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  #1    
Old May 4th, 2008 (02:34 AM).
Camisado's Avatar
Camisado
a therapeutic chain of events
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Dorset, England
Age: 26
Gender: Female
Nature: Quirky
note
The following may not be suitable to all ages.
The following is suitable for PG.


First off, I'd like to shout out a big thank you to the lovely Jax Malcolm, who inspired me to get back to writing and actually publish my fanfiction for the first time in months.

I hope you, the reader, enjoy this story as much as I have so far enjoyed planning and writing it. Any constructive criticism and comments are much appreciated, as I have not submitted my work to the public – at least not outside my friends-only journal – in a long time.

I'm not sure this is long enough for a chapter. What do you guys think? It's about a page and a half in NeoOffice Writer...


--

The distinction between climate and weather is one of scale. Weather refers to the state of the atmosphere at a local level, usually on a short time scaled of minutes to months. It emphasises aspects of the atmosphere that affect human activity – such as sunshine, cloud, wind, rainfall and temperature.

Climate is concerned with the long-term behaviour of the atmosphere in a specific area. Climatic characteristics are represented by data on temperature, pressure, wind, precipitation, humidity, etc. which are used to calculate daily, monthly and yearly averages and to build up global patterns.


Melody had read every book and paper on oceanography and meteorology she could get her hands on. She'd even contacted the Weather Institute in Hoenn, visited Professor Ivy on Valencia Island, and coerced Professor Oak's videophone number out of an unwilling Misty Waterflower. That incident was the reason she'd taken up Physical Geography at school and later at college – trying to prove it wrong, trying to prove there was a logical explanation.

Nothing. Nothing she found could disprove the fact that Legendary Pokémon were indeed responsible for the known world's climate. How did people that had never seen them believe in this? Or the people that had no idea what it was like to be at the centre of the ecological disaster ten years ago?

Sighing, Melody kicked her heels against the shrine's granite pedestal below her and looked out over the ocean towards the three islands facing Shamouti's cove. The sun was starting to set, bathing the water and islands in a rich gold, and sending shadows of silhouettes across the ocean surface. A silhouette of Zapdos's barren, dead shield volcano and its deep caldera. A silhouette of Moltres' perpetually active stratovolcano. And between them, casting the longest shadow of all, a frosty mountain stranded in the centre of a tropical archipelago, inhabited by Articuno.

Melody had watched them fighting, and their power terrified her. Never again did she want the guardian, Lugia – beautiful and awe-inspiring as he was – to be called forth to stop them.

Never again should the world be turned upside down due to the interference of humans.

Human interference was exactly what had happened. Had that collector not tried to remove Moltres, Zapdos and Articuno – ultimately Lugia – from their natural habitats, the balance would not have been thrown. Furthermore, what if the Chosen One hadn't happened to have turned up just in time for the festival?

Then again, Melody figured, it probably wouldn't have happened if he hadn't turned up. The legend said it would happen, and probably only with everything in place as necessary.

This was precisely where Melody had got with trying to find a logical explanation for the occurrences: nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. Her thoughts simply went around in circles. Was it the fault of placing nature's balance in the hands of Legendary Pokémon? Or was it the fault of the humans for feeling they had to interfere? Or, just by chance, was it simply coincidence that the imbalance in the climate had happened at the same time as the Legendaries being collected?

On the bright side, at least the whole ordeal had given her excellent material for her last meteorology assignment and rewarded her with a useful qualification; though, if she was honest, she'd not given a passing thought to what she was going to do now she'd left college. Even the Hoenn Weather Institute had failed to interest her. Melody might like to travel, but she had no inclination of ever permanently leaving the Orange Islands, even if she moved from Shamouti Island.

Melody heaved an impressive sigh as the sun finally disappeared from view, and jumped down from the pedestal to start her climb back up to the main island and to the home she shared with her older sister and grandfather. She considered somewhat absent-mindedly that the annual Shamouti Legend Festival would take place in less than two months, and it was her final year as the Festival Maiden. Practice should probably be in order to make sure it was her best ever performance. It took her mind off obsessing over all her dilemmas, anyway.

As coincidence would have it, a ship silently appeared on the horizon as she turned away; unbeknownst to Melody and the other inhabitants of Shamouti and the Orange archipelago, something big was about to begin.
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  #2    
Old May 4th, 2008 (03:12 AM).
Ninja Caterpie's Avatar
Ninja Caterpie
Sitting by the back window
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Best City OCE
Age: 19
Gender: Male
Nature: Bold
Hmm Hmm.. Nice suff there. Well, here's a review...

Quote:
Melody had watched them fighting, and their power terrified her. Never again did she want the guardian, Lugia – beautiful and awe-inspiring as he (it?) was – to be called forth to stop them.
In the Game, Lugia is genderless Leave it if you want...just a suggestin.

Quote:
Human interference was exactly what had happened. Had that collector not tried to remove Moltres, Zapdos and Articuno – ultimately Lugia – from their natural habitats, the balance would not have been (upturned?) thrown.
Balance thrown doesn't read really well...

Quote:
Melody heaved an <impressed> sigh as the sun finally disappeared from view. She jumped down from the pedestal to start her climb back up to the main island and to the home she shared with her older sister and grandfather.
Big bulky single sentence... Impressive means amazing. Meaning she heaved and "amazing" sigh... I think impressed sounds better...



GAH!!! HOW? I found hardly any problems and any I DID find were simply trivial matters of reading language.

Amazing. Absolutely awesome...

Its long enough... for a Prologue... Well, the chapters may need lengthening...

AMAZING. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.
Wow.
Great. Sorry, I shouldn't say good so much...
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  #3    
Old May 4th, 2008 (03:29 AM).
Camisado's Avatar
Camisado
a therapeutic chain of events
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Dorset, England
Age: 26
Gender: Female
Nature: Quirky
Thanks for your input and the compliments, dark lakitu! I'm amazed someone replied so quickly.

1. I contemplated the he/she/it thing for Lugia for a while, and then settled on "he" due to the voice used in Pokémon 2000, upon which most of the fic is based. Besides, I don't think "it" is quite as impressive as "he" when it comes to a heaping great flying sea monster xD but I'll see what other people say about this because I'm sure references to Lugia and other "genderless" Legendaries will come up later in the story.

2. Thanks, I will look up something better than "thrown". It does make sense to me but it's probably just a colloquism - it's certainly too informal considering the rest of the writing.

3. I did mean "amazing" or similar by the adjective "impressive" in relation to her sighing. Anyway, I will adjust the length of that sentence as you have suggested.

Thank you very much, again, and the future chapters should be longer in any case =)
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  #4    
Old July 13th, 2008 (09:49 AM).
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Camisado
a therapeutic chain of events
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Dorset, England
Age: 26
Gender: Female
Nature: Quirky
Under cover of night, the ocean transporter came.

Considering the owners of the ship, the contents being unloaded were fairly inoffensive; storage units, bits of picket fence, incubators and drums of Pokémon food. Following these items, out came furniture intended for a human living space. Each piece was carried by a seemingly endless crew of men, up to the rented house on the cliff – owned by none other than Melody's sister, Carol.

The operation was silent. Silent enough that only a few of the wild Pokémon in the vicinity were disturbed.

The ground floor of the house was outfitted efficiently and expertly by the ship's crew, beginning to bear more than a passing resemblance to a breeding and day care centre. The fencing and the human furniture was left strewn across the ground floor and upstairs of the house in vague room allocations for the new resident to sort out for himself in the morning.

And so, one young man was left behind to wave farewell to the transporter, muttering to himself about how he considered the size of it rather ridiculous for the job it had just done.

"Howard "Howie" Baker, age 24. Pokémon breeder."

"Hmm. Sounds like someone to keep an eye on."

"We're not thieves, Liran." Chided the owner of the first voice, passing her companion the night-vision binoculars.

Liran took them with a pout and watched the new resident lock himself in the house. "Maybe I think he's the sinister one. Who moves onto an island in the dead of night with the aid of a massive boat and a hundred men?"

Cisco plugged a mobile network adapter into her laptop and started it up. "I'm afraid I don't think it has anything to do with us."

Liran watched his partner uploading some incomprehensible strings of data to their allocated section of the organisation's "innovation" database. She stopped typing for a moment, staring blankly at the screen as if deep in thought. "Or maybe...he could help us."

"Huh?"

"We need test subjects! We can't just keep poking about with our own Pokémon. I mean, look at Lieutenant Wang." Cisco swivelled the screen of her computer, displaying a picture of Liran's prized team member – his Gengar – and all his detailed statistics. "That's just not right."

Cisco and Liran had joined this particular organisation because it happened to be the only one interested in their invention; modifying Technical Machines to work with absolutely any Pokémon. It had spawned from Liran's fondness for Delta series Pokémon trading cards as a boy, and Cisco's penchant for programming. Now they had access to the organisation's massive digital repository of TMs and as much money as they could appeal for.

However, for a reason beyond their comprehension, they'd been posted in the Orange Archipelago.

"Excuse me for interrupting, but what are you doing in my bushes?"

Cisco and Liran snapped out of their respective flashbacks to see a rather irritated young man looking down at them. He indicated their camp fire, tent, and Cisco's rather suspicious-looking equipment.

"We were here first, Howard." Said Liran.

"All the same, this is technically my property. And I'm not sure how you know my name, but it's Howie."

---

Melody woke up with a start to the sound of a very loud impact somewhere in the vicinity of her sister's holiday home.

She failed to recognise the noise. An explosion? No. It couldn't be. The Orange Archipelago was one of the most tranquil places in the known world to live – no real threat from the dubious organisations she'd seen on the news, or otherwise. At least not since the incident with the collector ten years ago.

Her ears pricked up at the distant sound of voices, and she listened at the window for a few minutes, cussing because she could not quite work out what was being said. The noises, she concluded after a moment of thought, indicated a Pokémon battle. Should she go out and investigate? Should she stay indoors where it was decidedly safer and take a casual look in the morning?

Melody let curiosity get the better of her, convincing herself that she should check it out since the noises seemed to be coming from the rental house the new tenant had moved into this very evening.

Shamouti Island was approaching Festival season in the coming month – the time of the year being one of the factors panicking her – and the streets had already become decorated with lights. Despite her worries, they were a welcome sight at this time of the evening. Melody ran down the flagstone streets as fast as she could, the thumping of her sandals and her heart almost drowning out the commotion ahead. Carol's holiday home sat on top of the next hill, the other side of the cove constituting Shamouti's natural harbour.

Melody slowed to a halt at the bottom of the hill, leaning to rest her palms on her thighs and get her breath back. She was a swimmer, not a runner.

"Wait..." she muttered to herself, controlling her breathing enough to hear what was going on up the hill.

Nothing.

"Nothing?" Melody sighed and pulled herself upright. She shivered, suddenly realising it was indeed the middle of the night and she was no longer active enough to stay warm.

As she turned to walk back to her house, disappointed, a faint murmur of voices could be heard, drawing gradually closer to her.

"What do you see?"

"Let me just..." the voice paused, as if concentrating on something else. "It's a girl a bit younger than us. Long hair, sort of auburn. Oh. Oh, Cisco, she's looking."

"That's because you talk too loudly, Liran."

One figure on the hillside – 'Cisco' – halted in the manner of someone alarmed, though the other continued walking towards her, one arm raised to hold binoculars. The hair pricked up on the back of Melody's neck, wondering who these people were and what they were doing heading towards her.

"Liran!" Cisco shouted. He stopped, turning his head in an irritated manner to look back at his companion. He opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted by Melody.

"Who are you guys, and what were you doing up there by my sister's house?" she demanded, resolving that it was best in this situation to stand up rather than running away. Besides, in the dark, they probably couldn't tell she was scared.

"We were camping," explained Cisco – Melody now recognised her voice as being more female than not, even though her figure was slightly ambiguous, as was her haircut – "and your tenant up there told us to take a hike."

"Not before I wiped the floor with his-"

Liran found a hand slapped across his mouth. "Very. Anyway, love, we'll take our leave now. We don't really want to cause trouble. Well, I don't. Liran's another story."

Melody studied the two of them, dressed in what looked like a modified version of a company's uniform; black for the majority, accented with white and red. Cisco's hair was nondescript and short, bleached to a bright white, and Liran's appeared to have been chopped and coloured so many times that his hair was quite indescribable. It had settled at being slightly longer than his partner's, and a sandy blonde colour.

Melody held up a hand and waved indifferently. "Just don't go waking everyone up again, and stay off private property. You're welcome to camp anywhere on the island otherwise, of course. There's plenty of space." She cast one more dubious glance over them and turned to leave. "See you around."

---

"No, Carol. I object. I didn't sleep well at all last night." Melody complained loudly into her pillow.

"Melody, darling, you yourself asked me to wake you up this morning, because you're helping our new tenant organise himself and familiarise himself with the island." Carol opened the shuttered windows and tugged the bed cover back. "And he's paying you for it, you freeloading student."

Melody snatched her sheets back, groaned and then sighed. Carol was about ten years older than her – approaching 30 – engaged to a guy known only as "Rip", who taught kids and tourists how to surf down on the beach. They lived together here, and Melody was indeed freeloading, having completed her education a few weeks ago.

"You, my dear sister, need some direction. And even if it's just a few part-time jobs, so be it. You're not just going to lounge around here and wander aimlessly around Shamouti with your head in the clouds for the rest of your life." Carol sat down on her younger sister's bed, taking care not to sit on any extremities of the silent body under the sheets. "The tourist industry here in the archipelago is huge, Mel, particularly around our festival. You could look at that. You're a good swimmer and surfer, so you could even help out Rip down at the beach. I think you'd be going to waste, though. Look at that amazing qualification you got in meteorology and geology. You should have contacted that place in Hoenn."

Melody sat up in bed, gazing out of the window at the ocean. The Weather Institute near Fortree City in Hoenn had been a consideration of hers, but, as she'd convinced herself thousands of times, she just didn't want to leave her home. Besides, she wanted to get out and do research, not sit inside a stuffy building and look at data – at least that was her impression from documentaries about it on TV. Even so, something had to be said for their methods, since contacting them had got her through several assignments throughout the last two years.

"Maybe for work experience." Melody mumbled bleakly.

Carol rolled her eyes and stood up. "Well, let's focus on today. Get ready and then head up the cliff to help our new friend, okay?"

"Whatev." Melody yawned, hearing Carol leave the room. Reluctantly she dragged herself out of bed and wandered into the bathroom to prepare.

---

I think I'll be leaving the next part until the next chapter. Uh, so this is my first chapter featuring dialogue, and I feel it affects the rest of my writing somehow xD
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  #5    
Old July 14th, 2008 (06:04 PM).
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IceDragon2439
Stand Up and Scream
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Ecruteak City, Johto
Age: 24
Gender: Male
Nature: Quiet
This story does interest me, mostly because I love the Pokemon 2000 movie. It is my favorite. Anyways, I agree with you on the Lugia being a he thing. I make him a guy as well in my fic. Even though this chapter had a lot of dialogue, some chapters need it. I really am interested to see what happens next. Can't wait!
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  #6    
Old September 15th, 2009 (10:53 AM). Edited September 16th, 2009 by Camisado.
Camisado's Avatar
Camisado
a therapeutic chain of events
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Dorset, England
Age: 26
Gender: Female
Nature: Quirky
Melody made a leisurely stroll along the waterfront. A radiant equatorial sun picked out copper, rust and auburn in her hair - a genetic trait that baffled so many members of her family. Market Street was different to the night before; the flapping and whistling of multicoloured festival flags in the wind was no longer ominous, and a warm, pleasant breeze sailed in from the ocean.

She ignored a chime from her PokéGear - probably Carol nagging her - choosing instead to sit on the sea wall and watch a family of Lapras congregating in the distance, babies included. She scolded herself for not bringing her camera, or having a communication device with such a built-in function.

Fishing said gadget out of her pocket, she reluctantly hit a button to display the new message. Just as she suspected: Carol demanding to know if she'd arrived yet.

r u ther yet? dnt keep him w8ing!! xxx

Melody wasn't quite sure whether to lament more her sister's interference or her thoughtless violation of the English language.

She dragged herself to her feet and continued with a remarkably brisker walk up the hill. She mused that this morning was playing out rather like--

A male voice cheerily greeted from nearby; "Ah, hello again!"

"Oh, you two from last night." Melody muttered, casting a cursory glance over the campers, and then stopping to stare.

Liran and Cisco sat around a kettle on a small camping stove, dressed in casual clothing. In Liran's lap was a snoozing Togetic and on Cisco's shoulder sat a young Aipom.

Around them was gathered a further assortment of seemingly well-trained Pokémon. Most noticeable was a sinister couple composed of a particularly menacing Gengar and a shifty but glamorous Mismagius, nursing an egg between them - Melody had never seen one before. A blushing Clefairy sat not far away, riveted by the monologue of a male Clefable.

Melody stumbled forwards as something warm and furry collided with the back of her legs; an Umbreon and Espeon play-fighting together in the coarse grass, crying happily, and clearly the closest of friends.

"Are these your Pokémon?" Melody asked, astounded.

A happy smile from Liran, followed by Cisco and her Aipom, answered the question. Melody smiled. The beauty of the scene had for the moment dissipated any doubt she'd had about her new acquaintances.

To her distaste, her PokéGear chimed once again.

rang howie & ur nt ther yet!! hurry up mel! xxx

Sigh. Carol had done nothing but interfere since Melody had finished college with no further direction. Her sister meant well, but it was beginning to grate on her nerves.

"I have to be off." Melody apologised, casting another look over the Pokémon. "Have a good day. It looks like a good one."

Cisco and Liran simply smiled and waved as Melody made her way further up the hill.

She looked up at the sky, out at the sea, down at the grass beneath her feet. The two of them had looked so happy with all their apparently well-trained, happy and healthy Pokémon. Maybe she could have considered the trainer challenge, at least until another opportunity arose. The Orange League only had four gyms and a championship; it would have given her something to do and time to think.

Perhaps it was time to make that trip to Valencia Island to register with Professor Ivy.

Well, after this odd job for this mysterious "Howie" person; an innocuous young man, of average stature for someone his age. Unkempt sun-bleached hair was held back from his face with a typical Recognised Pokémon Breeder's bandana - red with simplified Poké Ball motifs - further folded up and used as a headband.

As Melody approached, he was stood watching a small Poochyena frolicking amidst a distressed flock of Natu, barking happily. While the house looked distinctly like a daycare centre, it was unmistakably empty.

"You must be Carol's sister." Howie ventured, extending his hand. "Melody, am I right?"

She nodded, taking his offered hand and shaking it firmly. "Yes, I'm the less interfering one."

Howie laughed good-naturedly, running his fingers back through his hair so as to sweep it from his face, the effect of which lasted a good three seconds. "Shall we get started then? I'm afraid the first couple of days are going to be boring and kind of slow, but I'll pay you fairly and you should get some good experience. You like Pokémon, don't you?"

Melody's ears perked up; Carol hadn't mentioned pay. Not while she was awake, anyway.

She affirmed the last question enthusiastically, then explained to Howie the crossroads she was at. She wasn't sure if she'd make a very late (but not unheard of) entry to the Orange League, look for a job or development opportunity pertaining to her qualifications, or go into further education - though she wasn't too sure about the last one, if she was honest.

"Well." Howie said at great length after this monologue, ignoring the Poochyena now pawing at his leg. "If you're not sure you want to be a trainer, I'm sure you'll have made up your mind by the time I'm done with you."

•••

It really did turn out to be hard, but enjoyable work. The breeding centre attracted a lot of attention, as it meant inhabitants of the Orange Islands didn't have to travel to Johto or Kanto for a daycare centre.

Every day she worked was spent getting up at the crack of dawn - sometimes to relieve Howie for a few hours while he slept in - letting the hosted Pokémon out into the fenced-in area at the back of the building, preparing their food (differing per type and even sometimes per species) and manning the desk and phone.

Poochie had at first caused havoc, running between Melody's ankles, constantly tripping her and yapping incessantly. After a couple of weeks they'd become friends, and he quietly followed her around, occasionally even helping to herd stubborn guest Pokémon and bring brushes and other tools to her.

She had several challenges and mishaps. A tearful and homesick Azurill she had to stay with overnight until its trainer returned; several habitually aggressive Spearow, and the odd Thundershock or Ember sent her way by difficult inhabitants. Luckily enough, Howie made sure to pay her a little extra or treat her to lunch every time something untoward happened.

Sometimes they would work together, and Melody would talk about growing up on Shamouti Island, her family's role in its legends and her current status as Festival Maiden. Every so often Howie would ask her to bring her ocarina and play the song for him. He seemed ever so interested in her and the intricacies of the legends so deeply rooted in this part of the Orange Islands; in particular the happenings of ten years ago and her educated opinions on the causes. It seemed strange that he was so eager to learn about all of this but would never share much about his own childhood or interesting anecdotes.

All she learned about the charming Mr Howard Baker amounted to the fact that he was born in Lilycove City, Hoenn, and that the Poochyena - "Poochie" - was one of his three Pokémon. The others were a Sharpedo named Athena, with whom Melody had occasionally gone swimming and surfing, and an unnamed Crobat that seemed to spend most of its time in the attic space of the building.

Howie would never speak about how he'd got the funding for his daycare center, but Melody decided it was his business and it might be best not to press him about it. Besides, she was building a wonderful working friendship with him.

Today Howie was doing most of the work, and Melody was sat a little way away from the breeding centre, fondling Poochie between the ears as they sat on the cliff edge looking out to sea. She'd not seen that little family of Lapras since her first day at work, and it saddened her a little, especially since she'd brought her binoculars every day just in case. She hoped they were safe - rare Pokémon such as those beautiful creatures were sought-after and often ruthlessly obtained, especially the younger ones.

What else had happened on that first day? That had also been the last time she'd seen those dubiously inquisitive travellers, Liran and Cisco. Maybe they'd moved on somewhere else...

"Hey Melody, come and look at this!"

Poochie, startled, bounded off back towards the house, barking loudly. Melody considerably more carefully got up from the edge and made her way back in.

In Howie's hands was a large egg, a pale green colour flecked with a darker shade. Melody's eyes grew wide - she'd seen Cisco and Liran's egg at a small distance that first day of her work here, but now she was able to see one up close for herself.

"What is it?" She asked, awed.

Howie examined it carefully for a moment. "I'm not really sure. They seem to produce them inexplicably when nobody's looking. I picked it up and none of the Pokémon seemed to care, so..." He carefully deposited it in a wide-eyed Melody's arms. "I'm giving it to you as a personal project. It might even be something rare"

Melody stuttered, failing to comprehensibly form the word "what".

He simply chuckled. "It's yours. Whatever it is, it's yours."

•••

I'm SO SORRY that it took me over a year to update. I wrote a wonderful chapter three on my flight back from San Francisco in July 2008, and then I lost it somehow when I was trying to organise my document folders. It really, really upset me and I've not been able to write a better chapter since.

However, I have been talking to a nice friend on PE2K and she somewhat unknowingly encouraged me to get this back out to the populace. Yay!

So I'm not fantastically pleased with this chapter, but I hope it's something you enjoy at least a little bit.

If I er, need to make a new thread rather than having revived this one from over a year ago, please slap my wrist and close this. xD;

Edit 17th September: added in some corrections a friend at PE2K suggested.
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  #7    
Old January 21st, 2012 (03:29 AM).
Camisado's Avatar
Camisado
a therapeutic chain of events
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Dorset, England
Age: 26
Gender: Female
Nature: Quirky
I worked on this story for NaNoWriMo, and it hasn't really turned out completely the way I wanted it to, but I thought I'd go ahead and post a bit more and see how other people feel about it...

***

"Melody, are you doing something important with all of our bandwidth today?" Carol enquired, poking her head around her younger sister's bedroom door. "We're trying to organise our wedding and honeymoon..."

Seeing movement out of the corner of her eye, Melody looked up from sitting cross-legged on her bed - egg nestled in her lap, computer sat on the bed in front of her. She had been reading documentation, scientific reports, and watching videos on taking care of eggs ever since she'd got home from Howie's, armed with some oversized noise-cancelling headphones.

Carol and Rip had been out when Melody had returned to the house, so she'd excitedly taken the egg and her laptop up to her room to do some research, entirely forgetting her dinner and any drinks.

"Didn't you think to ask if you could have that in the house?" Carol asked, pointing sternly at the egg.

Melody sighed and removed her headphones. "Carol, Howie gave it to me. I don't know what it is yet. If it's a Pokémon that will be troublesome, I'll keep it in a Poké Ball while we're indoors. In any case, I'll stop watching videos now you're home."

Carol looked frustrated, but not frustrated enough to start disagreeing. "Fine, but you'd better stick to it. This is our house. Rip and I live here too, you know."

She left the room, leaving Melody to continue wondering what kind of Pokémon was inside. Were all eggs the same size? Did that mean all baby Pokémon were the same size? She knew the markings often indicated what Pokémon was in there, but no amount of researching could tell her anything. Of course, all eggs were unique, just like every person and Pokémon was unique, but it didn't stop her wondering if she'd got her hands on an undiscovered species.

"It's green, so maybe it's a grass type?" Melody wondered aloud. She ran her hands over it - the shell was very smooth. "But then, there are flying types like Natu and Xatu that are green, and some alternate colourations of others…" she put her head in her hands, "You are a mystery, little egg!"

She located a breeder's bulletin board and quickly registered. Finding the forum she needed, she took a snapshot of the egg with her webcam and posted a new thread asking opinions on the species.

After half-heartedly refreshing the page a few times, Melody pushed her laptop shut, putting it into sleep mode. With the egg still nestled in her lap, she lay back, gazing at the photos tacked to her ceiling. These were pictures taken for her college assignments; observations on the coastlines of Shamouti and its three neighbouring islands, detailed observations of rock formation, photographs of the cirrus clouds that forever mysteriously lingered around Ice Island's mountain, and the ash that constantly billowed out of the stratovolcano on Fire Island. What a meteorological nightmare the area was.

She absently picked up a plastic replica of the Shamouti's traditional ocarina and began to practice. She could never tire of the Guardian's Song - the peace and relaxation it brought her was amazing, and reminded her, frustrating as it was, that not everything she was worried about could be explained by earth science.

Melody always played with her eyes closed to help her concentrate, but her eyes snapped open when she detected an unfamiliar scent. It was faint, but it was very sweet and pleasant. She put the ocarina back on her bedside table and sat up, looking at the egg. It was moving the tiniest bit, and was definitely the source of the sweet scent.

"Yes," Melody said, placing her hands on the shell again. "I definitely think you're a grass type."

***

Satisfied that evening was providing them with enough cover of darkness, two young visitors to the island put their latest plan into play. Cisco clipped a collar to her Aipom's neck, switching on a tiny device attached to it. She patted the little Pokémon on the head, reminding her not to stray too far, lest the signal be lost.

Aipom grinned and winked, making a quiet but swift run for the house. Cisco watched her climb a drainpipe and hang by her tail from the roof gutter, slightly above Howie's open office window. Cisco gave a thumbs-up and retired further into the bushes, making sure as she retreated that the voice was still clear.

"--remember all the interviews and reports from that incident. I mean, really, I'm renting this house from Carol Costello, her sister. There are no doubts in my mind."

Liran and Cisco raised their eyebrows to each other.

"I'm trying to persuade her to participate in the Orange League, so she'll be out of our way. What? Yes, she'll be easy to find. She trusts me, she'll tell me where she is if I ask as a friend. I can always send my Sharpedo or Crobat after her if needed."

Cisco removed her headphones for a moment, and suggested to Liran, "Do you think he's not really got dear Melody's best interests at heart?"

Liran nodded solemnly. "I did say he was suspicious, from the beginning."

They had grown rather fond of Melody; she always stopped to say hello and happily answer questions about attractions on Shamouti and surrounding islands. Umbreon and Espeon were also always pleased to see her, enjoying the attention she gave them.

"Liran, I'm worried something bad will happen to her," Cisco said at length, too uncomfortable to continue listening in to the conversation. She pulled a Pokémon whistle from her pocket and blew on it to recall her Aipom - much to Liran's horror.

"Cisco, you can't do that here!" Liran growled, snatching the whistle back. "There are too many Pokémon in the--"

Liran didn't need to finish his sentence. Not just the Aipom had heard the whistle; the entire breeding centre erupted into a cacophony of Pokémon voices. In a split second, a furious Howie had flung the window open wider, seen the panicking Aipom hanging from his guttering, and yanked her inside.

"Nera!" Cisco cried, as Liran tried to restrain and quiet her. "Liran, we have to do something, Nera's just a baby! She'll be so scared!"

There was a resounding crunch noise over the receiver as the transmitter from Nera's collar was destroyed under Howie's foot. Liran discarded his headphones in agony, detaching himself from an anxiety-stricken Cisco in order to nurse his ears.

"Damn," he said, putting his arms around his shaking partner. "Damn. Cisco, she'll be okay. Melody works there; she won't let anything bad happen."

Cisco looked up at him, "Melody, that's right!"

"Cisco, it's too late in the evening to bother--" he stared incredulously as his partner got up and ran away. He stumbled to his feet and gave chase. "Cisco!"

***

The main street of Shamouti Island was eerily quiet at this time of the morning, but that was the way Melody wanted it right now; she didn't want anyone to notice what she was doing. She was, after all, carrying a fairly large Pokémon egg directly through the streets. She hadn't found a bag she was comfortable with carrying it in, so she'd been forced to carry it in her arms every day to the daycare centre; she didn't want to leave it at home where it might hatch in her absence, or Carol might throw it out, for all she knew.

Every day she had made this journey early in the morning, but today Melody was extra-early, because she had someone she wanted to go and visit before she started work for the day. Someone she trusted, and someone she shared some special memories and knowledge with.

She located the shrine at the top of the hill past Howie's house, and then looked down the steep granite path around the right-hand side of it. There were blades of grass, hibiscus flowers and various weeds growing up through cracks in the path, and there was a fair amount of rubble. Melody bit her lip in apprehension; she should have found a bag to carry the egg in. She could have bought one; she wasn't short of money.

This visit had to be done, though, and she didn't have long before she would normally start walking to work. Carefully she secured the egg in her right arm, and cautiously steadying herself with her left palm against the smooth cliff wall, she started her precarious descent around and below the shrine.

It was cool and shady in the cave mouth below the shrine, but still well-lit, and decorated by the wayward hibiscus plants that seemed to have the whole island in their clutches. Finding herself on the stable floor of the cave, Melody smiled as she recognised a familiar silhouette curiously advancing towards her. The being shielded its eyes against the bright sunrise outside, and then beamed back at her.

"Young maiden, I haven't been expecting you! I fear you're bringing bad news?"

"I wasn't sure how to forewarn you, Slowking." Melody said apologetically, "But no, it's not bad news. Well, it's not all bad news, anyway."

She shared with him the news about her egg, and her new job for the summer. It wasn't something she expected to be telling a Pokémon like Slowking, the guardian of the shrine, but he smiled as she told the story, intelligence and interest shining in his eyes, quite unlike his previous and alternative evolutionary stages. Slowking furrowed his regal brows when Melody told him what Cisco had come running to tell her the night before, however.

"Really? That's undoubtedly strange behaviour for a breeder. You should certainly keep your wits about you with this Howie character..."

Melody nodded, deep in thought. This was the first time she had seen Cisco or Liran for quite some time; she had missed them, and it had upset her to see Cisco as distraught as she was. At the same time, she had felt a great warmth to know that she would be the first person they came to in a crisis on their island; she hadn't had many friends at college due to her tunnel vision for her project on that life-altering natural catastrophe years ago, and new human contact was suddenly a real and welcome thing.

"Just keep your wits about you, young maiden," was all the advice Slowking could offer at great length.

After a few more minutes of silence from Melody, he asked if she was feeling okay, and she responded by shaking off the question and beginning to discuss the legend festival with him. Hiding his concern to mull over later, he indulged in Melody's distraction.

Soon, she had a flash of inspiration, untucked the egg from under her shoulder and inched it forwards towards him, "Slowking, are you good at identifying Pokémon inside eggs? I ask because you're a psychic-type and you're the most intelligent person I know."

Slowking smiled in amusement, "Please, you are the one that has graduated now. But no. I can tell from the scent - as you likely have - that it is a grass-type, but I would have the faintest idea about what species is inside. That's part of the fun of hatching Pokémon, isn't it?"

Melody's walk back to the breeding centre was a slow one. Slowking had given her the impression that she shouldn't trust Howie as much as she felt she could before, but also that she shouldn't change how she acted around him despite the whole ordeal with Cisco's Aipom.

She sighed and hugged the egg close to her. Was the Pokémon inside the egg possibly dangerous, then? Melody shook her head, reprimanding herself. She knew that there was no such thing as bad Pokémon; any actions perceived as bad could all be related back to their masters without fail.

"Good morning, Melody!" Howie greeted cheerfully. He was sweeping up in the tiled section of the outdoor enclosure, where the food was normally served up to the resident Pokémon.

Melody put on the most honest smile she could muster, "Good morning, Howie! I'll just go inside and put my baby somewhere safe, and then I'll come out and help-"

Howie quickly walked up to her, snatching the egg from her hands, "Oh, don't worry about that, I'll take care of the egg if you would like to continue cleaning up..."

She tried not to look angry, "No, I'll take it, thank you very much. A friend of mine asked me to check on her Pokémon indoors, anyway. An Aipom. She'd like me to take her home."

Howie gave her a long, contemplative look, and then handed the egg back to her, "Fine, you can do that. Tell I won't charge any fees for the overnight stay in this case. The poor thing was terribly anxious all night, I'd feel bad to charge."

Turning away with the egg held closer than ever before, Melody sighed with relief and then steeled herself. There had to be something sinister going on here. It couldn't be her imagination, could it? Howie hadn't acted surprised when she'd mentioned the Aipom, but she wasn't sure what she had expected him to say, if she was honest with herself.

She turned on the lights in the indoor enclosure and wandered down the long corridor of roomy cages. Howie operated on a policy of filling the ones closest to each end of the room first, as they were the closest to the windows. But at last, in the middle of the room, all on her own, she found Cisco's Aipom, Nera.

Nera had clearly been crying in the night, but she had since decided to hide herself away as far into the corner of the cage as she could. She recoiled when she saw Melody come close to the bars on the door, hiding her face behind the dexterous end of her tail.

"Nera? Nera, I'm a friend of Cisco's, you don't need to be afraid of me," Melody said softly, poking her fingers through the wire experimentally, "You can hang out on my shoulders for the day and then I'll take you to Cisco when my shift finishes. I won't let Howie get you again. Now, let's get you out of this cage."

Nera regarded her and the egg with her wide eyes for a moment, and then tentatively brushed Melody's fingers with her tail. Slowly the signature Aipom grin spread onto her babyish face, nervous as it was. Melody smiled back and quietly slid the barrel lock open, then the door. The Aipom carefully edged closer to the opening, and then ran that same hand-like tail over the shell of the egg now balanced in Melody's lap. This seemed to reassure her that Melody was her friend, and she finally leapt deftly over to sit on her shoulder, steadying herself by winding her tail around Melody's other shoulder.

"Let's go and do some work, shall we?" Melody said brightly, conscious of Poochie whining outside the door. At least she didn't have to worry about Howie's Pokémon being on her side; Poochie and the Sharpedo, Athena, had both become good friends of hers. She often wondered when she'd get to meet the Crobat that slept in the attic so much, and considered that she should make an effort to visit it some day soon.

Poochie turned out to be particularly jealous of Nera's perch on Melody's shoulder, and reverted to yapping constantly and trying to tangle himself in her legs. Nera responded by alternately pulling faces and giving him haughty looks, switching between Melody's shoulders with an agility Poochie could only dream of one day when he evolved.

Howie didn't talk to her much that day, and once his sweeping was done, busied himself with front-of-house work - dealing with customers - and sitting in his back office organising orders and payments. Melody found herself with rather a lot of work to do that day, but she couldn't complain, and she was quite happy to spend quality time with her new friend Nera.

She had sent Cisco a message a long time ago on her Pokégear, letting her know that Nera was safe and that they were getting on like a house on fire. Cisco had gushed her thanks, but apologised for feeling that Nera still wasn't safe as long as she was still in that building. So Melody had decided to spend as much time outside as she could, in the hopes that Cisco might be watching her and see that the little Aipom was doing fine.

"You're free to go," Howie said matter-of-factly, about an hour and a half before Melody was normally due to finish her afternoon shift, "I've paid you for the full day."

She looked at him quizzically, but his eyes remained averted and his expression unreadable. He held out to her the envelope of cash that he normally gave her at the end of the day, so she took it and stuffed it into the pockets of her jeans. She pulled the apron from over her head, making sure to remove her Pokégear from the front pouch, and handed it to him, "I'm just going to get my egg, then."

Howie nodded and remained outside, sat on a fence post, until Melody returned. He still did not meet her gaze, and mumbled a goodbye as she left. Poochie emerged from the door and looked at each of them in turn, his head cocked in confusion.

"What do you think is going on there, Nera?" Melody wondered aloud, waving a silent goodbye to Poochie, who was now wandering in circles around Howie's stationary feet.

No sooner had she walked beyond visual distance of the breeding centre that Cisco ran up to her at full tilt, and Nera, previously chattering absent-mindedly into Melody's ear, became alert and made a flying jump for her trainer.

Liran ran behind, struggling for breath as he carried expensive parts of computer equipment that he obviously didn't want to leave unattended at their camp during tourist season, "Thank god you got her for us, Melody, Cisco was terribly worried."

Cisco looked up from her frenzied nuzzling and cuddling with her Aipom and said, "Yes, thank you so much, Melody, did you get into trouble? Did he act weird or anything?"

Melody shifted the egg in her arms, pleased to be free of Nera's weight on her small shoulders, "He did seem a little strange, yes, and of course he let me leave early with full pay...but guys, please don't go checking up on him again. This was no trouble, but it was heartbreaking to see how Cisco was after Nera was taken. Can you go back to doing whatever work it is you're meant to be doing here?"

Melody had made a personal decision to never push them for what they were actually posted on the island for, and by whom. She liked them both, and she didn't want to find out that some other people she trusted might be up to something strange and sinister as well as Howie.

"We'll make a better effort," Liran said, nodding in agreement.

Melody smiled halfheartedly, but knew they were far too interested in these goings-on as much as she was. So she walked back to their camp with them, and she told them about her conversation with Slowking that morning. She made sure to leave out the information about the whereabouts of Slowking's residence; she trusted her friends, but she didn't want the information to leak out. When it came down to it, he was a rare Pokémon that could converse with humans, and he'd probably be a prime target for Team Rocket or the like.

"So your wise elder thinks you should be careful too," Cisco summarised, looking out towards the ocean as she considered all this new information, "Well, I certainly won't be sending my Pokémon near him again any time soon."

"When it comes down to it," Liran commented, "We were spying on him. I think it's probably against the law."

Cisco shot him a look that could kill, and then turned back towards Melody, scratching Nera's chin as she did so, "Anyway, Melody, you should probably be getting home rather than spending your afternoon with us. Your egg is looking like it might hatch soon. I'm thinking it's probably around the same age as ours."

Melody beamed, "You think so? I should probably take it home, so it's somewhere safe. Good luck with hatching yours as well!"
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Old January 21st, 2012 (06:49 PM).
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SuperTrainStationH
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Gender: Male
The characters and setting of the second Pokémon film interested me since I first saw the movie back in 2000, and I fantasized about a fangame featuring these characters in some way explaining what happened after the film, so I found myself very eager to just take this story for what it was and just accept whatever vision you had for how these character may have turned out and what other adventures this setting has to offer.

The only specific correction I could offer is perhaps to capitalize "The Collector" as a proper noun if that's the name you're going to use for Lawrence the Third in the story, but that's rather minor, especially since he's only been mentioned in passing so far.

Its always okay to take as long as you need with a story IMO, so don't worry and continue at your own pace. The story you might have wanted to write at one point might be a mere shadow of what you could come up with if you set it aside for a long while, so don't worry!
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Old January 22nd, 2012 (08:47 AM).
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Camisado
a therapeutic chain of events
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Dorset, England
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Thank you so much for the lovely comment and encouragement! I think I've capitalised The Collector later in the story, but this was Melody thinking of "that one guy" and I wasn't sure if it should be capitalised or not, but thanks for mentioning it.

I'll post some more in a few days. Thanks again!
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