A long time ago I came up with the world of 'Pokémon Uesuto' and I made about four pages of a comic and a bunch of ideas. Yesterday I decided to revisit Uesuto and try writing a short story. The 'big picture' idea would be to write a bunch of stories, where each one was an 'episode'. The series would follow the same main character, whom you will begin to meet below.
The most important thing to tell you about Uesuto is that—while it still is a world filled with Pokémon—it does not abide by the same laws that you've seen in the games, anime, and manga. I don't want to outline these differences, because I think they're more fun to discover as you read, but if you read something that doesn't make sense according to what you know about Pokémon, just remember that this is Uesuto, and things are different here. If you still don't understand something, feel free to ask and I'll try to answer
I've written the outline for the first episode, entitled 'A Curio, a City', and part one is below. I hope to write more of it soon!
A Curio, a City: part 1
The sun was in its final stages of setting; the clouds and horizon were silhouettes in front of the red-orange sky and burning yellow sun. It was almost night, but the boy riding the rapidash had managed to make it to the town; he wouldn't have to set up camp for another night. The old rickety wooden buildings he'd seen from a couple miles off were fully in view now. It wasn't a large town, but certainly not one of the smallest he'd traveled.
He whispered to his rapidash to slow from a gallop, and the white equestrian pokémon, with mane and tail of fire, came to a trot, and then walked.
"Well, well, boys," said a grimy man as he emerged from the shadows of a nearby building. The sunlight from the west cast a harsh darkness on anything it didn't touch, and the three men now appearing had used the black to their advantage.
They crowded before the boy on his pokémon.
"Look what we have here," the man continued. He tipped up his rugged hat and shifted in his dirty and torn clothes. "A little boy all on his lonesome and heading into town. Isn't it past your bed time, little boy?" The men laughed, and one of them coughed.
Too much smoking, the boy imagined.
"You see, little boy—we was just on our way out of town, but then we seen a rider comin' in. So we figger, if'n you got yourself a mount 'kémon, you must have something worth us takin'." The men laughed again, but the speaker didn't. He stared, smirking, at the boy.
The boy stared back. Both the orange sunlight and brightness of his pokémon's flame flickered across his face and cast violent shadows across his youthful features. He wore a brown wide-brimmed fedora and a long leather coat of the same color. Long carnelian hair draped down from his hat and almost to his chin, covering parts of his face and furthering the harshness of the shadows.
"Come on, boss, he's just a kid," said one of the men who had been laughing. "We don't need to be stealin' from no kids, do we?"
The silence of the evening took over for a few moments, with nothing but the sound of a gentle breeze and soft piano notes from the town's saloon.
Then the lead man smiled. "If he's gonna travel on his lonesome like a grown man, don' he deserve to be treated like one?"
The other men smiled—a reluctant remnant from their previous laughter.
"I s'pose," the man said. He broke from the group, circled around the rapidash, and began poking at the boy's pack.
The boy made no movement but to stroke his pokémon's neck. The flames of its mane licked up around his hands, but they certainly did not burn him.
One of the other men approached their boss. He spoke softly, but did not whisper. "Boss . . . “ He looked up at the boy. "Look at his hair. Ain't heard or seen of no one having that color hair fer ten years, whereabouts. Since . . . well, you know."
The boss nodded as he too surveyed the boy. "Wha'd'ya say to that, little boy? That's a curious red hue you got on yer mop. Only people I know had that color hair was from Carmine City, an' they all been dead ten years."
"I was born with it," the boy replied flatly. The man scowled.
The man who had been poking through the boy's things had now reached under the rapidash to begin unstrapping the pack. The red-haired boy scratched behind the pokémon's ear softly, and the man shouted and recoiled, grasping at his hand, then took several of his fingers into his mouth.
"Darn 'kémon burned me!" he cursed.
"Now, boy," the boss interrupted, pushing his burned companion behind him. "We don' need to persuade you no more, do we? 'Cause one thing we know, it's persuadin'."
The boy stared back. "I appreciate the conversation," he said, "but you're blocking my path. I'd like to be on my way now."
The lead bandit grimaced. "Bark," he said firmly. "Growl." At that, two small, gray, dog pokémon emerged from the same shadows whence the men had come. One of them was barking repeatedly with a high-pitched but ferocious yip, and the other one growled a low, rolling rumble of a growl. The two poochyena moved deliberately but quickly onto either side of the boy and his mount, flanking them.
"I'm about fed up with you, boy. Now toss us your pack an' empty yer pockets so we can all be on our way."
The boy sighed. He threw one leg over his mount, slid off the side, and landed his boots in the dirt. He faced down one of the poochyena, staring it in the eyes. Its incessant barking slowed to but a yip every few seconds. The men all stood silent—even the boss. The boy's rapidash whinnied and tossed its head toward the growling bite pokémon, but otherwise stood still. The growling quieted.
Several bars from the saloon's piano song passed as they all awaited a first move. The boy rubbed his boot in the dirt, the gravel scraping under his foot.
A moment later, something burst from the ground beneath Growl, tackling the poochyena up through the air and sending it several yards away. For a second, the creature stood to regain its footing, then surged forward to tackle the gray pokémon again. The attacker was a two-foot mouse pokémon seemingly comprised of yellow bricks. The dirt clouded up in its wake as it charged the poochyena, and the bandits gasped at the suddenness of its arrival.
Bark, surprised by the assault on its companion, then lunged forward—claws in the air and mouth wide open—toward the boy. With a swift punch, the boy took the gray pokémon out of the air and sent it into the dirt. The creature yelped and rolled, then popped up onto its feet.
The boy glanced at the men, who had now moved several feet back, their mouths agape at the spectacle. He immediately turned back toward Bark, though, who was lunging for him again. The boy set himself into a fighting stance and planned his next strike on the poochyena, but just as he expected it to leap, it stopped in its tracks and kicked up a cloud of dust.
The boy tried to shield his face, but felt several grains of dirt scratch at his eyes. He ventured to blink one eye open, just soon enough to see Bark's open-mawed face as it tackled him, landing atop him and knocking the air out of his lungs.
"Someone get his pack!" shouted the lead robber. The man with the burned hand clutched it and backed away, scowling. The man looked to his other compatriots who gave similar looks of derision. The man's shoulders slumped, but he turned toward the rapidash and sprinted to it.
The fire horse pokémon reared up and whinnied, and the flames of its mane coiled around its body. The bandit cowered for a moment, but went to move forward again as the rapidash landed its hooves in the ground. But the rapidash huffed embers from its nostrils and glared at the man, lowering its head and menacing its long, sharp horn.
Bark barked again as it was tossed through the air and landed in a heap. The red-haired and brown-clad boy kicked to his feet, with only one more tear in is his coat and the bite mark on his neck only slightly bleeding.
The robber took one more look at the rapidash before him, then at the defeated pile of fur which was Bark, and finally over to a small cloud of dust, which cleared to reveal an unconscious Growl and a glaring sandshrew with an old scar across one eye.
Having thoroughly assessed the situation, the man turned to his friends, then to the horizon opposite the town, and began to run. The other men quickly followed suit, gathering up Bark and Growl as they ran in varying directions around the boy and his pokémon, then off together into the distance.
"What about the girl's pack?" One of their voices echoed back.
"Forget it," echoed back another voice. "We weren't paid enough for this."
"Blasted red-haired kid."
At the mention of a girl's pack, something else from the shadows caught the boy's attention. He walked to it and knelt down. It was a black cloth bag, but seemed to have no opening. Across it were sewn patches of hearts, eyes, baubles, sweets, and one of a small bird pokémon the boy recognized as a natu. The most telling feature, though, was a rectangular patch which had the name 'Tirella Dye'romen' sewn into it with black thread.
The boy picked up the pack and took its strap over his shoulder. He walked back over to where the dust had now settled completely and his sandshrew stood, patiently awaiting instruction. The boy knelt down to it and patted its sand-brick head.
"Thank you, Aarod," the boy said. "Return underground if you like, and follow me from there."
The sandshrew dove into the dirt, digging and disappearing underground.
As the boy looked up to stand, the last rays of sunset reflected off what seemed to be a pair of eyes from beyond some distant bushes. But as he stood, the eyes seemed to blink away, and no trace of eyes—nor anyone to whom they may have belonged—remained.
The boy squinted in slight irritation, but did not dwell.
He patted the rapidash on the muzzle. "Fine work, Magaera," he smiled. She nickered a thanks and shook her head happily. "That's my girl," he said, and kissed her neck.
The red-haired boy mounted Magaera, and they trotted softly into town.
Okay, here's the shorter part two. Part three looks like it'll be much longer, so whenever I write it, I'll probably split it into two for the purposes of posting.
A Curio, a City: part 2
The saloon doors swung shut as the red-haired boy cleared the doorway. Saloons always felt like a natural place for him, when he found himself in a town. It was a man’s place, and he fancied himself a man. He traveled alone; he took care of himself and his pokémon; he had a mission. He was a man.
But he knew others didn’t see him that way. They all saw a five-foot, thirteen-year-old boy who was dressed like a man. And he saw a bunch of old, dirty, hairy grumbling men with alcohol instead of dreams.
The music from the piano was louder here, as was the clamor of the drunken laughter and clattering of mugs. The boy made his way to the bar and climbed atop one of the stools. As he expected, people began to notice him, quiet down, laugh more, then continue their revelry, ignoring him.
“A little young, aren’t you?” the bartender asked. He was just as hairy as the other men in the bar, but older, grayer, less drunk, and not quite as dirty.
“Not too old for water, I hope,” the boy replied. He looked up from beneath the brim of his hat and stared levelly at the bartender.
The gray-haired man smiled for a moment. “Still have to charge for it, though. You got the coin?”
The boy pulled back one side of his coat to reach into a pouch on his belt loop. He grabbed a pair of copper coins from the pouch and pulled his coat back closed, but from the corner of his eye he could tell that the other object on his belt had been noticed. A younger, black-haired man in a fine suit pushed away from a nearby table and began walking toward the boy. He was a young man for sure, but the black stubble on his face marked him as old enough to visit the saloon without questioning glances and derisive laughter.
The bartender took the two copper coins. “You know, we got oran juice, too. Same price.”
The boy stared at the bartender, emotionless. The old man backed away slightly, then shrugged and reached for a pitcher of water.
“The juice sounds good,” the boy interrupted.
The bartender huffed and shifted toward the other end of the bar.
The boy swiftly turned his head to lock eyes with the finely dressed man, whose finger was poised just above the boy’s shoulder, ready to tap, but now frozen in place.
The man dropped his hand to his side and cleared his throat. “I’m Kiraf. New in town, but looking to set up shop. In the business of curious wares and other bits.” Kiraf held out his hand, offering to shake in greeting. The red-haired boy did not look down at it, nor lift his own hand.
Kiraf dropped his hand again and continued. “I couldn’t help but notice that pokéball on your waist. Don’ see many of those. Worth quite a bit, I’d say—an’ I’m willin’ to pay.” Kiraf raised an eyebrow, waiting for a response to his offer.
“Sorry,” the boy replied.
“You sure?” the businessman continued. He reached for the boy’s coat and opened it slightly to catch another glance at the enchanted apricorn. It was painted white and encrusted with several jewels across its surface, attached to the belt in a fine leather holster. “I sure could pay quite—“
The boy, in a quick motion, without taking his eyes off Kiraf’s, grabbed the young man’s wrist and pulled it away, letting his coat drape closed once more.
“It’s not for sale.”
Kiraf scowled and rubbed his wrist with his other hand; he turned back toward his table.
The red-haired boy could hear subdued whispers beneath the ongoing clamor of the saloon, but he paid them no mind. He sipped the oran juice he’d been served and grimaced slightly.
He sipped again, a longer draught.
“Bartender,” he said.
The bartender glanced warily toward the boy, but reluctantly attended him. The boy hoisted the bandits’ black bag from his back and onto the bar top.
He pointed to the name sewn into the bag, and the bartender leaned in to read it.
“Tirella Dye’romen,” the boy said. “Where can I find her?”
Comments, critiques, etc. are welcome of course I'd especially like to know what people think of the setting, given that it's pretty different from normal Pokémon. What I've written so far doesn't really capture all of the world, though, so I guess there might not be much to say at this point other than, "It seems like Pokémon western style."
As for the story itself, I should say that you're not allowed to change the titles of your threads here at PokéCommunity. So if you're going to make a Chapter Two, I'd just go ask Astinus (the moderator here) if the thread title could just be changed to "Pokémon Uesuto" so that the title doesn't get outdated.
Too much smoking, the boy imagined.
A little mini-essay on word usage here. 'Imagine' is usually used to conjure up images in one's mind; 'thought' is for the words. Granted, there aren't too many synonyms for 'thought', but unless your character is mute or something there's really no problem in using it.
"Boss . . . “He looked up at the boy.
That said, I really do like the Western setting (doesn't help that I started reading this fic with Jesse James playing, but still) as well as this kid protagonist. He's pretty awesome, actually. That said, I believe that the title 'Pokémon _______' makes the story sound like some generic Trainerfic that we're all sick and tired of, so I'd reconsider that as a title. (It worked on me, at least.) Since we're only partway into chapter one, I can't say much else except that I really like what you've got playing here. Keep going. C:
Thanks for the reply, Giratina! I'm glad you like the formatting. It takes an extra few minutes, but I've had trouble reading the other fics on the site, so I wanted to make sure mine was perfectly readable
As for the title, I had intended that if I ever created a second 'episode', I would have a new thread for it, since each one would essentially be its own short story. If that seems like a bad idea, or is against the rules or something, then I'll ask for a title change in the event that I write a second episode. Thanks for the heads up!
I appreciate the comment about my word usage. I looked it up to check, and it appears that 'imagine' can also mean 'to suppose or guess' or 'to form a notion of without sufficient basis', which is what the boy is doing here. Sometimes I do stretch word meanings, though, and I hope people will chime in if anything appears awkward.
Fixed the format burp!
Thanks for the title insight. 'Pokémon Uesuto' is the setting name, but it is kind of lame for a story (or series) title. I'm not sure what else to call it, though . . . hm.
Anyway, I'm glad you like the setting and the 'red-haired boy'! And on with part 3.
A Curio, a City: part 3
A couple of younger gentlemen stood a safe distance from Magaera, admiring the elegant white-and-fire rapidash. They backed away farther, somewhat embarrassed, when the red-haired boy exited the saloon.
He was used to admirers of his pokémon. Usually it were the kids who were willing to display their curiosity, but they were all in bed now—after dark in an unwalled town in this dangerous part of the world. Herds of ponyta and rapidash were not common around these parts, and even when spotted, it was from a distance.
The residents would be used to a swarm of rattata, a flock of spearow and the occasional murkrow. Into the arid desolation surrounding the city lived pokémon like poochyena, sandshrew, cacnea, and ekans, but nothing so elemental and beautiful as Magaera.
The boy smiled subtly at her as he walked out of the saloon and past the place she’d been standing, waiting for him. She followed him as he walked, leaving the two gentlemen, still somewhat awed, in her wake.
The boy and the rapidash made their way through the streets of the town. The shops had closed up for the night, and the alleys were similarly empty once outside the vicinity of the saloon. The notes of the piano faded into the distance as the pair walked.
With Magaera’s fire and the moonlight guiding his way, the boy followed the directions he’d received from the bartender. As he made the last turn of the instructions, the sounds of joking voices and breaking glass came into the boy’s range of hearing. He looked up and read the sign: ‘Dye’romen Curio Shop’.
The front window was big and displayed much of the shop. The moonlight flooded through the window, but was accompanied by the lanterns inside. Three men were laughing as they pushed the contents of the shelves into bags. The objects that missed the bags crashed to the floor; the men paid them no mind.
Each man wore a gray jacket with an emblem of a spiraling shooting star, and had other clothes of varying black, blue, and white.
The boy stopped before the store—Magaera standing behind him—and stared inside. After a moment, the men stopped their ransacking and stared back at the boy, confused looks on their faces, but showing no signs of remorse or vulnerability.
The boy stared flatly.
He turned and nodded to Magaera to stay, then walked to the door, pulled it open, and went inside.
“This somehow your business, boy?” asked one of the men. He held a glass vial of blue liquid, which the boy recognized as a potent blend of potion. The man threw the vial onto the floor before the boy’s feet. It clanked on the wooden boards and bounced, but didn’t break. The boy ignored the intimidation. He watched the vial slide across the floor, then looked up to meet the man’s gaze.
“Is this Tirella Dye’romen’s shop?”
“Sure is boy,” the same man replied. The others held their bags, but watched the conversation intently, leaving yet unperturbed merchandise safe for the time being. “But what’s it to you?”
“I don’t figure she invited Team Destiny to trash her place and steal her things.” The red-haired boy put his hands in his pockets.
The man laughed. “Didn’t pay her dues. Don’t get no say in what we do tha place now.” The Team Destiny member swept another shelf of precious-looking items into his bag. “Threw the girl out of town this morning.” He picked up a coral-encrusted rock, turned it over in his hands, then tossed it into his bag with a clang. “Suggest you get outta what ain’t your business ‘fore you get throwed out, too.”
The boy curled his lip and tilted his head down, lowering the brim of his hat just above his eyes. He took his hands out of his pockets and slid the girl’s black bag off his shoulder and onto the ground.
The Destiny man laughed again. “Kid looks angry!” The other men laughed. “Venomiks, why don’t you show our new friend the way out so us men can get back to work.”
A long, purple snake pokémon with wide yellow eyes uncoiled from where it had secreted itself in the far corner of the shop. It slithered slowly toward the red-haired boy; it hissed quietly and rattled softly the tip of its tail.
The boy watched it come toward him. He stood slightly hunched forward and his fingers were curling in and out of fists. The men from Team Destiny were smiling.
A few feet in front of him, the ekans stopped, still hissing and rattling, and looked up at the boy. A moment later, it lunged with its large fangs protruding from its wide open mouth.
The boy grabbed the purple pokémon as it came through the air. He took the area below its head in either hand and wrestled against its weight, gained leverage, then tossed it onto the closest bag. The creature landed uncomfortably on the sack and rolled onto the feet of the bag’s owner. The Destiny member almost tripped.
He regained his footing and kicked the ekans back into an upright position. “Use your stingers!” the man yelled, pointing at the red-haired boy.
The boy lifted one edge of his coat to shield his face as the ekans’s mouth opened and spewed a barrage of poison darts. Most of the darts bounced uselessly off the coat and vanished, but a couple made contact with the boy’s exposed hand, and one pierced the coat and stung his cheek. He could feel the venom run into his blood; he could feel red circles appearing on his skin; and he could feel as the poison ran its course in a matter of moments.
The boy lowered his coat and charged toward the ekans and its owner. The snake looked up, expecting an attack, but the boy passed it by and swung a fierce right hook into the jaw of the lead man. The man looked up to retaliate, but took a hard blow to his stomach from the boy’s knee.
The boy turned on his heels, putting the momentum of his spin into another right hook straight into the face of the snake pokémon which had been mid-attack behind him. The creature flew across the floor, its six feet sprawled, and rolled motionless.
The lead man tried to regain his breath, coughing, “Get him,” to his companions. They shared a reluctant glance, but moved in to attack.
The boy stood in his fighting stance and eyed them, cautioning.
The shop door swung open, and a young man with fine clothes and black stubble entered. The four conscious combatants turned to the newcomer.
Kiraf straightened his vest as he surveyed the situation. He lowered an eyebrow to the scene, but nonetheless spoke. “Team Destiny, I presume. I have a proposition for you.”
Yeah, it would probably be better to call this just 'A Curio, a City' and compose the entire thing as a one-shot (i.e., a short story written and posted all at once - to point you to an example try Beasts Like Us by yours truly. Excuse the advertising. x3). That would make it a lot easier on everybody; these 'chapters' are pretty short, after all.
While the dictionary definition is correct, the stigma attached to the word is conjuring an image - hence, imagine. Careful with that.
So, new installment. No grammatical issues or funky word uses here, so I'll just say that the Redhead of Indeterminate Identification remains pretty badass. Aside from what I said about one-shots, this is moving along really well... and you really need to teach me how to put indents into a story. * .*
Then each paragraph starts with <class=1> and ends with </class>, except with square brackets instead of angle brackets. The "text-indent: 15px;" in the css-div is obviously what makes the paragraphs indent, but only if each one is in its own class tag. Also make sure that at the end of the story you put </css-div>, obviously again with square brackets.
And here's part 4 . . .
A Curio, a City: part 4
The lead Destiny coughed again, held his stomach where he’d been kneed by the red-haired boy, then took a deep breath and stood up straight. “And what kind of proposition would that be?”
Kiraf lowered a pack from his shoulders and opened it, showing the contents to the red-haired boy and the Team Destiny members. Silver coins filled the bag to the brim and were accompanied by a few copper—or perhaps they were gold—coins as well.
“Three hundred gold worth here,” Kiraf said. He closed the bag, then held it in front of him as if to offer it. After a moment, the weight proved too much, and he feigned nonchalance as he dropped the bag to the ground next to him. “I heard the previous owner’s a bit behind on . . . shall we say ‘rent’? This should put the shop back on good terms with your . . . ‘organization’. You get the money an’ I get the shop. Wha’d’ ya’ say?”
The red-haired boy stood solemnly watching as his adrenaline cooled.
The man from Team Destiny dropped the edge of the bag of curios he’d so far collected, then eyed the boy as he passed him, making his way toward the front of the shop where Kiraf stood. The man held out his hand in agreement.
“The boss should be happy with this arrangement. You got yourself a deal.” Kiraf and the Destiny man shook hands; the man took the pack of silver, and the three team members and the freshly conscious ekans filed out the door, which shut loudly behind them.
For a moment, the red-haired boy and Kiraf examined the ransacked room. Then the door opened again.
“Might want to get the sign changed, though. Still has the girl’s name on it.” The Destiny man had poked his head back in to address Kiraf, but then turned to glare at the boy. “We’ll be seein’ you ‘round, I’m sure.” He glared a second longer, then slammed the door again. Through the window, the boy watched the Team Destiny members disappear into the shadows of the moonlight.
Kiraf sighed at the three bags of items strewn across the floor, then made his way to behind the shop’s counter at the back of the room. “Suppose that pokéball o’ yours still ain’t for sale.”
The boy said nothing.
“Figured. So what brings you into a curio shop—er, my curio shop—“ Kiraf laughed, “—after dark? Don’t imagine you came in just to fight off Team Destiny for me, did ya’? You lookin’ to buy? My name’s Kiraf Dye’romen. Guess I won’t be needin’ a new sign, ‘spite what he said.” The young man cocked his head toward the door and laughed again.
“Your name’s Dye’romen?” the boy asked. He picked up the girl’s black bag and stepped closer to the counter to show Kiraf the patches and embroidered name. “Where’s Tirella?”
Kiraf stepped back slightly from the bag, then came back from around the counter to take a closer look. “Huh,” he said, and poked at the bag to pull a fold flat so he could read the name. “Didn’t recognize it before. Sure is hers.” He stepped away again, and moved toward a door in the back of the shop. “Come on to the back and we can figure all this out.”
The boy narrowed his eyes as the back door swung shut behind Kiraf, but he followed nonetheless.
The back room was filled with shelves of empty vials, a formidable stack of thick, dusty books, beakers filled with liquids of varying colors, and a hundred more unique and strange items, some of which the boy believed were innocuous, and others dangerous.
The young man Kiraf had made his way already to the back and was dusting off a shelf with his hand. “Ahh, just as I remember the place. Bit disused, though.” He looked to the red-haired boy and smiled. The boy just stood, holding the bag before him. “Ah yes. Let’s go ahead and get that open.” Kiraf gestured and nodded for the boy to open it.
“There’s no opening.”
“Just pull. Real hard. Just looks like it don’t open.” Kiraf sat in an old chair and pulled himself up to a table; he began reading the bindings of a stack of cobwebbed books.
The boy tried to pull the fabric, but it wouldn’t budge. He looked to Kiraf, but the young man was now seemingly engrossed in a purple-bound tome. The boy knelt and set the bag on the floor for a better grip, then pulled with all his might.
From the top of his vision, it appeared that Kiraf cringed backward, hiding behind the stack of books. The door behind him swung open; a girl’s voice cried, “Don’t!” but the fabric was already torn beneath his fingers. A clap of thunder poured out from the bag and his ears rung—the world spun, and the red-haired boy blacked out.
I'm going out of town tomorrow, so unfortunately I won't have a chance to continue writing for five days or so There are only one or two parts left, depending on how I decide to divide it up. Hopefully I'll remember to finish up when I get back!
Well I'm back from my trip and I just typed up the last couple parts . . . can you believe I actually wrote on notebook paper in order to finish this on the airplane? Geez. Well. I hope you enjoy
A Curio, a City: part 5
The world slowly returned for the red-haired boy. Everything was dark, his limbs were numb, and his ears were ringing, but he could make out a pair of voices.
“Looks like he might still be alive,” Kiraf said. “Tough fella, must be.”
The other voice—the girl’s—was gasping and crying.
“Didn’t think you’d arm a lethal blast, Tirella,” Kiraf continued.
Tirella was sniveling, but choked out, “Had to . . . protect my shop after granddad died.” The voice felt close, like she was leaning over him. “Didn’t think my own family would be trying to take it from me.”
The boy felt the vague notion of feeling return to him when a tear drop landed on his cheek and rolled down his neck. He tried to move, but still couldn’t. Unfortunately, the return of feeling meant a wracking pain like the aftermath of an electric pokémon’s attack.
He felt himself being dragged and hoisted . . . into a chair? Rope was being draped across him and he could feel, through the pain, as he was being tied up.
“It’s my shop now, cousin,” Kiraf said. His was the closer voice now. “Should have been mine soon as granddad died.”
“He left it to me, Kiraf,” Tirella replied. “I worked it with him every day for the past three years. What gives you the right to show up now and claim it?”
“You can’t really expect to keep this place running—and protect it? In this town? Come on, Tirella; you’re just a little girl.” The boy could feel the last cinch of rope tighten around his feet and the pain had faded to a dull numb. His vision was returning, though everything was a board blur.
“I have Omina to—“
“Granddad’s natu? To what? Warn you about burglars and criminals? A lot of good she did you this time.” Kiraf laughed.
“She warned me well enough. I rigged the bag, didn’t I?”
Kiraf laughed again. “I know your tricks, Tirella. That’s why I hired bandits to take it after you left it at Team Destiny’s drop spot. They think you skipped your protection money, and I swoop in to take over the shop. The bandits open the bag and they eat the blast, not me.”
“I . . .” Tirella stuttered.
Things were beginning to come into view for the boy now. He shook his head and blinked.
“Oh, look who’s awake,” Kiraf said. “Don’t know how he ended up with the bag, but thanks for opening it for me. Guess I get to keep the protection money, too. Pleasant surprise.”
The boy looked up at Kiraf and glared. He couldn’t lower the brim of his hat; it was still on the floor where he’d been knocked unconscious. The ropes were tight around his ankles, wrists, and abdomen.
“I recognize you, you know, boy. Come to think of it. People talk about ‘the last boy with red hair.’ ‘The sole descendant of Carmine City.’ ‘The Carmine Kid’ they call you. Tough to kill, always getting in other people’s business, ‘specially when it comes to Team Destiny. Sounds like a dead ringer, you ask me.”
“Let him go, Kiraf,” Tirella pleaded. “And get out and don’t come back. Or else!” The girl appeared to the boy to be about ten or eleven. She had long blonde hair and wore a long, lacy gray and black dress. She looked dirty and sunburned, probably from her day exiled by Team Destiny.
“Or else?” Kiraf asked, amused. He lowered an eyebrow.
“Omina, attack!” Tirella called out and pointed at Kiraf.
In an otherwise empty spot of floor, a pokémon shimmered out of invisibility. It was small and purple, with a short, yellow, and slightly curved beak. Its wings were white with intricate patterns. Its body was mostly spherical, but slightly elongated upward. The boy recognized it as a natu that was powerful enough to have begun its evolution into a xatu. He wasn’t sure others would recognize the differences—even its trainer—but evolved pokémon were very rare and he wondered if Tirella realized what she had.
The natu Omina let out a screech, and with it, a blast of psychic energy. Kiraf lifted his hands to block, but the beam passed heedlessly through them and barraged his mind.
Kiraf grunted, then reached into his vest and pulled out a black pokéball.
The red-haired boy was surprised to see someone else with a pokéall—such a rare and valuable item—then corrected himself.
Should have figured.
Kiraf tossed the ball into the air and a gray light spilled from it. The ball returned to Kiraf’s hand, and the light coalesced.
The pokémon that remained was yellow and foxlike, covered in spiney fur. It had large ears and a collar of white spined fur around its neck. It was a jolteon—a rare creature that lived far to the east in a stormy mountain region called Two Peaks.
Still rubbing his head from the psychic assault, Kiraf called to his jolteon. “Electrocute that stupid bird,” he called, and pointed to the natu.
The pokémon hunched down, growling, and its spines stood up further. Electricity coursed across its spiked fur and shot forward in a bolt toward Omina. The bolt hit her straight on, and as the light faded, the natu stood with singed feathers and a surprised expression.
Tirella looked similarly shocked. The two recovered quickly, though, and Omina flew forward, pecking the jolteon with its semi-curved beak. The yellow-spined pokémon turned to slice at the natu with its claws, but landed only a glancing blow on the creature. It discharged more electricity with the natu so near it, and Omina shuddered and rolled onto the floor instead of landing properly. She popped back up, resilient, and fired another psychic wave, this time at the jolteon, which, like its owner had, took the brunt of it. It shook off the effects quickly, though, and leaned forward, facing its quills toward the natu, and firing them.
Omina blinked out of vision, apparently in an attempt to dodge by invisibility, then reappeared as the quills stuck, and stumbled forward.
The red-haired boy lifted his bound feet and stomped twice on the wooden floor. Tirella and Kiraf looked to him, but his expression gave no explanation.
The natu struggled to stand again, flapping its wings in its feeble attempt. The jolteon stood staring with its teeth bared, waiting.
The wooden floor between natu and jolteon thumped. There was another thump, and the wood bent. On the third thump, the boards broke, and a sandshrew with a scar over its eye flew out from the hole. It stood in the center of the room, poised for battle, and looked to the red-haired boy for direction.
The boy nodded toward the jolteon and Aarod attacked. In a moment, the sandshrew had flown across the intervening space and struck the electric pokémon with its powerful tackle.
The jolteon looked up and stood from where it had fallen and swatted at Aarod with its claw, but the ground pokémon leapt above the attack and came down with a tiny, but rock-hard fist on the jolteon’s muzzle. The spined pokémon tried to shake off the blow, but in that moment, Aarod charged at its belly, tackling the pokémon into the air, and sending it sprawled onto its back, unconscious.
The pain had subsided from the red-haired boy now, and his vision had cleared. He pulled his hands hard apart, and he felt the fibers of the rope stretching and snapping. Soon, they were loose enough that he slipped his hands free of the bonds, and similarly pulled loose his feet, then slid the ropes over his abdomen up and off him.
Kiraf stood stunned between the sandshrew which had knocked out his jolteon and the boy who’d escaped from his bindings. He glanced back and forth between the two, and the two glared at him.
The Carmine Kid stepped forward and punched Kiraf in the face, knocking him out cold.
A Curio, a City: part 6
“Thank you, uh . . . do they really call you The Carmine Kid?” Tirella stood in the storefront of the Dye’romen Curio Shop just in front of the counter. The boy stood in front of her.
“Works fine for me.”
They had cleaned up the shop after Team Destiny’s visit, and the items not broken were back on display. The Carmine Kid had fixed a shelf that had been broken, and they’d swept the remaining detritus out of the shop.
“Well. Thank you for everything. Including not going around beating up Team Destiny.”
The boy looked down at the girl with his lip curled.
“I know you want to. It’s just that granddad always said that ‘even though it’s extortion, we’re still safer with them around.’ If they got sent away, another group of them would just move in, or maybe something worse. Plus, once we tell them what Kiraf did, they’ll keep him out of town so I don’t have to worry about him anymore. They don’t like people messing in their business.”
The Carmine Kid said nothing.
Tirella leaned in, stood up on her toes, and kissed the boy on the cheek. “Thank you,” she smiled.
Early the next day, The Carmine Kid mounted Magaera, and they rode off, with Aarod burrowing beneath them as always. The boy glanced back at the town, still infested with Team Destiny filth, and scowled.
Aaaaanyway, nice job overall. Whereas the ending felt a little too awkward to be cliffhanger-ish, the story was interesting. I would have liked to get the Carmine Kid's actual name, though. five bucks says it's silver
Also, I wrote a response to some questions and reviews to the story at another site, so I'll repost it here in case anyone has similar questions, confusions, or complaints.
In response to questions about the story, here is a summary of the events. If you read through and it didn't seem clear, this should have it make more sense. Not everything below is necessary to understand or enjoy the story, I think, but if you're confused, it should help.
The girl, Tirella, ran the shop with her granddad. When he died, he left it to her. Another of his grandchildren, and Tirella's cousin, Kiraf, heard about his grandfather's death and wanted the shop, but it had been given to Tirella, so he set a scheme in motion. He planned to steal the protection money from the Team Destiny drop, so that they would think Tirella missed a payment and kick her out of town. Tirella's natu, Omina, foresaw the trickery (though not who was responsible), so Tirella used her knowledge of strange items and curios to rig her bag with an explosion. That way, whoever went to steal the money would open the bag and get caught in the explosion, then the money would be left for Team Destiny.
Kiraf, as Tirella's cousin, knew of her tricks, so he hired bandits to steal the bag so that they would be the ones who risked being caught, and they would open the bag and take the force of the blast. He warned them not to open the bag until they'd left the drop spot. So, the bandits followed their orders and had stolen the bag that morning. Team Destiny saw that the money was missing, so they went to Tirella's shop to ask for it, but they didn't believe her story, and she didn't understand why her plan hadn't worked, and they kicked her out of town, thinking she was lying to them.
That evening, The Carmine Kid was riding into town. He got stopped by the bandits and he fought them off, then discovered Tirella's bag. He is not a thief nor is he especially curious about other people's stuff, so he sought to return the bag. He found Tirella's shop with the Destinies inside and asked them a couple questions, but since he apparently hates Team Destiny, it quickly escalated into a fight. Then Kiraf, not yet recognizing The Carmine Kid, nor that his plan had been interrupted, showed up to bring his plan to fruition. He offered Team Destiny the protection money (out of his own pocket) plus a bonus, for them to let him take over. Preferring the money and the promise of a continuous payout instead of a one-time ransacking of the store, they agreed. They obviously didn't realize that Kiraf had hired bandits to steal the money Tirella was giving to Team Destiny. If they had, they would have been mad at him for meddling in their business affairs.
Meanwhile, the girl had been kicked out of town and had found her bag: some bandits were leaving town with it! She and Omina were invisible (thanks to the natu), and she watched as the boy rode into town and recovered it. From there, she followed in invisibility, watching to see what he would do, then tried to stop him when he was going to open it. Obviously the invisibility had failed for a few moments outside of town, when The Carmine Kid thought he saw eyes in some distant bushes.
From there, The Carmine Kid takes out Kiraf, Tirella is going to tell Team Destiny about what Kiraf did, which will put him on their 'black list' of people who meddle in Team Destiny business, and apparently the boy intends to take out Team Destiny, but is dissuaded by Tirella for reasons she lists in the story.
What's the point of the story?
The Carmine Kid obviously has some kind of mission, but it isn't explicitly stated. Certain details refer to him hating Team Destiny, though, so it could be related to that. He seemed upset that he couldn't, because of Tirella's request, take out all of Team Destiny in that town. My favorite TV show is Kung Fu. In that show, Kwai Chang Kaine is a half-Chinese Shaolin priest who travels around the wild west, with little agenda of his own, just on a personal journey, and ends up helping people he meets. I imagine stories of The Carmine Kid following a similar trend, though he may also have some mission that involves Team Destiny.
How could the girl run the shop?
Although I did make the setting kind of dark and semi-realistic, as opposed to other fictions, the anime, etc., it's still Pokémon, where kids do a lot of stuff that doesn't seem to make sense. In this world, The Carmine Kid, as a thirteen-year-old traveler, is more the exception than the rule, but I still think there's room for a little girl to run a shop (which would fly just fine in the anime, for example). Also, between Team Destiny's protection (as long as she pays!), and her natu Omina, she should be just fine.
How can the red-haired boy do all this crazy stuff?
He did several things that defied reason or explanation . . . such as one-on-one taking out an Ekans, loosening the ropes with his bound hands through brute force, surviving a blast that Kiraf had believed appeared lethal, and fighting men years and years older than himself. And what's the story of his red hair . . . and Carmine City? Is this all somehow related? And no, the pokéball isn't for Aarod or Magaera . . . so what's in it? I guess these things will remain mysteries for now I don't know if I'll write more episodes, but if I do, I'll need space to reveal more about his past; but most likely that'll take place over the long haul, whereas individual episodes will tell stories like 'A Curio, a City.'