://www.pokecommunity.com/showthread.php?p=3495943#post3495943)______________________________________________________________________________


i-Canersia

Maritide Island-North, Ronac Region
20 years ago

It had been a long day at the International Institute of Pokémon Science. Having just finished today’s observations of an ongoing experiment, the two people still in the school at this late hour were finally able to leave.

With her back to the door, a young woman waited silently for her professor in the hall outside of the building’s main biology lab. She was a tall lady dressed in a shirt, jeans, and shoes that looked almost black in the low lighting. Her skin tone was noticeably pale in comparison, though. And, the brunette locks that flowed down to her shoulders only accentuated the exceeding light color of her face. Yet, there was not a blemish to be found on her visage.

As she stood there with a book bag slung over her right shoulder, the lady took a moment to glance down the corridors to her sides, moving only her azure irises slightly to the left, and then to the right. Both branches of the fork were pitch-black. Seeing this, her heart began pounding, slowly yet strongly… Her breathing seemed to become heavier… And, she gripped tightly the strap of her backpack…

The darkness had always left her feeling uneasy… And, the quietness didn’t help her nerves any… It reminded her too much of a fable that she was told as a child, the tale of a beast that hid within nighttime shadows of lush forests…silently stalking whatever it marked as prey until it was ready to go in for a kill… Because of that story, she’d always felt like there was always some monster like that forest demon waiting for her in the dark, even when she knew there wasn’t anything there…

“Felicia…” the baritone voice of a man spoke behind her.

“Yes, Dr. Nobles?” Felicia replied with a meek voice, turning her head somewhat to the right and down.

“Felicia… I thought you were going already… Is something the matter?” he continued, stepping out of the room and pulling the steel door closed behind him.

Turning back to it, the man took out a key and inserted it into the door’s lock. After locking the room, he faced forward again and moved next to his student. He then turned his head to her.

The gent was a stout fellow who was far older than Felicia. A white lab coat covered his torso and his legs to around his knees. Below the garb, a pair of gray pants became visible that almost blended with the matching-colored shoes he wore. His black hair had occasional strands of white mixed in with it. Likewise, the facial hair making up his thick beard and mustache was beginning to turn gray.

“Oh… No, sir…” Felicia yawned.

“Is that so?” Dr. Nobles questioned, raising part of the uni-brow over his hazel eyes.

“Well, I’m a little concerned about my project.”

“Are you afraid that it’ll be stolen, or that the committee will be displeased by the results?” he cackled slightly.

“The latter…” she murmured.

“Don’t fret over it. I am certain that when you present your findings to them, the board will be elated. After all, you’re the first in the history of Pokémon Science to ever do what you did.”

“A Pokémon like mine…” she thought as she turned her head forward.

For the past several years, Felicia had dedicated herself to studying both Pokémon biology and microbiology. In the beginning, it was merely quench her thirst for knowledge in both fields. Then, she realized something. With proper genetic manipulation, it might have been possible to create Pokémon from single-celled organisms, and it was a shock to see that this theory was correct. But, not once did she think that it would turn out like her creation did.

Dr. Nobles too had found it a surprise to see something turn out like it did, and he was just the teacher watching over her as she conducted the experiment. In all the years he’d been at the school, none of the other students had even conceived such an experiment.

“Now, if that’s all, let’s go,” he said.

“Huh?” she replied, snapping out of her momentary trance, “Uh, okay.” The two then began walking down the long corridor before them.

For a time, they were silent. Only the sound of their footsteps could be heard throughout the halls of the building. The echoes reminded Felicia of its emptiness…too much of its emptiness… Hearing them sent an intense chill through her spine.

Tucking her hands deep into the pockets of her pants, she tried her best to keep her stare forward. However, it slowly kept sinking to the white tile covering the concrete floor… The sight, though not incredibly luminous, was the only thing keeping her mind off the fact she was still in a place that seemed so much like a dark and silent tomb.

“What’s the matter, Felicia?” her professor asked.

“It’s kind of creepy here at night…” she mumbled.

“Ah, I see… Indeed, it takes many long years of late night studies to get used to this place… Hell, I once fainted halfway down this very hall one night when I was a student here. But then, that was the same night that one of the Gengar that was being kept here for a class on Ghost Pokémon got free and attacked me… My point remains, though, it can be terrifying here late nights.”

“Great… The Pokémon kept here get free at night… That’s all I needed to hear…” she muttered. Turning his head more towards her, he nodded.

“So, that’s your first Pokémon back there in the lab, isn’t it?” he then said.

“What?”

“Typically, the students here are trainers from Maritide Island who received their first Pokémon here or ones from far-off areas of the world seeking to become Pokémon scientists at one of the top schools to ever exist. But, you… You’re from this city, yet you’ve never had a single Pokémon. Nor, have you even asked for one…” he replied, stopping with her, “Why is that?”

As she looked slightly away from him, Dr. Nobles grinned and continued, “You’re afraid of Pokémon so you came here in hopes of shirking yourself of that phobia? You can’t hide that fact from me…”

“And when did you figure that out, just now?” she replied.

“It was obvious the first day you enrolled here…”

Though it wasn’t a profound fear, Felicia seemed to never really enjoy having Pokémon. Being around them never bothered her, but when it came down to it, she preferred observing them in the lab rather than keeping them as pets. And, it was almost all due to the tale of nocturnal beast living purely by instinct… Even if they were tame, she knew that deep down all Pokémon had that instinct to kill…and she knew it would just be a matter of time before one tried to kill her…

But, her Pokémon wasn’t like others. It could be a killer, and it was able to attack in what was perhaps the worst possible way. During its development, however, she’d made certain to design it to never attack her or do anything that would result in harm to her.

Felicia cracked a slight smile at her professor, and then turned her gaze forward. There was still quite a length of hall left to go down, but she noticed something through the windows and glass doors at entrance to the school’s lobby.

“Looks like a storm…” she commented, seeing a lightning flash.

“When lightning flashes yet the thunder cries like the bays of a thousand wolves, all fears are beckoned forth as he draws near…” Dr. Nobles mumbled and then laughed.

“Oh-kay…” she replied, confused by the sudden comment.

“Oh, don’t you know that myth? The approach of storms mean the approach of…him,” he continued in a dire-sounding whisper.

“Who?”

“Canersia…” he uttered, pronouncing the name ‘kay-ner-sha.’

“Who’s Canersia?”

“Nobody knows who he is, or where he came from… Just that his wisdom knows no bounds…”

“Let me guess… Is Canersia a Pokémon?”

“I don’t know… You tell me…” he uttered.

Felicia looked at him with a slight glare. A few seconds of silence passed and then he exploded into a laugh.

“No wonder no one ever gets your sense of humor, Edwin… Well, I’m not waiting here just for some storm to pass. Let’s go…” she said, perturbed by his idiocy. Stopping his cackle, the man and her continued down the hall.

As they walked, Felicia could’ve sworn that she heard something other than their footsteps. But it was so quiet she just disregarded it.

Once they were closer to the corridor’s end, a deep voice barked, “Doe-way may-eez tane-oos mona-kay ott-tolect! Beast given life in Nostalgia! I summon thee!”

“Who was that?” she asked as she and her mentor turned back to where they’d just came from.

“It sounded like some type of chant,” he replied.

Then, something could be heard coming from other end of the hall, inside the lab. It sounded like something was inhaling…and deeply…

Suddenly, the lab’s door blew open!

Some kind of energy wave was heading towards them. The lights down the hall suddenly flashed on brightly and burst as it passed. Seeing this, the two immediately turned their heads towards the ground and covered them with their arms.

“KY-OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” a voice shouted as they were hit by the gust. It had an incredibly deep and loud tone. And, it was like the terrifying bays of one thousand wolves crying it simultaneously.

As the wail passed, the fluorescent lights overhead suddenly flashed on, like the others. Then, they burst with their shards landing on the translucent plastic concealing them in the ceiling.

Within seconds, there was the sound of glass shattering. Every window in the building had been blown out due to the howl’s explosive force.

Dropping their arms to their sides again, both Felicia and Dr. Nobles felt that something changed after that shockwave hit them. Their bodies felt weak and shaky… Their heartbeats were racing wildly… And their breathing was incredibly heavy…

Neither could find the ability to move from that spot they were so traumatized. It felt like they had relived their most terrifying experiences all in that brief moment, tenfold. The only thing that they knew now was fear.

After minute or two, Felicia managed to utter, “What…in the hell…was that…Edwin?”

“I have no idea… But, that chant…” he replied nervously.

“What about it?”

“I’m not certain, but…”

“Don’t tell me? You think it was Canersia…”

“No one has ever seen Canersia, nor does anyone know the extent of his knowledge…but…”

“GOW-YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” cried an earsplitting shrill back in the lab.

“DOXINOX!” Felicia cried, trying to inch her feet forward. The attempt was futile… She was so terrified from the wail there was no way she could budge.

“Abomination! Your existence, the very fact that you came to fruition, is the atrocity that my lord had prophesized over a millennium ago! And, due to this crime against my sovereign, the humans must die!” the voice from before bellowed ferociously.

“GOW-YEEEEEEE!” the shrill replied. There was the sound of an explosion…or, rather, a cannon being fired. Following it was a splattering noise.

“Grrrrrrr… KY-OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” another wail sounded throughout the building.

This time, though, something was different. As soon as its shockwave hit, all feelings of fear just seemed to drain from Felicia’s body. She didn’t feel like cowering anymore, or ever again for that matter.

As soon as the bay ended, the woman began a mad dash down the pitch-black hallway.

“Felicia! Where the hell are you going?” Edwin barked furiously.

“I don’t care who he is! I am going to kill that jerk the second I get down there!” she howled.

Felicia couldn’t explain why had this vigor. It was like she was being empowered the thought of her creation being attacked…like anger was coursing throughout her body, strengthening her with each step she took.

“KY-OH-KY!” the creature that previously bayed barked. Following it was the sound of a crash.

“Grrrrrrr…KY!” it continued.

“GOW-YEEEEEEEEEE!” the experiment squealed in pain.

Lightning flashed, illuminating part of the lab through its windows. Felicia could make out the silhouette of a man standing near the open doorway. More enraged, she increased her speed to get down the remaining length of hall.

“GOW-YE!” her experiment cried again. After it did, there was another explosion.

“KY-OH!” its attacker barked, followed by a second crash. Whatever the beast was, it went through a wall by the sound of it.

“You may have some strength, abomination, but you will be destroyed!” the man with the monsters said.

Reaching the lab, Felicia stopped right in its doorway. She was panting heavily and her heart was pounding from the run getting back to there. But, she was so infuriated it didn’t matter.

Looking straight ahead, she saw a gaping hole in the wall across the large room. Standing next before it was the outline of a tall man. His overall build was very husky and made him appear roughly like a grizzly standing upright.

“I don’t know who the hell you think you are,” she said to him, sneering and cracking her knuckles, “but NOBODY ATTACKS MY PROJECT!”

“Ah… It would appear that while the beast’s powers fail to affect the abomination like they should have, they have worked quite nicely on its creator. Excellent…” he replied, his voice gruff.

Something began happening on the back of his head several inches above his neck and on his palms just over an inch from his wrists after he finished. White ovals appeared on those areas. Afterwards, amber circles appeared in their midsections with black pits in their middles.

Seeing those eyes come into view, she clenched her fists and barked, “You’re not scaring me with that cheap trick! Now, who are you?”

“Heh-heh-heh… Ignorant cur… Tell me…human… Do you even realize the mechanisms that you have triggered?”

Felicia opened her mouth to yell again, but the man interrupted, “No… You haven’t even the slightest clue…nor does anyone else of your incompetent species…”

The eyes slowly disappeared, but, as they did, something else appeared on the back of the man’s head. It was a brown marking that looked eerily similar to a wolf’s paw print, with the pad being near where the eye formerly was. After it had become full apparent, the man slowly began turn to her.

When he pivoted ninety degrees to his left, Felicia noticed something wrong with his silhouette. Whatever he was, this thing wasn’t a person! This humanoid bared a head that seemed considerably lupine with ears folded back to make it look like there were little points coming out of his skull. He also had a slender tail that dropped down just past where his knees were.

Once he was facing her, a pair of amber orbs appeared over the beast’s maw. The glare of those soulless eyes could’ve easily unnerved her any other time, but Felicia’s heart was so full of anger that she didn’t even flinch.

Lightning flashed again outside. For an instant, Felicia shifted her gaze down at the objects that were now visible.

Several feet in front of the beast, slightly to his right, was a moderate sized cube. From what she could see, each of its sides were adorned with ‘V’ shaped engravings that were exact inverts of one another to form a diamond shape at center of each surface and six triangles around it. The quadrilateral itself and the figures it shared points with were gold, while the others meeting its sides were silver.

She’d never seen anything like it… But, the things nearby were what really grabbed her attention.

Lying on the floor next to it, there were two hemispheres. One was white, the other red. A broken Poké Ball… Seeing it, Felicia realized exactly what had happened.

“I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!” she roared. She immediately began charging him, ready to punch.

Not moving from his spot, the creature caused a second pair of amber eyes to open on his forehead. Then, she suddenly stopped dead in her tracks.

Grinning, something began materializing in his right paw. A purple whip it looked like. He snapped the energy stream at her, striking her left temple. The woman immediately fell onto the floor.

With her consciousness slowly slipping, Felicia watched helplessly as the beast approached her… As he came, she thought she saw a large cone-like thing squirming nearby in the shadows.

“GY-YEEEEEEEEE!” a high-pitched voice squealed.

“Doxinox…” she muttered as her vision became blurry.

“KY-OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” the beast from before roared. The last thing she heard as she fell unconscious…and with it…

<End Prologue>

bobandbill
April 1st, 2008, 11:06 PM
Nice. Quite liked that beginning - certainly gripping and intriguing. A fair few of the stories that involve Pokemon artifical creation have been quite good, and this one seems to be headng that way as well. :)

Nice description throughout, especially of the characters and objects. That seems rather strong, and the 'dark forebinding feeling' you conveyed came out quite well. It's interesting to see a character who si somewhat scared about Pokemon, and you contined the concept in an interesting way. Not to mention that Colo and XD are involved, and possibly Shadow Pokemon as well, which interests me greatly (as you may know :) ).

One thing that was off-putting - the ammountof ellipses (...) that you used. The majority of sentences ended in ellipses rather than full stops or commas, and it somewhat dragged it out a bit -
such as here:
The darkness had always left her feeling uneasy… And, the quietness didn’t help her nerves any… It reminded her too much of a fable that she was told as a child, the tale of a beast that hid within nighttime shadows of lush forests…silently stalking whatever it marked as prey until it was ready to go in for a kill… Because of that story, she’d always felt like there was always some monster like that forest demon waiting for her in the dark, even when she knew there wasn’t anything there…
Seems a bit too much of that IMO. It would have worked quite well in places, but you kinda used it all over, taking the effect away form the laces where it served better. The pace was slown downa little bit too much of it as well, and made the character's seem undecided on what they were saying. So probably less of it would be better.

“It’s kind of creepy here at night…” she mumbled.

“Ah, I see… Indeed, it takes many long years of late night studies to get used to this place… Hell, I once fainted halfway down this very hall one night when I was a student here. But then, that was the same night that one of the Gengar that was being kept here for a class on Ghost Pokémon got free and attacked me… My point remains, though, it can be terrifying here late nights.”

“Great… The Pokémon kept here get free at night… That’s all I needed to hear…” she muttered.

Heh. Liked that. :)

Their bodies felt weak and shaky… Their heartbeats were racing wildly… And their breathing was incredibly heavy…

For me, the repeated use of 'Their' didn't quite work as well... just didn't... gel, I guess - and it seems that although the pace is fast and frantic, the ellipse detract from that here.

Quite nice though - some rather enjoyable parts, and a gripping prologue with a good amount of mystery and all in it. I'll keep my eye on this. :)

Incinermyn
April 3rd, 2008, 01:54 PM
Cool! A critique, and a good one too!

Good to hear you liked my story so far, bobandbill, though it is just a prologue! The stuff you mentioned was kind of on my mind since I posted this. Good to hear that there really went a lot of major issues beyond those things. The thing that I was really concerned about was the somewhat sluggish pace of the prologue. Like you said, it kind of dragged on with the dialogue. I'll try working on the speeding stuff up a little before posting the first chapter...especially in the first chapter since its kind of long in spots and there isn't a lot of action...

Thanks again for checking out my fic!

Incinermyn
April 13th, 2008, 10:42 AM
I-Lust

“What is it you long for, boy?” a woman spoke from somewhere nearby. Her voice was little more than a whisper. It was so faint it was surprising that I could even hear her.

“Who are you?” I muttered in response. My eyes were closed and, for some reason, I couldn’t open them.

No reply… For the moment, I could only hear her breathing next to my right ear. Inhale… Exhale… Inhale… Exhale… It felt very cool as it blew on my neck. Like a chilling breeze, the breath sent shivers down my spine. Whoever this woman was, she was starting to freak me out. Inhale… Exhale… Inhale… Exhale…

I didn’t get it! What was she waiting for?

“You remember, right?” she spoke into my right ear, placing her hand on my left shoulder.

Her hand was weird. I couldn’t understand why, but she only had her index and middle fingers over my shoulder. They both felt like they were far longer than a normal person’s. Her thumb pressed against the back of my shoulder blade too felt exceedingly long. Just who…or what…was she?

“The crowd chanting your precious nickname… Feral… Feral. Feral!” she continued.

“Feral! Feral! Feral!” people began to chant from somewhere nearby.

“You remember that. Do you not?” she continued.

“Kind of,” I uttered.

There was a weird sensation in my stomach. It felt like the same gut-wrenching feeling I always got when I wanted to do something badly. But, I haven’t felt this in months. What was going on?

“And the sweat dripping down your forehead… Surely you remember that?” she said, moving by my left ear.

I could feel the area getting warmer. Beads of sweat began to drip down forehead and temples. It was getting so hot I started panting. Where the hell’d she bring me, some kind of sauna?

“And the light… That intensifying light! That was the reason you squeezed your eyelids shut to begin with, was it not?” she continued.

After that comment, my eyes began twitching. I put my right arm up to block the rays shining into them, but it didn’t help. That light was so bright that if I opened my eyes for even a split-second, I’d be blinded for life! What…how was she doing this?

“And we can’t forget Apollo. His shrill! It was enough to startle even you, was it not?” the woman said.

“UR-MEAN!” a creature whined, its voice loud and piercing.

The light suddenly dimmed. I immediately dropped my arm and opened my eyes after that.

Everything was white. Though they weren’t as intense as the last beam, the building’s lights were just bright enough to leave me somewhat blind. Within a few seconds, I was able to see clearly again. For the most part, at least… Some sweat got onto my glasses leaving my vision a little blurry. I was still able to make out most of my surroundings, though.

There was some type of arena before me. Overall, it was a large rectangle with its perimeter marked by thick white lines and its interior bearing a light brown color.

Shifting my eyes to the left, I saw that there was a type of wall with large banners advertising various products and companies on it. That partition separated the battlefield from the stands raising a couple stories from it until giving way to another level of seats above them. Moving my irises up slightly, there appeared to be several more levels of seating, and all were packed with large congregations of spectators. To my right, there was more of the same.

“Feral! Feral! Feral!” everyone in the bleachers to my sides and rear chanted.

Hearing that rhythm caused the sensation in gut to strengthen. It was like my stomach was twisting all the way around! My pulse also felt like it was getting stronger with every heartbeat.

There was something all too familiar about this. Did that woman…?

“Grr… In-sin…” the creature growled, its voice still sharp and aggressive. I returned my stare to the battlefield and noticed that there were two beings on it.

The closer of the two several meters from me was a tall mammalian beast. Levitating in a mostly upright position a few inches above the floor, the Pokémon’s body easily cleared eight feet tall. His form was fairly slender for his size, though, resembling a large cylinder with fairly short legs and a stubby tail.

This creature’s stature alone was enough to set him apart from others, but his pelt also seemed unique. Around the area immediately behind his head, there was a ring of golden fur flaring up from the beast’s skin. The hairs were fashioned into triangular spikes, forming a type of sun collar. From the base of this collar down to his shoulders, the Pokémon’s pelt was a dark red. The mammal’s tube-like forelegs resting at his sides also had this color of fur covering them up to their three-toed paws that had short white claws at their ends. After the shoulders, his fur began to progressively turn to lighter hues of red, eventually becoming pink around the waist. The hips were where the fur finally became a brilliant white. With the exception of the burnt areas of fur atop his thick thighs, the Pokémon’s hind legs were also white and appeared to be dragging somewhat as they thinned into a pair of feet that resembled moderate-sized ovals with three claws at their lowest points. The creature's white tail curled with the bulbous middle rolling back and forth to swing the narrow tip through the air.

Seeing Apollo caused me to feel something welling up inside me. The tightening of my stomach had been replaced by something else. It felt like something was beginning coursing throughout my veins. Adrenaline, probably…

Standing across the arena was my Incinermyn’s opponent. A behemoth of a Pokémon, the quadruped’s overall appearance was like that of the stegosaurus. The dark green creature’s head was mostly rounded with a black-nosed maw protruding slightly from it. Two black horns jutted from the beast’s forehead almost like those of a bull and, several inches behind them, were a pair of pointed teal ears that extended back and somewhat upward over its stubby neck. At the base of his neck, seven rows of seven thorns began to cover the creature’s backside until just over its hind legs and where its tail started. From what I saw, the spikes were immense, the highest one in the middle row making the Pokémon about seven-and-a-half feet tall, and were somewhat curled back. After its spikes, the creature had a long tail that started out fairly thick from its rear, but slowly thinned out like a cone. There were five spikes near the tail’s end, through, that caused its tip to bend slightly.

I found myself staring at the creature’s face for a moment or so. Its eyes were closed and twitching violently. Just then, something clicked!

“Apollo, Fire Blast!” I suddenly barked. It was a powerful howl, like the roar of some wild beast. I found it a little unnerving that I sounded like that.

“UR-MEAN!” Apollo wailed, tilting his head backwards.

As Apollo raised his head, his frill slowly became parallel with the floor. Once his face was visible, I could see that there was a large ruby embedded in his forehead just above a pair of closed eyes with a black-nosed mouth protruding away from them. The jewel shimmered and, suddenly, a large yellow and red fireball appeared over his nose.

Several inches from his frill, there was fire that spouted in an acute upside-down ‘V’ on the back Apollo’s neck until it reached an area near his shoulders. The yellow-orange flames didn’t appear to blaze, but instead separated into seven streams on each slant. They made gentle movements as they arced backwards, like small flags in a gentle breeze.

After a few seconds they started to drift upward and feed into Apollo’s fireball. The orb grew progressively larger every second they fed into it. The inferno had more than doubled in size within moments. Once it had, the streams returned to their regular state.

On each shoulder, Apollo had two more streams. Like their sisters, the flares gently flowed backward. While they started like the others, these longer flames transitioned from yellow-orange to yellow halfway back, and then to white before their blue tips.

After a moment, they began to drift off to the sides of his neck. The flames began to form large blue fireballs as they swirled into separate vortexes of blaze.

Starting between his shoulders, a stripe of singed fur ran down the center of Apollo’s back while slowly widening until reaching an area near his hips. There, it gaze way to an inferno of red, yellow, and white flames that consumed everything up to the tip of his tail.

Halfway down his streak, two areas of yellow-orange flames a few inches from it spouted upward in lines parallel to the stripe. Like the others, they each had split into six streams and made slight arcs as they flowed backwards.

Apollo’s tail blaze flared up and spawned two fireballs. They quickly moved behind the twin spouts above his tail and began drawing them to create a brilliant mixture of fires matching their sources’ colors.

“Luke, Thorn Forest!” a girl on the opposite end of the arena cried. Her voice, though urgent, seemed to have a somewhat relaxed tone to it. It wasn’t that of a hardcore battler as opposed to that of someone who’d rather just raise her Pokémon as pets.

But what the girl just called that behemoth… Luke… There was only one person I knew who called her Nettlepine that.

Glancing again at Luke’s side of the field, I immediately looked slightly to his left. Standing behind him was a young woman the age of sixteen, or maybe seventeen. Far shorter than the beast she owned, the hazel-eyed lass looked to be about five-foot-two.

She was a slim girl, her clothing a little bit formfitting, yet a lot different from what I’d have expected someone her age to wear. The sleeves of her tie-dye green shirt covered only her shoulders, while the rest of it covered everything down to her hips. On that top, there was a picture of a Leafeon lying in a patch of grass. From what I saw, the creature was staring at the one taking its picture and had an olive collar around its neck with a small crystal dangling from it. After her shirt, the girl’s blue jeans covered the rest of her body down to her brown boots.

There were two things seemed particularly interesting about this girl, her hairstyle and her bracelets. Her brunette locks were combed back and I noticed that behind each of her ears that there were two long braids dangling down the sides of her head until disappearing behind her shoulder. The style reminded me of how female Skunanne wear their hair in three long braids that dangled halfway down their backs. Around her wrists, she wore bands formed by golden chains. Three Poké Balls dangled from each, serving as their charms.

As much as I didn’t want to believe it, it was her… Meg…

“NEH!” Luke barked loudly, revealing the sharp white fangs in his maw.

Behind each ear, the beast had three olive vines growing from buds in his head. Each was thick and laden with thorns, and had resting positions on Luke’s body. The lowest ones were short and dangled down the sides of his head like braids of hair, while the others laid on the back of his neck until reaching the behemoth’s spines. Once there, the central vines descended to Luke’s shoulders and wrapped around the stout forelegs supporting his gargantuan body until they ended at his ankles. Luke’s upper limbs split into thirds that rested within the niches between each row of his thorns until reaching their final ones. At those points, the two highest vines on each side started wrapping around Luke’s tail until ending just before the five spikes at the appendage’s tip. In a similar fashion, the lower branches reached down from the last thorns they wrapped around his thick hind legs until they stopped at the ankles.

The vines around his tail began to unwrap. As soon as they came undone, Luke also started digging into the battlefield’s dirt with the overgrown teal-green claws on each of his paws.

“Now, Apollo!” I barked.

Apollo immediately ducked his head, throwing his fireball. Afterwards, he raised his forelegs to about shoulder height and then pushed forward. Doing that caused the orbs at the sides of his neck, followed by the ones at his abs, to launch toward the first.

After Luke had dug a few inches into the field’s dirt, the vines on his legs began moving. Like snakes slithering, they seemed to be creeping down his appendages and into the earth. As they did, the behemoth appeared to be slowly sinking into the field too.

I knew exactly what he was readying for… My only hope now was for Fire Blast to hit!

“URMEAN!” Apollo shrieked as he pressed his forepaws together.

The fireballs he’d just launched converged on the first one. Upon fusion, they caused an explosion resulting in the formation of a five-armed figure aimed at Luke; each of its appendages blazed a brilliant combo of blue and light red flames.

“Grr-mean…” Apollo then growled, pulling his paws apart.

“PINE!” Luke barked once his legs were underground.

Following his grunt, the vines from his tail flared upward, waving back and forth violently. Then, they dove straight down into the ground behind Luke.

“Nettle! Neh! Pine!” the behemoth grunted, slamming his tail against the ground.

As the ground shook, small olive spikes began appearing in the areas surrounding Luke’s body and those several meters before him. Suddenly, those spikes jabbed into the air, revealing massive spires over thirty feet tall. In that same instant, Luke was gone, hidden within the depths of that virtual forest. However, I could hardly say the things were protecting him. Once the towering thorns had reached their maximum heights, they sprouted spear-like branches all over that bared numerous thorns.

“Nettle! PIIIIIIIINE!” the monster screamed in a bloodcurdling shriek.

More small spikes appeared in the center third of the battlefield. Positioned over the halfway marker, Apollo’s Fire Blast was ruined, basically vanishing into thin air after being hit by the spires as they rose.

“Damn it…” I muttered.

“In-sin!” Apollo yipped as spikes began appearing under him.

Aiming his head up, the ermine quickly rotated his body. While he did, a fiery barrier surrounded him. That Fire Spin wasn’t going to help. Those thorns were going to just burn away!

Spires rose all around Apollo. Then, the branches jabbed through his shield. Afterward, they became flexible, turning into thorn-laden vines that quickly wrapped tightly against his flesh.

“UR-MEAN!” Apollo whined in an earsplitting shrill.

For that instant, my heart stopped. I looked down at my feet. My arms dangled towards them, limp as rubber. All feeling was gone…

This match was over…

“Unbelievable, folks! Apollo’s gone down! Apollo has gone down! In a battle that will surely go down in legend for decades to come, Jay has lost to his sister! Ronac’s new league champion is Meg Christie!” the announcer said in a strong, booming voice over the loudspeaker.

I closed my eyes for a long moment. Everything just seemed to slip away. My hopes… My dreams… Everything was just…gone…

“Apollo…” I muttered as I looked up.

Opening my eyes, I saw something. A green-furred maw? Suddenly, the mouth pulled back and opened wide.

“KY-OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” the beast that it belonged to wailed, its voice unbelievably loud. It was almost like hearing a thousand wolves baying at once.
______________________________________________________________________________

I lied in my bed, motionless and in virtual silence.

My heart was racing. Its thumping felt like something was pulsing throughout my mattress it was so strong, so rapid.

My breathing seemed labored. I found myself huffing for a good moment or two.

And, my body… It felt weak. The type of weakness you feel when overwhelmed by sorrow or perhaps fear.

The fitted sheet on my bed felt soaked in sweat! Same with my nightclothes as well as the pillow my head sunk into overnight.

It was all because of that dream…

Staring at the blurry white ceiling overhead made me think of how much I wanted that memory to just vanish from my mind. I just can’t believe that I remembered that event so vividly, even now six months after it happened. But then it wasn’t the whole battle, just those last moments. They were moments that seemed like an eternity. Apollo prepping a Fire Blast. Luke digging his vines into the earth for Thorn Forest. And, Meg… Oh, how I just wanted to forget it!

I’d spent years training my Pokémon to showboat during battles. No doubt that was something I picked up from my mom early on in my career. But, when it came down to it, I should’ve taken my dad’s advice and just cut the crap and gone in for the kill. He’d never trained Pokémon a day in his life, but Meg took that little tidbit to heart and now…

Dealing with the fact that she took my title was hard, and I thought I was over it. But lately, I started having a dream with that woman who began bringing the memory back, and then there was some kind of beast roaring right in my face. Just who was she? And, what the hell was it all? I know that dreams aren’t supposed to make sense, but this was just way too freaky to ignore.

“Awooooh-ooo-ooo-awooooh!” a pack of wolves began to bay off to my right.

“Loo? Poodle?” a somewhat chipper voice yawned.

I inhaled a deep breath. As I did, a body lied out across my feet began to move. It felt like it was stretching or something.

With a huff, I said, “7:30… Time to get up, Spunky.” Though not exactly that shout I gave in my dream, my voice still sounded pretty deep.

“Loo? Poo-DLE!” the creature replied and then flopped onto the floor.

“Heheh,” I chuckled, cracking a slight grin as I tilted my head to the right.

On that side of my bed was a nightstand. It had a basic design, consisting of a rectangular solid oak board with rounded sides supported by four black metal legs twisted to look like spirals that made it stand about three feet off the floor.

On it, there was a circular alarm clock set in the middle of a miniature sculpture of a Mightyena pack. The four wolves sat on rocky outcroppings positioned around the clock with their heads aimed at the heavens. Atop the clock was a silver central area with a small switch next to a dial.

“Awooooh-ooo-ooo-awooooh!” the pack bayed again.

I reached over and pushed the switch to ‘off.’ Immediately after, the pack yipped twice.

A gift from my parents when I was a kid, it was one of my favorite possessions. Just hearing it in the morning reminded me of all the time I spent in the wilderness training with feral Pokémon. It was also because of how I spent so much time in the woods and my love for animalian Pokémon that my friends began calling me ‘Feral.’ And it stuck!

At age seventeen, I gained instant fame as the youngest trainer to ever conquer the Ronac Gym Circuit, and my nickname became a household term throughout the region. I had it all too! Sponsors paid for everything I could’ve possibly wanted! Legions of fans used worship me. That was the life. MY LIFE! And now it was gone…

Being two years younger than me, Meg not only took my title, but also broke my record. And with them went everything I’d worked so hard for. Even if I tried to get my title back from her, it wouldn’t be the same. It could never be the same…

Nowadays, the only thing I found myself doing was waiting for that day when I could start my life anew. I just graduated from high school last month, so there really wasn’t much I had to do. Classes at the college I’d be going to in the fall were still a ways off and I had sworn off all trainer battles, so the only real thing on my agenda until then was return to the woods and take up my old training regimen.

Or, at least, that was what I would normally be doing… Today was going to be different, though.

In front of my clock was a tan eyeglass case. Seizing it, I pulled my arm back under my comforter depicting a small pod of Lapras crossing the sea on a full moon’s night. I passed the container to my left hand and then threw the blanket off of me, causing it to fall onto the floor to the right.

Cool air suddenly blew on the skin left uncovered by my gray nightshirt and boxers. The feeling sent an immediate chill through my entire body. Dad kept the AC so freaking low in the summer it was like midwinter indoors!

“Loo,” Spunky said as something in the room clicked. Suddenly, the lights came on.

I pivoted my legs to my left and sat up on the edge of my bed. With my eyelids closed slightly, I found myself hunched over and looking at the floor. Still tired…

Feeling under the flap of my case, my thumb eventually found the Velcro holding the thing shut. There was a sudden rip, and then I opened the thing and gripped my glasses by their nose area.

I immediately put them on. The lenses fit just over my eyes and the frames were surprisingly thin. Most didn’t even realize that I wore glasses, even after I got my first pair several years ago.

Now I was able to see the golden friezé plush under my feet. My dad and I installed it and the rest of the carpeting in our house a few summers ago. We put it in over the course of several weekends after he took over the flooring store downtown. It was then that I learned what hard labor really was, and how I never wanted to do it again. My muscles ached for the rest of my vacation due to the workout of taking the old stuff out and bringing the new rugs in.

Then again, a workout might do me some good. Not having battled other trainers in so long, I’d gotten just a bit lazy.

Looking up, I saw a somewhat unique piece of furniture against the wall across from me. It was a combination of a dresser and a desk. The dresser part on the left side had three identical drawers with two brass knobs each, while the desk portion had a single smaller one under the open area underneath. Its wooden exterior had an ebony finish that appeared to be fading in some areas, particularly on the desk’s two legs.

A 20’ flat screen TV rested on dresser and to its right was a closed Gateway notebook. The computer I got for my birthday several years ago, and I made good use out of it throughout high school. But now, it was getting sluggish. My television, on the other hand, was less than a year old, and had a far better picture than the early 90s set I used to have. Though, the reflection it gave I really could’ve cared less to see.

In its blackened screen was the image of a tall nineteen-year-old man. Overall, he seemed kind of hefty for a guy his age, having a gut that caused his nightshirt to stretch outward some and arms that were flabby. On top of that, his brown hair looked like it hadn’t been cut in a couple months, and that he seriously needed to shave the fairly thick sideburns, beard, and mustache on his face.

“Eh-huh…” I sighed. God, I really let myself go. Then I guess that’s how all celebrities are when they’re dead to the world.

“Lupudle!” Spunky barked. Turning down and to the right, my hazel eyes made contact with a pair of amber ones that were surrounded by darkened fur belonging to my lupine companion.

Lupudle were strong-bodied wolves, and Spunky was no different. Standing at four feet, his rugged appearance was enough to scare most people. His elongated, black-nosed maw was considerably strong and his fangs were amazingly sharp. Even a weak bite from them would be enough to rend even the thickest flesh and toughest muscle they were so powerful. Between his ‘black eyes,’ a long mane of dark brown hair began. The unkempt locks were thick and extended up his head until dropping down the back of his neck after his ears to around its base. Spunky’s ears were somewhat like large half-ovals that curved slightly back to a point, under which there was a little bit of an indent. Some muscles were visible on Spunky’s torso, abs, and hind legs, the markers of his partial nature as a Fighting Pokémon. Even his long tail with a virtual 90-degree bend upward about halfway down its length also looked like it was really strong because of how thick it was. Unlike those areas of his body, though, Spunky’s forelegs seemed far less muscular. On the lower parts of them, he wore a pair of silver bands. It wasn’t known why Lupudle had the anklets, just that they seemed to cover up the area where their fur became a slightly darker shade. That hue was also noticeable on their hind paws and on their tails.

The third Pokémon I’d ever gotten, Spunky has always been a loyal friend. But then, it was in his nature to be.

In the wild, Lupudle live in tight-knit packs consisting of themselves, the infantile Optipug, and a special pack leader. While they’re typically friendly, the wolves tend to be incredibly wary of humans. If one’s attacked, the clan fights back. Once in a while, though, Optipug go astray, making them easier targets. And just my luck, Spunky happened to be one of those that did. He never put up a fuss when I caught him, and we’ve been best buddies ever since.

“Lupudle…” he groaned.

“You want out?” I asked him as I started petting the back of his neck.

“LOOP!” he barked, wagging his tail.

“Dad! Meg! Either of you still here?” I yelled, hopefully loud enough for someone to hear.

Since my mom Roselyn was gone for the week judging the region’s Grand Festival in Deltsed, my dad Stephan, Meg, and I were left here. Even then, there was really no telling who was home and when, with dad working most of the week and Meg doing her own stuff. Really, it didn’t matter if anyone else was home, but it might save me a little time this morning.

“Yeah! What the hell you want?” a teenage girl’s voice replied from upstairs.

“Let Spunky out for me! I’ve gotta get dressed!”

“Spunky! Here, boy!” she continued with a whistle.

“Loo?”

Spunky turned his head to the open door several feet to the right of my desk. Then, the canine dashed out of my room at about Mach 5. In a moment, I could hear him racing up the stairs and into the living room.

“LUPUDLE!” I heard him howl after the sound of the patio door sliding open.

“Ur-mean? INCINERMYN!” Apollo shrieked.

Apparently, that weasel of mine snuck out of his ball sometime early this morning to meditate outside in the morning air. He enjoyed it, though, so far be it for me to keep the first Pokémon I ever got confined to a cramped Poké Ball like some Pokémon. Yet, it was probably for the better that some Pokémon remain in their balls until needed.

I stood up slowly. Afterwards, I stretched, reaching my arms up until I could press my hands flat against the ceiling. At six-foot-six, it was nothing for me to do that without even standing on my tiptoes. When I was famous, most found my stature and rugged appearance intimidating. Now, nobody really gave a damn.

Perhaps today really would be the start of something new. A few days ago, I received an e-mail from a family friend who works at the college I’ll be going to this fall. She’s the head of the school and the leading Pokémon scientist in Ronac Dr. Barnes, in fact.

Since it was from someone so high up the administrative ladder there, I immediately thought it was just some generic ‘thanks for choosing our school’ type of crap. Since I never leave any messages unchecked, I took a look at it. To my surprise, though, it was something completely different. The e-mail said that she needed my help on a special project and asked me, if I wasn’t busy today, to stop by the school around 9:00. Also, she said she’d make it worth my while, so why turndown an op like this? Hopefully, this was going to be what I thought it was…

Dropping my arms, I walked over to the solid oak door to my room and closed it. I then turned around and looked over the same 12’x15’ room I’d known pretty much my whole life.

It was like a normal guy’s bedroom, I guess. I had a couple posters and other things on my walls. There was one of the band Green Day over my desk. It had a bit of dust on them from being up so long.

To the left of it, I had a hotrod calendar. June’s featured car was a Ford Mustang from the 60’s. I’m as much of a car guy as my dad is, but still what man doesn’t like cars?

Right over my bed was a movie poster of last year’s hit “Dissenter” depicting the heads of a Lupudle and a Mightyena giving the ‘evil eye’ as they passed one another on a blood-red background as well as a large amber-iris eye above the two wolves. The movie itself was the tale of an exiled Pokémon called Caniclops who caused a conflict between his former and a rival pack and how those clans ultimately teamed up to try and kill him. Before they could, though, a Ninetales helped Caniclops get an item to help him become a beast with the power to decimate them all.

In middle of the wall opposite my desk, there was a large window. It made a fairly deep indent into wall and was low on the wall with a foothold area on the outside for a quick escape in case of a fire.

To the right of it, there was a large picture. The photo was taken in front of the archway entrance to the Darwin Coliseum after I won my first championship and, in it, was my team of Sheila my Lapras in the center, Spunky and myself in a formal black suit and with a goatee standing in front of her, Apollo and Mitch my Luxray off to her left, and Sophie my Altaria and a tall humanoid Pokémon with pitch black fur and glaring emerald eyes standing to her right.

Under the picture, there were eight badges in a narrow frame. Their shapes rivaled something related to the gyms’ themes I got them at over those summers leading up to my final challenge; from left to the right, they looked like a silo, a broadsword, a snowflake, a biohazard symbol, a pair of claws, a small mudflow, an triangle formed by squinty eyes, and a tree engulfed in flame.

Those things and a dusty trophy in my parent’s room were the only things really left from my glory days. Just looking at them brought back memories of all the hard work I did getting them… Meg probably didn’t even do half as much she gets her way so damn often!

I had a small dark brown book case set of to its left, though, really I got more use out of it as a DVD and video rack more than anything else. Of the few books in the top of its three shelves were The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, The Loch by Steve Alten, and a couple volumes of a series called The Beasts of Ronac by Edwin Nobles, Ph. D. The latter I’d gotten about ten years ago, and I fell in love with how in-depth they were about the mammals living throughout the region.

“Eh…huh…” I sighed at the thoughts that everything in my room brought back to me.

In this world, there is no time for reminiscing, no time for nostalgia. Or at least that’s what Dr. Barnes always said.

Turning to the two folding doors of my closet, I went over to where they met and opened them partway. Inside, the two-foot-deep area had a rainbow assortment of shirts with different types of wildlife images on them hanging from a rack. I quickly skimmed through them trying to find my favorite, an azure one with a picture of two Lapras swimming out at sea right before sunrise. After a couple seconds, I found it and took it off its hanger.

I saw several boxes at my feet and two piles of pants when I looked at the floor. Grabbing a pair off the top, I went back over to my desk and threw them over the back of the folding chair I had pushed under it.

Crouching in front of the dresser part, I pulled open the top drawer. All magazines… Pokémon ones, car ones, and… Why I always opened this one first, I never knew.

Closing it, I pulled open the second one. All underwear… I immediately pushed it shut.

Lastly, I got into my sock drawer on the bottom. I quickly grabbed a pair and closed it again.

“Eh-huh…” I sighed. For some reason, I found myself doing that exact same routine every morning.

I grabbed my shirt and pants as I stood back up. Then I threw the clothes on my bed again.

I was quick about getting out of my night and into my street clothes. As soon as one set was off, I immediately put my shirt on, followed by my jeans, and lastly my socks.

Sticking my hands into my pockets, I still felt a little naked…like something or some things were missing. I went over and pulled out the chair under my desk. On its seat, there was a black leather belt, a RAZR cell phone, my wallet, and my Poké Holsters. I put the belt on, the cell in my front left pocket, and the wallet in my back right one.

Poké Holsters were items commonly used throughout Ronac, mostly by guys. They were black rectangular cases designed with three inserts and Velcro straps to securely hold three Poké Balls. The sides of each ball were always visible due to the upper straps only covering part of them. Because of this, I could see that there were two balls in each of holster.

I clipped the two cases onto each of my front pockets. Then, I took the top ball on my right holster out and examined it.

It was slightly different from the typical style. The upper hemisphere of it had a black stripe around the red paint. There was a similar green stripe around the white paint of the lower hemisphere. Those warning markings designated this as a Security Ball, a reprogrammed Poké Ball used only in containing Pokémon considered too dangerous to have out without proper supervision. No one but I could open this. But then, who’d be so stupid enough to try to?

The question on my mind now was should I take…him…with? He was actually quite docile outside of battles, but just having his ball on me raised ire.

I put the ball back into its holder and fastened it. It wasn’t like I ever had Orion out in public to begin with. Once his ball was away, I headed over to my door, opened it, and went out into the hall and to the right.

There were two levels to the house, the upstairs and the basement. The ground level consisted of a large kitchen and dining room area, a living room, the stairway down, an adjacent hall, an office, a master bedroom, and a master bath. Our downstairs had a rec room, two bedrooms, a laundry room, a bathroom, a closet under the stairs, and a large storage area with an entrance near the base of the steps. Meg’s room and my own were next to each other on my right, while laundry room and bathroom were on my left.

Passing those, I quickly entered the rec room, though it was really more like some small tavern. In the corner a ways off to the right exiting the hall, my dad had a bar area with signs for Miller Genuine Draft and Budweiser on the walls behind it. He and my mom weren’t exactly alcoholics, but they did enjoy inviting friends over from time to time to play pool on our table in the middle of the room and to drink. They normally did it on Sundays during football season before games began. After that, the living room would be packed with fanatics eagerly watching the LCD.

I really could’ve cared less for sports. Watching them, at least. Unless I was playing them like I did in Phys. Ed., sports were just boring as all hell to me.

My true interests lied in Pokémon Biology. That’s why I’d enrolled in a program starting this fall, in hopes of getting my Bachelor’s degree. Maybe I’ll go for a Master’s or a doctorate in the field someday. But then…I’ve never been that ambitious.

Going around the corner on my left, I started up the stairs. Covering them was a grayish Berber with diamond-shaped figures of varying shades in it. Sadly when we were putting the carpet into the house, Meg and I didn’t have a say as to what kind we wanted nor did my dad get much of a say either. He was the one who chose the friezé for the basement, but my mom wanted this crap for the living room, office, master bed, and stairs. At least I wasn’t the one who had to do the seams in it, though I did feel sorry for my dad when he had to do the pattern match.

At the top of the stairs, I stepped onto the brown hardwood floor of our home’s small foyer and stopped. A short ways from me, past the front door and small closet next to it, was the kitchen. It had a pretty simple design, with the wooden cabinets and counters forming a virtual ‘L’ as they intersected in the corner formed by the walls of the right-hand and far sides of the room. Halfway down the granite countertop were some unwashed plates from last night’s dinner to right of the sink and, under them, was the dishwasher. At the far end of the room was the oven nestled between the cupboard area in the corner and a small one to its left adjacent to the fridge.

What really caught my eye, though, was the island a couple feet from the other stuff, or rather what was on it. There was a plastic rectangular container with some greasy streaks on its insides.

“Yeah… Thanks for saving me any tuna-noodle hot dish, Meg…” I commented.

It wasn’t often that we actually had leftovers from the night before. I always hated it when she got to them before me. Worse, she always left the container out like that just to spite me.

“Wasn’t me! Apollo ate it!” she snickered.

I rolled my eyes as I turned towards living room. My gaze passed the large table, small chandelier over it, and several portraits of foreign plants on the walls of the dining room as I did.

In our living room, there was a 52’ television affixed to the far wall over the large fireplace. Several feet away from it, we had a glass coffee table that was flanked two large recliners with black leather-like upholstery. Behind the table was a matching couch capable of sitting three people.

Lying on that sofa was the girl from that dream. And, of all things, Meg was wearing the same shirt she did during our match and a pair of green night pants to go with it. Her three braids were hanging over the armrest closest to me because she was on her back.

There was something resting on her torso. From what I could see, it was a moderate-sized feline with an onion-green pelt curled up on her chest. The creature had large green leaves for ears that curved upwards from the sides of its head as well as a curled blade of grass sticking up from its forehead. It also had occasional smaller leaves growing out of its neck, chest, and legs, but what really caught my eye besides them was the familiar olive collar that it wore.

“Yeah…you sure it wasn’t Kelly?” I replied, noting the plate on the coffee table.

“Leaf?” the Leafeon replied, lifting her large tail rivaling a crumpled leaf and opening her brown eyes.

Meg giggled as she coursed her right hand over her pet’s back. As she did, Kelly pushed herself up with her brown forepaws. Once up, the creature tilted her head left and looked at me.

“So, what’s with the beard?” Meg then asked as she picked up her Leafeon and sat up, “I thought you were gonna shave today.”

I rubbed the thick fur on my chin. Should shave since I’m not just going out into the woods today. Then again, it was just Felicia I’d be meeting, and she wasn’t exactly anyone particularly special. Besides, she’s seen me with a beard so many times that she’d probably not recognize me without one.

“Why bother,” I replied.

“Well… You’re not gonna impress any girls with it.”

“Leafy? On!” Kelly said, jumping to the floor. She then began making her way across the carpet over to me. When she was at my feet, Kelly sat down and looked up at me adoringly.

Staring back at her, I saw the crystal on her collar. Meg got that gem as a birthday gift from our grandma a while ago. Darlene said that it was a priceless heirloom handed down from her side of the family for generations, but, sadly, she never told us why it was so valuable before dying a few years ago. Since Meg got Kelly that same day, she attached the rock to her pet’s collar in hopes that it’d bring good luck.

“Well?” Meg said. I reached down and picked up Kelly by the area under her forelegs.

I always hated the fact that Meg always got everything! Being the older of the two of us, I should’ve gotten that goddamned crystal, not her!

When I held Kelly up to eye height, her jewel seemed to shimmer. After a moment of staring at it, I took a deep breath…and then exhaled.

“Leaf?” the creature muttered and then blinked twice. I slowly set her back down.

It’s not worth taking it out on Kelly though. After all, it was just a charm.

“Good girl,” I said, rubbing the area between her ears.

“So, what do you think Felicia’s been up to lately?” Meg said as she stood up and stretched.

“Not sure. I’m hoping she’s discovered something about how to get Spunky to evolve, though.”

“Why’s that? Don’t you like him the way he is?” she replied, turning to me with a grin.

“The woods are getting a lot more dangerous. My team could us all the muscle we can get. Besides, Spunky’s been wanting to evolve for a while now. So…”

“Aw… But I like him as is…”

“But he’ll still be the same Spunky, Meg. Only bigger…”

Where Hoenn had Salamence and Johto had Tyranitar, Ronac had Metalupus. They were said to be hardy warriors that rely heavily on deadly close-range attacks. I’d only seen one once in the wild and, ever since, wanted to evolve Spunky into one. So a while ago, I asked Felicia if she could do some research in her spare time on how they evolve and she agreed to. That’s why I’m so avid to see her today. Maybe she’s found a way to get him to evolve and she needs Spunky to see if it’ll work. And, if it does, maybe I can get out of this slump I’ve been in.

“Well, guess I’d better check on those two…” I said and then headed around the back of the couch for the sliding doors on the other side of the room.

Through its glass, I could see Apollo several feet away levitating over the small concrete patio we had in the backyard. I noticed his tail flame had a slow-steady burn to it, unlike the blaze in my dream. His flame streams, though, remained virtually unchanged, still flowing gently backwards. Perhaps flowing even slower than before…

I slid the right side of the door open and exited. After taking a few steps, I stopped beside my Incinermyn and just looked forward like he did.

After a second, I started, “So…”

“Mean…” he gulped.

“You ready?”

“In-sin… Ur-mean, mean, in-sin-ur… Mean?” he whimpered.

“Hmm… Felicia scare you or something?”

“Incinermyn…” He nodded thrice.

Felicia scared the crap out of me too sometimes. Her attitude had much to be desired, that’s for sure.

Fingering the second strap on my right holster, I freed the Poké Ball and took it in hand. I then recalled Apollo and put him away.

Our backyard was a somewhat large and wide-open area well over an acre in size. It was a good place practicing battle techniques when I was school, but it just wasn’t doing it anymore. For my training, I required something a lot more than just an area with a wire-mesh fence separating our house from the wooded areas surrounding our property.

“Spunky! Hurry up, boy!” I called, looking around at the few oaks, maples, and birches in the yard.

“LOOOOOOOOPOOOOOOOODLE!” Spunky whined from behind the bushes at the far end of the lawn.

It sounded like he was in a lot of pain. I chuckled at the thought of the long and excruciatingly hard crap that he must be taking.

“LOO! LOO! Poodle…” he said, no doubt giving a sigh of relief.

After a few seconds, the wolf jumped the shrubs and started racing to me. His dash was kind of erratic at first, but immediately turned into a headlong rush. It didn’t even look like he could stop!

As soon as he was close enough, I took his ball out of my left holster and recalled him. Once he was inside, I put the ball back into its top holder, turned around, and headed back inside. At the door, Meg met me with Kelly on her right.

“So, what’re you gonna do about breakfast?” she asked.

“Same as I used to do. Get it at the Pokémon Center,” I replied.

That’s what I used to do during the summer when I was taking the Gym Circuit. The one in town has an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, and the food is pretty good there too.

“Don’t PO Daphne again, Jay. You’re on a really thin wire with her.” God forbid I make the chief medic at the Pawford Center mad at me just for eating the food meant for trainers who’s Pokémon are really being treated.

“Now, you don’t think she’d throw a fit if grabbed a bite to eat while I get my Pokémon a quick check-up, do you?”

Meg put her arms on her hips and shook her head with a slight grin. No doubt she thought I was joking.

“Leafeon,” Kelly uttered.

I looked down at her. She had her head tilted to her left.

“Well, I guess. Later, Meg,” I said looking back up.

Meg shook her head more. I walked around her, heading for the front door.

When I reached the entryway, I stopped. The entrance to our house was a green steel door with semicircular window on its upper third. Its glass was separated into four sections and was tinted a translucent teal. To the door’s right, there was a narrow window bearing a large etching of a wild rose.

I turned to my left, looking the closet. Grabbing the knob on its left side, I slid the folding door open and saw a several jackets and pairs of shoes inside. One particular pair stood out, two Size-14 jet-black shoes with Velcro straps.

I sat down in front of the closet and grabbed them. Ripping the straps open, I quickly put the ‘boats’ on. It’s not that I couldn’t tie knots; I just preferred the convenience of these instead.

After sliding the closet close, I opened the front door a little. The air was pretty warm, especially compared to the temp inside.

“See ya, Jay,” Meg uttered as I started outside.

“Later!” I replied, closing the door.

<End Chapter One>

bobandbill
April 19th, 2008, 05:02 PM
Well, a good chapter there. You've fixed up the things with the ellipses, and I think the description has even improved - makes me envious, it does. Really great description that you use, of the Pokemon (they were well presented and gave me a good idea of what they looked like, you handed these fakemon well), attacks and characters - so good work on that.

The beginning was... a bit confusing at first - took me a bit, but given that it was a dream, it makes sense. Certainly odd and intriguing, and I am looking forward to Jay's meeting that seems to be a plot-developing meeting given the nice set-up and mentions of it. The characters themselves seem well developed and thouyght out - complications and an interesting past between Jay and Meg. This is very interesting to watch.

This chapter did move rather slowly however, despite the fact that there was no overused ellipse like in the prologue, it certainly did seem that way. The description of the Fire Blast attack, although well detailed, was probably overdone a bit, for instance, and the battle seems a bit forgotten in that sequence. After the memory as well, the rest of the chapter suffered a bit for being dragged out. The e-mail and meeting was mentioned, and I was intrigued to see him get there and see what happens. However, that didn't happen - the rest had been about other stuff - his life, and all - so despite how interesting all that stuff was, there probably was a bit too much there - maybe event the info about the meeting could have been given later
The question on my mind now was should I take…him…with?
Think you need a 'me' after with. Not all that nesserary, but more correct.
Where Hoenn had Salamence and Johto had Tyranitar, Ronac had Metalupus.
I liked that comparison.
“Now, you don’t think she’d throw a fit if I grabbed a bite to eat while I get my Pokémon a quick check-up, do you?”
Missing I.
Grabbing the knob on its left side, I slid the folding door open and saw a several jackets and pairs of shoes inside.
'a' seems unnesserary - doesn't fit in with 'several'.
Ripping the straps open, I quickly put the ‘boats’ on.
Wait, 'boats'? Methinks boots...

Still, a rather good and enjoyable chapter - good character development, plot setup and description - good high level of writing here, just a bit too slow and dragged out in places. Keep it up!

Oh, also replied to an issue you raised in the fanfiction lounge...

Incinermyn
April 21st, 2008, 07:10 AM
Thanks for the critique, bobandbill. Glad someone finally got to reviewing this, I was starting to worry (even though I do have this on another smaller forum that its doing a little better on, I was starting to worry about it here when no one was replying). Also, thanks for spotting those small things, I'll get to changing 'em soon. I'm a little pressed for time right now, so it'll have to wait until the next time I log on. Good to hear you liked this chapter. About that slowed progression, I'm going to try and lay less of it on in the coming chapters (i.e. they should be a bit shorter than this).